Magic Round has already proven to be a daunting one for NRL Fantasy coaches with a host of star players and bargain buys sidelined through injuries, suspensions or the coach's axe.
As the State of Origin period approaches it's time to tackle some big questions about which big guns are worth keeping and which are worth cutting loose.
This week's big questions
Is David Fifita a trade with suspension and Origin coming up?
From Brodie Latham
A two-match suspension for Fantasy superstar David Fifita creates some real headaches – especially on a tricky week like this – and I think the question of whether he's worth trading comes down to your overall strategy for the season.
If you haven't already, now's the time to decide on what your main goal for Fantasy this year is – winning your head-to-head league, or finishing as high up the overall points ladder as possible.
David Fifita is pure destruction
For head-to-head Fantasy coaches, Fifita is a hold. As a general rule there are no head-to-head match-ups on the two big split rounds (round 13 and 17) when State of Origin players are out of action, so the only real downside to having Origin players is that they may get rested after Game One or Game Three. (Game Two is on a standalone weekend.)
So effectively Fifita will just be missing two head-to-head rounds, and it's not worth selling an established keeper for the sake of two games. Save a couple of trades and put him in your reserves for the next fortnight.
For overall points, Fifita could well be a sell. Including Origin he'll now miss round 10, 11, 13 and 17, with a chance of being rested in round 14 and/or round 18. At $921k that's a lot of salary cap space on the sidelines for the crucial bye period, and it's easy to trade him straight to a gun who will play in round 13 while also freeing up a bit of money.
The one caveat is the Fifita is definitely someone you want in your final team, so if you do trade him out you need to have a plan for creating enough cap space to trade him back in after the Origin period.
Is it worth giving Munster the flick? Two weeks off then another before Origin. Playing overall.
From Josh Adema
Yes for overall points Munster looks like a trade, especially if you switch him to a quality round 13 scorer like Mitchell Moses or Jamal Fogarty. Unlike Fifita's case, you won't necessarily need to trade Munster back in later either.
What should I do with Tedesco?
From Jay Gatsby
Unless you've already got three other keeper WFBs in your team, I think you've got to hold.
With Fitzgibbon's return should Barnett and Watson expect the low minutes from the weekend to continue and if so are they sells?
From Gregory McCardle
The return of Lachlan Fitzgibbon last week helped the Knights but hurt the prospects of two potential Fantasy keepers in Mitch Barnett and Connor Watson. Previously Watson played either off the bench or at starting lock, effectively splitting game time with 30-minute middle forward Sauaso Sue. (Sue started for the first month of the season then reverted to the bench.) Meanwhile Mitch Barnett played 80 minutes on an edge, where he got through plenty of work and scored 57 points per game.
But the arrival of another big-minute edge forward in Fitzgibbon meant Barnett moved to lock and Watson back to the bench, with both players playing their fewest minutes of the season (44 and 40). It's hard to see their game time improving much while the Knights continue to play a four-forward bench (with Watson doubling as the backline utility if injury strikes). So there's a definite argument for selling.
The argument to hold either player is that: 1) they are still capable of scoring 40+, which is a valuable commodity on a week like this when a lot of popular Fantasy players are out, 2) their prices shouldn't fall too much in the short term even if their scores decline; and 3) they're likely to return to their big-minute roles in round 13 when Tyson Frizell is away on Origin duty.
So neither is an urgent sell, and there's a decent argument for holding if you're playing for overall points, but for head-to-head or if you can make a significant upgrade it's not a bad time to trade.
Connor Watson > Tevita Pangai jnr (considering Watson has reverted to his bench role)?
From Mitchell Jordan
That looks a pretty solid move, with Pangai averaging 60 across his past five games and with the Broncos (like Watson's Knights) playing in the first major bye week in round 13.
Is Daniel Alvaro a trade or one to hold for round 13?
From Craig Finkle
Since Josh McGuire's arrival at the Dragons, Alvaro's minutes have gone backwards – from 45 minutes a game a month ago to 34, 29 and 23 in the past three weeks. I think he's a sell if you can switch to another round 13 scorer (for overall points coaches).
Taumalolo comes up with the big play for his side
Is Lolo a pick-up now? And is Doueihi a sell after being named at centre?
From Brenton Vicary
I'd probably wait one more week to see what the Cowboys' regular game plan for Jason Taumalolo is before jumping on board. Last week's score of 84 in 71 minutes (including a try) against old rivals Brisbane was terrific but in his previous two games he scored in the mid-30s, in 51 minutes and 45 minutes.
If last week's big-minute stint was a one-off you'll probably regret spending $726k on Taumalolo right now, when there are other more reliable targets out there. With a break even of 60 you can afford to wait another week and his price shouldn't rise too much even if he does score well.
With a break even of 20, Adam Doueihi isn't a sell yet but will be one to keep an eye on if he does stay in the centres for the Tigers beyond this week.