Scout Report: Round 1 Fantasy Q&A

Can you feel it? Round 1 of the 2017 Telstra Premiership season is almost here. 

Tuesday's team lists sent many Fantasy coaches scrambling with the likes of George Burgess missing the cut and one-time Fantasy 'myth' Tautau Moga earning a shock call-up to Brisbane's starting side, among other notable team changes.

 


To help you make your final Fantasy decisions, here are my answers to some of your big questions. (Ask your questions for future Q&As via my Facebook page or on Twitter.)

There's a few starting players between $200k-250k, which ones out of these would you consider putting in your squad and which ones are traps? Charlie Gubb, Felise Kaufusi, Suia Matagi, Curtis Sironen, Jai Arrow.
From Terence Hiamoe 

Of those guys, I like starting second-rowers Felise Kaufusi and Curtis Sironen the best. They both have great job security, with Kaufusi teaming up with Kenny Bromwich in the second row with Kevin Proctor gone from Melbourne and Tohu Harris injured for two months, while Sironen is a first-choice starter for Manly after a strong pre-season at his new club. Jai Arrow is on the Broncos bench so is a no-go for me at his price, and Matagi and Gubb are impact players so could see limited minutes – although I'd rate Matagi (who has been impressive in Parramatta's pre-season) above Gubb.

With Brown on the Sharks bench, how much game time will Brailey get? Will his young mind and body stand up to the massive workload? I have some huge concerns this could be a trap for about 30,000 teams...
From Matt Vaughan 

Jayden Brailey is the bargain bench hooker of choice for a lot of Fantasy coaches, mainly because he's a starting hooker for his club that costs $138,000. As you say, with Fa'amanu Brown will take minutes off him – Brailey won't be an 80-minute player – but that doesn't really matter much if you're simply buying Brailey as a cash cow. If he can score around 35 points a week that'll convert to around $200,000 in price gains. If he struggles to perform and gets dropped by the Sharks – of if Cronulla sign James Segeyaro – that's another story…

Everyone seems to be on the Jayden Brailey bandwagon including myself but what about Kayla Pritchard? He looks a great option as he is also cheap and the only hooker named for Eels.
From Hayden Frost

Isaac De Gois is out with concussion this week and could easily come into the squad to either start or play off the bench. That makes Pritchard a risk.

With Field and McCrone in the Dragons 17, what are McInnes's chances of still becoming a Fantasy gun? Alternatively, if McInnes doesn't play the full 80, who's the next best option – Hodgson, McCullough or Luke even?
From Peter Li 

Yeah the presence of Jai Field on the Dragons bench and the fact Josh McCrone can play hooker should alarm anyone with Cameron McInnes in his or her team. Josh Hodgson isn't in line for 80 minutes either with Adam Clydsdale on the Raiders bench. Luke or McCullough are your best bets for an 80-minute hooker that isn't Cameron Smith, Michael Lichaa or Peter Wallace. McCullough will be undervalued if he does play the 80 long-term – but in saying that, Kodi Nikorima could easily return to the Broncos' top 17 soon. In short, if you can afford Smith, get him.

Please list the likely goal kickers and alternate for each team - I know it doesn't help that there are a few out injured at the moment.
From Matthew Lippiatt-Sidman

Here's my stab at each club's goal-kickers. Don't get too carried away with a few extra points a game, although goal-kicking points can be handy for guys like Aidan Sezer who should at least get a little boost to their scores while Jarrod Croker's on the sidelines for the first month of the season.

