Cronulla fullback/centre Josh Dugan.

Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 9

There are a ton of questions in this week with injuries piling up, cash cows on the chopping block and risky buys all over the place.

Here are my answers to this week's big NRL Fantasy questions, via Twitter and Facebook.

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LS, you have always educated us that you don't trade out keepers. With the inconsistency currently faced in the centres, I feel Dugan is keeper in the centres – presuming he keeps the role as fullback when he returns from injury. Would you trade him out or substitute him to the emergency bench to save a trade in, trade out scenario?
From Trent Dawson

Generally, you shouldn't trade out keepers over a bad score or two, but when one of your starters is sidelined for more than three weeks you probably need to make the trade. It's true that a fit Josh Dugan is among the few genuine scorers available at centre in Fantasy but the fact he's facing 4-6 weeks out with a broken foot and has a worrying injury record anyway suggests he's a trade.

Hey Scout. Thoughts on trading out Corey Thompson for Holmes now he's playing fullback with a low BE?
From Lachlan Ramm

Valentine Holmes is a whopping $180,000 cheaper than he was at the start of the season but he finds himself back in the No.1 jersey at Cronulla, and he'll presumably stay there for the next month or so. He obviously has the ability to earn that money back if he scores like he did at fullback last season, but he's still a risky buy considering his form has been down this year and he's only scored above 30 once in 2018 – and his top score without a try this season is just 17.

Hey Scout, Sione Katoa (Sharks, not Panthers) has been snubbed and Feki is taking the vacant wing spot this week. I'm wondering if I should go for Mahe Fonua instead, or is his job security no better than Katoa's even if he does come back?
From Lachlan Smith

Fonua has earned a wing spot at the Wests Tigers on form so although they have a couple of handy back-ups at the club in Malakai Watene-Zelezniak and Tuimoala Lolohea (with Corey Thompson able to switch to the wing if Lolohea returns) at this stage you'd have to expect Fonua to stick around if he maintains the form he showed last week. Katoa, unfortunately, looks a trade unless more injuries hit the Sharks' back three.

Who's the gun centre this year? Aitken has relied on too many attacking stats for my liking. Latrell and Marsters goal-kick as well as offer possible attacking stats, who do you rate more?
From Daniel Schorn

Yep, I like Latrell Mitchell and Esan Marsters as goal-kicking options at centre – Mitchell is scoring plenty of tries while Marsters is scoring pretty well despite not getting over the line yet this year. Aitken, like Mitchell, is a chance of playing Origin and has scored in the 20s in two of the three games in which he didn't score a try.

Best option to trade Hiku out for? I don't have enough cash to buy either Aiken or Mitchell. (Price range between 530k or lower.)
From Joshua Vergos

If you can't afford those guys or Marsters ($574,000) you could take a gamble on Blake Ferguson ($519k, 37.6 average) or Jesse Ramien ($457k, 35.6 average) or free up cash another way to afford an upgrade to Mitchell, Marsters or Aitken.

Do you reckon Ramien is a decent pickup in CTR, in terms of performance and job stability?
From Mark Barwell

Ramien is a potential keeper who is coming off scores of 46 (with two tries) and 48 (with no tries) but before that, his highest score was 32. He's a potential keeper if he can keep hitting the 40s but it's pretty much keeper or bust for him – if he doesn't average 40 points from here on he won't make enough money to be a genuine cash cow. If money is tight and you need a centre he's probably the best of the rest, but the guys mentioned above are safer bets.

I've held Nathan Brown this long wonder if I keep holding. Don't want to waste the trade but it's a lot of money to sit for six weeks.
From Clint Lasslett

Yeah with Nathan Brown's return date from an ankle injury now delayed until round 12, he's, unfortunately, a sell.

