Shaun Johnson and Daly Cherry-Evans are sidelined, several new rookies have emerged, Origin is just over a month away and it's time to upgrade those early-season cash cows into keepers.
This week's Fantasy questions
With the Shaun Johnson injury, who would be the better replacement: Munster, Reynolds or Moses?
From Brooke Hayes
I prefer Reynolds, just ahead of Munster. Munster's a guarantee for Origin, while Reynolds has very handy base stats in kick metres & goals in a quality attacking side. Moses is traditionally too inconsistent to be a Fantasy keeper.
Would you pick up Tom Dearden this week?
I'll be seeing how he goes in his first NRL game first, then consider next week.
Is Michael Morgan worth keeping hoping his scores will increase with Taumalolo due back soon?
From Andy Reid
There's no rush to sell him and there is always a chance his Fantasy scoring could improve to something like the form he showed in the second half of 2017. But Morgan has only one score above 50 this season – back in round one, when he scored his only try of the year – and at this point is looking more likely to score 45 a game than 55. He looks a level below the elite halves (Cherry-Evans, Munster, Adam Reynolds) so I'll probably trade him this week but there's no harm in giving him another week or two if you're keeping the faith.
Ravalawa to Lomax? Worth the trade for near $100k?
From Jason Faulkner
Good trade. Try not to focus on "only" making $100k out of the move – you're jumping off board a winger with a mid-20s average and a break even of 36, and bringing in a base-price centre who is on the rise (and, like Ravalawa, can cover the WFB & CTR positions).
Farah to Smith in straight swap with his high break even?
From Richard Woonton
This is where you shouldn't be paying too much attention to break evens. Yes, Farah's BE is very high (84) so he's likely to drop in value next week, and probably the week after. That's due to an injury-affected score of 8 in round six. But up until then the Tigers hooker had scored a stunning 69.6 points a game, and last week's 49 is his second-lowest score of the year. In other words, he's a keeper, so if he's in your side don't trade him out. Most other Fantasy coaches will be looking to trade him in in a week or two.
Has CNK peaked? Would it be to sideways to trade in Ponga?
From Andy Reid
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has been one of the 2019 success stories, leaping in value by $189k and producing keeper-level scores of 44 points a game. He's been the sixth highest-scoring winger/fullback in Fantasy this year, so while he may have peaked it's absolutely fine to leave him in your squad (I'll be keeping him until at least round 12).
In saying that, trading to Kalyn Ponga is an upgrade – Ponga is averaging 48 this year but 59 in the last month since moving to fullback. He's likely to score mid-50s from here on in, so you do get a 10-point bump if you trade out CNK. I'd only do it though if you already have two other gun WFBs in your team.
To hold DCE or not? It'll cost two trades to get him out in back in, two very valuable trades
From Evan Snowflake
Cherry-Evans is likely to miss six weeks after undergoing ankle surgery. At his price (a huge $874k), and with State of Origin selection likely once he is fit again, he's a sell. The good news is you can afford to trade him to just about anybody.
Do Origin players only miss the one round game this year?
From Matthew McQueen
The way the draw works these days, all players will miss either round 12 or round 16, and Origin players will miss both. There's also the potential for Origin stars to be rested after each match of the series (particularly if they have short turnarounds in round 13 or 17). So Origin commitments are much less of a problem than they used to be for Fantasy coaches, but they are still a factor when deciding between trade targets at this time of the year.
Is Taukeiaho a potential keeper this season? Looking at trading Capewell to either him, Arrow or Kikau?
From Ethan Spears
"Potential", yes. But is it more likely than not? He's been fantastic this season, averaging 56 points from 52 minutes a game. That includes two tries in six games – and the only other time he's crossed twice in a season was back in 2015, when he scored two tries in 27 games. So you can't rely on tries being a regular occurrence. His previous best Fantasy average for a season was 45, in 2016, and last year he averaged 38.
A keeper in the back row should average at least 50 and ideally 55 or more, and while guys like Jake Trbojevic, Marty Taupau, and Jai Arrow have a lower average than Taukeiaho at the moment history suggests they're safer options to outscore him in the long run. I'd take Arrow over him, while Kikau is a risky option considering he only scored 25 from 78 minutes two weeks ago.
Thoughts on Garner now that he’s starting on bench? Should I hold onto him or sell?
From Jordon Woods
I jumped the gun and traded Garner to Kalyn Ponga last week and am happy I did now, with Garner benched after Chris McQueen played well enough against the Titans last week to retain his starting spot at the Tigers. Garner could still earn a few price rises but unless he returns to the starting side he's close to peak price. He's not a must-trade but if you haven't got bigger problems in your squad he could be one to either upgrade or cash out.
Trade Capewell or Garner?
From Kristian Bullock
Capewell. With a season average of 41 and a break even of 40 he's pretty much peaked.
Would it be wise to hold off trading in fantasy guns Angus Crichton and Jake Trbojevic after they have seemingly both dropped to an affordable price, until after Origin?
From Jason Bramley
Good plan, especially for overall points. Origin is less of a concern if you're playing purely to win your head-to-head league.
What do I do with Josh Hodgson? I have Mitch Rein on the bench. Do I move Rein to hooker and upgrade my last bench spot?
From Lindon MacKenzie
Hodgson isn't a Fantasy keeper so he's a sell. Rein's certainly good enough to play in your starting side. Cameron Smith is a great buy if you can afford him, or Robbie Farah will be an excellent price in a couple of weeks.
Worth buying Radley with Jake Friend out?
From Thomas Broughton
Nope. Friend has already missed four games this season and Radley scored 33, 38, 18 and 42 in those games. Radley has a break even of 45 so he's not worth buying at his price.
Thoughts on Matt Duffy? Looked really good lately but is he a step down from a keeper?
From David Booth
He's probably a couple of steps down from a keeper. Yes he scored 54 last week thanks to a sensational solo try, but he's usually a mid-30s scorer. I'd prefer Zac Lomax for half the price.
Are Cody Walker or Jack Wighton keepers? Wighton seems more consistent but Walker has more potential for huge scores.
From Aidan Zlotnick
Walker is maybe a keeper at WFB, considering he's scored 46 points a game so far this year – but beware he has scored seven tries in seven games so there's every chance his scoring takes a dip when the tries dry up (unless you expect him to score 24 tries this season). Wighton's been a solid contributor after switching to five-eighth this season but is a rung below the keepers for mine. I'd be aiming for some combination of Tedesco, Ponga, Trbojevic and Tuivasa-Sheck by season's end.