Scout Report: Round 16 Fantasy Q&A
The State of Origin series is still up for grabs, there's a new bona fide Fantasy superstar in Angus Crichton and several big names will be missing in what looms as a tricky Round 16 for NRL Fantasy coaches.
Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, James Tedesco, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Jack de Bellin, Brett Morris, Kieran Foran, Boyd Cordner and Will Chambers are some of the big names confirmed to be missing this week.
As always, it's a great week to keep an eye on the late mail, but in the meantime here are my answers to some of this week's big questions.
Thoughts on Crichton as a captaincy option over Smith for the run home? He's got the best average since he started playing 80 minutes.
From Anthony Hall
I wouldn't do it, for a simple reason – a big part of Angus Crichton's incredible run of Fantasy scoring recently has been that he's scored seven tries in his last seven games. That's a sensational run for any player, but it's just about unheard of for a second-rower. That's 56 points in tries alone, not counting the line breaks and tackle breaks that tend to go along with them. As good as he is, it's not really possible for him to keep that up all season so when the tries dry up his scores will likely drop from the superhuman level he's been hitting recently down to just 'very good'.
(And yes I know he scored 77 without a try in Round 11, but he also scored 29 in 47 minutes a couple of weeks before that so there's every chance he starts hitting 50s rather than 60s or 70s soon.)
 Crichton Angus - Rabbitohs
Is it better to have a third half or a fifth second-rower for a fourth reserve?
From Cameron Holden
I prefer a third half. That's because ideally your final team includes back-up options for every position to cover for short-term injuries or suspensions, so if you put all your cash into a stacked second row you could find yourself short a scorer if you don't have a decent back-up in the halves or elsewhere and get hit with an injury. The best way to do it is probably to have your four reserves being at hooker, front row, second row and half, plus a couple of decent enough back-up players covering centre and wing/fullback.
Of course you don't need to run with that formation, but if you don't have cover for a particular position you could become unstuck in the crucial final rounds by a one-week injury to one of your starting halves, for example.
What's your thoughts on DCE? Worth keeping or should I bring in Mitchell Pearce?
From Brenten Richardson
Cherry-Evans is still a potential keeper but his base stats are definitely down this season with a genuine playmaker in Blake Green partnering him in the halves this year. That means DCE is relying heavily on attacking stats, and while he's been very good – with 11 try assists and two tries in 13 games – it's a worry that he's still only averaged 44 points a game. In matches where he doesn't get any attacking stats his scores can drop off dramatically, like last week's 28. By comparison players like Mitchell Pearce or Shaun Johnson earn a lot more points through base stats (most notably kick metres) so their average games are still pretty good and their big games are great. Upgrading DCE is a bit of a luxury trade so only do it if you haven't got more pressing things to fix (and keep in mind Pearce will miss Round 18 and 19) but it's not a bad upgrade in the long run.
Playing H2H I've noticed just about everyone has the same hooker combo of Smith and McInnes. For a POD should I trade in McCullough to go with Smith? Or is it too risky and best to go with the herd?
From Shannon Amor Bouguerra
I'm usually not too concerned with point-of-difference players – especially for head-to-head – and in this case McCullough will always have the possibility of losing minutes to a bench utility with Ben Hunt, Kodi Nikorima and Benji Marshall at the Broncos. On the other hand Cameron Smith and Cameron McInnes are both guaranteed to play the 80 from here on in so they're the safer bets. There are plenty of other places in your 17 where you can differentiate your team from your head-to-head rivals.
 Bromwich Jesse - Storm
What are your thoughts on Jesse Bromwich after his biggest week? Is it signs of things to come or is it still too early to tell at this stage?
From Simon Seufale
Bromwich was great last week, scoring 61, but beware it's just the second time he's passed 40 points in a game all season. He also played 76 minutes (he usually plays around 55) with Melbourne's Origin players – including fellow prop Tim Glasby – unavailable. I wouldn't count on him getting those kinds of minutes or scores on a regular basis, so although his form could improve it's too early to be sure of it at this point.
Should Angus Chrichton be knighted?
From Matt Flanagan
Yeah, he probably should.