NRL Fantasy teams analysis: Round 13
The first bye round of the season has arrived, giving NRL Fantasy coaches the chance to rocket up the overall points ladder with four trades available this week.
The second batch of dual position updates have kicked in for the season, with Mahe Fonua (WFB, CTR), Isaiah Papali'I (FRF, 2RF), Victor Radley (HOK, 2RF), Michael Morgan (HLF, WFB), Keegan Hipgrave (FRF, 2RF), Elijah Taylor (2RF, HOK) all now dual position players.
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Here are the key team changes and the NRL Fantasy form guide heading into round 13.
Manly Sea Eagles v North Queensland Cowboys, Thursday 7.50pm at Lottoland
Sea Eagles: Jake and Tom Trbojevic are on NSW duty but Apisai Koroisau is back from suspension at hooker, with Matt Wright and Shaun Lane covering the Trbojevic brothers with Frank Winterstein starting in the second row. Brad Parker and Jack Gosiewski join the bench. Martin Taupau, Daly Cherry-Evans and Koroisau are the main guns to target here, with Taupau averaging 69 in his past five games and DCE managing 48 in a beaten side last week despite losing the goal-kicking duties (although that score did include a try).
Cowboys: Michael Morgan, Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper are in camp with the Maroons, with Lachlan Coote, Shaun Fensom and Ethan Lowe replacing them in the starting side. Young centre Enari Tuala has earned a starting spot with Ben Hampton moving back to the bench, with Sam Hoare joining the interchange. Matt Scott was named on Tuesday but will miss a match after being found guilty of a shoulder charge at the judiciary. Jason Taumalolo is coming off a couple of lean weeks by his barnstorming standards, with scores of 42 and 44, but could thrive against the third worst defensive side in the league so far in 2018. For those still asking, Ben Hampton is already a dual position player this season so can't be made available at centre as well.
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Cronulla Sharks, 7.55pm Friday at ANZ Stadium
Rabbitohs: South Sydney's two best Fantasy scorers Damien Cook and Angus Crichton have earned Blues call-ups while Greg Inglis and Dane Gagai are away on Queensland duty. With Alex Johnston still out with a hamstring injury Adam Doueihi finds himself at fullback, Braidon Burns and Hymel Hunt start in the centres, Robbie Farah is into the side at hooker and Cameron Murray starts at lock with Sam Burgess shifting to the second row. Doueihi is now a cash-out option after his price slumped back down to $255,000. Adam Reynolds ($720k) is a possible buy although his season average of 47 is just under the ideal 50-mark for a keeper half. Sam Burgess ($652k) has dropped $98,000 on his starting price and averages just over 48 if you take out his injury-affected 10 in round 11.
Sharks: Andrew Fifita returns and Sosaia Feki replaces Queensland's Valentine Holmes on the wing, while Kurt Capewell is on standby for Wade Graham who faces the judiciary on a dangerous contact charge on Tuesday night. Fifita ($930k) is pretty much a must-have if you're playing for overall points. Jesse Ramien smashed out 71 points against the Knights and is a potential keeper at centre, while Paul Gallen's price could drop below $600,000 next week after he's averaged just 37 points a game – about 20 points a game under his average of recent years.
Parramatta Eels v Newcastle Knights, 7.35pm Saturday at ANZ Stadium
Eels: Corey Norman (foot) is out with Bevan French shifting to fullback and Josh Hoffman starting on the wing. Nathan Brown is a chance of making his long-awaited return from an ankle injury after being included in the reserves. Daniel Alvaro is a borderline keeper after last week's 63 but at $700,000 on the dot he's now pricier than established guns like Sam Burgess.
Knights: Nathan Ross (groin) and Herman Ese'ese (suspended) are out, with Cory Denniss and Jacob Lillyman joining the starting side. Kalyn Ponga is coming off his worst score of the year but should surely bounce back against the struggling Eels, particularly after spending some time in Maroons camp. Connor Watson's high-scoring ways came to an end with 25 against the Sharks last week, while Lachlan Fitzgibbon is scoring well with a 55-point average in his last three games.
Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers, Sunday 4pm at Allianz Stadium
Roosters: With James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Dylan Napa and Boyd Cordner on Origin duty, Daniel Tupou and new face Matthew Ikuvalu start on the wings, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves starts up front with Victor Radley (now a dual-position player in Fantasy) in the second row. Ryan Matterson is back after being a late withdrawal last week and is probably a must-have player for overall points despite some scratchy recent scores and a break even in the 70s. Former gun Jake Friend's price has bottomed out at $546,000 but he's also averaging just 41 points a game this season.
Wests Tigers: Jacob Liddle is out but the Tigers are unaffected by Origin, with Elijah Taylor moving to hooker, Matt Eisenhuth starting at lock and Tim Grant joining the interchange. Esan Marsters is now the top-ranked genuine centre in Fantasy, edging ahead of Euan Aitken and Latrell Mitchell, while Mahe Fonua is available at centre and winger/fullback this week. David Nofoaluma has dropped $142,000 on his starting price and is averaging 43 in his past three.