With not one, not two but three popular cash cows dropped this week, a new bargain-basement cheapie on the market and more troubles in the notorious centre position, it's a crucial week for NRL Fantasy coaches.
This week's big questions
Thinking of bringing in Ben Marschke or Jake Simpkin as a cash cow. Who do you consider the best option?
From Henry Byrnes
Marschke is minding the Roosters No.9 jersey until Sam Verrills returns, which could be as early as round 8, while Simpkin could potentially be the Tigers' first-choice hooker for the rest of the season after Jacob Liddle was dropped.
Simpkin also has some genuine Fantasy pedigree at the NSW Cup level. In six games this season he's scored six tries and is averaging 46 tackles and three tackle breaks per game – for a Fantasy average of 75.4.
He won't score anything near that at NRL level (for one thing he won't score a try every game) but the last hooker who showed those kinds of numbers in the lower grades was last year's breakout sensation Harry Grant.
I've got Milford, Liddle, Niu, Riki plus Roberts. Who's your trade outs this week? I need a centre, I have Momiroviski. Is Hampton an option? Or should I go all in on Peachey? Feel he is pricey.
From Scott Barnes
In terms of which players to trade out first, I'd be keeping hold of Roberts for now – he won't score in single digits most weeks – and possibly Anthony Milford considering Kevin Walters expects him to return to the first grade side within a month.
Riki's price could potentially start going backwards with his bench role, and while Liddle will make more money if he is recalled to the Tigers' side if you sell him you can free up much more cash than you can by selling Niu.
Tyrone Peachey is expensive but as a starting lock who busts tackles and is available at centre he's a very good chance of being the top scorer in the position this season.
His price is climbing slightly at the moment but in the long run you probably get what you pay for. A combination of Peachey and Momirovski is just about as good as it gets as a Fantasy centre pairing this season, on current evidence.
Ben Hampton looks great value at $290k if he can keep hold of the Cowboys halfback spot for the medium term, especially if he continues to get the majority of the kick metres and add a few attacking stats like he did in last week's score of 51.
Keep in mind that score did include a try assist and two turnover tackles – so 13 points in stats he can't be relied on to repeat most weeks.
He's more likely to average closer to 35 or 40 than 50 but the fact he's playing alongside a ball-running five-eighth in Scott Drinkwater is good for his scoring potential.
The big question with Hampton though is…
Is Trbojevic worth the risk first up?
Is Hampton's job security in the halves good?
From Hayden Lawrence
It's tough to say. In his favour is the fact he appears to be Todd Payten's first-choice halfback at this stage, with Michael Morgan having been forced into retirement due to a shoulder injury and Jake Clifford out of the top 17.
The fact Clifford will leave the club for Newcastle at the end of the season also works in Hampton's favour, as does the fact they claimed their first win over the year last week with Hampton in the No.7 jersey.
The flipside is that Morgan's retirement and the departure of Josh McGuire to the Dragons means the Cowboys have salary cap space available if they want to enter the market for a new playmaker this season.
There is also a chance that any dip in form from Hampton or the Cowboys in general could provoke Payten into making changes, with Clifford a readymade replacement.
In short, it's a risk, but at $290k, with a 51-point score behind him and with dual-position flexibility as a CTR/WFB in Fantasy, Hampton could well be a risk worth taking.
Who do you think are/will be the must-have CTRs this season? Carrying Niu and Roberts each week is starting to give me a migraine... reckon Ben Hampton is worth a shout?
From Dom Griffin
Tyrone Peachey, Bradman Best, Zac Lomax, Campbell Graham, Joey Manu, Dane Gagai and Paul Momirovski look like the safest bets to be keepers in the centres this year, with Jack Bird, Brian Kelly and Jesse Ramien also in the conversation.
Hampton is also a slight chance if he keeps the Cowboys No.7 jersey all year. Anyone who can average around 40 or better is worth keeping at centre which is notoriously the hardest place to find good Fantasy scorers.
Turbo is back this week. I know he's injury-prone but is there an upside at $477k? If he stays injury-free for few rounds he could make decent money.
From Daniel Lloyd
There's a reason why Tom Trbojevic was in a lot of teams before his hamstring injury ruled him out of the first part of the season. He was priced as a mid-30s scorer despite having scored 45 points a game last year and averaging 53 in 2019 when playing the full 80 minutes.
So there's definitely value there if he stays fit, but with a long injury history and fresh off yet another hamstring problem it's going to be a brave Fantasy coach who brings Trbojevic in straight away.
He's also a rung below the top winger/fullbacks in Fantasy – think Tedesco, Papenhuyzen, Ponga – who can all average 60 points or better, so if you're buying him it's either as a cash cow or a sub-par keeper.
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Should I trade Teddy out as he's bleeding cash? I have Papenhuyzen, Latrell and Laurie already in my team.
From Matt Pullan
Definitely not. James Tedesco has established himself as the best Fantasy fullback in the business and at worst will be in the top three.
You've already got your WFBs set for the season with that quartet (with Laurie a very handy back-up option) so put your trades to good use elsewhere.
Should I trade out Brandon Smith? I have him at MID and need another MID in the same price range (I also have Peachey, Watson, Leniu and Leota).
From Tash Cutebricks
With Harry Grant back for Melbourne and Dale Finucane on the way back as well, Smith is a sell considering his price is on the slide and he's got a break even in the 50s.
If you need a middle forward at a similar price Jazz Tevaga ($586k) looks a solid bet, with his game time and involvement rising last week following Addin Fonua-Blake's injury.
He scored 70 in 57 minutes that round, but beware fellow middle Bunty Afoa returns to the Warriors rotation this week, and Tevaga is capable of racking up plenty of demerits on his day as well.
Luke Thompson ($591k) scored 60 points with a try in 50 minutes in his first game of the season against Melbourne last round, and should improve on last year's numbers having had a full pre-season with the Bulldogs compared with his mid-year arrival from the Super League in 2020.
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Is Cook to Cleary a bad trade? I've got Brailey, Turpin in my squad.
From Albert Tokahere
Cook is an established keeper and the usual rule is "don't sell keepers", but Nathan Cleary's exceptional run of scoring and the clear advantage he provides as captain makes this kind of trade an exception. I don't mind the trade, especially with two solid scorers at hooker in Brailey and Turpin already in your squad.
Is it too late to grab SOS? Or will he come close to peaking at about $600k?
From Jason Frazer
If you haven't got Sean O'Sullivan yet you've missed about $135k in price rises, but if he can continue to score around 50 points per game he's projected to climb from $454k towards $590k in the next few weeks.
That looks achievable based on his previous scores of 50, 48 and 73 (with a try), so it's not too late to jump on board if you're happy to splash out on a mid-range cash cow.
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Who to pick this week, Radley, Peachey or Tevaga?
From Josh Adema
I rate Peachey the highest of that trio as he's definitely an elite scorer in his position (centre), while Radley hasn't ever been a keeper as a middle forward and Tevaga is a borderline keeper at best.
The fact you can also use Peachey to cover a spot as MID gives him another advantage.
Radley and especially Tevaga are decent options as money-makers who will also give you good solid scores, but if you're buying somebody you plan to sell down the track anyway you might as well get a genuine cash cow (like the much cheaper Jake Simpkin) who could earn significantly more cash in the long run.
When do positions get updated? Players like Schuster should be getting a dual edge role soon, wondering when that will happen. I heard round 6 was "update round".
From Noah Westbury
The new dual-position updates kick in after round 6, so next week.