The most popular player in Fantasy - Kalyn Ponga - is in the casualty ward, while the bye round and State of Origin means the majority of NRL players are out of action this week.

It makes trade decisions tricky and posting a good score even trickier.

That being said, here's my advice for this week's trades.

Round 17 NRL team lists | Make your NRL Fantasy trades

Do I trade Ponga or trade one of my cheap players for Holland and hold Ponga till he gets back? Who's the best trade option for Tohu Harris?
From Zion Kohu

Ponga is set to miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury, but the fact he's been easily the standout winger/fullback in Fantasy this season means you're better off holding him unless you have a lot of trades left – as you'll definitely want him in your team for the final part of the season. If you trade him out you also need to make sure you keep some cash in hand to be able to bring him back.

So the simpler option is to find a fill-in WFB another way, either by finding a cheapie or by making use of the flexible bench and trading someone like Tohu Harris straight to a gun winger/fullback (put Harris on the bench, trade him for a WFB, move the WFB into your starting side in place of Ponga).

Otherwise, the only obvious alternative to Harris in the back row who plays this week is Ryan James, but he's only worth picking up at his current price if you're playing for overall points.

Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga.
Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

What to do with Ponga and Harris in H2H leagues? Is Farah a buy? Ryan James or Fifita?
From Anthony Hall

For head-to-head leagues, assuming your league isn't playing this week, you're probably better off avoiding trades altogether unless one of your players is losing cash.

Farah looks very good value if he keeps playing 80 minutes, which he will at least until both of Benji Marshall and Josh Reynolds are fit. Wait until how the Tigers' team list looks next week before making a call there.

Ryan James is playing more minutes than Andrew Fifita these days so looks the better buy.

Time for Fifita to go? His scores/minutes are way down last few weeks.
From Stu Blok

Unfortunately for Fantasy coaches, the early signs are that Andrew Fifita's minutes will be taking the biggest hit with Aaron Woods now playing off the bench at the Sharks. Up until round 13 Fifita was averaging about 64 minutes a game but his game time has trailed off since then to about 50 minutes a game. He played 49 last week in Woods's first match in Cronulla colours and that could be the norm for the run home as Shane Flanagan looks to keep his most destructive forward fresh for the finals. When playing more than 60 minutes this season Fifita has averaged 62 Fantasy points a game, while he's averaged 49 when playing less than an hour per match.

That doesn't necessarily mean he's a sell – a 50-point player is still a keeper, at least a borderline one, and he's still capable of pumping out big scores with limited minutes (like his 70 in 58 minutes in round 5) and could still hit mid-50s from here on. For head-to-head I'd hold unless you're flush with spare trades. But if your team's otherwise in good shape, and selling Fifita could allow you to strengthen elsewhere it's not a bad move.

Matterson for Johnson and Gosiewski for Lewis so next week I can go Tuala to Farah?
From James Kapaniris

I like it.

Marsters a hold in the centres? Is swapping him out for a round 17 player, say Aitken or Cotric, a wasted trade?
From Jordan Shaw

Yeah, that looks a wasted trade – Marsters is still averaging better than 40 and still kicking goals despite Moses Mbye's arrival at the club, and just a fortnight ago he scored 68 without a try against the Sharks. He's a hold.

Is Gallen getting back to his best? Worth a get for the run home?
From Dylz Hall

Paul Gallen's recent form is great – scores of 90, 54 and 62 – and he looks set to continue playing close to 70 minutes a game in the middle at Cronulla despite the arrival of Aaron Woods. He's obviously got a fantastic Fantasy pedigree as well. But it's hard to know what to trust more – his recent form and pre-2018 history, or his performances over the first 13 rounds of the season that earned him less than 39 points a game. At $731,000 he's still a potential bargain if you need a new back-rower and money is tight he's probably a gamble worth taking.

Is it time to drop DCE? Is Adam Reynolds a good swap with his last 3-round average good.
From Dave Noble

No, I'll be holding Daly Cherry-Evans. It's true that Reynolds has outscored him in the past three rounds (56 to 38, on average) but over the course of the season DCE averages 51 compared to Reynolds' 49 and he'll kick the majority of Manly's goals with Dylan Walker currently the preferred five-eighth over Trent Hodkinson. Walker went off injured last round (with Hodkinson playing big minutes off the bench in his place and kicking two goals) but the Sea Eagles are hopeful he'll be fit for round 18. Just two weeks ago DCE was coming off a seven-game run featuring five 50+ scores and a 64. He's a keeper.

What positions should I have in my 14-17 and 18-21? At the moment it's HOK, HOK, 2RF/FRF, HLF but I'm worried about not having coverage in the WFB/CTR area.
From Sam Porter

Ideally, you've got at least one player from each of the six positions in your eight reserves. So if you're cashing out a mid-range player try to pick up a player who can provide coverage in the event of a one-week injury (I picked up Enari Tuala, Siona Katoa and Lachlan Lewis for that reason, for example). But if you don't have a player that needs trading out then I wouldn't be spending trades now just to get a spare player in a certain position – just use the trade if and when you need to cover an injured/suspended player down the track.

Is it time to trade Cleary? Or wait and hope he comes good? Looks like he has taken a step back after the knee injury.
From Stephen Anderson

Yeah he's been disappointing, plus James Maloney has kept the goal-kicking duties at Penrith, but unless you haven't got Shaun Johnson yet it's probably worth holding out hope Cleary can get back to something close to a 50-point player. Even if he can score 45 points a game then upgrading to someone like Cherry-Evans or Reynolds only nets you a five-point increase, so there may be better ways to spend your cash (and trades). If you can't see Cleary improving or you need to get Johnson, make the trade.

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