With Matt Lodge injured, a couple of star hookers struggling and Latrell Mitchell making a great start to the season, there are plenty of trade questions for NRL Fantasy coaches.
This week's big questions
Would you make trades after round 1? First round of the season, do you give everyone like Riki and Brimson a second chance or should you be looking to trade for those Latrells and Saifitis
From James Pooley
I always trade after round 1. You get 34 trades across the season and although they become precious later in the year, at this stage your goal should be to generate as much money as possible – which means bringing in the cash cows you missed before last week's games.
In saying that, I'd personally stick with Riki and Brimson despite their low first-up scores.
Riki had 10 missed tackles which is rare and could still make plenty of price rises as a big-minute edge forward, while Brimson is an attacking weapon who will thrive when the Titans are on the right side of the scoreline. Give them at least one more chance to impress before considering trading.
Some juicy middle options
Should I trade Lodge? And if so for who?
From Eugene Tan
With a hamstring injury that will keep him on the sidelines for two or three weeks, Matt Lodge ($374k) is a popular trade-out option this week and probably someone I'll be trading.
He isn't a must-sell as he still has the potential to make money later, but a score of 15 will slow down his price rises when he gets back, plus minutes could be harder to come by in the Broncos pack when Payne Haas returns in round 4.
Here's a quick rundown on the middle forward candidates to replace Lodge:
- Daniel Alvaro (Dragons, $316k) – break even of 11, scored 40 in 36 minutes off the bench including 35 tackles. Veteran recruit, likely to maintain a bench role with similar minutes going forward. Should get plenty of tackling chances at the Dragons.
- Spencer Leniu (Panthers, $327k) – BE 11, scored 41 points in 38 minutes with 145 metres and two tackle-breaks. Rising youngster, role could potentially increase slightly going forward. Scores primarily with running game which suits a strong attacking team.
- Connor Watson (Knights, $356k) – BE 5, scored 54 off the bench, probably in your team already. A must-have player at his price.
- Tyrell Fuimaono (Dragons, $360k) – BE 14, scored 44 in 59 minutes at lock including 36 tackles. Job security remains questionable due to his utility value (could be shifted to an edge, bench, centre) but early signs are good.
- Keaon Koloamatangi (Rabbitohs, $384k) – BE 29, scored 28 in 34 minutes off the bench. Promoted to a starting second-row sport where he's likely to play 60-80 minutes, could score in the 40s. Not a tiny break even this week so you could wait a week and see how he goes.
- Leeson Ah Mau (Warriors, $398k) – BE 5, scored 61 last week but that did include a try. Comes off the bench, played 42 minutes, traditionally scores around 0.9 points per minute.
- Joe Ofahengaue (Wests Tigers, $447k) – BE 14, scored 58 points in 43 minutes with 26 tackles, 128 metres and four tackle breaks. Hard to see him maintaining that scoring with that game time but impressed first up and could get more minutes going forward.
I've got Watson and Leniu in my team, and like Alvaro as a cheap 35/40-point option. Fuimaono is probably the next best value if you have some faith he'll maintain his lock role, and has dual-position flexibility, while Koloamatangi could also become a dual position player if he retains his edge forward role when the next batch of DPP updates kicks in after round 6.
Keep or trade Cook?
From Amy Harvey
I think you have to keep him for the moment at least. Cook started last season slowly as well (with scores of 44 and 45) but still went on to average 64 across the season. Last week's 37 was his lowest score since halfway through 2019 but it's too early to write off one of the best Fantasy players of the past few years.
Were Connor Watson's numbers inflated by the Kurt Mann injury?
From Blair Brown
Probably not. Watson was mooted for a middle forward role all pre-season then shifted from lock to the bench before Newcastle's round one game against the Bulldogs.
He did come on to replace the injured Mann at five-eighth after 27 minutes but he was always likely to get onto the field before half-time – and if anything he's likely to score better as a roving middle player rather than as Mitchell Pearce's halves partner.
I expect more scores around 45 or better from the bench, with the potential for higher scores when he returns to the starting side (where he was named to play on Tuesday).
Lodge and Host trade options
Lodge and Lam for Leniu and Townsend?
From Trevor Maggs
Thoughts on Ah Mau? Want to bring him in to cover for Lodge and Crichton but just concerned over his minutes.
From Tom Stunden
Yeah, Ah Mau is in that tricky position where I'd be feeling great if I started with him, but hesitant about buying him this week. His 61-point score was inflated by a rare try.
Should I burn a trade to turn Riki into Fui?
No Riki's a hold for me.
Is Fisher-Harris the best prop in the NRL?
James Roberts a bust? Or just hold tight?
From Anthony Hall
Way too early to tell. Roberts is obviously a gifted attacking player who on his day can score tries from anywhere, so his best Fantasy scores are likely to come when he gets attacking chances.
He had one good try assist against Canberra but otherwise struggled, and he's likely to be kept quiet by the Roosters this week, but he's likely to get more chances after this tough early run when the Tigers face opponents like the Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Dragons and Titans from round 5.
