Round one was a tough one for Fantasy coaches thanks to a handful of injuries and a stack of below-par cheapies, making those two trades this week absolutely critical.
Round 2 Analysis
Match: Storm v Rabbitohs
Round 2 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Storm: Harry Grant, Cam Munster and Jesse Bromwich return but Brandon Smith (broken hand), George Jennings (ACL) and Christian Welch (Achilles) are out. Dean Ieremia comes in on the wing with round one goal-kicker Nick Meaney shifting to the reserves in great news for Ryan Papenhuyzen owners.
Jahrome Hughes (71) started the year with a bang, Ryan Papenhuyzen (44) will improve especially with goals back while Xavier Coates (22) would barely have made double figures without the try.
Rabbitohs: Latrell Mitchell returns from injury at fullback, bumping Alex Johnston to the wing with Josh Mansour dropping out.
Jai Arrow (64) scored terribly on an edge early but got roughly 50 more minutes after moving to the middle to pump out a great round one score. Big guns Damien Cook (54) and Cam Murray (46) are worth persisting with if you have them after middling first-up scores. Lachlan Ilias (20) is a definite hold despite a poor round one score.
Match: Dragons v Panthers
Round 2 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Dragons: Aaron Woods (hamstring) is out with Francis Molo starting and George Burgess joining the bench.
The Dragons played well against the Warriors but produced barely any Fantasy performances of note. Talatau Amone (20) is a hold for now while Jack Bird (47) needed a try to reach a handy score.
Panthers: Moses Leota (shoulder) is out for an extended period, with Spencer Leniu into the starting side and Matt Eisenhuth joining the bench.
Centre duo Stephen Crichton (57) and Izack Tago (61) justified their huge ownership, with tries boosting each to impressive round one scores. Sean O'Sullivan (76) had a few big scores last year but is set to lose his spot to Nathan Cleary in three weeks. Isaah Yeo (72) could be returning to keeper status after a big 80-minute effort. Leniu traditionally has a great points-per-minute rate and scored 19 in 23 minutes last week so could be a handy pick-up at$318k if he gets solid game time in Leota's absence.
Match: Roosters v Sea Eagles
Round 2 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Roosters: Both Billy Smith and Victor Radley have been named despite head knocks last week, with Trent Robinson listing the same 17 as last Tuesday.
The convincing loss to the Knights didn't help James Tedesco's (32) score but he has a tendency to start seasons slowly Fantasy-wise. Smith (5) was on track for a poor score even before the head knock but hopefully he and Radley (21) are ok this week. Smith had his hands full with Dane Gagai, missing five tackles, but should have bigger scores to come.
Sea Eagles: Dylan Walker returns in that bench utility role with teenage centre Tolutau Koula dropping out.
A try boosted cash cow Ethan Bullemor (48) to a handy score last week but Tom Trbojevic's (35) price is set to tumble. Koula (2) just isn't an option unless he ends up starting.
Match: Titans v Warriors
Round 2 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Titans: AJ Brimson returns, with Will Smith reverting to the bench and Tanah Boyd out.
David Fifita was the only Titan to crack 50 against the Eels despite the stack of tries. His 80 minutes were encouraging but the 51 points was a little underwhelming, particularly if you captained him. Erin Clark (45) should make short-term cash but needed a try to get to a decent score while it's starting to look like Toby Sexton's (45) value is already factored into his price.
Warriors: Bad news for the Warriors with backline duo Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (thumb) and Viliame Vailea (knee) facing stints on the sidelines. Each can be excused their poor Fantasy showing given how they battled through injury. Halfback Shaun Johnson (pectoral) will also miss a month. Chanel Harris-Tavita shifts to five-eighth with Reece Walsh back, Ash Taylor replaces Johnson and Kodi Nikorima is bumped to the reserves. Adam Pompey and Jesse Arthars join the backline. Matt Lodge's return bumps Bunty Afoa to the bench and Ben Murdoch-Masila to 18th man.
Euan Aitken (56) will be a keeper at CTR in Fantasy this year if he keeps it up and Eli Katoa (59) could be a cut-price keeper at EDG. Josh Curran (72) is probably a keeper until Tohu Harris returns.
