Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 20

Fantasy coaches are looking to sell Mitchell Pearce as the Knights' skipper's scores have dipped worryingly in recent weeks, while a few potential cut-price keepers have grabbed the eye.

Which players are traps and which are the real deal? NRL.com's Lone Scout has the answers.

This week's Fantasy questions

What is up with Mitchell Pearce? Is he a trade and to who at his price?!

From Lachy Macdonald

Mitchell Pearce has had a strange season. After six games he was just averaging just 38 points a game, then he averaged 67 in his next five (including five tries and six try assists), and he's averaged 34 since then.

He's averaged at least 50 points a game in his previous three seasons – one at Newcastle and his last two at the Roosters – but has hardly been reliable this year. He's obviously capable of big scores, but he's only passed 50 twice in games when he hasn't scored tries.

Ideally he's a sell, but only if you have the cash to bridge the gap between his $553k price tag and the keeper halves who all cost more than $600k. Shaun Johnson ($637k) and Jack Wighton ($634k) are the cheapest alternatives; Mitchell Moses ($808k) and Anthony Milford ($776k) are the top-line options who will cost you a lot more.

Twal to who at his price or less – what's your thoughts?

From Geoffrey Watson

Alex Twal is playing off the bench these days and is coming off a lowly 36, but he's still not a must trade. He played 51 minutes last week, and that's not far off his average game time of 56 minutes (he's only spent more than an hour on the field four times in 18 matches this season).

If you are set on selling Twal, and need someone with a similar price tag, the obvious option costs just $3k more – Eels lock Nathan Brown. Brown has been a 55-point player in the past and is coming off scores of 60, 51 and 67.

Trading out Twal, who would you trade in? McInnes or Fisher-Harris. I already have Smith and Cook for hookers and Taupau as an FRF/2RF DPP.

From Bryce Liam Callanan

I'd have McInnes ahead of Fisher-Harris, assuming you don't need any extra cover for other positions.

Who to captain this week? Payne is a set and forget but Teddy and Turbo could both go huge too.

From Dom Griffin

Payne Haas is the most reliable option ahead of Damien Cook, Cameron Smith, Jason Taumalolo and Cameron McInnes.

It's true that James Tedesco (against the Titans) and Tom Trbojevic (against Newcastle) are capable of monster scores but you can never rely on a fullback to score big on any given week. Tedesco scored just 34 in round 8 against the Tigers – a bottom-eight team with the fifth-worst defence this season – and Trbojevic scored just 28 against the Cowboys in round 13 in his return game from injury.

Will Andrew Fifita still have an impact off the bench in points?

From Peter N Leilani Lavell

Fifita has averaged 54.5 points in 53 minutes a game this season, and he can definitely still see that kind of game time from the bench. In fact, he could pile on the points quickly through tackle breaks and offloads if he comes on after 25 minutes against tired opponents. Plus he could be back in Cronulla's starting team next week.

I'm not concerned about Fifita's scoring just yet.

Thoughts on Nathan Peats?

From Lachlan Ramm

I talked up Peats's prospects last week and he backed it up with another 60-point effort from 80 minutes against the Broncos. At this stage, Mitch Rein has dropped off the Titans bench so Peats will probably keep the 80-minute role for the rest of the season and can be expected to make around 50 points a game. The only downsides are if the Titans opt to bring Rein back and the fact he's a hooker – you've probably got a few of those in your squad already and need to have back-up options for all positions among your reserves.

Thoughts around Fainu?

From Jay Harris

With fellow hooker Apisai Koriosau among the reserves for Manly this week and likely to return by next week, Manase Fainu is a no-go.

Any better major downgrade cash outs than Sam Verrills?

From Nathan Thompson

Not really. Sam Verrills played 80 minutes at hooker last week, scoring 44, and he could keep that role for the rest of the regular season with Jake Friend not due back from injury until the opening week of the finals. At $273k he's fairly close to base price and is a good chance of providing handy scores as an 18th or 19th man, unless the Roosters opt to put him back on the bench and start Victor Radley at hooker.

The other option is to find a $212k non-player to use for the loophole. If you do that you ideally want a player from a club that plays late in the round. The Roosters, Dragons, Raiders and Sharks each have three Sunday games between now and the end of the year so a cheapie from any of those clubs would fit the bill.