NRL Fantasy is a tough game sometimes, but it doesn't get much tougher than this week when some of us had as many as six players sidelined at once.
Tom Trbojevic and Alex Twal are the big-name injuries but there are plenty of other players sidelined through injury, suspension, and in one case a breach of the NRL's COVID-19 restrictions.
So what trades should you be making? Read on to find out, and send through your questions next Tuesday via the NRL Fantasy Facebook page.
This week's big questions
Are you as shell-shocked as me after that last round?
From Cory Casbolt
How long is Twal out for?
From Nick Johnson
The Tigers expect Alex Twal to miss three to four weeks. It's a tricky time frame considering he's been an excellent Fantasy scorer who has just become a dual-position player this week. If you're playing head-to-head and are sitting pretty at the top of your league you could hold onto him and hope he's back after three weeks, as he's definitely a player you'd like to have in your final 17. Otherwise he's a sell.
Keep Carrigan? Or trade out and if so who would be a good replacement?
From Heywood Luke
With trades at a premium this season I'd strongly consider holding him. He's a dual-position forward who's improving as a player and scoring more than 50 points a game. But if your team is in very good shape and you can afford an upgrade to a 60-point player, then he could be one to move on.
Mitchell Pearce worth a go?
From Byron Gardner
I think he is. He's still very affordable at $645k (the top halves cost around $800k) and if you remove his injury-affected score against Penrith he's averaging 60 points per game this season. Even if that drops to a 55 average over the course of the season he looks great value for someone who's not far behind the highest-scoring halves.
Is Paps ever going to do anything?
From Graeme Lock
If Ryan Papenhuyzen can't post a good score against an injury-hit Warriors side down on morale after the shock sacking of their coach this week, it's probably not going to happen. I'd definitely hold him until next week at least.
Thinking about Mata'utia as a POD – what's his job security looking like with players returning? Do you see him as a decent option?
From Guy Flynn
The main concern for Mata'utia's job security is that the Knights still have back-rower Mitch Barnett to come back from injury. He was the club's player of the year last season and started in the second row for the first two rounds before getting injured, when he was replaced by Mata'utia (who was injured in the opening rounds).
Barnett can also play lock or off the bench so there's a decent chance Mata'utia retains an 80-minute edge role all year, in which case he is on track to be one of the few players available at centre who can give you 40 points per game (he's averaging 47 this year). But beware he's not risk-free.
Cheapies and guns on the radar
Needing someone to partner Best in my centres. Who is the best option out of Mitchell, Mata'utia or Lomax?
From Terence Hiamoe
Latrell Mitchell looks the best centre option at the moment, Lomax has been a consistent 40-point player while Mata'utia could hit high 40s so has more upside than Lomax but with some risk around his job security down the track.
Try of the Week - Round 6
Thoughts on Averillo as a cash cow option?
From Alessandro Tilocca
He's a solid option, but a bit risky. His price has only just started to rise after a few low scores off the bench but his 48 against the Sharks makes him a genuine moneymaking prospect who can also fill one of your centre spots in the short term.
The risk is his job security – the Bulldogs have Nick Meaney and Marcelo Montoya (injury) and Christian Crichton (suspension) who could return to the side with current wingers Reimis Smith and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak capable of pushing Averillo out of the centres.
The fact the Bulldogs play on Sunday means if you do trade Averillo in and, say, Meaney bumps him out of the backline on game day you probably won't be able to reverse the trade.
If I had to guess I'd say there's still a good chance the 19-year-old gets an extended run in the side – the Bulldogs are struggling so it's a good time to give youngsters their chance – but it is a little risky.
Thoughts on Niu vs Averillo, and bringing Matterson in over Crichton and Harris a good move?
From Nick Drysdale
There's no rush to trade in Tesi Niu – after scores of 7 and 5 off the bench his break even has shot up to 44 so even if he has a big game he'll still be cheap next week. If he struggles in the next couple of weeks there's no guarantee he sticks around, with the Broncos a chance to move Anthony Milford to fullback as they search for a return to form. Maybe pencil in a spot in your squad for Niu in a week or two.
Averillo is a decent option with some risks as mentioned above. Tommy Talau at the Tigers is the other alternative, he scored 39 in his first game of the season a couple of weeks back and if he can stay injury-free (he missed last round with a hamstring problem) he should hold a wing spot at the Tigers for the next couple of months if not the season.
On the second part of your question, yep I rate Ryan Matterson just above Angus Crichton and Tohu Harris at the moment.
The big play: How the Roosters got the better of the Eels
How many trades do you want in the bank after this weekend to get you through?
From Gary Wade Raynel
It depends on how close you are to your "final 17", the team you want to be running with at the business end of the season.
If you look through your squad you should be able to determine how many players you want to keep an how many you want to trade, and then ideally you want 4-5 trades spare after you get there to cover injuries, etc.
For example if you have 10 players you want to replace, and 16 trades left, you can probably afford to bring in one or two more cash cows (who will each cost you two trades as you'll trade them out later) and use the rest of your trades to bring in keepers or very cheap players.
You'll then have four or five spare trades to cover injuries later on. For head-to-head, the more spare trades you have up your sleeve for finals time the better.
I find it confusing how the auto emergency works, particularly if the player who didn't play was a dual position like CTR/2RF or CTR/WFB and the possible replacement can't be just a centre.
From Neville Stibbs
The simplest way to think about it is the game will automatically fill your team if players don't play on the weekend, using your reserves.
So if, say, a centre in your starting team is missing, a centre from your interchange or reserves will be automatically promoted to the starting side. (If it's an interchange player, then your 18th man will also be promoted to your interchange.)
If someone in your starting team is a dual position player it doesn't really matter for auto emergency purposes – if they are sitting in a centre slot then you need to replace them with a centre.
The key is having at least one player outside your top 13 who covers each of the six positions. If you are missing a centre but don't have a centre on your bench or reserves, then you won't get an auto emergency.
Dual-position players on your bench can be very handy for this reason as they obviously cover a couple of positions.
Can we please start again?
From Scott Reid
If only. I guess the only good news is that a lot of us a struggling this week, and that things can only get better from here?