Scout Report: Round 14 Fantasy Q&A
All 16 teams are back in action but there's still plenty of planning to be done as NRL Fantasy coaches look to shape their ultimate line-up. Here are the answers to this week's big NRL Fantasy questions from NRL.com's resident Fantasy guru the Lone Scout.
Jake Friend worth buying now? He is killing it. Any reason why he is going good now and not at the start of the season?
- From Derek Schofield
He's scoring well because Mitchell Pearce has been out the last couple of weeks. Same as last season when Friend dominated for the first couple of months. His kick metres go up, he plays 80 mins, he does a bit more in attack and possibly in defence as well with the Roosters not as dominant as usual. I wouldn't expect it to last when Pearce returns and the Roosters go back to playing a bench hooker.
Best half to bring in for Nikorima? Can afford up to Reynolds, Munster, Cleary, Hunt? Leaning more towards Ben Hunt.
- From Jarrod Robson
UPDATE: Ben Hunt has been dropped by the Broncos this week so is suddenly a no-go for Fantasy coaches. This coincidentally means Nikorima is no longer a must-sell, with Brisbane looking to the future and giving Nikorima a run in the halfback role.
If you were still keen on someone like Hunt, Nathan Cleary is a similar price with a lower break even after a couple of good scores, and has the advantage of kicking goals, while Munster is a bit more of an erratic scorer but can be switched to wing/fullback as well and also plays in the next two major bye rounds which makes him very handy for overall points. So it depends what you want most in your half, but all are good options.
Do you think Elliott Whitehead will finish up as a keeper this year? Seems like his average is down on last year (average of 45 in his games playing 80 minutes at 2RF).
- From Mark Jessup
Like Bodene Thompson it looks as if Whitehead is just below keeper standard this season. He's hardly an urgent trade if you've got him – those 45 points a game are still handy at this stage of the year – but he does look like someone worth upgrading to an elite gun at some point.
Is picking up Dylan Edwards a risk? And if so is it worth getting him now?
- From Stephen Anderson
Firstly, if you want to buy Edwards, now is the time. He still has a negative break even and he won't get any cheaper than he is now. With an average of 43 and a price of $242,000 Edwards is a good value potential keeper at the back if he and the Panthers continue the form they showed last week.
The risk with Edwards isn't that he won't make money, it's that he might be bumped out again when Bryce Cartwright eventually returns from injury (if Cartwright returns at five-eighth and Matt Moylan returns to fullback). If that's the case you'd need to use another trade to get Edwards out of your squad, so if trades are low that's a factor to consider.
 Edwards Dylan - Panthers
Edwards a must this week?
- From Paul Messell
He's definitely not a must. If you already have three quality WFBs you don't need another one, and as mentioned above there's still the risk he's not a keeper – and if you haven't got many trades remaining you should be focusing on keepers and cheapies, not mid-range cash cows.
Thoughts on filling my final reserve spot with either Merrin, Kapow or Lolo. Merrin's looking good and is $60k cheaper.
- From Vaughan Maniapoto-Pohatu
You can't go wrong with any of those guys really, but for value I'd say Merrin or for a guaranteed topline star I'd say Taumalolo – who has been producing monster scores all season. So it depends if value or points are your top priority at the moment.
What do you make of Jesse Bromwich? He is playing the big minutes but just doesn't seem as destructive with the ball since his hand injury earlier this season.
- From Matt Flanagan
Bromwich is a great player but with an average of 31 and just one score above 40 this season, he simply isn't Fantasy relevant in 2017. Sell him if you've still got him.
What are your thoughts on Lolohea? Is he likely to be scoring 50+ on a consistent basis?
- From Alex Pugh
He's not likely to average 50 points a game but Lolohea's still not a bad option – he's good value, just scored 54 in his first game for his new club, is dual position, plays in the next bye round and has great job security. Traditionally he has scored closer to 35-40 when playing in the halves for the Warriors. Still, if he can average 40+ that makes him a potential keeper at winger/fullback, and if you've got trades to spare and are still chasing cash cows he'll certainly make some money in the short term. Don't expect him to be an elite scorer but he's good value.
 Lolohea Tuimoala - Wests Tigers
Is Adam Elliot a trade this week if I'm not playing him and can bring in Lolohea who plays round 15 and will potentially make more cash than Elliot.
- From Paul Messell
Firstly ignore the fact Lolohea plays Round 15 in this comparison – Elliot's Bulldogs play in Round 18 when Lolohea's Tigers don't, so that's a wash. Keep in mind Elliot scored back-to-back 50s before making last week's 27 in a game where no Bulldogs player made more than 32 points as they were flogged by the Panthers. So he could get back to scores around 50 in the next few weeks. For those reasons I'll be holding Elliot until Round 19.
If you do have trades to burn, yes Lolohea should make more cash than Elliot, but keep in mind you can't spend money at the end of the season if you don't have any trades left. So whether you should still be chasing cash cows really depends on what shape your squad is in and how many trades you've got left.
Do you think having 10 trades left at this stage of the season is sufficient?
- From Leeroy Osborne
You know you don't have to use two trades every week, right? Hopefully your final squad is just about sorted for the run home as you'll need to keep some trades up your sleeves for your head-to-head finals, or if you're playing for overall points you'll soon be getting to the stage where you're praying for no more injuries. The key thing is to only make trades that are absolutely necessary – no more cash cows, no more gambles, just keepers from here on out.