Match: Sharks v Eels
Round 2 -
Venue: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
Sharks: Unchanged, although Cam McInnes and Connor Tracey approach returns after being named among the reserves.
Teig Wilton's 68 was boosted by a try and he has Wade Graham returning in a little over a month but he could be a great point-of-difference in the meantime. Nicho Hynes (53) made a steady start and Dale Finucane (56) played a hefty 63 minutes.
Eels: The Eels' wing curse continues with Sean Russell set for a stint on the sidelines. Tom Opacic returns at centre with Waqa Blake sliding out to wing. Oregon Kaufusi starts at lock with Ryan Matterson (hamstring) out, Bryce Cartwright and Nathan Brown called up on the bench and Jake Arthur dropping to 18th man.
Russell's injury is also a blow for those who took a punt on him as a cash cow, with a hat-trick and 41 Fantasy points before half time. Isaiah Papali'i (59) held his considerable price tag steady thanks to nine busts and almost 200 metres. Will Penisini's 32 was decent considering he saw very little ball while the scrappy try-fest against the Titans didn't suit the scoring of Reed Mahoney (36) and Dylan Brown (31)
Match: Cowboys v Raiders
Round 2 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: Coen Hess and Jordan McLean both start at prop with Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (knee) out, Jason Taumalolo shifting to lock, Mitch Dunn going to the interchange and Griffin Neame called up on the bench.
Nanai (56) was the Fantasy success story for the Cowboys in round one, playing the full 80 minutes, while Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (52) could easily have scored more if he wasn't half a step offside for a potential match-winning try. Taumalolo (45 in 51 minutes) actually played significantly less time than what he averaged last year after starting at prop.
Raiders: Brad Schneider (COVID) and Josh Hodgson (knee) are out, with Matt Frawley and Tom Starling their replacements and Adrian Trevilyan called up on the bench. Seb Kris nears a return after being named on the bench.
Schneider was close to must-have after his 44 off nearly base price in round one but wait until he's named to return. Hodgson isn't out long enough for Starling to be worth the trades. Schiller got 30 on debut but job security is a worry.
Match: Knights v Wests Tigers
Round 2 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Knights: No changes, with Daniel Saifiti approaching a return after being listed in the reserves.
Chris Randall (59) is at 41% ownership but should be even higher and it's not too late to jump on now. Kurt Mann (45) was solid despite time off with a HIA, Kalyn Ponga (50) was steady and Dom Young (62) could be in for a big year. Jake Clifford (63) shapes as a cut-price keeper and would have scored almost 50 even without the try.
Wests Tigers: Just one change, with James Tamou returning from suspension to bump Alex Twal to the bench and Luke Garner to the reserves.
Kelma Tuilagi (38) started well and is set to see some price rises following a 70-minute game. His minutes looks safe given Garner's demotion. Stefano Utoikamanu (40) is a hold for now. Hastings' 22 is a worry but the Storm are traditionally very tough for halves and backs to score against in Fantasy.
Match: Bulldogs v Broncos
Round 2 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
Bulldogs: Tevita Pangai jnr returns from a hamstring injury and Luke Thompson starts with Corey Waddell and Ava Seumanufagai back to the bench and Chris Patolo dropping to the reserves.
Matt Burton (39) is worth persisting with and was a whisker off a second half try-assist. Max King (56) proved to be the cheapie of the week in round one and while his score was probably inflated by the four HIAs and absence of TPJ, his points-per-minute output was fantastic with 50 points just in base stats in 38 minutes.
Broncos: Fullback Tesi Niu (hamstring) and halfback Adam Reynolds (COVID) return, with Jamayne Isaako and Tyrone Roberts out, Albert Kelly shifting to five-eighth and Billy Walters to the bench.
Walters (55) could have been a great cash cow but as feared, is the man to make way for Reynolds' return. Payne Haas (85) top-scored the round and is the obvious captaincy option until Nathan Cleary returns. Pat Carrigan (55) could be a cut-price keeper. Kurt Capewell (58) made an excellent start to his Broncos career but be aware there was a field goal, try-assist and turnover in that score.