Scout Report: Round 22 Fantasy Q&A
The finals series is here for most head-to-head NRL Fantasy leagues, making it a massive week for Fantasy coaches. With some big names ruled out or in doubt and the season going on the line for a lot of Fantasy teams, here are my answers to this week's big questions.
Sam Burgess a luxury trade? His scores are down and his rib injury is not filling everyone with confidence. Potentially to JDB?
From Shane Reimer
He's not a must-trade – he's named to play this week and scored 41 points in 44 minutes last week – but as you say his rib injury is a concern with Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire admitting he probably shouldn't have taken the field last week. That's not a great sign for his availability or game time this week with South Sydney out of the finals race, and he hasn't scored a 50 since Round 14. So if you have trades and cash spare I don't mind an upgrade to someone like Jack de Belin, even though as he showed last week he's still capable of scoring well in the game time he gets.
 Burgess Sam - Rabbitohs
What to do with Sam Burgess? Worth trading to Nathan Brown, or too sideways? (Got 5 trades left.)
From Andy Donaldson
Nathan Brown is playing 80 minutes (or close to it) these days and is averaging 62 from his last five games so has joined the ranks of elite guns. Good upgrade.
How long is Bodene expected to be out for?
From Chris Milner
Bodene Thompson has a torn pec and is set to miss the rest of the season. He's a trade.
Who has better job security, Dufty or Edwards? I need to trade one of them out to upgrade McGuire to a genuine gun!
From Andrea Poli
Dylan Edwards. Matt Dufty is set to be the Dragons' fullback next season but there is still a question mark over whether Josh Dugan will return to fullback when Euan Aitken returns from injury, whereas it's hard to see Edwards losing the fullback spot at Penrith now with Matt Moylan excelling since his switch to five-eighth.
Is Tui Lolohea a gun/keeper in the winger/fullback position now? I'm torn whether to start him or RTS.
From Chris Milner
Lolohea has been really good for the Tigers recently – scoring 60, 48, 41 and 54 in his last four games – and if he can keep up those 40+ scores he's a keeper at WFB. His base stats have been solid with around 15 tackles a game, good run metre totals and a goal-kicking duties, which gives him an edge over Roger Tuivasa-Sheck who usually relies on tries to get decent scores.
 Ah Mau Leeson - Dragons
Is Ah Mau a good choice for a POD? He has been scoring 50+ since starting when Vaughan and Packer were injured and thus far seems to have held his starting spot over Packer. Or would it be better to follow the crowd on to Tapau or Vaughan?
From Clinton Nicol-Dickson
It's true that Leeson Ah Mau's game time and scores have been way up recently – his six best scores have come in his last six games – and he's averaging 62 points across his last five matches. If he can keep that up, he's a keeper. The Dragons are blessed with a few keepers in the forwards, with Cameron McInnes, Jack de Belin and Paul Vaughan impressing all season. While Ah Mau is emerging as a genuine point of difference, Vaughan is also in great form (averaging 62 in his last three) and has been strong all season. Throw in the fact that he's actually cheaper than Ah Mau these days ($449,000 v Ah Mau's $470,000) and I'd be buying Vaughan first unless you're desperate for a POD.
Ben Hunt's chance of going big each week now he's playing hooker?
From Drew Anthony
It's hard to judge how much Hunt's scoring will change at hooker, if at all. On the one hand, hooker is obviously a busy position with a lot of defensive work, but on the other Hunt won't play 80 minutes at dummy-half as he does at halfback and his attacking stats (kick metres, try assists, run metres) are all likely to drop. My guess is his scores will remain fairly steady – or perhaps even drop – but we'll get a better idea after this week's Titans-Broncos game.
Gun to your head, would you choose Gallen or Taumalolo? Taumalolo has the higher average but Gallen seems to be playing stronger at the moment.
From Mark Barwell
I'd take Taumalolo, both on form across the season and recent form. In their last five games Taumalolo edges Gallen 58 points a game to 56, and across the season he has the edge 61 to 58. Both are obviously guns, but the Cowboys lock is having his best season in the NRL and is the better buy this year.
How long is Munster predicted to be out for?
From Callum Searle
Cameron Munster's picked up a low grade ankle sprain, and is expected to return for the Storm against the Roosters in Round 23. He's a hold.