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NRL Fantasy teams analysis: Round 17

We're through the bye rounds but a few more hurdles lie in wait for NRL Fantasy coaches, with injuries continuing to cause headaches and some Origin stars set to be rested after Wednesday's series decider.

This week's team news

Panthers v Titans, Friday 6pm at Panthers Stadium

Panthers: Dean Whare's return to the starting side at centre means Isaah Yeo goes into the back row and Frank Winterstein shifts to the bench. Nathan Cleary is given some chance of returning from the ankle injury that ruled him out of Origin III after being named in the reserves in jersey No.21. James Fisher-Harris and James Tamou both hold 50-point averages so are keepers if you've got them, but not trade targets if you don't.

Titans: Dale Copley returns in the centres at the expense of Fantasy cash cow Jesse Arthars, Jack Stockwell starts in the forward pack and Jai Whitbread shifts to the bench. Arthars has been a handy back-up option but is now a sell. Moeaki Fotuaika ($582k) is a cut-price borderline keeper option in the front row, but there's not much else of Fantasy value at the Titans these days.

Are Johnson's struggles a worry?

Knights v Bulldogs, Friday 7.55pm at McDonald Jones Stadium

Knights: Kalyn Ponga (calf) remains on the sidelines and Lachlan Fitzgibbon (elbow) will miss five weeks but Mitchell Pearce is named to back up from Origin, bumping Kurt Mann to centre and Sione Mata'utia to the second row. Origin forwards David Klemmer, Daniel Saifiti and Tim Glasby are named in the reserves. Connor Watson only scored 31 at fullback last week but could get amongst the tackle breaks against Canterbury.

Bulldogs: Brandon Wakeham starts for the injured Kieran Foran (hamstring) and Renouf Toomaga joins the bench. Foran is expected back in a week so Wakeham's unlikely to get an extended run in the side. Aiden Tolman is coming off 56 in round 15 and is a handy 18th man option at least and possible keeper in the front row.

Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles, Saturday 3pm at ANZ Stadium

Rabbitohs: Adam Doueihi replaces Corey Allan at fullback, Tevita Tatola replaces the suspended George Burgess up front and Sam Burgess returns with Ethan Lowe bumped to the bench. Lowe is also now on standby for the Maroons following Matt Gillett's injury. Doueihi ($381k) has had one official NRL start at fullback, scoring 47 against Cronulla during a bye round last year. Blues duo Damien Cook and Cameron Murray were both a little quiet for Souths after Origin I so don't be surprised if they have underwhelming scores this week, assuming they back up. Braidon Burns provides handy cover for centre and winger/fullback and could be a popular option for those looking to replace Kalyn Ponga and James Tedesco.

Sea Eagles: No changes from the team that ran out for the Sea Eagles a fortnight ago. Tom Trbojevic has an average of 58 this season but he hasn't had a single score between 50 and 70 – in five games he's scored 85, 35, 28, 100 and 46. After exploding out of the blocks this year Daly Cherry-Evans hasn't scored above 45 since round 6 (although to be fair he did miss five games through injury in that time). Martin Taupau meanwhile is in his best form of the year, averaging just under 60 in his past five games.

Haas leads the way

Broncos v Warriors, Saturday 5.30pm at Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: Gehamat Shibasaki (finger) and Sean O'Sullivan (hamstring) are out but Anthony Milford is back from injury and remains in the No.1, with Darius Boyd and Jake Turpin the makeshift halves combination. Jamayne Isaako still looks a week away from returning and is named in the reserves with Herbie Farnworth and Xavier Coates remaining in the backline. Maroons duo Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita replace Rhys Kennedy and Keenan Palasia on the bench. Payne Haas just keeps getting better, racking up 78 last round after being snubbed by the Blues. It was his third 75+ effort of the year, and seventh score above 60.

