The first bye round is here, with half the NRL clubs and all State of Origin players sitting out round 13.
That makes it a tough week for most NRL Fantasy teams to score points – but also presents the chance for savvy coaches to make a real leap up the overall points ladder.
This week's big questions
Are there player position updates this week?
From Anthony Leiper
Yes ... and no. Seven players have been made available in an extra position this week but all have the bye in round 13.
- Nat Butcher (Roosters) MID+EDG
- Chris Smith (Bulldogs) MID+EDG
- Sean Keppie (Sea Eagles) MID+EDG
- Haumole Olakau'atu (Sea Eagles) MID+EDG
- Murray Taulagi (Cowboys) CTR+WFB
- Coen Hess (Cowboys) EDG+MID
- Connor Tracey (Sharks) HLF+WFB
Will the Origin players play in round 14?
From Louis Fardell
The short answer is "probably", although some players won't back up from State of Origin.
To get a better idea let's look back at 2019, the last time we had a mid-year Origin series. After that year's series opener 25 of the 34 Origin players backed up for the following round (including seven players playing Friday games in Sydney following a Wednesday Origin game in Brisbane).
Three players missed the round due to injuries suffered in Origin I, and six more were rested.
The situation could change this year with teams perhaps more willing to rest players with the increase in injuries in the past two seasons, but history suggests most players will back up.
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Sam Walker and Schuster sells?
From Brodie Latham
Walker is a sell, unless you're desperate for another round 17 scorer. Schuster is due back from injury in the next week or two and is averaging 50 for the season, so is one to hold for now at least. He remains a potential season keeper – particularly if you've used a lot of trades so far.
Is Ben Hunt worth a look-in?
From Harry Dwyer
Hunt looks like a good pickup – especially if you're playing for overall points now that he's missed Origin selection. He won't be as consistent a scorer as he was last year when he played hooker and added high tackle counts to his usual attacking stats, but he's still capable of big numbers with scores of 64, 37, 69 and 79 in the past month.
Keep in mind he is capable of low scores as well – see his 80-minute 18 against the Tigers in round 8 – as he doesn't get massive kick metre numbers every week like Nathan Cleary or Daly Cherry-Evans, and he's behind those two, Jahrome Hughes and Cameron Munster in the pecking order of Fantasy halves.
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Hey, I'm sitting 323 overall. But, I've used all trades, so it's KEEPERS only. So best of either Moses or Hughes? If any?
From Anthony Renae Cashman
I've picked up Mitch Moses this season as I tend to prefer halves who reliably get bulk kick metres, while Hughes has relied pretty heavily on line breaks, tackle breaks and tries for his big scores.
But in saying that, the way Melbourne are playing there's every hance Hughes continues to rack up plenty of attacking stats, especially if Craig Bellamy opts to rest Cameron Munster for a few games over the Origin period.
Hughes is in much better form at the moment but across the season the gap between them isn't large (Hughes averages 60 points, Moses 57 when playing 70+ minutes) while the price tag is.
I'd be inclined to opt for a cut-price Moses at $671k rather than Hughes at $814k.
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Looking for cash cows – any recommendations?
From Bodie Ioani Hapi
No great ones this week. There are a lot of cash-outs – cheap players who will at least give you some points this week, though they won't be too reliable beyond round 13. It's a risk to pick up one of those players this year as we've already seen the issues when you've got a few red dots in your reserves and then are hit with several injuries or suspensions at once.
The most reliable cash cow options are probably those above $300k, like Broncos five-eighth Albert Kelly ($301k) who is averaging 40 from two games, his halves partner Tyson Gamble ($323k), or Wests Tigers pivot Moses Mbye ($339k) who at least covers the tricky centre and wing/fullback positions. Likewise, Tyrone May ($320k) is fairly cheap, playing halfback this week and covers centre and edge forward.
This week's cheapies who have cash cow potential include Knights second-rower Brodie Jones ($233k), who could potentially get an extended run in the starting side with Tyson Frizell (ankle surgery) ruled out for six weeks – although the Knights could bench Jones and play Mitch Barnett on an edge with Connor Watson at lock at any time.
Players like Gerard Beale ($287k), Kobe Hetherington ($245k), Ethan Bullemor ($267k) and Haze Dunster ($228k) are cheap and playing but there are doubts over their long-term scoring potential, but should at least stick around beyond this week.