It's another bumper Q&A this week, with answers on Jason Taumalolo, Mitch Rein, Jaydn Su'A, Jack Bird, Luke Brooks, captaincy choices and more.
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- Round 7 NRL team lists
- NRL Fantasy teams analysis: Round 7
- NRL Late Mail: Round 7
- NRL Fantasy Podcast: Rating the new cash cows
This the week we bring LoLo in, right?
From Brad Ingram
If you're going to get Jason Taumalolo into your team, now is the time. Fresh from an 81 in a losing side against the Bulldogs, Taumalolo has a break even around 40 after dropping $133,000 on his starting price.
The question is whether he can be an elite gun again like he was last season. In 2017 Taumalolo carried the Cowboys pack with a massive 62 Fantasy points a game, which was well above the 49 points a week he scored the previous season. With Matt Scott back and Jordan McLean (currently injured) joining the club Taumalolo's numbers were always going to go down this year, and so it's proved with the Tonga superstar scoring in the 30s three times in six games so far. He may still be a keeper if he pumps out 70s and 80s on a semi-regular basis, but if you do buy him don't be surprised if he's not as consistent as defensive workhorses like Jake Trbojevic or even Cameron Murray.
Who to captain out of Cook, Arrow, or Lolo? Leaning towards Lolo due to last week as well as Green re-signing and cows at home.
From Braden Rowe
I'd go Cook, who has a high ceiling (three scores in the 70s) and a high floor (low score of 49) so far this season.
Thoughts on getting Jack Bird in the centres now he is playing in the halves?
From Joshua McIntosh
I don't mind it, but you are essentially gambling on him keeping a halves role ahead of Kodi Nikorima all season. Bird's scores in the centres this year (10, 37 and 16) aren't much to write home about so you don't want him in your side if he's playing there, but his 44 at five-eighth against the Warriors on Saturday is a good sign for his prospects in the halves. If he can continue to hit mid-40s and stays in the No.6 Bird could actually end up being the best centre option in Fantasy, and he costs $200,000 less than the current No.1 Euan Aitken (who is averaging 43, including five tries).
Is Su'A a trap? His base seems low but he had a great negative BE and he's cheap?
From Adam Thomas
Jaydn Su'A was sensational for Brisbane against the Warriors on Saturday, grabbing 60 points in 49 minutes thanks to a try, a line break and six tackle busts. Based on that, plus a $323,000 price tag and a negative break even, he looks a quality cash cow.
The problem is the evidence of his previous three games, in which he scored just 10, 28, and then 19 (in 71 minutes). Last year he played 80 minutes once for 36 points, with scores of 20, 24 and 5 in limited minutes in his other appearances. With Matt Gillett sidelined for the next few months Su'A should get plenty of game time and he'd only need to score in the low-to-mid 30s to earn about $150,000 in price rises, but more scores in the low 20s won't be good enough. I reckon there's a better than 50/50 chance he produces more good scores but there is a risk.
What's Su'A bench mins looking like? Will Rein play the full 80? Who's the better option between the two?
From Daniel Schorn
Su'A's minutes are likely to be good – say 50 minutes from the bench with the potential of even bigger minutes if he gets into the starting side – while Rein is expected to play 80 while Nathan Peats is out.
It really all comes down to Peats and his recovery from his rib cartilage injury. If he's out for six weeks and Rein scores 45 points a game he could earn around $250,000 in price rises. If Peats comes back in three or four weeks then Rein would likely go back to the bench and score 20 points a game. That's a possibility – Titans coach Garth Brennan said this week: "That's on the outside, the four to six weeks' time frame… hopefully we can get him back sooner." Rein will almost certainly be a more consistent (and probably better) scorer than Su'A in the short term but Su'A's minutes probably won't take a dip until Matt Gillett returns.
They both have the potential to be excellent cash cows, but also carry risks. Su'A will have more time to make cash and is a little cheaper, while Rein could be slotted straight into your scoring 17. If you wanted a low-risk alternative, take a look at Manly's Jack Gosiewski, who is cheaper than both at $291,000, has a starting spot in the second row with Curtis Sironen sidelined for the season, and made a solid 36 last week built entirely on base stats.
I have used my maximum amount of trades so far this year 😁 When is it a good time to save trades?
From Billy Robinson
It's a good question. The best way to save trades is to make sure all your moves are done with a purpose – so ideally you only want to be trading out non-keepers (either cash cows who have peaked or underperforming big guns), and you only want to be trading in cash cows and keepers. Never trade someone in purely because they had a big score last week, or out based only on a single bad score.
So now is a good time to trade out original cash cows who have peaked, but after the next couple of weeks you should probably hold off making trades unless it's upgrading a mid-range player to a keeper or downgrading a peaked cow to a new cash cow. If all your players are either keepers or have cash to make, don't trade.
Luke Brooks a good buy?
From Dave Noble
His recent form is fantastic but I'd still be very wary. He usually scores around 35 points a game which is well below the 50-point mark you'd want from a keeper half, and at $671,000 he's not cheap enough to be a genuine cash cow. If you think he'll kick on after his two 70s and become a 50-point player for good then snap him up, but otherwise I'd rather go for a safer bet like Shaun Johnson or Daly Cherry-Evans or dual-position guns Apisai Koroisau or Ryan Matterson.
Hey Scout! What odds in percentage do you give Fifita & Murray playing this round? Would you hold or trade these players if they were in your team?
From David Brickell
My guess is neither of those guys will play (stay tuned to the late mail on both though) but they are definite holds anyway. Both are keepers, with Fifita among Fantasy's elite scorers and Murray still undervalued, and both should only be a week away if they don't play this round.
I need to lose JT, have about $130k extra spare. Who is the best trade – Mbye, Walker, Maloney or someone else?
From Mark Spies
I reckon Mbye at this stage. James Maloney is a cash cow who has already made a big chunk of coin while Mbye edges Walker as a dual-position WFB/HLF this year – take out his injury-forced -1 and Mbye is averaging 55 points a game this season.
Who is the Panthers' best second-row option now that CHN is back? Granted he is playing in the centres, but is JFH or CHN the way to go?
From Tea Manuel
James Fisher-Harris. Corey Harawira-Naera only has one score above 50 this year and he scored two tries to get there, while Fisher-Harris scored 59 and 52 playing 65 minutes at lock in round 4 and 5.
With Tuivasa-Sheck's current points slump do you see him as a must trade and if so who for?
From Connor Sainsbury
Nope, most outside backs and fullbacks will have quiet weeks and if you've bought Tuivasa-Sheck you got him as a keeper. He's already posted scores of 55 and 90 this year so there's no reason he can't do it again – although he's up against three good defensive teams in the next few weeks in the Dragons, Storm and Wests Tigers.
If you do feel you need to trade then get in a guaranteed keeper you can hold onto for the rest of the year – like Tom Trbojevic, Kalyn Ponga or James Tedesco.