A bunch of cheapies flopped or got injured in round one but is it too early to pull the trigger?
This week's big questions
Is Max King a must have?
Bulldogs bench forward Max King was the best cheapie of round one, scoring 56 points (50 just from base stats) in 38 minutes on field to gain $41k in value.
He's a very appealing buy this week but I don't know if I'd go so far as to say he's a must-have. Whether the return of Tevita Pangai jnr on the edge has a flow on effect (a few Bulldogs forwards can play both edge and middle) on King's minutes remains to be seen while those minutes were probably a bit inflated in round one by all the HIAs throwing Trent Barrett's rotations out. On current evidence though, anything over 30 minutes per game should be enough for King to make some solid cash.
NRL Teams: Bulldogs v Broncos
Should I keep Matt Burton?
Still on the Bulldogs and there's no way I'd be giving up on ex-Panther Matt Burton just yet. His 39 points in 80 minutes in a low-scoring round wasn't disastrous. There were 10 demerits in there which probably won't happen too often and he was a whisker off a try-assist to Matt Dufty in the second half which could have added seven points (via a try-assist and line break-assist) to his tally.
Is Josh Curran worth looking into?
Warriors lock Josh Curran was one of the Fantasy stars of round one with 72 points in 66 minutes. He's another who potentially may have played less time if not for injuries (the Warriors lost three during that game). But he was a Fantasy force (in between injuries) last year and probably has that starting No.13 role until Tohu Harris returns which is unlikely to happen before round eight at the soonest so will probably be a great point-of-difference option until then.
Thoughts on Fletcher Baker?
Roosters prop Fletcher Baker was elevated to the starting side in round one, coming up with a handy 34 points in 32 minutes. It was another game impacted by injuries, with head knocks ruling out both lock Victor Radley and centre Billy Smith. There's also the matter of Sam Verills' possible return in a couple of weeks pushing Connor Watson into the middle rotation. Baker will make a little bit of short term cash but probably not enough to justify the two trades getting him in and out unless you're really desperate for a cheap, scoring MID in the short term.
Is Josh King worth having as a short term cash cow while Brandon Smith is out?
Melbourne lock Josh King was very much a no-go this time last week because we thought Harry Grant's return in round two would push Brandon Smith to lock. Smith's injury makes things interesting and is certainly a relief for anyone who started with King. That said, his 39 points in 64 minutes wasn't that exciting and, at risk of sounding like a broken record, the Storm lost Smith very early followed by George Jennings in the first half (Christian Welch's injury happened right at the end of the game) so his minutes were probably inflated. Smith is only estimated to miss four games so whether King can make enough in that time to be worth two trades is debateable.
NRL Teams: Storm v Rabbitohs
Is Harry Grant a buy?
He very well could be, but if you haven't started the season with him on your bench you can now afford to have a look for one week and see what sort of minutes Tyran Wishart takes from him before jumping on. He looks good value though given his minutes are likely to be higher than last year.
Is Jeremiah Nanai a must-have?
Cowboys back-rower Jeremiah Nanai made an excellent 56 in round one, and was only a couple of desperation last-ditch tackles away from making a couple more line breaks. His 80 minutes was also a great sign, with Heilum Luki the man to be rotated with Tom Gilbert. At the price he is close to a must-own.
Should I hold or sell Billy Walters?
Billy Walters made a terrific 55 in round one to jump $40k in value. Owners were hoping he'd retain his spot ahead of Albert Kelly when Adam Reynolds returned this week but unfortunately Walters has been moved to the bench – which is worse than being dropped altogether because it will probably kill his price rises pretty quickly.
With a negative break even, he's a definite hold this week (just make sure he's not in your 17). There may be more injuries or he may reclaim a starting spot. If he's still playing small minutes off the bench in a fortnight he'll have to be moved on.
Should I captain Turbo this week?
Tom Trbojevic is too good of a player to be kept quiet for long, but whether he bounces back this week against a very good Roosters team stung by their own round one loss is another question. I'd prefer the safety of a Payne Haas this week over someone like Turbo who could just as easily churn out a hundred as get another 35.
NRL Teams: Roosters v Sea Eagles
Is Cam McInnes one to watch when he returns?
Definitely one to watch but he'll probably be eased back into things coming off an injury so should be a fair bit cheaper in a few weeks.
Fell for the Coates trap. Should I hold or sell?
I did caution that Storm winger Xavier Coates is not a Fantasy-style player in last week's Q&A and his 22 points with a try in round one hasn't changed that view. No doubt he'll have a decent score at some stage but I think you can safely jump off now.
Is Stefano Utoikamanu a sell?
Wests Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu was one of the best cash cows of 2021 but started this season more at the mid-range level. However if he were to pick up where he left off at the end of last year when he averaged around 55 over the final two months (including three tries) he was still comfortably undervalued. His 40 in 51 minutes to start this season wasn't what owners were hoping for but it's only one week in so probably a bit early to give up on him just yet.