Halves thrive, old guns struggle and a few cash cows go large. The success stories, flops and talking points to come out of this week's NRL Fantasy action.
Try-scoring halfbacks Mitchell Pearce (74) and Cooper Cronk (73) were the top-scoring Fantasy players of the round, edging out a heroic 71-point effort from Canterbury skipper James Graham in his side's win over the Broncos. Graham's Bulldogs teammates Josh Jackson (68), Aiden Tolman (60) and David Klemmer (60) also produced big numbers on Thursday night.
Dragons hat-trick hero Jason Nightingale ran in a hat-trick to score 70, with the bulk of those points coming in the first half against Wests Tigers on Sunday, while fellow winger Suliasi Vunivalu also scored 70 thanks to two tries and seven tackle breaks in Melbourne's win over Penrith.
Shaun Johnson's remarkable start to the year continued with his fourth 60+ score – a 67 against the Titans on Sunday – while forwards Nathan Brown, Aidan Guerra and Andrew McCullough and backs Valentine Holmes, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran (on his Warriors debut) all hit 60 points or more.
There were also big scores for cash cows Nick Cotric (59), Brad Abbey (44) and Corey Harawira-Naera (44) while Fantasy legend Shaun Fensom got his first try in Cowboys colours on the way to 59 points at his new club.
Robbie Farah not only got benched this week behind Damien Cook but also finished Friday night's loss to the Cowboys with a paltry 4 Fantasy points, partly due to a back injury, while former Fantasy gun Semi Radradra didn't get much to do in Parramatta's loss to Canberra and scored just 8.
Bodene Thompson was one of the most popular buys of the round for good reason, but he sat out the second half of the Warriors' win with an Achilles problem and finished with just 19 Fantasy points – meaning he'll become even more affordable for those who haven't snapped him up yet. It was a similar story for barnstorming Cowboys big man Coen Hess, who went off for a concussion test and scored just 20 after earning a starting spot this week.
Panthers gun Trent Merrin had a very quiet game by his usual standards against the Storm and hit a season-low 24, while Sharks hooker and cash cow Jayden Brailey also had a season-low with 27 and is looking like a sell soon with rival dummy-half James Segeyaro getting more minutes once again this week.
Fantasy team of the week
1. Valentine Holmes (63)
2. Suliasi Vunivalu (70)
3. Jarrod Croker (59)
4. Nick Cotric (59)
5. Jason Nightingale (70)
6. Mitchell Pearce (74)
7. Cooper Cronk (73)
8. James Graham (71)
9. Andrew McCullough (62)
10. Nathan Brown (64)
11. Josh Jackson (68)
12. Aidan Guerra (63)
13. David Klemmer (60)
14. Shaun Johnson (67)
15. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (62)
16. Kieran Foran/Daly Cherry-Evans (60)
17. Shaun Fensom/Damien Cook/Tyson Frizell/Damien Cook/James Tedesco/Sia Soliola (59)