A new starting cheapie emerges at Manly while Fantasy's No.1 player has been named despite injury doubts in another intriguing batch of team lists for NRL Fantasy coaches.
Match: Panthers v Storm
Round 3 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Panthers: Fantasy king Nathan Cleary has been named but is in some doubt following a head knock late in last week's win over the Bulldogs, in which he scored 82 points. He's a definite hold even if he doesn't play this week, with Matt Burton on standby.
Viliame Kikau scored two tries last week so don't get too swayed by his score of 82 – he scored 85 in his final regular season game of 2020 and still finished with an average in the low 40s.
Storm: Tom Eisenhuth replaces the suspended Felise Kaufusi in the second row, while Aaron Pene and Nicho Hynes join the interchange with Tyson Smoothy back to the reserves.
Justin Olam has been getting amongst the tries this season but won't average 48 points a game all season, so while he's doing great for those who own him there are still cheaper and safer alternatives at centre available. Christian Welch (55) was strong in last week's loss to Parramatta while Ryan Papenhuyzen (52) produced a great score for a fullback in a rain-affected loss.
Match: Dragons v Sea Eagles
Round 3 -
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Dragons: No changes. Ben Hunt is getting some attention from Fantasy coaches after starting the year with scores of 71 and 80, a fortnight that's included four try assists, two forced turnovers and a try.
Those are his best two scores at halfback since 2019 and are probably outliers considering the amount of attacking stats he racked up in a team tipped to miss the eight. He averaged 58 in his four 80-minute games at halfback last season, and that's about where he's priced at the moment.
Daniel Alvaro looks the better buy at an affordable $362k, averaging 47 from two games after being one of seven Dragons to score more than 50 against the Cowboys. He's scored better than a point per minute in the six-again era so unless his game time drops he can be expected to average around 40.
Sea Eagles: A serious knee injury to Andrew Davey was a cruel blow to the promising Manly recruit and to Fantasy coaches who'd picked him up. He's a sell, while Josh Schuster is a potential buy after being promoted to the starting side in the second row.
Schuster ($301k) scored 47 Fantasy points in 76 minutes last week and is available at half in Fantasy. Morgan Boyle is the new face on the bench.
Those who gave Lachlan Croker another chance were repaid with a surprise score of 52, including a close-range try and more game time than expected after Cade Cust went off with a head knock. He's got more money to make now.
After a poor first game Daly Cherry-Evans (63) bounced back almost exclusively through base stats, although his tackle count of 36 was his highest since 2017. The ever reliable Jake Trbojevic has started the season with back-to-back 52s.
Match: Rabbitohs v Roosters
Round 3 -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Rabbitohs: Josh Mansour replaces Jaxson Paulo (concussion) on the wing.
After being kept quiet against Melbourne, Damien Cook showed once more why he's an elite Fantasy player with 88 points including a try, 56 tackles and two line breaks last week.
Cameron Murray (69) also got through a mountain of work while Jai Arrow (45) reverted to a more typical score after his out-of-the-box performance in round 1.
Likewise Latrell Mitchell (37) had a mixed game with a try and a sin-binning against Manly, although the fact he's made more than 150 metres in back-to-back games for the first time since 2016 is very encouraging.
Try of the Week - Round 2
Roosters: Fantasy gun Angus Crichton is back from suspension in the second row while Victor Radley makes his long-awaited return from injury via the bench, with Drew Hutchison and Fletcher Baker dropping out of the 17.
Luke Keary has never averaged more than 45 Fantasy points a season but he's started 2021 with a bang, scoring 60 and 82 with a combined six try assists. His kick metres per game have also ballooned from 168 last year to 352 (which has also contributed to Lachlan Lam's mediocre scores). At $658k Keary is a potential cut-price keeper if he can keep the attacking stats going in what is probably the best attacking team in the league.
One player who won't be able to maintain his early-season stats is Brett Morris, who has scored a hat-trick in both games for the two best Fantasy scores of his career. Even if he averages 50 points a game from here – well above last year's 43 average – he's already overpriced.
Match: Raiders v Warriors
Round 3 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Raiders: Sebastian Kris (55) has impressed in his two chances in the centres but makes way for returning captain Jarrod Croker this week.
Hudson Young has done everything possible to lock up an edge forward role for the season with two tries and scores of 77 and 70 in the opening fortnight, while Ryan James looked like his old self with 61 points in 40 minutes off the bench against Cronulla.
Harris-Tavita out indefinitely
Warriors: Terrible news here with Chanel Harris-Tavita (foot) ruled out for 12 weeks. He's obviously a sell, and while his replacement Sean O'Sullivan is cheap at $319k there's not necessarily significant upside for halves partner Kodi Nikorima who had already taken most of the kick metres in both games so far.
Bunty Afoa replaces the suspended Jamayne Taunoa-Brown at prop while Jack Murchie joins the interchange.