Warriors: Issac Luke starts in place of Karl Lawton (shoulder) and one-time cash cow Chanel Harris-Tavita joins the bench. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck didn't have any line breaks or assists last week so finished on 35 points despite making 235 run metres. After a monstrous 81 in 73 minutes the previous round, Jazz Tevaga went back to being solid but unspectacular against the Knights with 43 points in 56 minutes – although that did include time spent off the park for an HIA and an ankle injury late in the match.

Storm v Sharks, Saturday 7.35pm at AAMI Park

Storm: Origin players Cameron Munster, Josh Addo-Carr, Will Chambers, Felise Kaufusi, Dale Finucane and Christian Welch are all named, with Marion Seve, Justin Olam, Tino Faasuamaleaui, Tui Kamikamica, Sandor Earl and Albert Vete dropping out. Cameron Smith scored 76 last week, is playing his 400th NRL game, and loves to beat the Sharks. He looms as a strong captaincy candidate. Cameron Munster could be the best Fantasy halves option in the run home, although with a break even of 57 his price could slide under $700k next week.

Sharks: Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham return to the starting pack with Kurt Capewell and Aaron Woods back to the bench while Jack Williams starts for Paul Gallen (glute). Shaun Johnson struggled last week before being hooked late in the game but has been spared the axe at least, and his halves rival Kyle Flanagan is now in the reserves. Briton Nikora had five 50+ scores in his first six games this year – four of those being above 60 – but he hasn't hit 50 once since then. Still, he's a very solid scorer in the centres and remains a hold.

Was John Morris right to bench Shaun Johnson?

Roosters v Cowboys, Sunday 2pm at Central Coast Stadium

Roosters: Blues stars James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner have both been left out but Jake Friend returns at hooker, bumping Victor Radley to lock, Isaac Liu to the bench and Sam Verrills out of the side. Siosiua Taukeiaho is back in place of the suspended Zane Tetevano. The premiers will play bottom-eight teams in six of their next eight games, which should be good news for their outside backs. Butcher gets another start and has been a great scorer recently (71, 45, 68 in his last three) but is likely to lose minutes when Cordner returns.

Cowboys: Javid Bowen replaces Enari Tuala on the wing, Josh McGuire and Matt Scott return, Scott Bolton moves to the bench and Reuben Cotter and Corey Jensen drop out. Shane Wright keeps a starting spot for now with Coen Hess in the reserves. Jason Taumalolo's 65.7 average makes him the premier Fantasy scorer of 2019 so far, ahead of Payne Haas (64 ppg), Damien Cook (63) and Cameron Smith (61).

Wests Tigers v Eels, Sunday 4.05pm at Bankwest Stadium

Wests Tigers: Moses Mbye is named to back up from Origin at centre with Paul Momirovski making way. Ryan Matterson starred against his old team with a try and 78 points last week and has been among the elite Fantasy 2RFs this year with 55 points a game.

Eels: Marata Niukore replaces Peni Terepo on the bench in the team's only change. Mitch Moses is on track to smash his personal best Fantasy campaign, scoring 54 points a game this year having never averaged better than 40 across a whole season. He's now the second-most expensive half in the game behind dual-position star Kalyn Ponga. Reed Mahoney remains a hold after scoring 60 in his most recent game.

Dragons v Raiders, Sunday 6.10pm at WIN Stadium

Dragons: Maroons half Corey Norman is named to back up but Ben Hunt, Paul Vaughan and Tyson Frizell are in the reserves. Jai Field drops out, while Tariq Sims is back from suspension in place of Mitchell Allgood. Korbin Sims moves to the bench. Cameron McInnes scored 63 last round and could be the kind of player to decide tight head-to-head contests in the run home. At $735k he's now more than $100,000 cheaper than he was at the start of the season.

Raiders: Nick Cotric returns from injury at centre for Sebastian Kris in Canberra's only change. Jack Wighton is a legitimate Fantasy option this year, thanks to his dual-position status, especially if one or two other star halves or fullbacks are rested after Origin.  

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