Round 9 was brutal for many NRL Fantasy coaches, with several big-name stars succumbing to injuries and/or low scores. Here are the success stories, flops and talking points to come out of this week's NRL Fantasy action.
After hitting a strong 56 last week Dylan Walker produced his best performance of the season with 84 Fantasy points in Manly's thrashing of his old club the Rabbitohs.
Two other players to produce easily their best scores of the season were returning Bulldogs fullback Will Hopoate (79) and Panthers and Kangaroos lock Trent Merrin (77), while Paul Gallen's strong form continued with 70 points in Cronulla's win over the Tigers.
A couple of former NSW stars also impressed in Josh Morris (70) and Akuila Uate (67), while cash cow Adam Elliot grabbed a starting spot and a try on the way to 65 points and Corey Norman backed up last week's 85 with a 65 as Parramatta beat the Cowboys.
Andrew Fifita (64), Martin Taupau (64), Moses Suli (64), Tom Trbojevic (63), Jake Trbojevic (62), Josh McGuire (62), Cameron Munster (62), Ryan James (61) and Nathan Brown (60) were the other notable scorers of the round.
Where do we start?
Injuries wreaked havoc across Round 9. James Roberts (47) suffered an ankle injury on Thursday night, Gavin Cooper (36) hurt his shoulder badly at the end of the Cowboys' loss to Parramatta, Josh Reynolds (12) and Aaron Woods (17) both suffered leg injuries that could sideline them for the next few weeks, and Storm forward Christian Welch (2) could be out long-term with a knee injury.
And then there were the concussions, with Fantasy stars James Graham (9), Jarrod Wallace (19) and James Tedesco (25) – all members of my Fantasy squad, and a lot of others' – getting shortened game time after failing HIA test. Paul Vaughan passed his HIA after a head knock but still had reduced minutes and scored just 26.
And then there's the genuine flops – none bigger than that of Joey Leilua, who has gone from hero to zero in the last few weeks with an error-riddled 4 on Saturday as the Raiders were beaten by the Bulldogs.
Knights cheapie Jaelen Feeney lived up to his unfortunate reputation as a player to avoid in Fantasy with 5 points, ditto for Lewis Brown with 9, while Cooper Cronk didn't get through much work in the Storm's romp over the Dragons for 10 points while Leilua's partner in crime Jordan Rapana could only manage 12 and Manly cash cow Frank Winterstein went backwards in price after a 13.
Last but not least, the increasingly popular Mitchell Aubusson gave his Fantasy coaches headaches again after being benched for the fit-again Sio Siua Taukeiaho before scoring 21 points.
Fantasy team of the week
1 Will Hopoate (79)
2 Akuila Uate (67)
3 Dylan Walker (84)
4 Josh Morris (70)
5 Moses Suli (64)
6 Cameron Munster (62)
7 Corey Norman (65)
8 Andrew Fifita (64)
9 Andrew McCullough (61)
10 Martin Taupau (64)
11 Trent Merrin (77)
12 Reagan Campbell-Gillard (66)
13 Paul Gallen (70)
14 Tom Tbrojevic (63)
15 Jake Trbojevic (62)
16 Josh McGuire (62)
17 Ryan James (61)