Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo in action against Newcastle.

Scout Report: Round 13 Fantasy Q&A

The first major bye round has come and gone, the Blues have won the first State of Origin and now it is time to focus back on NRL Fantasy with all NRL clubs apart from the Sharks and Rabbitohs in action for Round 13.

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Here are my answers to the week's big questions.

Thoughts on Leilua doing a Merrin and recovering form and actually gaining some of that cash he lost, or is he a sell? - From Lachlan Camilleri

He's a hold if you've got him. Yes he's out of form but last season Joey Leilua was easily the best centre in Fantasy with an average in the high 40s and if he can average 40 points a game from here on – which he's certainly capable of – then he's worth holding. Especially because the best centres are only scoring in the mid-40s (the injured Tom Trbojevic and James Roberts lead the way with about 46 points a game) and cost almost $200,000 more than Leilua.

Who are good trade out options for Nikorima? I'm looking to trade down to make cash but need someone who will play to cover byes as I'm playing for overall. From Craig Finkle

It's slim pickings on that front but Knights halfback Jaelen Feeny is still at the base price but scored 31 last week so could be handy for Round 18, while Fa'amanu Brown ($145,000) will play in Round 15. 

Is it worth going Smith to McInnes if Smith doesn't back up from Origin? Playing for overall.- From Hari Rao

Normally I'm against trading out a keeper like Cameron Smith but it is something to consider, with news he could be rested against Newcastle. It depends a bit on who your second hooker is. If Smith is out tomorrow he will miss Round 13, 15, 18 & 19 at least, while McInnes will only miss one game in that time (Round 18). McInnes is also a long-term keeper, like Smith - who you will need to trade back in after Round 19.

If your other hooker is Jayden Brailey, for example, he'll miss two games (Rd 13 & 18) so if he scores 45 or 50 in the two extra games he plays and you trade Smith out you're basically using an extra trade for the sake of 90-100 points. Is that worth it? Depends how your trades are going really. I wouldn't do it if you are low on trades or if you're playing head-to-head.

Is Cleary a good pick up since he's dropped a fair bit and scores might go up with Moylan at five-eighth giving the team a bit more stability? Niko for Cleary and Brailey for McInnes?From Te Rangihau Caleb Whiu 

The trades sound good. Cleary's coming off a couple of decent scores and his consistency should improve as the Panthers start to get back to the form they showed last season. Having Matt Moylan at five-eighth doesn't help directly (in fact he may take on more kick metres away from Cleary than usual) but if it helps the Panthers get into more attacking positions then it creates more chances for Cleary to produce try assists and kick goals.

Looking to upgrade Nikorima to either DCE or Cleary. Thoughts on current form and projected scores going forward? Cheers. From Stewart Mephan-Bain 

Cleary and Cherry-Evans have both been scoring 45 points a game so far this season, but Cherry-Evans and Manly have been playing much better than Cleary and Penrith. That means Cleary has more improvement in him, so I'd pick him over DCE at this stage.

Is it worth upgrading Wallace to Graham or Nathan Brown when they bottom out? - From Anthony Hall 

I don't think Wallace is necessarily a sell – take out his injury-affected 19 in Round 9 and he has averaged 49.7 this season – but yes James Graham will be a bargain in a few weeks when his price bottoms out. Still, I'd look to see if there was another way you can get Graham in before selling Wallace.

Dylan Edwards a good shot at keeping his spot for a few rounds? - From Nick Drysdale

Bryce Cartwright is out for a few weeks with a knee injury, and in the meantime Edwards will be playing fullback for Penrith with Matt Moylan at five-eighth. There's even speculation Moylan could stay in the halves longer-term, with Cartwright shifting to the back row, meaning Edwards could be the Panthers' long-term fullback. That's a big "if" at this stage but at $206,000 and with a negative break even after two strong scores earlier in the year Edwards will make some fast cash in the next few weeks.

So if you're after a cash cow and possible scorer at winger/fullback for the next few weeks Edwards is your man. He's still not a must-have for those Fantasy coaches who have already got through the bulk of their trades for the season.

Is Taumalolo a must-have? From Matt Flanagan 

With 63.7 points a game Taumalolo sits above Cameron Smith as the best scorer in Fantasy so far this season so he is looking close to a must-have. On the other hand there are seven second-rowers scoring in the mid-50s or better (Taumalolo, Gallen, Papalii, de Belin, Trbojevic, Burgess and Mannering) so if you have three of them you don't need Taumalolo as well.

Is it time to sell Hayne or will Origin kick-start him?From Tony Callaghan

Rep games do have a knack of improving a player's output at club level (just look at Trent Merrin's scores since the Kangaroos-Kiwis game) so there's every chance Hayne start replicating Wednesday night's effort for the Titans in the coming weeks. At the very least he'll be available in the centres next week as well as winger/fullback so will give his owners some handy coverage in the outside backs.

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