Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 23

The head-to-head NRL Fantasy finals may be well underway but there are still plenty of questions for the Lone Scout on Jason Taumalolo, Manase Fainu, Jazz Tevaga, Anthony Milford, Nathan Brown, Angus Crichton, captaincy PODs and more.

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Still in my H2H league and playing this weekend with two trades left. I have Taumalolo, but want to retain him if possible. Do you see Fainu's minutes coming back up, or is he a sell? If so, who are some likely replacements (under $778K)?
From Damian Gabriel

Manase Fainu's minutes had been slowly building up towards his first 80-minute game (actually 81 including golden point against the Sharks in round 21) which made last week's 42-minute stint such a surprise. It was the least game time he's played this season and resulted in his worst Fantasy score of the year (32). The fact it's only happened once means it could be a one-off, and there's every chance Trent Hodkinson's sin-binning threw Trent Barrett's rotation plan out of whack. Then again, Manly won last week with Fainu playing a short stint and they still only used three of their four bench players, with Hodkinson playing just 28 minutes.

If you had more than two trades left I'd be trading, but two makes it a line-ball call. This week's head-to-head game could end your season so the safest bet is probably to trade, in which case Robbie Farah and Jake Trbojevic look like the best buys in your price range.

I've got one trade left, trading Fainu to a gun. Have enough money to get anyone – was going to pick Taumalolo but he's gone. Who's best out of McInnes, Brown, etc?
From Ivamy

Nathan Brown's a good chance of getting through a lot of defensive work for the Eels against Melbourne this week but with just one trade left and Fainu still a chance of a 50+ score I'd probably hold the trade until next week – you could make the upgrade to Taumalolo then, or that trade could become even more useful if you lose somebody else to an injury or suspension in the head-to-head preliminary finals.         

Thinking of using last trade of Milford to TTurbo/RTS/J Papalii or Cleary.
From Lachlan Camilleri

Despite his kick metres going through the roof this season Anthony Milford hasn't become a consistent Fantasy gun. Meanwhile Nathan Cleary's stocks have gone up with a good recent run of form and James Maloney's injury, which means Cleary should have more kicking and general playmaking on his plate in the next few weeks. He's probably the safe trade, although Tom Trbojevic, Tuivasa-Sheck and Papalii can all produce monster scores on their day.

Looking at bringing Tevaga in but haven't really paid too much attention to many Warriors games or where he plays when on, what's the latest on Harris returning? Will Tevaga's minutes drop?
From Cam O'Dwyer

Jazz Tevaga not only has one of the best names in the NRL but he's also been one of the quiet achievers for the Warriors this season, especially in the second half of the year with his tackle and run metre numbers ramping up since round 12. In that time he's averaged about 59 minutes a game, including a couple of 53-minute efforts when Tohu Harris was playing 80 minutes. Tevaga gets easily the most minutes of the Warriors' four bench players every week and gets through a lot of work in the middle – even when both starting second-rowers play close to 80 minutes (like last week when Adam Blair played 80 and Isaiah Papali'i played 75).

The fact he's a bench player still make him a riskier option than someone like Jake Trbojevic or Nathan Brown – who have the potential to play 80 minutes – but my guess is his game time stays fairly high even when Harris returns.

Any thoughts on trading Brimson for Nathan Brown? I have this week off and 2 trades but I might miss the trade if I wait a week, money-wise?
From Imnothangingoutwithyouguys

It's a good trade, and if you're at risk of Brown moving out of your price range next week you might as well make the trade now.

Any idea Lone Scout on how Kurt Mann will go at standoff? Could be good number 17?
From William Roberts

Mann played three games at five-eighth last season and scored 21, 8 and 53, so who knows. The key point is he won't be a dominant half next to Ben Hunt, so I'd be steering clear of him when it comes to your playing 17. As a cheap back-up option though (he's under $300k) he's not the worst move.

Is Crichton worth bringing in for run home? Swapping Lolo. Have 3 trades. Don't have cover.
From Jordan Shaw

If you don't have cover for Taumalolo this week then he's a trade, and Crichton's the fifth-ranked 2RF in Fantasy (behind Rhyse Martin, DPP forward Martin Taupau, Jake Trbojevic and Taumalolo) – and Crichton has the best three-game average of any of them. He's a good buy.

Is Mahe Fonua a buy again? 2 trades left
From Veni Tuku'aho

Only if you're absolutely desperate for new centre and can't afford Latrell Mitchell, Esan Marsters, Euan Aitken, Jesse Ramien or Blake Ferguson.

Is it too late to bring in cows with some sides out of the running for the top 8 bringing in rookies?
From Troy Culbert

Yep, the time for cash cows is long gone.

Hey Lone Scout, who ya gonna captain this week? If ya had to choose a POD captain besides Smith or Cook, who do you see going big this weekend?
From David Brickell

A good point-of-difference captain could be Robbie Farah in a must-win against the Dragons with no bench hooker or Martin Taupau against a defensively dubious Titans side. But I'll almost certainly be going with Damien Cook.

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