The byes have arrived and it's hitting NRL Fantasy hard this year, with half the Telstra Premiership clubs taking the week off along with all State of Origin players.
That makes finding anywhere near a full side a borderline impossible task – but it's a case of finding quality over quality for round 13.
In case you missed it, a new batch of players are now available in two positions – 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) and Peni Terepo (FRF, 2RF) – with the next updates to come after round 18.
In the meantime, here are my answers to this week's big questions.
Are there any decent cheap players for round 13 that will play more than just one round?
From David Brickell
Matt Wright (WFB, CTR, $212k) and Lloyd Perrett (FRF, $212k) are two minimum-price Sea Eagles who have already played at least 10 games this season, with Wright having the added benefit of covering two positions and playing at fullback this week with Tom Trbojevic on Origin duty.
NRL Fantasy Preview - Round 13
Cowboys rookie Enari Tuala (CTR, $223K) is a better prospect considering he's earned a starting spot at the expense of Ben Hampton after a couple of cameo appearances from the bench, while his teammate Te Maire Martin (HLF, $280k) is in a similar position after losing $219,000 on his starting price before returning to the five-eighth role this season.
Then there's one-time cash cow Adam Doueihi (HLF, $255k) whose price has dipped once again after peaking at $383,000. He has been named at fullback this week and could get more starts in the Rabbitohs centres during the Origin period if Greg Inglis or Dane Gagai fail to back up.
Best cash cow/out options between: Doueihi, TMM or Tuala?
From Shane Vazey
In terms of pure cash-out, Tuala gets you the biggest bang for your buck considering he's $30k cheaper than Doueihi and $60k cheaper than Martin. Martin's the most likely to hold a starting spot all season and he did average a handy 34 points a game last year. Doeuihi is halfway between the two – he's a better chance than Tuala of being somewhere in the Rabbitohs squad most weeks but he won't score as consistently as Martin. He'll probably be the best scorer of the three this week though.
If you want maximum cash out of a trade now, don't need to generate extra cash and don't need a reliable 18th man, get Tuala. If you want a reliable back-up who could be sold for a profit later on, get Martin. If you want a bit of both, get Doeihi.
What are your thoughts on two of the greatest players in Fantasy: Paul Gallen and Sam Burgess? Are they going to find form again?
From Chiranth Krishna Kumarr
At this stage I think Gallen won't and Burgess might.
Gallen (2RF, $604k) has experienced a huge drop-off from his usual scores this year – he'd averaged in the high 50s in each of the past five seasons but is scoring just 37.6 points a game this year. That's pretty much come from a drop in minutes – 64 a game last year down to 50 this year (56 if you take out his injury-affected game in round 6). He's obviously one of the greats of Fantasy so is capable of lifting his output significantly, even at 36 years of age, but until he produces one or two big scores it's safer to wait and see for now.
Sam Burgess (2RF, FRF, $652k) hasn't had the same drop, but he did "only" score 51 points a game last season after averaging 55 the year before and 62 in South Sydney's premiership-winning run in 2014. This year he's averaged 43.6 for the season and 48 if you take out his 30-minute performance in round 11. That includes a 41 despite a sin-bin last round, which could have been a 50. With brothers Tom and George firing and Cameron Murray capable of providing big minutes from the bench, the Rabbitohs aren't as reliant on Sam as they have been in previous years so while he could still average 50 he's unlikely to be an elite 55-point gun this season.
What Origin players are sells/keepers? And if you're playing mainly head-to-head is it worth throwing this round and going balls deep for the next bye to saves trades?
From Charlie Baxter
For head-to-head I'd pretty much ignore round 13 and round 17 and focus on saving trades and getting your final 17 in order. The goal for those leagues it to make the finals and then be hitting your peak when the finals begin, with a few trades up your sleeve.
With Origin players missing just one more game than non-Origin players this season, I'd be holding all your Origin players unless you're playing for overall points and have trades to spare.
Do you think John Olive will be a good cash cow in the short term?
From Ryan Gutsell
Olive's Bulldogs aren't playing this week so there probably isn't any rush to trade unless you've got more trades planned for next round, but the early signs are good that he'll be a cash cow in the absence of Josh Morris. At $266k and with a break-even of zero following last week's 48 against the Tigers (without a try), Olive could make some fast cash if he keeps up that kind of form before Morris returns from a knee injury in round 19. Beware though you will need to sell him after that to make use of that cash – burning another trade – so if you don't need to generate more money to fund future buys then someone who could stick around all year like Te Maire Martin, Adam Doueihi or Enari Tuala could be a better option.
Do you think Fonua will pan out to be a keeper in the centres on the same level as Marsters?
From Anthony Hall
Possibly, considering anyone scoring in the high 30s could qualify as a keeper in the centres this year. At the very least he looks like a handy 18th man covering the back five.
Whats the best trade strategy this week? Consolidate losses, upgrade players even if they are playing (Murray) or hold?
From Brent Deacon
For overall points, hold anybody who's playing this round, make sure you've got as many big guns in action as possible (think Fifita, Taumalolo, Ponga, Taupau, etc), and delay selling guys like Murray until next week. For head-to-head, cash out any peaked players like Murray and otherwise don't trade unless it helps your long-term 17.
Taumalolo has a pretty high BE – is he worth bringing in this round for an extra scorer or in a week or two when he's cheaper again?
From Michael Surplice
For overall points he's a must, but if your main goal is winning your head-to-head comp you could pick him up when his price drops in a couple of weeks.
I have 12 green lights with 2 trades to spare for the round, what's a good number to have playing this week, but also not to fall into the trap of next bye round and have even less.
From Damon Mather
Sounds like you're doing well with a dozen players in action. I may only have 10 players myself. You'll probably need to make a few trades to get a decent team together for round 17, but after this week the priority really is to move towards your ideal team as quick as possible, with an eye on picking up cheap cashout players who will be playing in round 17.
Who are shaping up as likely cash cows/good value scorers for the Origin period? Surely someone like Matt Wright will kill it – looks like he has bottomed out and is playing FB. Feel the same about people like Radley and maybe even Shaun Lane as well to a lesser extent.
From Braden Rowe
They might, but remember it's probably only for one week – Wright and Radley will likely go back to the bench for the rest of the season next week.
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