Scout Report: Round 7 Fantasy Q&A

Is Angus Crichton the real deal? Which cash cow half is the best option? The answers to this week's big NRL Fantasy questions, from NRL.com's resident Fantasy guru the Lone Scout.

Hey what's your take on Angus Crichton? Hearing a lot of chat about him after a superb 80-minute performance...
...And would you be touching Bodene or Whitehead after both scored high 30's in base stats? - 
From Robbie Wilson

Crichton's an interesting one. The young Rabbitohs second-rower has flown under the radar this year after playing a few games off the bench, before starting at lock in Round 5 then playing the full 80 in the second row last week – scoring a huge 78 against the Panthers. The most encouraging thing about his latest score is his base stats – 42 tackles and 107 run metres – plus the fact he can break a tackle with 14 tackle busts in the past fortnight.

He's already made $86,000 in price rises this year and at $315,000 isn't really a "cash cow", but if he keeps playing 80 minutes a week he is a potential cut-price keeper. On the other hand, he's only scored more than 40 once this season and before his bumper Round 6 score was averaging 50 minutes and 33 points a game. That makes him a bit risky in the long run (if he scores in the mid-40s long-term you'll probably want to upgrade him again) but if you're willing to take a gamble he's not a bad option. 

Bodene Thompson and Elliott Whitehead are both surely undervalued after huge drops in price at the start of the season (they've both lost more than $130,000 in value) so certainly have the potential to make that back. It's hard to confirm at this stage whether they'll be keepers though, as Thompson has only scored one 50 so far this year without needing a try, and Whitehead is yet to do it. Still, they can go big on their day and both averaged 50 last season so at the least they appear to be good bets as mid-range cash cows.

I'm upgrading Lamb. Do I pick Cody Walker or Corey Norman? From Simon Hanau

Both Walker and Norman have scored well and both have great bye schedules for overall points. The concern for Norman is the rumoured looming arrival of Mitch Moses from the Tigers as his new half partner. Moses is likely to take on more of the kicking duties than Norman's regular half Clint Gutherson, so could see Norman's scoring drop a little. Meanwhile Walker's dual position flexibility and the likelihood that he'll be one of the few players available at winger/fullback to average around 50 this year probably gives him an edge.

Hampton, Frawly or Nikorima? From Paul Anderson

There are pros and cons for all three of these guys. I've outlined them below and you can see which guy suits your team best, if any.

Ben Hampton

Pros: Scored 54 last week, in just 52 minutes. Has jumped from bench utility to starting hooker last week and now starting halfback in the absence of Johnathan Thurston. After last week's score he has a low break even, meaning he'll make good money in the next few weeks. Still cheap at $167,000.

Cons: His scoring is likely to drop at halfback compared to hooker, where he made 40 tackles last week. Traditionally not a strong Fantasy scorer, usually scoring around 15 points from 30-minute stints. Will be bumped out of the halves in 2-3 weeks when Thurston returns or possibly even sooner than that when Lachlan Coote returns, if Coote is moved into the halves. At that point there's the risk Blake Leary (this week's Cowboys hooker) holds onto the No.9 jersey with Hampton going back to the bench. Risks being a low-scoring auto emergency later in the season in his usual role as bench utility playing limited minutes.

Matt Frawley 

Pros: A genuine halfback who has scored well when given the chance in the past couple of games for the Bulldogs. Has a negative break even, and still costs just under $200,000.

Cons: Left out of the Bulldogs' 17 this week, and only got extended minutes last week thanks to a first-half injury in Canterbury's backline. Will need to get a starting spot to be worth buying (note the Bulldogs play in the first game of the round at 4pm Friday, so keep an eye on the team lists).

Kodi Nikorima 

Pros: Should get an extended run in the Broncos' starting side with Ben Hunt sidelined for 6-8 weeks. Should get a fair bit of general play kicking alongside Anthony Milford. Still cheap for a starting half at $208,000.

Cons: After scoring just 8 off the bench last week Nikorima has a break even of 34, so it's unlikely he'll get much of a price rise this week unless he has a big game. Isn't as cheap as the other options.

What are your thoughts on getting Keiran Foran? He has a low BE and is not too expensive but I don't want to waste a trade! - From Linda Makepeace

Foran has made a great start to his Warriors career with two wins and Fantasy scores of 60 and 50, but I'm not sold on him as a halves option yet. He's never been a big Fantasy scorer in the past and has had his score boosted by a try and three line breaks in his two games so far – something that won't happen every game. Generally he scores 30-40 in Fantasy, and at $400,000 it's hard to see his price climbing too much unless he can make big scores consistently. 

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