NRL Fantasy coaches are chasing left-field options as a way of getting an edge over their rivals as we close in on the head-to-head finals. But which point-of-difference players are dream buys and which are giant gambles?
Here are my answers to this week's burning questions.
Peachey worth picking up in the centres now named at fullback?
From Craig Nickalls
It's a gamble. Tyrone Peachey is one of those guys who can play pretty much everywhere, and it looks like the Panthers are putting that to the test this season by trying him at centre, five-eighth, off the bench and now at fullback. Fantasy-wise his best position has actually been off the bench, where he averages 39.5 from three games, due largely to a 58 including a try last week.
His tackle-busting ability makes him a potential gun at the back but the two big risks are: a) whether that will happen, considering he hasn't averaged better than 40 in any position yet this year; and b) whether he will stay at fullback for the rest of the season. Penrith could easily switch Dallin Watene-Zelezniak back to fullback before kick-off this round, and play Peachey at centre (where he averages 30 points a game). It's a definite wait and see this week.
NRL Fantasy Preview - Round 20
Would you put Manase Fainu in your 17 over Jai Arrow? And is Jamayne Isaako, now that he is at fullback, worth playing over RTS or Jesse Ramien?
From Charlie Baxter
I try to never get too spooked by one low score or too carried away with a high one, so I wouldn't be panicking too much about Arrow's 25 last week or expecting Isaako to score 50 every week like he did in his first run at fullback for Brisbane last round. If you take out Arrow's injury-affected 19 against Canberra in round nine and last week's score – where he struggled a little with a knee injury – the Titans lock averages 58 points a game.
Only four players (Damien Cooker, Robbie Farah, Cameron Smith and Rhyse Martin) have a better average this year. This week it could be a coin flip between him and Fainu, who has been very good so far for Manly, but long term, Arrow will be in my 17 every week assuming he's not constantly nagged by the knee injury.
Isaako kicked six goals last week as Brisbane flogged the Panthers, but in the fullback role there's no reason he can't be as consistent as Tuivasa-Sheck or Ramien, who also rely on attacking stats. RTS averages 43 this year and Ramien averages 42, so it's probably worth giving Isaako a run over Ramien with Brisbane tipped to beat Ramien's Sharks on Thursday night. Tuivasa-Sheck could grab some good attacking stats when the Warriors take on the Titans on Sunday.
Any massive PODs at any position with a great run home (i.e. final 6 rounds)?
From Chiranth KrishnaKumar
The standout point-of-difference guys who are in good form are Danny Levi (34 average, 61.5 average in his last two games, in 0.8% of teams) and Waqa Blake (40 average, 58 three-game average, in 2.2% of teams).
Established keepers or borderline keepers who are in form and aren't in many teams include Mitchell Pearce (5% of teams), Tohu Harris (5.5%), Adam Reynolds (5.5%), Anthony Milford (5.5%), Will Hopoate (5.9%) and Cameron McInnes (6.1%).
Whose the POD centres at the moment? Or who are the best centre options?
From Des Taurima
Waqa Blake is the obvious choice at centre for a point-of-difference buy. I still rate Esan Marsters the best option overall at centre.
Looking for a sub-$500k good scorer, currently looking at Fainu or Levi... who would you pick or are there any better options?
From Kai Spence
Depends on your situation – if having more spare cash will be useful then go Fainu, but if you want an extra point of difference then go Levi. I actually prefer Levi based on the fact he's scored very well in both his 80-minute games and could easily average 50 from here on in. Fainu could as well, but he is yet to play 80 minutes and his scores have been more erratic (36, 77, 54) so it's hard to tell what his "typical" score is at this point.
Both players have some risk, but at their current price you're not going to get better options.
Really happy with my whole team now except I need a backup FRF. Any cheap ones out there, or should I just replace them if injuries strike? I have 3 trades left.
From Lachlan Smith
With three trades left, I'd recommend keeping them up your sleeve for the big-name injuries that will no doubt strike between now and round 25.
Coaches Corner: VB Hard Earned Effort
Can you make trades in the finals or does your team need to be finalised beforehand?
From Dean Spring
The NRL Fantasy season runs until round 25. Head-to-head leagues run their finals series before then, with most starting in round 22. Trades work the same as usual until the end of the Fantasy campaign.
I have one trade left. Here are my options:
a) trade Sam Burgess for Cook (better top 17, Lewis 18th)
b) trade Haas to Fainu (2 mid-range NPRs for back-up)
c) Save it for injury
From Taiaha Mangu
Both Cook and Fainu are upgrades, but I always like to save that last trade for an injury, or for a must-win head-to-head final. I'd save the trade.
Play NRL Fantasy presented by Youi. It's free, fun and totally addictive