We've had two weeks of hell on the injury front but some big names return this week, while a few youngsters get their chance to start and make an impact.
But first, some much-needed good news on the trade front.
TRADE UPDATE: To seal the deal with the game's new sponsor, Harvey Norman, NRL Fantasy has added two extra trades to your season total (now 30), with up to four trades available to use in Round 8. Those trades will become available on Wednesday afternoon.
This week's team news
Storm v Roosters, Thursday 7.50pm at Suncorp Stadium
Storm: Cameron Munster's medial tear means he'll miss three to four weeks. Despite Cameron Smith impressing in the halves last week Ryley Jacks replaces Munster at five-eighth, with fellow halves option Cooper Johns included in the reserves. The patience finally paid off for Ryan Papenhuyzen owners last week – the Storm's first blowout win of the season coincided with the speedy fullback's first big score, a team-high 87 against the Warriors. He's a definite hold now with an average of 44 and a break even of 16. Smith is still in less than 10% of teams and producing a typically excellent 66 points per game, but most Fantasy coaches are still too busy putting out fires elsewhere in their squad to be bringing in a star hooker. Paul Momirovski scored a couple of tries in his 62-point Storm debut; at $615k he's not cheap but at least looks a good pickup in the centres in Draft.
Roosters: James Tedesco returns while season-ending ACL injuries to Sam Verrills and Victor Radley mean Jake Friend is set for an 80-minute role and Nat Butcher starts at lock. Josh Morris's return means Mitchell Aubusson goes to the bench, while Poasa Faamausili joins the interchange. Butcher is a tricky prospect – he was a stats machine at under-20s level, is scoring a point a minute off the bench, and is fairly well priced at $506k. But has a break even of 54 this week and averages 48 when playing 50+ minutes at NRL level. He could also face competition for the No.13 jersey when Isaac Liu returns from a broken rib in a couple of weeks. He could end up being a cut-price keeper if he kicks on with regular 50s, but if he remains a sub-50 scorer he's unlikely to make significant price rises.
Raiders v Dragons, Friday 6pm at GIO Stadium
Raiders: Corey Horsburgh is facing a long stint on the sidelines and is a sell, while Joe Tapine returns in his place at lock and Hudson Young holds his spot in the second row. Bailey Simonsson and Michael Oldfield replace Jordan Rapana and Curtis Scott in the backline, with Scott going back to the bench. Josh Papalii is the only guaranteed Fantasy keeper in this squad, with George Williams still a borderline keeper option.
Dragons: Unchanged. Zac Lomax has been a bit of a revelation for Fantasy coaches this season, providing consistent scores and a 44 average in the increasingly headache-inducing centre position. Paul Vaughan scored 62 against the Roosters and has a healthy 55 average in the front row. Cameron McInnes is Payne Haas's biggest captaincy rival this year – his 66 against the Roosters last week was his equal-worst score of the season so far.
Which club will be hit hardest by star injuries?
Eels v Cowboys, Friday 7.55pm at Bankwest Stadium
Eels: One of the big questions of the season will be whether to hold or sell star halfback Mitchell Moses, who is facing 2-3 weeks out with a calf injury. I think he's a hold if you can afford it, and if you can still get two quality scorers into your halves without him. The good news for non-owners is his price is set to tumble below $700k when he returns after he scored just 13 before leaving the field on Saturday night. Jai Field replaces Moses at halfback and David Gower replaces Daniel Alvaro on the bench. Ryan Matterson has a three-round average of 80 and has been one of the Fantasy players of the season so far.
Cowboys: Valentine Holmes is close to a return after being included in the reserves, but the Cowboys are otherwise unchanged. Holmes will be given up until Thursday to prove his fitness. No huge surprises for North Queensland in Fantasy terms despite a great win over Newcastle on Saturday, with Jason Taumalolo (67) still going strong, Scott Drinkwater (19) continuing to underwhelm and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (26) again scoring OK rather than great despite getting over the tryline for the first time at NRL level.
Titans v Sharks, Saturday 3pm at Cbus Super Stadium
Titans: Tyrone Peachey replaces Dale Copley in the centres and Bryce Cartwright joins the bench. A stint in the sin bin meant Moeaki Fotuaika (48) is coming off his first sub-50 score since round one, but he remains a good front-row option at $710k. Cash cow Jamal Fogarty is hurtling towards $200k in price rises while Jaimin Jolliffe is on his way to +$150k.
