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One very popular pre-season buy is struggling for points, two cheapies have emerged in the halves, forwards are scoring tries for fun, centres are a headache as always and two superstars have been ruled out of round 3.

There are plenty of big questions again as we head into the third round of the season.

First up though, the big news. Both Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary (head knock) and Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen (neck) have been ruled out this week, with both expected to return in round 4. They've both been superb in the opening two rounds and are worth holding, but you'll need to reshuffle your line-up if you have one or both before the Panthers and Storm face off tonight.

What time is it with Tino?

This week's big Fantasy questions

Is it time to get off the Tino Train?

From Mathew Warton

Maybe – but don't be too surprised if he produces a try and a big score against the Cowboys on Sunday.

The issue with Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is that his good Fantasy scores rely on him scoring tries, and he hasn't scored any tries yet. Last year his only 50+ score without a try came in a rare 80-minute performance, which won't happen too often as a middle forward. Otherwise his top non-try score was 46.

This year he's had a lot more missed tackles than he did at the Storm, but his other numbers are pretty typical for him. He can still produce the occasional monster score with a blockbuster solo try but he'll have to do it pretty regularly to be a genuine moneymaker this year.

Schuster or O'Sullivan?

From Josh Parfitt

I prefer Josh Schuster to Sean O'Sullivan, although there are arguments for both. O'Sullivan has the best job security with Chanel Harris-Tavita sidelined for 12 weeks, while Schuster is only "guaranteed" a starting spot in the second row until Curtis Sironen returns from a knee injury in four to six weeks.

But more important than getting game time is scoring points, and that's where Schuster has the edge. He scored 47 points off the bench in the second row last week, filling in for the injured Andrew Davey, which prompted Des Hasler to give him the starting spot this week.

It's fair to assume he can get four more scores of around 40 or better to give his scores an immediate boost, before returning to the bench. Ideally he keeps the spot long-term, perhaps at the expense of fellow edge forward Jack Gosiewski. Alternatively he's also the back-up five-eighth should Kieran Foran get injured.

O'Sullivan could well play as Warriors halfback for 12 weeks but there's no certainty about what his scoring will be in that role. He actually scored in the high 30s when playing 80 minutes in his time at Brisbane, but there's no guarantee he maintains that scoring alongside Kodi Nikorima – who was already taking the majority of the kicking duties alongside Harris-Tavita.

If O'Sullivan can average 35 or better he'll be a worthwhile cash cow. Schuster is slightly cheaper and the potential to score better, so I think he has more upside even if there is a risk he could be out of the Manly starting side in a few weeks. He'll also make money quicker so if you get him this week you still have the option of picking up O'Sullivan as well next week.

Moylan looking forward to a dry track

Thoughts on Lam down to Schuster?

From Beau James

I like it, good trade.

Thoughts on Brimson? Two low scores thus far.

From Tiiziie Kore

Brimson is still a potential keeper if he can repeat last year's form, although that won't be easy considering he had eight tries and 13 line breaks in just 10 games in 2020.

He did have one try and one line break in round one, but hardly got involved against Brisbane last week and had a career-worst four errors as well. He's unlikely to score that badly again, but now your question is whether you think he'll still be a keeper (as he's almost no chance of being a moneymaker).

With James Tedesco, Ryan Papenhuzen and even rookie Daine Laurie producing keeper-level scores and Kalyn Ponga due to return from injury in a few weeks, there are safer alternatives around if you want to jump off board Brimson now.

I'm thinking of dropping Brimson for J.Brailey, obviously missed the boat, this a good move?

From Isaac Te'o Hakaraia Clayton

Good move.

Are you keeping or punting Averillo this week? Also is it too late to get on the Fui or Bird train?

From Dom Griffin

I'll be keeping Averillo for at least another week. His potential upside is as a running five-eighth and he hasn't run the ball yet – but he should get some chances against a struggling Brisbane outfit on Saturday.

And it's not too late to jump on any cash cows yet, with price rises to continue for at least the next month if they maintain their form.

Rabbitohs v Roosters - Round 3

Who do you bring in out of Teddy and Mahoney? Is Teddy worth jumping on now before his price rises more than Tesla shares?

From Tom Anderson

The short answer is Tedesco, who is a guaranteed keeper this season like he is every season. Mahoney is a bit more of an unknown – he's scored 75 points or more four times in his career, and two of them have come in the past two weeks.

But if you do rate Mahoney as a keeper this year then now's a pretty good time to jump on board, considering his price will continue to rise at least in the short term. He's currently priced as a 60-point player, which is about 10 points better than what he scored last year but still less than what the elite Fantasy hookers are likely to score.

Tedesco meanwhile will have quiet games like every fullback, so the wise move if you haven't started the season with him is probably to wait for his price to drop later on.

Could Wayde Egan potentially be a good buy given the lack of hooker depth at the Warriors?

From Blake Micallef

Yeah I wrote about Egan back in my Warriors 2021 season guide, as a potential 80-minute hooker with the price tag of a low-30s scorer. After scoring 32 in 45 minutes in round one he did play the full 80 last week, making 55 tackles against Newcastle for a score of 61 (and it could have been better had a try not been disallowed).

There are quite a few value hookers this season but Egan has probably jumped ahead of Brisbane's Jake Turpin in the pecking order now.

Dragons v Sea Eagles - Round 3

Will Sitili Tupouniua keep an 80-minute role?

From Steven Pemberton

Yes he will until Boyd Cordner returns for the Roosters, potentially in round 12. Most second-rowers tend to play 80 minutes most weeks.

What won't continue are the tries, with Tupouniua crossing in both games this season. He's priced at around 42 now, so is at least a little underpriced considering his career average in big-minute games in the pack is 47.

Is Kikau the best value edge forward for around the $600k mark?

From Milo Resetti

No Kikau is generally a low-40s scorer with the ability to produce the occasional bumper score when he gets over the tryline, as he did (twice) last week. The $600k price tag equates to about 45 points a game, which is probably where Kikau will finish this season.

Isaiah Papali'i has made a superb start to the year at Parramatta with scores of 54 and 61 and starts this week in place of Ryan Matterson (concussion). His price is at $575k and rising fast.

Josh Jackson also looks a value option at around $600k, having switched from an edge forward (or occasional 65-minute middle) last year to an 80-minute lock role this season. His average has jumped from 41 in 61 so far, and while it's unlikely he maintains those numbers it's very possible he could score around 50 if his role doesn't change with the return of Luke Thompson to the Bulldogs' middle rotation in a few weeks.

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