Wayde Egan (61) played the full 80 minutes at hooker against Newcastle and is one of several No.9s making fast money this season. Ben Murdoch-Masila (34) had his score boosted by a try last week but is a sell unless he earns a spot in the starting side.
Match: Broncos v Bulldogs
Round 3 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Broncos: Brisbane have named an unchanged 17, although there is still a chance Tom Dearden comes into the side on game day in the halves or on the bench.
Anthony Milford (21) came crashing back down to earth in round two after a strong first-up 52 last week. I'd recommend holding him another week in hopes he bounces back against a weaker Bulldogs side, but Brisbane's schedule after that is pretty rough (Storm, Rabbitohs, Panthers, Eels, Titans).
One player who did bounce back was Jordan Riki, who earned 70 points and a healthy price rise. Jamayne Isaako (46) is also getting the job done as a moneymaking fullback despite the Broncos' results.
Bulldogs: Corey Waddell is back into the starting pack for the injured Faitala-Mariner (foot), Tuipulotu Katoa replaces the suspended Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the wing, Jeremy Marshall-King switches into the starting side with Sione Katoa moving to the bench, and Joe Stimson joins the interchange.
Josh Jackson made 64 tackles for 72 points last week and Adam Elliott (66 points, 50 tackles) wasn't far behind, while Kyle Flanagan (53) and Nick Cotric (48) have been scoring well for backline players in a losing side.
Jack Hetherington (29) is a sell while Jake Averillo (19) remains a hold at least for this week – he still has barely run the ball (he's had fewer run metres than tackles in both games so far) so hopefully that changes against the Broncos.
Match: Eels v Sharks
Round 3 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Eels: Ryan Matterson has been sidelined with concussion and could be a sell considering his history with head knocks, while Isaiah Papali'i has been promoted to the starting side on an edge after scoring 54 and 61 off the bench in the opening rounds. Ray Stone joins the interchange.
Reed Mahoney (75) continued his outstanding start to the season after hitting triple figures in the opening round, while Mitch Moses has two scores of 67 to his name.
Junior Paulo is scoring well but has crossed for tries in both games. Tom Opacic (32) has quietly produced a couple of scores in the 30s at centre without crossing for a try yet.
Every try from round 2
Sharks: Connor Tracey replaces Mawene Hiroti at centre and Teig Wilton joins the bench.
Chad Townsend is earning some good price rises with scores of 59 and 53 in Shaun Johnson's absence, even if his goal-kicking has proven a little erratic in the first fortnight of the season. Meanwhile Matt Moylan's cash cow prospects stalled a little with just 18 points (including eight missed tackles) on Sunday.
Match: Knights v Wests Tigers
Round 3 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: Kurt Mann returns from injury at five-eighth in place of the suspended Phoenix Crossland while Connor Watson is named to start for the third straight week at lock, but is again a good chance of being bumped to the bench before kick-off.
Jayden Brailey was always going to be a good buy but nobody was expecting an 81-point average from him across the opening two rounds, with a try helping the Knights rake to 84 against the Warriors. He's a must-have player.
Mitch Barnett (72) is looking like a cut-price keeper as a goal-kicking edge forward, Tyson Frizell (68) is also scoring well, Watson (52) is racking up the stats from the bench and Bradman Best (62) could potentially finish as the top-scoring centre in Fantasy this year.
Wests Tigers: Joey Leilua has been dropped with James Roberts returning at centre, while Zane Musgrove starts in the front row and relegates Joe Ofahengaue to the bench.
Two tries in two games has helped cash cow Jacob Liddle to scores of 51 and 58, with last week's excellent score coming despite a half hour stint on the bench when Moses Mbye entered the game.
Daine Laurie (49) is a must-have for anyone who doesn't already own him, while there were some warning signs for owners of Luke Brooks (42) who still ran the ball well but had only half the kick metres of new halves partner Adam Douihi.
Match: Cowboys v Titans
Round 3 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: Murray Taulagai replaces the suspended Kyle Feldt on the wing in North Queensland's only change.
Michael Morgan (53) has started the season with a couple of low-50s scores despite his team's struggles, while Esan Marsters (44) showed he remains a potential value buy in the centres with five tackle breaks and four offloads against the Dragons.
Titans: Tanah Boyd replaces Ash Taylor (hand) at five-eighth. Boyd is cheap but may only be a short-term fill-in at this stage.
David Fifita (73) scored twice against his old team to rack up another good score, even though he's yet to play the full 80 minutes this season.
Much more concerning is the Fantasy scoring of Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (25), who has been playing well but is yet to convert that form into points. He's unlikely to threaten the 50-point mark without tries.
AJ Brimson (12) didn't get any attacking stats last week and looked a long way from a 50-point keeper, although he won't make four errors too often.