As a new cash cow disappears as quickly as he emerges in Manly, another struggles for game time at the Bulldogs and an old gun sparks back into life at the Sharks, there are plenty of NRL Fantasy talking points heading into round 15.
As we're halfway between the season's two bye rounds – round 13 and round 17 – there are four trades on offer for those coaches who want to trade big with an eye on the overall points ladder, and it means all Fantasy coaches can take the opportunity to make big changes to their side for the run home.
Manase Fainu – yes or no? Looks a really promising cash cow and plays in Round 17, but almost definitely won't stay until Round 25. I have 11 trades left and I already have CS9 and Cook as gun hookers.
From Lachlan Smith
Up until Wednesday night it was a definite yes, but news that the NRL has rejected the Sea Eagles' application to play a new rookie hooker means that he's now a no. Fainu is a development player outside of Manly's top 30-man roster, meaning he is only allowed to play if all other options from the top 30 have been exhausted, or if the Sea Eagles upgraded his contract. But with Matt Wright, Lewis Brown and Jackson Hastings all available to the Sea Eagles had their request for an exemption denied, so it doesn't look like he's playing this week after all.
Brown is also base price at $212,000 and could end up starting at hooker for the next couple of months so is alternative option, although his Fantasy record is scratchy considering he's spent most of his time as a bench utility.
Thoughts on Paul Gallen – is he worth a punt? How come Jake Friend played 80mins on the weekend, is he worth a punt also? And is the Hayne Plane ready to take off now he is back? Or should I stay clear of all three?
From Shan Bouguerra
With a price tag of $639,000, a break even of 11 and coming off a score of 90, Paul Gallen looks great value as a cut-price keeper – IF he does in fact return to being a keeper. That means he'd need to average at least 50 points a game from here on. He's capable of doing it – he averaged closer to 60 than 50 in the past five years – but before last round Gallen had scored just 38.8 points a game in 2018. He only has two scores above 50 from 10 games this season so I'd be giving it another week to see how he goes before taking the plunge.
Jake Friend played the full 80 minutes last week because Kurt Baptiste didn't play a minute off the bench, but that's unlikely to happen too often. Jarryd Hayne's 49 included two tries so I wouldn't get too excited about his long-term Fantasy prospects just yet. Hold off on all three for now.
The Rhyse Martin headache continues. Keep him and hope Woods moves on or trade him?
From Damo Lenehan
Rhyse Martin's relegation to the Bulldogs' Intrust Super Premiership is a bit of a mystery – there is speculation he was dropped for missing training or that he's the victim of a tight salary cap situation, or that Aiden Tolman has simply replaced him in the 17 – but whatever the reason the fact Martin has scored so well (55 points a game) and has money still to make (with a break even of 1) suggests it's worth keeping him and hoping he breaks back into the first-grade side.
Who is the best keeper out of RFM, Manu Ma'u, Alvaro, Ryan James and Gallen. And, where on earth can I view BEs?
From Braden Rowe
Ryan James has the most potential – he just scored 105 after all – while Alvaro is most likely to hit 50 on any given week, and Gallen is the potential bargain out of that group. I'd rate James the best buy right now (especially for overall points as he plays in round 17, assuming he doesn't get picked for Origin), although Gallen could convince me if he strings a few scores together.
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Any word on Matterson?
From Jordan Cantatore
He's due to return from minor wrist surgery in round 16.
Thoughts on getting Tedesco now? Alvaro worth holding on to even with minutes plummeting?
From Jordan Shaw
It's always a good time to buy James Tedesco. And Daniel Alvaro has just scored 63, 87 and 53 so I wouldn't be selling him.
Kikau, Martin and either JFH/Murray to Taupau, Arrow and Fainu?
From Nick James
Good trades, although you'll now need an alternative to Fainu. It's hard to split Fisher-Harris and Murray right now – JFH will be a starting lock all year and should be good for at least 40 points a game but Murray is a better scorer if he gets game-time. Ideally, they could both be upgraded at some point.
Is it nearly time to cash out on Fonua? Or hold and hope he gets his scores up?
From Ryan Gutsell
Fonua has made more than 200 run metres in both the last two weeks and is still projected to increase in value next week so I wouldn't be selling just yet. Personally I'll keep him in my squad as a back-up WFB/CTR all season.