Christian Welch worth a punt? Also what is Capewell's prospects like as a short-term centre option?
From Nick Drysdale

Welch played 73 minutes at lock last week after Tim Glasby was sidelined with a broken thumb after playing the first portion of the season off the bench, but he's back in the prop rotation this week with Dale Finucane returning in the No.13. Welch is set to hold a starting spot until Jesse Bromwich returns in a month's time, but don't expect him to play huge minutes (or score a try) every week. At $518k he's probably not quite cheap enough to be a genuine cash cow – he'd need to average in the mid-40s over the next month or so to make $150k – and he's unlikely to be a keeper long-term.

Capewell is probably an even riskier buy, considering he was bumped out of the starting side two weeks ago for Scott Sorensen (which could potentially happen again this week) and Luke Lewis and Paul Gallen could be back in a couple of weeks.

What are your thoughts on A. Koroisau after two weeks in a row of very poor performances? Should I trade two players out to upgrade my squad this week or find a replacement for Koroisau?
From Btf O'Farrell

I'd rate Koroisau just behind the elite Fantasy halves like Shaun Johnson, Daly Cherry-Evans and fellow dual-position option Ryan Matterson, but there are good reasons to keep the faith anyway. His last two scores of 23 have come with Manly out of sorts on and off the field, with Koroisau making 48 tackles and 11 missed tackles against Parramatta before being forced to fill in for the injured Lachlan Croker at five-eighth for part of last week's loss to Newcastle. Before that he averaged 55 points a game, so if he can get back to anywhere near that he'll remain a quality scorer long-term. Give him another week before trading out a potential keeper.

Dylan Walker... Is he a good option at CTR now he's playing in the halves?
From Daniel Sorich

Walker has scored in the mid-30s before when playing at five-eighth, and more scores like that could be enough to make him a $150k cash cow. But there's no guarantee he keeps the No.6 jersey long-term considering he's been used unsuccessfully there in the past by Manly. I'd wait and see how he performs this week before snapping him up.

Hey Scout, what's your thoughts on trading Matt Dufty out & Josh Addo-Carr in? Dufty's inconsistent scores are driving me crazy. Also, think it's worth bringing in Cameron Smith now before Origin? Made the decision not to bring him in early this year which has paid off, but looks like he's getting back to form.

From Andrew Whitaker

If you don't want inconsistent scores I wouldn't be trading in Addo-Carr – he's grabbed big scores thanks to try-scoring doubles in each of his last three games, but in games when he hasn't scored tries he produced scores of 19, 12 and 15. I'd look elsewhere unless you expect him to score at least one try every game from here on in.

Cameron Smith's been in my team since day one and is always a good buy, and he's got another month worth of scores ahead of him before Origin kicks off. It's getting close to the point where you either get him now or wait til after Origin to snap him up.

Is Hiku > Marsters worth the $115k?
From Callan Kelly

Yep, I think so.

Who is a good player to bring on the bench, I was thinking either Shaun Lane or Jesse Ramien, or is there someone else you can think of. (My bench already has Su'a, Sorensen, Tatola.)
From Lachlan Pendleton

Try not to think about players as bench players or starters – buy players who will either be keepers (outside backs who score 40 points or more a week, or halves or forwards who score 50 or more a week) or cash cows (guys you can expect to make at least $150,000 in price rises – which basically means they are underpriced by 10 points or more). Any player who doesn't fit either of these categories is a bit of a waste of a trade – you'll want to trade them out again later, and they won't boost your spending power much when you sell them.

Lane's a potential cash cow now that he's in the Manly starting side and Ramien is a potential keeper in the centres. Both carry some risk but aren't bad buys. Lane will be probably a better scorer in the short term if positions aren't an issue.

Is Isaako to Phillips worthwhile?
From Jimmy

It's not the worst cash-out option, with Jamayne Isaako's price having pretty much peaked and Tyrone Phillips just about base price in his first game on the wing for the Panthers, following Dylan Edwards' season-ending injury. Beware wingers can be very low scorers in Fantasy though if they don't bust tackles or score tries, so the safe option is to wait and see how Phillips goes this week before making the trade.

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