With the first treacherous bye round upon us, here are the answers to this week's big NRL Fantasy questions from NRL.com's resident Fantasy guru the Lone Scout.
Is the captain loophole a goer again this year Lone Scout? Thinking SJ will be a great VC option and the Gal as captain. - From Ross McArdell
Yep, the captaincy loophole is still available for bye rounds. For those unaware, here's how it works.
Your captain and vice captain are locked in at the start of the round – meaning you can't change them over the weekend – but you can still substitute them out of your 17 (for example, if they are a late withdrawal before kick-off).
In rounds where you only have 17 players or less in action (like bye rounds) if you substitute your captain out of your 17 his score will then be counted as an auto emergency – as he's the lowest-scoring player in your reserves.
To make best use of this, the smart move is to pick a wildcard option who plays early in the round as a vice captain, and if they do well (say, score more than 65) then sub your captain out of your side so your vice captain's score will be doubled instead. It's still a bit of a gamble as your captain could still outscore your vice captain, but it can pay off. This weekend, guns from the Rabbitohs, Eels, Warriors or Broncos look like good vice captaincy candidates.
Thoughts on people trading out Origin keepers over the byes like Fifita and Smith? A good ploy to get some more points or too costly when you will have to get them back in? - From Callan Langer
It can work, but it's a gamble and requires a bit of planning. For one thing, it'll cost you two trades for each Origin keeper you trade out (assuming you're going to bring them back in) so it's only worth considering if you've got a lot of trades left. The other factor is you'll need to keep a close eye on your salary cap in the next couple of months to ensure you have enough money to afford to bring them back in.
Fifita and Smith will both miss four games between now and Round 19, so there is some value in bringing a guy who will play two extra games – particularly if they play in multiple bye rounds – but the last thing you want is to run out of trades early or be stuck with someone like Cameron Smith out of your team.
Is Adam Elliot still worth picking up? I'm looking at low BE, good byes, big engine. - From Abraham Kendall
Tough one. He probably is (if you're playing for overall points), although at $310,000 he's not the cut price option he was a couple of weeks ago. He's played the full 80 minutes the last three weeks and should continue to do so, and plays in two major bye rounds, and is still keeper than the genuine keepers. On the other hand, there's no guarantee he averages 50 for the rest of the year so I'd skip him if you're playing for head-to-head.
For overall who is better to have out of Taumalolo, Gallen or Mannering? - From Anthony Hall
Gallen. He plays in two major bye rounds (Round 12 and 15) while the other guys only play in one.
Thoughts on Radradra? Cheap as chips & plays all 3 major byes. With his off-field issues out of the way do you think he will regain his super elite form from years past? Cheers champ. - From Olataga Karl Tafea-Spitzenberg
Semi Radradra was a legitimate Fantasy gun a couple of years ago when he went on his try-scoring spree – he's been well below that form this year but as you say the potential is there. He's only scored tries in three games this season (including a massive four-try effort against the Dragons in Round 2) but after making 54 points without a try last week he does look like hitting form just in time for the byes.
So there's a lot to like, but at the same time he's still a winger in a mid-table team, and before last week he went three rounds without scoring 30. The risk is there, but if you're playing for overall points and need a winger/fullback he's a cut price option who could pay off nicely.
Not so much for overall as my H2H doesn't have matchups this week, but mate, Nathan Cleary. Pretty much bottomed out in price, and with K Niko back on the bench it wouldn't be a bad trade option yeah? My other 'gun' half is DCE too. Reckon the Panthers might get on a roll like last year? - From Dom Griffin
Yeah I bought Cleary a few weeks back (and probably shouldn't have) but he's put together a couple of solid scores again and if the Panthers get their act together he'll be one player to benefit with more goals, try assists, kick metres if Penrith dominate possession, etc. The looming return of Josh Mansour helps them a bit and with Cleary's price down to $409,000 there's not a lot of downside, even if he's not in the top bracket of guys like Shaun Johnson, Mitchell Pearce and Corey Norman.
Is it worth taking the risk to trade Suli for Leilua despite his lacklustre recent run of form. We know what he's capable of and should surely perform better than Suli overall? Or better to pay a little more and upgrade to someone like Latrell? - From Rachael-Robert Jane
Joey Leilua and Latrell Mitchell are both similar kinds of Fantasy players in that they're capable of going big when the get amongst the tries and tackle breaks but they're also capable of single-digit scores on their bad days.
Leilua has the better Fantasy pedigree after being the top-scoring centre last season but Mitchell has a couple of advantages in that he's dual position and plays in an extra bye round (Round 18). So if having a CTR/WFB suits your team better and you're playing for overall points I'd go Mitchell, otherwise Leilua could be a gamble worth taking.
Is it worth getting rid of Slater and Nikorima? Thinking that Slater's price has peaked and Niko as well given he is on the bench, and so moving Cody Walker back to WFB means I can bring in both Adam Reynolds and Shaun Johnson. - From Jono
I can see the value of trading out Nikorima now that he's been named on the bench – although he will still score at least some valuable points this round – but Slater's Fantasy stocks have actually gone up after being left out of Queensland's Origin side. He's scoring more than 40 points a game which is in the keeper bracket for wingers/fullbacks and he'll now play in Round 15 and Round 18 unless he's recalled by the Maroons.