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Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 21 - blockbuster trades

Is Nathan Cleary a buy again, or a captaincy option? Who are the best replacements for Ben Hunt and Nicho Hynes? Here are the answers to this week's burning NRL Fantasy questions.

Casualty Ward By Club

Round 21's big questions

Who is a better trade target between Isaiah Papali'i and Cameron Murray for the run home?

From Kai Spence

I like Papali'i. His running game is more likely to produce tackle busts and tries, and more importantly his raw numbers have been better – Papali'i averages 65 points a game this season and 70 in his past five games, well above Murray's numbers (57 for the season and 62 in his past five).   

How many rounds are left of Fantasy? Is it worth bringing Cleary back post-injury?

From Jarrod John Harry

Fantasy runs for the entire regular season, so through to round 25, although a lot of head-to-head leagues have their grand final in round 24 (to avoid being derailed by NRL teams resting their stars in the last round before the NRL finals).

Cleary is definitely worth buying again when he's back and fully fit – he's been easily the best scorer of the season and can be the difference in a head-to-head match-up. But will he play this weekend? And if he does, will he be fully fit?

"We've got a big session tomorrow so he'll obviously take part in that and if he ticks all the right boxes I'm sure he'll play this week," Cleary's halves partner Jarome Luai said on Wednesday.

Before Luai's vote of confidence Cleary had been rated an unlikely starter, only named in jersey 21 this week. He has a break even of 97 so if he's rusty in his return and has a mediocre score his price will drop significantly, making him much more affordable a week later if your budget is tight.

For those who haven't got him already, ideally you'll be able to wait until the Panthers team is finalised at 4.30 on Saturday afternoon before making any decision on Cleary this week.

Or, if you have plenty of cash available and need to pull off a big play to be competitive in a head-to-head knockout match, you could gamble on trading him in now and making him captain.

If Cleary comes back, who would be the better captaincy option between Cleary and Turbo?

From Jeremy Brauer

If you already have Cleary in your squad, and if he isn't ruled out before the round starts on Thursday night, I'd strongly consider making him captain and picking a very safe option as vice-captain.

If he does manage to play you could have a real advantage over the competition – even an off night for Cleary is usually worth 70-80 points – and if he doesn't play, your vice captain gets double points and an auto emergency will replace Cleary in your scoring 17.

Should that vice captain be Tom Trbojevic? This probably isn't the week to do it.

Of course he's capable of a monster score having just smashed out 137 points in 67 minutes – the second best individual score in Fantasy history.

But his scoring relies heavily on attacking stats and they'll be hard to come by against a Melbourne side that has been one of the most dominant in NRL history. A forward or star half is a safer captaincy option this week.

Turbo Tom is nearly untouchable at the moment

Who to trade Hynes to? I have Turbo and Teddy.

From Craig Finkle

If you need another winger/fullback, Adam Doueihi or Kalyn Ponga are the standout options. Ponga is now the cheaper of the two and more likely to be on the winning side from here on in so has a slight edge.

Getting rid of Hunt. Have $359k bank. Is DCE the one I need to get on or would it be worth a punt on someone like Adam Doueihi and upgrade another player? I have Moses and Gamble as my other halves.

From Shane Hewson

It's a tough call and one that probably depends on your situation – if you're otherwise happy with your squad and/or are getting very low on trades then just get Cherry-Evans, but if you see an obvious place in your squad where you can spend that extra $270k and can afford to use an extra trade then go Doueihi.

Is Harry Grant a good replacement for Hunt?

From Paul Messell

It's tempting after Harry Grant's excellent 75-point game against Penrith last week, and the fact that Grant is a genuine gun when given an 80-minute role. But while he's stuck on that Melbourne bench I'm still not convinced he's going to be a reliable scorer every week.

His game time isn't really going up and his scores have been reliant on tries. His minutes played in his past four games are 59, 59, 50 and 59, with scores of 45, 48 (with a try), 50 (with a try) and 75 (with a try).

At this stage I'd probably have Reed Mahoney and Damien Cook ahead of Grant in the pecking order among hookers, with the consistent Mahoney (62 average across the season) the safest option.

That'll obviously change if Grant is given the Storm No.9 jersey and an 80-minute role.

Every try from Round 20

Straight swap Hynes-Pap? Have plenty of halves cover.

From Dale Mackay

Not yet, ideally. Ryan Papenhuyen has been great this year but at this stage he's still on the bench and has a break even of 100 – so even if he manages to score 50 he's projected to lose $50k in value.

If they run out as named, you could hold off and make this trade next week if Papenhuyzen is moved into the starting side. Or, if you want to make the most value and can afford to use an extra trade, you could trade Hynes out now (he has a break even close to 80 and is also losing value) and trade another player to Papenhuyzen in a week or two.


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