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Whitehead or Crichton? What's the deal with Elijah Taylor? Is Jake Friend a buy? How many trades should you have left? The answers to this week's big NRL Fantasy questions, from's resident Fantasy guru the Lone Scout.

To play it safe and nab Whitehead (known keeper) for Sironen, or take a risk on Crichton's job security? His base stats are better than Whitehead's at the moment. -From Todd Grieve

The 'Elliott Whitehead or Angus Crichton' question came up a lot this week, and you've pretty much summed up the factors there. Whitehead is an established keeper after scoring about 52 points a game last season, while Crichton is a youngster who didn't have a single 50 to his name until his breakout 78 in Round 6. He's played practically the full 80 minutes in the past couple of weeks and looks set to do that in the immediate future at least (things could change for the Souths pack down the track though) while Whitehead is guaranteed the 80 minutes each week, although could potentially be used in the centres to cover for injuries.

Crichton is a little cheaper ($359,000 to $379,000) but that gap is closing and he has a very low break even again this week. He could actually outscore Whitehead in the long run if he keeps the 80 minutes all year, but Whitehead is the safer option and for only $20,000 extra is probably a better bet at this point.

Replace Sironen with Whitehead? Good trade?From Matthew Dutton 


Any decent $138k rookies worth picking up? Looking to trade out cash cows. - From Daniel Peipi 

Nope. Unfortunately there won't be new bargain-priced cash cows in Fantasy every week, so either trade in a cheap non-player (risky this early in the season) or wait for the next cash cow to pop up. There will be more of them – if not in the next few weeks then at the very least during the Origin period.

Hey LS, with Moses possibly coming to the Eels is Gutherson worth holding onto even with his good bye schedule and is it time to trade out CHN? Griffin doesn't seem to favour him even though I think he should be in the side. - From Jay West 

Clint Gutherson is a tricky one, but with news the Wests Tigers haven't released Mitch Moses from his contract (at this stage at least) I'd probably hold Gutherson as he's a strong scorer when playing in the halves and, as you say, will play in the three major bye rounds. I'd hold Corey Harawira-Naera as well – the next time he plays he'll get another good cash boost so there's no harm in sitting him in your reserves until that happens again.

What's the deal with Elijah Taylor? Nowhere near the 50s he should be getting. He had 10 missed tackles in Round 6 but still, what's his deal? - From Ryan Millar 

I really like Elijah Taylor as a player, but I'm not sure where this theory came from that he should be scoring 50 Fantasy points a week. He averaged 42 last season, 49 the year before and 41 in 2014. His 2015 season with the Panthers looks like the outlier, and he's always scored the vast majority of his points from tackles as he's not a tackle-breaking lock in the Jason Taumalolo/Paul Gallen mould. That makes him a mid-40s scorer (about what he's scoring now), and therefore just below the 50 points a game you want from a keeper forward. 

I traded Brailey for McInnes two weeks ago. I'm feeling tempted to admit failure and trade back given the Sharks' byes. Am I crazy? - From Stephen Merriman 

I wouldn't do it. Not because you've already made the trade – it's tough, but you've got to try to ignore past trades when deciding on future ones – but because McInnes is a keeper and Brailey isn't. It's true that Brailey's Sharks play in the first two bye rounds while McInnes's Dragons miss Round 12, but across the course of the season both players will miss two games with byes so that's not a huge factor. Plus in a couple of months when James Segeyaro is back for the Sharks you're going to want to trade Brailey out anyway – probably to someone like McInnes. Save the two trades.

Have Robert Jennings and Ryley Jacks peaked and ready to be shifted on for Nikorima and Sione Mata'utia? Lachlan Camilleri 

Yep, good trades.

Is Radradra a hold or sell? - From Simon Rassy 

Tough one. The Eels' poor form has hit Radradra's scores hard, with the winger needing tries to notch the truly big scores he's capable of. He did manage a 78 in Round 2, but since then he's only scored more than 25 once (last week's 36). With Parramatta's bye schedule I'd hold him for overall points, while consider trading for head-to-head if you can free up the cash to bring in James Tedesco.

When does Nathan Brown get DPP? After this weekend? From George Tatana McCarten

Yep, he's played three games at lock so he'll be available in the back row as well as the front row in Fantasy next week, assuming he lines up at lock again.

Is Nathan Cleary still worth keeping after having a few poor scores over the last month? If so who would you see as a decent trade? Shaun Johnson? - From Zac Lees 

Yep he's a hold. He's had a couple of scores in the 30s this year but he also has three 50s and a 70, and more importantly averaged 53 points a game last season. He's averaging almost 48 points a game this season so far, and can easily bump that average up past 50 with one good score – just as Jarrod Wallace and Jake Trbojevic did last week. And now people are talking about trading those guys in rather than out…

Kodi Nikorima in for Jacks and Jake Trobojevic in for Sironen? From Dan Bowman

Sounds good. There are cheaper potential 50-point players than Trbojevic around in the second row in Elliott Whitehead, Bodene Thompson and Angus Crichton though.

Do you think Jake Friend regains last year's Fantasy stats now that he's injury free and the Roosters are rolling? - From Sam Bradnock 

Friend has dropped a lot in price this year but that was always going to happen, with his starting price inflated by his incredible start to the 2016 season when he carried a Roosters side without the suspended Mitch Pearce and the injured Boyd Cordner and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. His 42-point average will improve but with a break even in the high 60s this week I wouldn't be buying him.

Hey Lone Scout, do I cash out Ryley Jacks or upgrade him? And also what is the ideal number of trades to have left in the season?From Busta Nelson

What you do with Jacks really depends on what your squad looks like – there aren't many good "cash out" options in the halves though so it's really a case of bringing in someone like Kodi Nokorima or a genuine gun. 

In terms of trades remaining, again it depends on how your squad is looking. If you're concerned about the number of trades you have left, look at your squad an pick out the number of players you're going to want to trade out at some stage – that is, cash cows, or really anyone that's not a keeper. You'll want that number of trades plus a good number left over to cover injuries, suspensions, and either the bye rounds for overall points coaches or the finals series for head-to-head coaches. ‌

Generally speaking though, the best way to avoid wasting trades is to not make sideways trades (trading out one player for another guy with a similar price and similar scores) and to only bring players who will either make you money (preferably $100,000+) or who you're going to want to keep all year (preferably scoring 50+ in the forwards and halves or 40+ in the outside backs). Don't feel the need to chase every cash cow, or you might be out of trades with half the season left.

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