Payne Haas made his belated start to 2019 with a huge bang, popular captaincy choice Andrew Fifita has a suspect hammy and a few cheapies are coming off the boil, so here are my answers to the week's big NRL Fantasy questions.
This week's fan questions
Thoughts on Sam Burgess? Hold or upgrade.
From Daniel Chapman
Sam Burgess's score has dropped every week since his two-try 83 in round two and he now has a three-round average of 42, which is well below what you want from a supposed gun forward. There's no doubt his work rate has dropped due to his role out wide so he needs more attacking stats to score well, which is less reliable. He could get those attacking stats against the Bulldogs, Panthers, Broncos and Cowboys in the next four weeks but I'd personally be inclined to straight swap him for someone like Alex Twal, David Klemmer or Jai Arrow.
Shouldn’t Payne Haas be DPP as he started his first game and was listed at 13?
From David Booth
Plenty of questions about this but the short answer is no. Players who missed out at the start of the season need to play at least three or four games in the new position to be considered. Haas was named in jersey 18 in round five then drafted into the run-on side for a suspended lock one hour from kick off, which doesn't qualify. There will be a DPP sweep after this weekend with Te Maire Martin (WFB), Blake Lawrie, Ryan Sutton and Brandon Smith (all 2RF) in line for DPP status. Haas will need to play plenty of lock between now and round 12 to be considered in the next DPP sweep.
How to ease those Fifita worries
Is Bird to Haas this round acceptable or wait one more week?
From Tim Burgess
Jack Bird has peaked for now and can safely be sold if you don't rate him as a long-term 17th or 18th man and have two better centres. Be aware there's a chance his price improves further if he and the Broncos can rediscover their attacking spark. As for Haas, with a break-even of -16 it is definitely now or never. Just be wary that Tevita Pangai jnr is back from suspension in round seven while Matt Lodge is also likely to return from a throat injury, meaning no guarantee Haas isn't relegated to the bench. His price will almost certainly improve enough to be worth the trade though.
Twal or Vaughan as the better long term option?
From Aidan Zlotnick
Paul Vaughan is getting back to his best (minor ankle niggle last week notwithstanding) but Alex Twal looks like the real deal this year. At the current price and with his current work rate he looks like a great option.
Is it too late for the CHT train? Also, is Ogden worth a shout for a cow?
From JT Redman
Chanel Harris-Tavita has had two significant price rises but still has a negative break-even and seems like he'll be a more reliable scorer than the man he replaced in Adam Keighran. Even if he averages only 40 for the next three weeks he'll make $150k in that time so I'd jump on now. Ofahiki Ogden almost retained his point-per-minute scoring in last week's elevation to a bigger-minute starting role but as to whether four or five weeks of scores in the high 30s until Dylan Napa's return justifies two trades – I'd look for other options.
Garner repays the faith
Should I hold on to Taupau? He's a PPM beast but the most he's played this season is 55 mins. 38 mins last week was concerning.
From Jonathan Butt
Martin Taupau averaged about 57 points per game in about 51 minutes per game last season. With a current average of just under 48 minutes (for about 52 points) there has been a slight drop but it's not enough to explain the big drop in his busts and offloads (down from 4.4 and 3 respectively to 2.8 and 1.4), which is where the slump in scoring has mostly come from. In the immediate term, the two-week suspension to Addin-Fonua Blake should boost Taupau's minutes over the next fortnight so I'd give him at least those two weeks before considering a trade.
Should I be trading to accommodate the bye rounds already or is there still plenty of time?
From Stefan West
If you're focusing on overall scoring then it's probably about time to keep the bye rounds in mind when making trades, although I wouldn't be trading specifically for the bye weeks just yet, if that makes sense. For instance Mitch Rein and Reed Mahoney are the only Fantasy-relevant hookers likely to play in round 12 if you're considering moving any hookers in or out of your side, and if you're thinking about trading Sam Burgess for David Klemmer or Alex Twal bear in mind you'd be ditching a round 12 scorer for a round 12 absentee.
Okunbor comes down to earth
What to do with Pearce. Hasn’t had much attacking stats. Has a BE of 56. Worth holding onto to or looking for cheaper options that scores the same if not better?
From Bilal El-Hage
It's a strange one. Mitchell Pearce looked like he might be getting back to his familiar scoring with a season-high 52 against the Dragons in round four, with nearly 600 kick metres from 18 kicks. But he put boot to ball just three times in last week's loss to Manly, for 50 kick metres, with Mason Lino taking five kicks and Kalyn Ponga four. Whether that was to do with the rough treatment dished out by Tariq Sims the previous week or an undeclared groin or calf or quad niggle is unclear. That's a 26-point drop in Fantasy points from kick metres alone. His break-even is achievable with healthy kick metres, while there could also be attacking stats on offer against the Titans. I'd be inclined to give it at least one more week but if the kick metres stay low he's a sell.
What has happened to Hame Sele from the Panthers? Not named in reserves or on the injured list.
From Reg Hawkins
Not injured, according to the club. Appears to be a selection decision. He may end up being a late inclusion in the Canterbury Cup side.