NRL clubs were hit by another batch of injuries last week, while the first group of cash cows have peaked and a new crop of cheapies have arrived.
This week's big questions
Who are this week's bargain buys?
From Darren Barker
Wests Tigers winger Zac Cini (available at centre in Fantasy) is $255k and scored 45 on debut – although that included a try, a try save and two line breaks, stats that he may not get every week – while new Broncos halfback Tyson Gamble scored a solid 43 and costs $269k.
Reece Walsh scored 51 at five-eighth for the Warriors and is still great value at $306k if he can keep a starting spot when Chanel Harris-Tavita returns to the team (as soon as this weekend).
In short, no absolute guaranteed bargains this week but a few interesting options.
Is Isaiah Papali'i a keeper with secure job security?
From Schone Sommerfeldt
Yeah, it looks like it. He's held a starting spot even with Ryan Matterson now back in the side and relegated Shaun Lane to the bench, and he's consistently producing monster scores.
His scores had been boosted by tries in four straight games but he managed 80 points in 69 minutes without a try last week, so should be able to reliably score 60+ from here on in.
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TPJ looking like a potential keeper and POD if consistently playing 80 mins?
From Tyson Dempsey
Tevita Pangai jnr's switch from a middle role to the edge has paid dividends both for the Broncos and in Fantasy, with tries in his first two games and a strong score of 67 without a try against the Titans last week.
He's been an erratic scorer in the past (and no stranger to the judiciary) but assuming he's locked down that edge forward position for good then history shows he can definitely produce keeper scores.
His career average when playing 70+ minutes on an edge is 55, and that rises to 58.5 in the six-again era. In his last three games he's averaging 71 – again, boosted by a couple of tries – but there's every chance he can score around 60 points a game on average from here on in.
Roberts gone for good? Cini is our man?
From Nate Nathan
James Roberts is set to miss about a month with a shoulder problem, so not gone for good but still not really worth holding. Zac Cini does look like one of the better cash cow options of the week at just $255k.
He is a rookie winger which usually means erratic scores, but looked very solid in his 45-point debut against the Dragons.
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Moses or Hughes?
From Logan Kerr
Jahrome Hughes is in sensational form, averaging 78 across his past three games with six line breaks, two tries and four try assists in that period. But I'd still prefer Mitchell Moses.
Before Hughes's scoring spree he was averaging a solid but unspectacular 45 points a game, which is a few points below last year's 48-point average.
Moses, meanwhile, averaged 57 last season and is averaging 60 in 80-minute games this year, with his price discounted due to an injury-affected score of 16 in round 3.
Both are good options but until we know whether Hughes's purple patch is going to continue, the tried and tested Moses is a safer bet.
Kikau is currently haemorrhaging cash, straight swapping him for Tariq Sims a fair call or will I regret it?
From Marcus Eriksen
This is the kind of sideways trade you should try to avoid – swapping one mid-40s scorer for another. If you use all your trades on that kind of move you'll end the season with no trades and a batch of OK-but-not-great players.
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You should plan on building towards a team full of gun scorers (averaging 55+) so if you can't afford to trade Kikau straight to one of those guys yet then trade down to a cash cow now and use the spare cash to upgrade someone else to a keeper, either this week or next.
Trade Riki out?
From Losia Rex Charlton
He's not an urgent trade at the moment. Alex Glenn's injury means Jordan Riki is starting in the second row, where he has scored 43 points a game this year. If he maintains that his price will stay pretty much where it is now.
Looking to upgrade some low-scoring players over next few weeks with better-scoring players not playing Origin. Want to clean out Cook, Leniu, Fuimaono, Simonsson, Alvaro. Any of these keepers?
From Daniel Taiapa
Damien Cook is a keeper. He's averaged more than 60 points per game in each of the last three seasons and is averaging 59 this year. The others should all be traded at some point – in terms of urgency I'd probably trade Alvaro first then Fuimaono, Leniu and Simonsson.
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With the bye rounds coming up, how many scoring players would you aim for? Full 17?
From John Ross
A full 17 is probably not possible – especially for both bye rounds – so I'd be aiming for something more like 13. You also don't want to buy players only because they'll be available in a bye round – aim instead for keepers or cash cows, or very cheap players who will crop up on the bye weeks (potentially as short-term replacements for Origin players).
Remember the byes are really only two rounds in a 25-round season, so don't tear your team apart just to get good scores in those weeks.
Of course, Origin players may also be rested following Origin I and III (game two is on a standalone weekend) so that's another factor in favour of picking up non-Origin keepers.
If I have a full 17 but that involves playing Saab should I hold trades or go Hampton to Walsh?
From Kai Spence
Hampton could be sidelined for months with his pec injury, so he's a trade.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.