Is Lachlan Croker a sell, and who are the best cheapies after round 1?
From Cooper Corless
Yeah, Croker's poor score (just 24 points in 80 minutes) means his price hasn't moved and his game time is set to drop with Cade Cust on the Manly bench this week. He still has the chance to make some money but it looks unlikely he'll make the $150k profit you want from a cash cow.
The best sub-$300k options after round one look to be Daine Laurie (WFB), Tesi Niu (WFB/CTR), David Mead (WFB), Stefano Utoikamanu (MID) and Bailey Simonsson (WFB). Laurie is the best of those by a mile at this stage, but don't be surprised if some genuine $228k bargains pop up in the weeks to come.
Made the crucial error and didn't start with Jayden Brailey. Is he a must this week after a very impressive first round?
From Mark Vana
Yeah, I think he is. Brailey was already a very promising cash cow option but after reeling off 78 points last week he's now going to be a rapid money earner and potentially a keeper at hooker. He's the only player in the league with a break even below zero after round one.
Brimson a sell and Latrell a buy?
From Thomas Cowling
Latrell looks like a great buy but I'd hold onto AJ Brimson for at least another week. He's still a potential keeper – and all WFBs have the occasional low score – so see how he goes when the Titans create some more attacking chances than they did in a low-scoring tussles against the Warriors.
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Latrell a must?
From Zac Cohen
Latrell Mitchell looked excellent in Souths' loss to Melbourne but I wouldn't quite put him in the must-have category yet. He produced a couple of big scores last year but still finished with an average under 40, so you can't be sure from one match that he's turned a corner.
But the signs are very good so far and if he has another big one against Manly this week a lot of Fantasy coaches will be rushing him into their teams.
Is Cleary a must, or should I instead go with a Fogarty & Brooks combo?
From Jake Giardina
Nathan Cleary will be a must-have player at some stage, but you don't necessarily need him just yet.
The main issue if you don't have him is the lack of genuine captain candidates who can go close to matching Cleary's scoring, with Payne Haas currently suspended and Cameron McInnes injured for the season.
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So, if you're running without Cleary your strategy should be to make up for a reduction in points now by earning more cash for your team, which you can use to load up on extra gun scorers in the run home (and hopefully afford Cleary later).
Fogarty and Brooks both made very strong starts to their scoring and it looks like both will earn plenty of money this year. There are no dramas with running with that pair as your starting halves, as long as you can handle the sight of Cleary dominating the scoring as other people's captain most weeks.
Who are the best centre options?
From Kenny Mac
It's still too early to tell, but last week gave us a few clues. Keep in mind it's very rare for centres to score well consistently (Zac Lomax last year was the exception rather than the rule) so don't get too carried away by a single big score by a player who doesn't have a strong history of Fantasy scoring.
In terms of potential keepers I liked what I saw from Tyrone Peachey ($538k, 49 points), Nick Cotric ($495k, 46) and Paul Momrivoski ($482k, 40) who scored well despite not crossing the tryline. Parramatta's Tom Opacic ($344k, 35) is also looking good value at this stage.
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The centre with the lowest break even right now is popular cheapie Tesi Niu ($272k), who only scored 28 last week, so there are no huge moneymakers in that position just yet.
My general rule for centres will be to stick with your underperforming players for at least another week as there's plenty of time for improvement, especially for players in a new role or returning from a long-term injury.
What's the thoughts on Momiroski, cut-price early keeper? I had a great score but my centres were a huge let down.
From Adam's burner account
Low-scoring centres are nothing new in Fantasy so I wouldn't be too worried about rushing any trades there, unless one of your centres is injured or suspended.
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Most centres rely on attacking stats for decent scores so will be underwhelming when they don't get across the tryline.
That makes it a pleasant surprise when a genuine centre scores well without a try, as Momirovski did with his 40-point effort against the Cowboys. He did have a line break and five tackle breaks in that performance, and it was the first time he's scored more than 35 in a game without any tries or goals.
There's every chance Momirovski becomes a cut-price keeper this season, although it's too early to be sure at this stage. I'd personally be holding the likes of James Roberts, Jake Averillo, Jack Bird, etc for at least one more week before making any trades.
Tyrell Fuimaono – I want to bring him in for Lodge, but over the past couple years his role in the starting line-up has varied. How secure is Fui's starting role, especially with Merrin and Alvaro on the bench?
From Cpt. Flint
That's still the big question. With a new coach in Anthony Griffin at the Dragons, it's hard to know if and when he'll make any changes to the makeup of his forward pack if his team suffers a few early losses. They at least have a couple of good chances of picking up wins against the Cowboys and Manly in the next fortnight.
Griffin's stuck firm with his team this week, with the returning Corey Norman the only change to the 17, and Fuimaono's chances of being a handy moneymaker were boosted by last week's 44-point game.
I'd say Fuimaono is more likely than not to keep that starting lock role for a little while yet, and it's also not a huge problem if he's shifted to an edge at some point. Just don't be shocked if he's moved to the bench at some stage in the next few weeks either.
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