Titans forward Jai Arrow.

Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 5

Fantasy king Cameron Smith is struggling badly, James Maloney just scored 85, Johnathan Thurston is a dud and people are considering selling someone who scored 101 a fortnight ago.

It's a weird time for NRL Fantasy coaches, so the Lone Scout is here to help out with answers to some of the week's big questions.

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Is it time to move Gallen on for Jake Trbojevic, Angus Crichton or Tohu Harris? Which one would be more of a long-term investment so that I have potential to captain him and never use a trade on him (injury dependant)? Are they going to lose cash or points in the future?
From C.J. Pettit

Trbojevic and Crichton are definite keepers, while Harris is a probable keeper who is also undervalued. That makes Harris the best one of the three to buy now – while Trbojevic and Crichton are good buys any time.

In saying that, Gallen is probably a hold – yes his price is falling fast but I expect him to bounce back to his usual self at some point, at which time a lot of Fantasy coaches will be trading him in, not out.

Johnathan Thurston is looking like a sell now but I already have DCE and not sure who else is worth the price tag. Is it best to upgrade to Johnson/Hunt/Widdop or downgrade to Townsend and use the money elsewhere?
From Kai Spence

Thurston is a sell, and half is a tricky positon to fill so far this year. Shaun Johnson and Daly Cherry-Evans are arguably the two most reliable options, with Gareth Widdop and Ben Hunt both scoring well at the moment – but how much longer can two star halves both hit 50+ points a week in the same team?

Dual position hooker/half Apisai Koroisau is the other consistent option, with a scoring range of 41-65 and an average of 54 after four rounds.

Chad Townsend isn't really a keeper or a cash cow (his break even is in the mid 30s and he only scored 33 last week) so I'd either bring in a 50-point player or someone who could make you some fast money…

Scout, will James Maloney keep his spot in the halves until Nathan Cleary returns? If so, is he a potential replacement for Adam Doueihi or will he return to the meagre scores of the first three rounds?
FromLachlan Smith

Maloney will be Penrith's halfback for the next couple of months until Nathan Cleary recovers from his knee injury, but the question about him is his consistency as a scorer. He was just about perfect on the weekend, with a try, two try assists, eight goals and a huge 492 kick metres (comfortably more than he made in the first three rounds combined). He also had six missed tackles, which was actually an improvement on his 14 missed tackles the week before.  

The good news is that with Cleary out of the side Maloney will keep kicking goals and should have good kick metre numbers each week. The bad is that he's notorious for negative points in Fantasy – he's had 32 missed tackles and six errors in the first month of the season to be ranked worst and 10th-worst in the league in those categories respectively. So while he's guaranteed to improve on his current $378,000 price tag, there's every chance his negative stats could cancel out his positives on any given week. He'll score better than he did in the first three rounds, but then again he only averaged 12 points a game in the first three rounds.

Smith and Cartwright out for Murray and Arrow?
From Sam Harrison

I won't be selling Cameron Smith just yet, even though he looks overpriced based on recent form. He is battling a minor quad strain and won't kick goals this round, but he is hopeful of getting the kicking tee back in a couple of weeks. If and when he gets back to his usual self he's a 60-point player, so is someone you'd want in your team in the long run – albeit not as a captain right now.

If you want to avoid Smith's impending price drops and need the cash to spend, then Cameron Murray and Jai Arrow are both great buys. Bryce Cartwright is also a sell.

Is Mbye out, Widdop in a good trade?
From Hayden Harvey

Nope. Mbye's -1 last week was a freak incident – he suffered a head clash in the opening minutes against the Rabbitohs – so it's very premature to be selling a guy who scored 101 a fortnight ago. He looks a keeper at winger/fullback.

Better buy, Koroisau or Whitehead?
From Liam

I reckon Koroisau.

How many minutes is James Fisher-Harris likely to play in the long term? Was his score/mins last week just boosted by Yeo getting injured?
From Mark Reid

Fisher-Harris had played around 55 minutes a game in the early rounds before playing 65 on the weekend, but the fact he made the most of his game time with 50 tackles and several big plays in a quality Panthers win suggests he can be trusted with big minutes in the future. He is named at lock this week with Trent Merrin now playing a 40-minute role at prop, and I'd guess he'll play around an hour a game in the coming weeks.

Best player to trade in out of Jai Arrow, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Matt Lodge, Cameron Murray or James Fisher-Harris? Or have I missed the value of getting them? (I'm thinking JFH as he's the cheapest option, got most value still?)
From David Brickell

While those four seem like similar players, I'd actually put them into two brackets – Arrow and Murray are both probable keepers (and still good value, especially Arrow at $554,000) while Fisher-Harris, Faitala-Mariner and Matt Lodge are probably high-scoring cash cows. At the end of the season when you've assembled your dream 17, you want all your forwards to be scoring at least 50 points a game – so anybody below that mark isn't a keeper in my book.

To me it's down to Arrow or Fisher-Harris this week. I agree Fisher-Harris will make the most cash and there is some chance he could be a keeper – he did make 50 tackles on the weekend. Arrow costs $120,000 more but could save you a trade down the track as he's more likely to be a keeper. Pick one of those guys. Murray you could get next week and you've probably missed the boat on Faitala-Mariner and Lodge if you can't get them this week.