Sharks: Cronulla have named the same 17 as last round, with Andrew Fifita again named to start despite coming off the bench in recent weeks. A quality win over Manly resulted in some unusual scores for a few popular Sharks players, with Toby Rudolf (25) well below par but Blayke Brailey (62 with a try) hitting a season high. Don't get sucked in to buying Sione Katoa after the winger scored five tries in two games.
Try of the Week - Round 7
Warriors v Broncos, Saturday 5.30pm (7.50pm NZT) at Central Coast Stadium
Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was named on Tuesday but is out after being suspended for a shoulder charge at the judiciary. David Fusitua replaces Gerard Beale in the backline, Wayde Egan retuns at hooker, loan signing Jack Hetherington is named on the interchange and Isaiah Papali'i and Poasa Faamausili drop out of the 17. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown has been named to start after scoring 34 off the bench last week and has just about reached his peak price at close to $500k. Tohu Harris scored 76 points last week to take his season average to 60, and is in just 2% of teams.
Broncos: Pat Carrigan returns from suspension at lock, with Joe Ofahengaue serving his own suspension, while Corey Oates has been dropped with Jamayne Isaako on the wing and Thomas Flegler on the bench. There are seven highly-owned players in Fantasy this season but only two of them took the field last week – Payne Haas and rookie Fanitesi Niu – which is a decent indicator of how the Broncos and Fantasy coaches have been faring on the injury front this year. Niu is still rock bottom price this week and probably will still be next week if you need a cashout option in the backline.
Wests Tigers v Panthers, Saturday 7.35pm at Bankwest Stadium
Wests Tigers: No changes for the Tigers after their win over Canterbury. Harry Grant scored 77 last week and is outscoring Damien Cook, Cameron Smith and Apisai Koroisau so far this season. Tommy Talau scored a double on the way to 44 points and a $42k price boost, while David Nofoaluma also had 77 points with two tries and an assist and has been a genuine keeper at WFB with 55 points per game.
Panthers: Josh Mansour returns in place of Brent Naden on the wing in Penrith's only change. Nathan Cleary's 91-point bonanza against the Rabbitohs brings his season average to 70 and he's the must-have half of 2020. A couple of 40-point efforts from Jarome Luai and Stephen Crichton keep their price rises ticking over, while Api Koroisau (+$283k) and Isaah Yeo (+$264k) are both among the five best moneymakers in the league this season.
Sea Eagles v Knights, Sunday 4.05pm at Lottoland
Sea Eagles: Moses Suli replaces Brendan Elliot in the backline and Martin Taupau starts after coming off the bench last week with Sean Keppie going back to the interchange. A humbling loss to the Sharks resulted in sub-par scores on Sunday from Daly Cherry-Evans (42) and Martin Taupau (44), with Jake Trbojevic still notching his customary 55 points. Taupau's price is projected to drop to around $630k in the next week or two, while Cherry-Evans is likely to bounce back quickly from his first sub-50 score of the season.
Knights: Bradman Best's return is a boost for more than 27% of Fantasy teams this week. Best replaces Gehamat Shibasaki at centre, Herman Ese'Ese starts at lock, Pasami Saulo joins the bench and Tim Glasby is out. Star duo Kalyn Ponga (42) and Mitchell Pearce (39) were both kept quiet in Saturday's shock loss to the Cowboys but it was a good round for DPP centre option Sione Mata'utia (51) and try-scoring five-eighth Kurt Mann (57). After a couple of monster defensive efforts against the Raiders and Storm, Andrew McCullough has come back down to his typical scoring with 45 and 52 in the past fortnight.
Panthers prove they're a contender
Bulldogs v Rabbitohs, Sunday 6.30pm at Bankwest Stadium
Bulldogs: Will Hopoate is facing 6-8 weeks on the sidelines with a syndesmosis injury and is replaced at the back by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak. Jake Averillo is also out after copping a head knock last week and Kerrod Holland is benched, with Nick Meaney, Marcelo Montoya and Christian Crichton starting in a reshuffled back five. Jack Cogger drops off the interchange. Cheapie Averillo kept the goal-kicking duties ahead of Holland last week but still could only manage 8 Fantasy points in 57 minutes before leaving the field. New signing Luke Thompson is in the reserves this week and could be a late inclusion.
Rabbitohs: James Roberts replaces Braidon Burns at centre with Burns going back to the bench. An 18-point game from Latrell Mitchell, including a sin binning, wasn't what his owners were expecting after three quality performances in the previous rounds. He now has two scores above 60, two between 30 and 50 and three below 20 this season. Cameron Murray (56) is scoring well but still hasn't really exploded since returning to his favoured lock role. Damien Cook trails only Payne Haas for most total points this season.