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NRL Fantasy teams analysis: Round 5

We had some massive scores from Fantasy rookies over the long weekend and now there are some huge team changes – both forced and unforced – ahead of round five. Here's all the information you'll need before making this week's trades.

Round 5 team news

Sea Eagles v Broncos, Thursday 7.50pm at Central Coast Stadium

Sea Eagles: It's absolutely no surprise to see Manly's big four (Daly Cherry-Evans, Martin Taupau and Jake and Tom Tbrojevic) leading their Fantasy scores after four rounds, with DCE (averaging 60) and Taupau (55) looking particularly strong this year. The fact Cherry-Evans is scoring so well despite notching just one try assist, one field goal and no tries so far is very encouraging. Manly are unchanged this week.

Broncos: Some key changes after last week's record-breaking loss to the Roosters with cash cow Jamil Hopoate making way, along with Ethan Bullemor, while Xavier Coates starts on the wing, Corey Oates moves to the forward pack and returning veteran Ben Te'o is added to the bench. Payne Haas was easily Brisbane's standout last week, with 53 tackles, just one miss plus four tackle busts and six offloads for 85 points. Cash cow Cory Paix got through a lot of tackles on the way to 45 points in 65 minutes in his first start at hooker and looks great value. Pat Carrigan is averaging 52 this season and looks a keeper, especially in the front row.

Warriors v Cowboys, Friday 6pm (8pm NZT) at Central Coast Stadium

Warriors: Lachlan Burr replaces Isaiah Papali'i in the starting side. Rookie prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (52) is hitting top form while Eliesa Katoa continues to earn plenty of cash despite a sub-par 31 in the loss to Penrith. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was kept quiet in that game with 26 points and his price will be worth keeping an eye on in the next few weeks.

Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo was dearly missed last week by the Cowboys and Fantasy coaches and could be missing again after only making the extended bench this week. You will at least be able to reshuffle your team before Friday night if he's a confirmed starter. Reece Robson gets a start at hooker, Coen Hess returns and Hamiso Tabaui-Fidow debuts on the wing with Jake Granville joining Ben Hampton and the injured John Asiata (knee) on the sidelines. It was a quiet week for Fantasy favourites Valentine Holmes (23) and Scott Drinkwater (26), with both probably worth holding onto for now with averages around 40.

Eels v Panthers, Friday 7.55pm at Bankwest Stadium

Eels: Nathan Brown is a big in at lock, and is a potential keeper long-term. He bumps Marata Niukore to the bench alongside Ray Stone while Brad Takairangi and Oregon Kaufusi drop out. Mitchell Moses' 65-point game against Manly was arguably his most encouraging performance so far – he did it without scoring any runaway tries or providing any try assists, suggesting he won't be as reliant on huge attacking games (like round 2's 89 against the Titans) to score well this season. His halves partner Dylan Brown is quietly scoring like a keeper this year too, with 63 on the weekend and a 57-point average – albeit including three tries in four games.

Panthers: Penrith have become the most important team for Fantasy coaches this year, with Isaah Yeo (56 last week) and Kurt Capewell (55) both scoring like keepers for the first time, Api Koroisau (46) proving a must-have early in the year, Stephen Crichton (28) rising in value and Jarome Luai (44) passing $100k in price rises this season. They were all outscored by two-try hero Matt Burton (86) last week, and Burton has a staggering -39 break even now – although he has been named on the bench behind Luai with Nathan Cleary returning from suspension. Burton's really only a buy if you expect him to claim a starting spot alongside Cleary sooner or later.

Get Caught Up: Round 4

Rabbitohs v Titans, Saturday 3pm at Bankwest Stadium

Rabbitohs: James Roberts and Cody Walker replace Braidon Burns and Troy Dargan while Patrick Mago and Bayley Sironen bump Mark Nicholls and Keaon Koloamatangi off the bench. Last week's match against Melbourne was a good one for Damien Cook (71) and Latrell Mitchell (63), who will suddenly get a lot of people's attention as a possible keeper available at centre or WFB. Jaydn Su'A (60) is getting better and better as a cash cow and rewarding those who stuck with him after a poor round one, while Cameron Murray (54) showed he can be a keeper again after being switched to his best position of lock against the Storm.  

Titans: How good was it to see a Titans win? Most promisingly for Fantasy coaches was another rock-solid 55-point effort from prop Moeaki Fotuaika, who now has 161 points from 150 minutes in three matches. He's now matching the scoring and game time of star lock Jai Arrow but is significantly cheaper. Jamal Fogarty's making decent price rises in the halves, similar to Penrith's Jarome Luai, while Erin Clark is a cash cow option at hooker with a low price tag and a decent chance of holding his spot ahead of Nathan Peats and Mitch Rein following that victory.