Broncos: Jordan Kahu
Raiders: Jarrod Croker, Aidan Sezer
Bulldogs: Kerrod Holland, Moses Mbye
Sharks: James Maloney, Chad Townsend
Titans: Tyrone Roberts, Ash Taylor
Sea Eagles: Dylan Walker, Daly Cherry-Evans
Storm: Cameron Smith
Knights: Trent Hodkinson
Cowboys: Johnathan Thurston, Ethan Lowe
Eels: Clint Gutherson, Semi Radradra
Panthers: Nathan Cleary, Matt Moylan
Rabbitohs: Adam Reynolds, Bryson Goodwin, Cody Walker
Dragons: Gareth Widdop
Roosters: Michael Gordon
Warriors: Shaun Johnson, Issac Luke
Wests Tigers: Mitch Moses, Jordan Rankin

Will Tyrone Roberts get enough minutes early rounds to justify picking him?
From Clint Lasslett

I don't think so. He's not cheap at $371,000 after averaging 39 points a game last season, and won't necessarily score much more than that as a starting hooker with bench utility Karl Lawton expected to take some minutes off him. Plus, he'll go back to the bench when Nathan Peats returns and will presumably drop in price then – meaning you'd want to trade him out by then. That makes Roberts a short-term cash cow only, and there are much cheaper players in that bracket.

Is Josh McGuire a trap? (Averaged 58 minutes last year compared to Corey Parker's 61.)
From Dufflecoat Supreme

Not sure if he's a trap – his scores shouldn't go backwards now that he's shifted from prop to lock – but he's no sure thing to become a genuine gun either. Keep in mind he's not the offloading, tackle busting Fantasy legend that Corey Parker was, instead scoring the vast majority of his points through tackles and run metres. His game time won't increase that much at lock – around 65 minutes is probably his maximum – but his tackle count could rise a little which could be enough to take him past 50 points a game.

Hey just wondering if we can get a list of the dual position changes that happened today and if any others that might happen before Thursday night?
From Darren Lawrence

Here are the players that have been made dual position players this week: Martin Taupau (2RF, FRF); Felise Kaufusi (FRF, 2RF), Nick Cotric (CTR, WFB), Kerrod Holland (CTR, WFB), Peta Hikua (CTR, WFB), Bryson Goodwin (CTR, WFB), Latrell Mitchell (WFB, CTR).

Why hasn't Whitehead got DPP? And Tyrone Roberts?
From Ted Grant 

Popular question this one, but skip it if you don't care about the dual position players (DPP) process.

Here's the short answer: Whitehead is a back-rower, and Roberts is a half. You know that, and I know that. That's the main reason they haven't got DPP just yet. 

Here's the long answer. There are two ways players become a DPP in Fantasy: 1) they are allocated two positions in the pre-season, and 2) they play four games in new position during the season, then become available in that position in Fantasy. Usually, any player named in a particular position in Round 1 will be available in that position in Fantasy – because Round 1 team lists are generally a good guide to where a player will be primarily used throughout the season. 

However, this week Whitehead and Roberts were clearly both named at centre and hooker respectively to cover injuries to Jarrod Croker and Nathan Peats. 

For Whitehead, if he plays four games at centre (Croker is expected to miss four or five weeks) then he'll become a DPP anyway. His scores and price are likely to drop while he's playing at centre (see The Mitch Aubusson Rule) so you're only going to want to buy him later when he returns to the forward pack.

But if he only plays one or two games at centre and then someone like Jordan Turner takes the centre spot, it'd be a bit of an aberration that Whitehead – one of Fantasy's elite back-rowers – suddenly becomes a must-have "centre" in Fantasy.

Likewise, Tyrone Roberts is a half, who is versatile enough to cover hooker or fullback if needed (there's a slight chance he'll start at the back if Jarryd Hayne is a late withdrawal this week). So again, he hasn't been given DPP yet – but again, will get it if he starts at hooker four times.

Is TMM a good pick-up to start the year considering the Panthers' easy draw even with hardly any base stats?
From Ross McArdell

Te Maire Martin is a gifted young playmaker who burst onto the scene last year but as you say, he didn't get many base stats – with barely any kick metres in his appearances in the top grade last season. That usually spells disaster for a Fantasy half. Martin isn't super cheap at $294,000 either. But as you say, he can get his fair share of attacking stats (tackle breaks, try assists, etc) so could be value. Newcastle's Brock Lamb and Canberra's Aidan Sezer are around the same price and are probably better bets based on their ability to get base stats, but if you believe Martin can fire early on he could be a dark horse as a mid-range cash cow. 

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