Jason Taumalolo is out but a few in-form centres are vying to get into your NRL Fantasy team this week, along with Isaah "the real deal" Yeo.
Plus, who are the early winners from the new six-again rule?
This week's big questions
Centre of attention... last week there seemed minimal options, nek minnit we have Capewell, Best and Crichton storm into contention. What order do we rank them in?
From Andrew Alan Wilkinson
It's a real pity Bradman Best missed the start of the season and was a late inclusion for the Knights on Sunday, because it meant a lot of Fantasy coaches missed out on him – and now his price tag arguably puts him behind Panthers duo Kurt Capewell and Stephen Crichton in the pecking order.
Capewell ($483k) is a second-rower who is available at centre and averages 41 for his career when playing 80 minutes in the forwards. After last week's 75 (including a try and 49 tackles) he looks a set-and-forget keeper option who is at least $100k underpriced. I'll be strongly considering buying him and Crichton this week.
Best now costs $372k after scoring 65 last week with two tries against the Panthers on Sunday, and that's well above the usual "cash cow" price tag. Crichton ($313k) scored 46 with no tries (albeit with three goals) and if he maintains a spot in the Penrith centres he could go close to matching Best's scoring, which would make him a better moneymaker.
Like Best, he covers centre and winger/fullback. The only real risk is the chance Ivan Cleary opts to bring back Brent Naden at Crichton's expense.
Is it time to admit that Yeo is the real deal this year? Also is it time to pull the trigger to get Turbo in?
From Dom Griffin
Yes and yes. I've been hesitant on Yeo this season as he's traditionally been an edge forward who scores around 40-45 points a game in Fantasy, but a switch to a big-minute role in the middle (he played 86 minutes against Newcastle) has come with an increased workrate and scores of 78, 59 and 86 this year.
He's outscoring Payne Haas and Jason Taumalolo in 2020 and still costs about $200k less than those guys.
Tom Trbojevic is in irresistible form, blowing a try against the Bulldogs on Sunday and still finishing with two tries, three try assists and 72 Fantasy points.
Beware he can still have a quiet game (he scored just 17 against Melbourne in round one) but with a break even of 29 he's probably about as cheap as you're going to get him for some time. His one real weakness is a lack of tackle-busting (he only had one tackle break on the weekend) which means he's not as consistent a scorer as James Tedesco – although Tedesco is a lot more expensive at $817k.
Is Paix worth the trade in? Or wait a week?
From Kya Snell
With reports of Jake Turpin missing 4-6 weeks for the Broncos, Cory Paix (who will start at hooker for Brisbane tonight) looks a good trade-in. If he's going to play big minutes at hooker for four rounds you probably want him in as soon as possible to get all possible cash rises – he's very cheap at $228k – but beware there are no guarantees about his scoring and at the time of writing the Broncos hadn't confirmed the extent of Turpin's injury. The first week of price rises are usually smaller than following weeks, so you can afford to wait a week if you're unsure.
Who's your pick of the young Knights players with negative/low breakeven? Any of them looking secure for enough time to make some good money? Any other sub $300k players you like the look of?
From Cory Casbolt
Not one, not two but six Newcastle players currently have negative break evens in Fantasy – rookies Chris Randall, Tex Hoy and Brodie Jones plus Bradman Best, Jacob Saifiti and Kurt Mann.
The problem is, the three who cost less than $300k (Randall, Hoy and Jones) are also the least likely to hold a spot in the Knights' starting side.
Robinson never in doubt over Radley verdict
Randall is only included in the reserves this week and even if he was named on the bench he'd be a huge trap – his -21 break even would be tempting if only Newcastle hadn't signed Andrew McCullough to play starting hooker for the rest of the season, with Hoy and (when fit) Connor Watson currently preferred for the bench utility spot.
If Hoy was to get a start in the halves he'd be a steal at $282k but otherwise Best and Saifiti look like decent mid-range moneymakers – with Best a potential keeper in the centres if he can produce more big scores.
As mentioned above, Stephen Crichton at the Panthers looks a cheaper alternative to Best. Harry Grant is easily the best sub-$300k buy at the moment, with Titans half Jamal Fogarty ($236k) a possible slow-burn option with a low price tag.
Does the new ruck infringement rule mean players will be giving away less "penalties" and not being demerited for the infringement in Fantasy?
From Tom Conway
Yep that's right, giving away a "six-again" doesn't count as a penalty, so players aren't currently punished for it in Fantasy (it's a new stat that didn't exist when the Fantasy season began).
Which players benefit the most out of the new 6-again rule? Are there particular players who are repeat offenders in the ruck who will have less penalties?
From Craig Finkle
It's very early days but my impression is players will benefit more indirectly from the ball being in play more (with quicker-play-the-balls and fewer penalties).
Round 4 - Taumalolo out, Ponga and Foran return
So there have been higher tackle counts for hookers (see McInnes 75 tackles, Randall 71 tackles, Koroisau 69 tackles, Turpin 64 tackles) and more run metres generally (10 players in Eels v Broncos had 150+ metres). Busy games and tiring defences will also help out dangerous ball-runners like James Tedesco (94 last week), especially late in matches.
Is Liam Knight a hold or sell and what is his best replacement option for under 600K?
From Stefan West
He's a sell. Harry Grant, Kurt Capewell, Stephen Crichton, Bradman Best and Eliesa Katoa are the standout buys this week.
Who do you fancy between Twal and Paulo? I’ve got Horsbrough but I’m not sure of his prospects in the longer term.
From Mark Barwell
Twal looks a better bet to me, even if his scores took a dip last season when he was relegated to the bench late in the year. He played the full 80 minutes in the middle against Cronulla for his third straight score in the 60s.