Knights sweat on Mann diagnosis

Knights v Storm, Saturday 5.30pm at Central Coast Stadium

Knights: Kurt Mann is in serious doubt with an ankle injury but is named this week, although rookie five-eighth Phoenix Crossland is on standby in the reserves and could be promoted to the starting side on game day. The unbeaten Knights are one of the most intriguing Fantasy teams this season, with Kalyn Ponga producing a sublime 93 in Sunday's shock win over Canberra and Bradman Best following up last week's 65 with a stunning 87. Ponga is obviously a keeper who is always a great buy, while Best's price tag has rocketed up to $474k so if you're buying him at this point it's probably as a cut-price keeper rather than a cash cow (although his price is likely to keep jumping in the next couple of rounds at least). He won't score a double every week as he has so far, and the best genuine centre has traditionally scored 45 points a game in Fantasy (and that's usually been a goal-kicking Latrell Mitchell at the Roosters), so there is a historical ceiling on how good Best can be. But as a player who covers Fantasy's two weakest positions he could – at worst – be a very handy 18th man in your final squad, albeit one who no longer comes cheap.

Storm: Jahrome Hughes will miss 2-3 weeks with a broken hand and is replaced by Ryley Jacks, while Christian Welch is back in the starting side, Brandon Smith goes back to the interchange and Nelson Asofa-Solomona returns via the bench. Cameron Smith (68) and Cameron Munster (61) were both great last week and will be keepers this season while Ryan Papenhuyzen is a hold despite scoring an underwhelming 32 including a try against Souths.

Wests Tigers v Raiders, Saturday 7.35pm at Campbelltown Stadium

Wests Tigers: Michael Maguire wasn't happy with his team's loss to the Titans and has dropped Benji Marshall, Luke Garner, Robert Jennings, Oliver Clark and one-time cash cow Billy Walters. Harry Grant is more than living up to expectations as an instant success at hooker, scoring 80 points in 64 minutes last round, jumping in value by $157k in two weeks and bound to make a lot more over the course of the season. He's set to play 80 minutes this week with Walters out of the 17. Front row gun Alex Twal's dream run continues with 64 points in round 4 and a 63 average, and David Nofoaluma has been easily the highest scoring winger in the league with 57.8 points a game.

Raiders: No changes. Canberra's shock loss to Newcastle at least meant they got through plenty of tackles, bumping up the scores of Corey Horsburgh (64), George Williams (68) and Joe Tapine (68), while a barnstorming try helped Josh Papalii to 87 points. Curtis Scott (18) hasn't scored well despite being a fairly popular buy this year.

Try of the Week: Round 4

Bulldogs v Roosters, Sunday 4.05pm at Bankwest Stadium

Bulldogs: Just one change for Canterbury with Christian Crichton replacing Kerrod Holland on the bench. Lachlan Lewis had a frankly staggering 722 kick metres alongside Kieran Foran (81 kick metres) on the way to 73 points against the Dragons, while Aiden Tolman (58) keeps producing keeper-level scores in the front row. Rookie Jake Averillo (18) got a start in the centres but needs some decent scores to start earning price rises.

Roosters: James Tedesco returns after missing last week's match with a high temperature, with Brett Morris shifting to the wing and Ryan Hall dropping out. Mitchell Aubusson is again only included in the reserves. Angus Crichton (81 last week) has averaged 61 points a game so far this year and will be a keeper as long as he keeps Aubusson out of the starting side in the back row.

Dragons v Sharks, Sunday 6.30pm at Campbelltown Stadium

Dragons: Paul McGregor has been spared the axe as coach and there aren't too many changes to the St George Illawarra 17 either. Brayden Wiliame left the field with a calf injury after scoring just 3 points on Monday and looks a sell after being replaced by Euan Aitken in the centres, while dual-position cheapie Tyrell Fuimaono ($376k) takes Tariq Sims' spot in the starting pack (Sims will miss 4-6 weeks with a wrist injury) and Matt Dufty returns as a bench utility. With the Dragons on the back foot and defending for most of their games, as the only winless team in the competition, skipper Cameron McInnes has been forced to make a staggering 64.5 tackles a game and is averaging 86 Fantasy points after two matches – easily the best in the league. The only other good news here is that Zac Lomax is proving to be a remarkably consistent scorer in the backline, averaging 42.

Sharks: Toby Rudolph (+$160k and counting) has been a terrific cash cow but goes back to the bench this week with Andrew Fifita returning at prop, while Will Kennedy's time as a moneymaker may be over with Chad Townsend's return meaning Matt Moylan shifts to fullback. Mawene Hiroti also replaces the injured Ronaldo Mulitalo on the wing. Blayke Brailey's price rises are gradually slowing down after back-to-back 35s.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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