The tougher of the two major bye rounds features very few of the most popular Fantasy stars and the most popular round 17 pick out injured, but presents a chance for overall-focused coaches to make up some serious ground.
Here is all the key news for your NRL Fantasy team this week.
- NRL round 17 squad announcements
- Casualty Ward: Raiders duo sidelined; Harris injured
Round 17 team news
Sea Eagles v Raiders, Thursday 7.50pm at 4 Pines Park
Match: Sea Eagles v Raiders
Round 17 -
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Sea Eagles: Reuben Garrick goes to fullback for Tom Trbojevic with Moses Suli called up on the wing. Dylan Walker partners Kieran Foran in the halves with Daly Cherry-Evans also on Origin duty while Cade Cust joins the bench.
Garrick has averaged 69 since round 10, including 86 from fullback when Turbo was rested after Origin I. Haumole Olakau'atu and Karl Lawton are each making slow cash with a three-round average over 50. Lachlan Croker has peaked after $272k of price rises but will be a handy scorer this week for those that still own him.
Raiders: Rookie Xavier Savage gets a "legal" debut at fullback for the injured Bailey Simsonsson (toe, 4-6 weeks) and Hudson Young is recalled in the back row for Elliott Whitehead (facial cut/shoulder, one week). Matt Frawley and Ryan James come in for Origin duo Jack Wighton and Josh Papalii with Emre Guler moving to the starting pack.
Savage may have the fullback spot for as long as Simonsson is out, although it's getting late in the season for cash cows and there's no guarantees over his spot or scoring. Corey Harawira-Naera's scoring has trailed off a bit but he will be one of the most-owned players this round among coaches looking for a bye-week score.
Rabbitohs v Cowboys, Friday 7.55pm at Stadium Australia
Match: Rabbitohs v Cowboys
Round 17 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Rabbitohs: With five Origin players missing, Blake Taaffe goes to fullback, Braidon Burns comes into the centres and Benji Marshall starts at hooker. Tom Burgess and Jaydn Su'A join the starting pack with Patrick Mago and Peter Mamouzelos on to the bench.
Alex Johnston has a four-round average of 67 including 10 tries while Campbell Graham has four tries for 141 Fantasy points over the past two games. Keaon Koloamatangi has only one score over 50 since round eight.
Cowboys: With Valentine Holmes and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on Origin duty, Daejarn Asi goes to fullback and Connelly Lemuelu returns in the centres.
Coen Hess is back in the starting side with Lachlan Burr benched, and Tom Gilbert replaces Francis Molo - who may yet be called into the Maroons side if David Fifita is suspended.
Jason Taumalolo looks to have bottomed out after dropping over $200k this year and is coming off 60 points last round. There's not much else of interest for Fantasy coaches here.
Bulldogs v Roosters, Saturday 7.35pm at Bankwest Stadium
Match: Bulldogs v Roosters
Round 17 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Bulldogs: The five players in isolation after a COVID breach are available with Aaron Schoupp (centre), Corey Waddell (second row), Sione Katoa (hooker) and Dylan Napa (bench) all back in the 17 but Brandon Wakeham has not been picked. Jeremy Marshall-King and Ava Seumanufagai are suspended and Matt Doorey is out after last week's head knock while Falakiko Manu, Jackson Topine and Chris Patolo drop out. Joe Stimson moves to the starting pack.
Jake Averillo retained the long-kicking duties despite Kyle Flanagan's return last week but managed just 31 points – his lowest Fantasy score since round nine – as Manly ran riot. Luke Thompson has gone four rounds without reaching 50.
Roosters: Joseph Manu will again cover James Tedesco at fullback with Billy Smith finally back from injury for his first game of the year in the centres. Matt Ikuvalu displaces Jospeh Suaalii on the wing, Drew Hutchison starts in the halves with Lachlan Lam back to the bench and Victor Radley returns from suspension at lock shifting Isaac Liu to Angus Crichton's second row spot. Nat Butcher and Ben Thomas replace Daniel Suluka-Fifita (suspension) and Fletcher Baker on the bench.
Manu tends to score strongly at fullback and hit 59 there when Tedesco was rested in round 14. Verrills has retained the starting hooker spot and made 37 points in 66 minutes last start, although he may lose more minutes to Lam than he lost to Hutchison.
Sharks v Warriors, Sunday 4.05pm at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Match: Sharks v Warriors
Round 17 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Sharks: Will Chambers returns at centre with Connor Tracey moving to five-eighth and Brayden Trindall going to the bench in place of Mawene Hiroti.
Shaun Johnson averages 65 since returning from injury in round 12, with an average 541 kick metres. Jesse Ramien averages 56 this year in games where he plays 80 minutes.
Warriors: Tohu Harris and Chad Townsend (both shoulder) are out, but Reece Walsh (hamstring) returns and Eli Katoa (ankle) has been named. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck shifts to wing with Edward Kosi out, Kodi Nikorima returns in the halves, new recruit Matt Lodge starts in the pack alongside Jazz Tevaga and Bayley Sironen while Ben Murdoch-Masila drops to the bench.
Wayde Egan averages 65.5 in his past four games, including two tries and 54 tackles per week in that time.