An injury to Tom Trbojevic and a handful of Broncos, question marks over the minutes over some key Storm forwards and an in-form Eels half have given Fantasy coaches plenty to think about heading into round five.
This week's big questions
Should I sell Tommy Turbo or hold until he's back?
The knee injury to Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic required surgery and is set to sideline him for at least four weeks. It's usually more of a six week injury and given his importance to the club, you'd have to think they won't risk him until he's 100%.
It's particularly frustrating for owners who have worn $244k in price drops already, especially given he's coming off his best score of the season so far with 51 against the Raiders.
But even at four weeks, his $756k price tag is a lot of money to have sitting doing nothing when you could straight swap to someone in much better Fantasy form like Isaah Yeo, Josh Curran or Dylan Brown, who we'll come to shortly. I'd be selling.
Titans v Eels
Is Dylan Brown the real deal?
Eels playmaker Dylan Brown is currently the fourth-highest scoring player in Fantasy after his back-to-back 80-plus efforts against the Storm and Dragons.
There were actually some pretty solid reasons why Brown may have been a buy before round one; at 21 he should be just starting to come into his own at NRL level and 2021 was clearly a below-par year for him in terms of his potential.
He doesn't do much general play kicking or kick goals but other than that he has been filling his boots in every category. Of most interest is just how busy he has been this year with almost 140 run metres per game, around 4.5 busts per week and five try-assists in four games.
The other thing weighing heavily in his favour is his defence. Statistically he is easily the best half across the entire NRL. He has made the most tackles of any half this year with 102 (eight more than Adam Clune) and has just seven misses. The next most tackles for a half with fewer misses is Sean O'Sullivan's 70 made for two missed.
Take out an uncharacteristic round one performance with five misses and from rounds two to four, Brown has 84 tackles (28 per game) and just two misses in three games. And this part isn't a new development, Brown has been the best defensive half in the NRL for a few years.
The past fortnight of 80-plus scores isn't sustainable but there are good reasons to think Brown will be a consistently excellent Fantasy scorer this year.
Is Matt Burton a hold or sell?
This seems to be coming up every week and I'm not quite seeing the urgency to get rid of new Bulldogs playmaker Matt Burton. He's averaging 45 in a Bulldogs side that has scored the fewest points in the competition and is currently worth $16k more than he started the season at. He scored 44 last week in a team that lost 44-0. If you're playing him at CTR he's the sixth-best averaging player in that position. And if the Dogs start to hit their straps and he gets a few more chances at goal – let alone some try assists – there's still plenty of upside.
What to do with Matt Burton
Is Kobe Hetherington a buy?
Broncos utility forward Kobe Hetherington does look tempting this week. He's named to start at lock for Pat Carrigan, who is set to miss around six weeks, and is scoring at better than a point-per-minute this year almost exclusively through base stats. So if he gets even 50 minutes per game while Carrigan is out and maintains his current scoring rate then six weeks is plenty of time to make some good price rises. It's not guaranteed: in nine starts at lock last year he averaged 33 points from 45 minutes, and he will obviously be a sell pretty quickly once Carrigan returns, but there is definite upside there.
What should I do with David Fifita?
This is a tricky one. Even though Fifita has played the full 80 minutes in three out of four games he's just not getting enough ball to make it count and his 42 against the Wests Tigers was a season low. And this is not to suggest he can only score well against weaker teams but he does face the Eels, Sea Eagles, Panthers and Roosters in the next five weeks. I'd be inclined to cut my losses with Fifita, but of course there's always the chance he comes good as soon as you sell.
Is it too late to pick up Josh King?
I think it is too late now. As discussed in previous Q&As, King has exceeded expectations so far and benefited from the absences of Brandon Smith and/or Harry Grant in the opening three weeks. But after averaging around 65 minutes in those three games, he got just 49 minutes on the weekend, scoring 41 which included a rare try. Grant played the full 80 and Smith moved entirely into the middle forward rotation. If that's a sign of things to come King could be a sell in the next two or three weeks.
Raiders v Storm
Should I hold Brandon Smith or trade him for Cook/Grant?
On the same note as the above, Grant's 80-minute spell at hooker wasn't great news for Brandon Smith owners either with just 29 points in 50 minutes playing as a prop or lock. He will no doubt still crash over for the occasional try but the current signs suggest jumping off The Cheese is the way to go.
Is Talakai worth buying?
Siosifa Talakai busted a ridiculous 17 tackles in his 75 against the Knights on the weekend and if you knew he was going to keep getting 80 minutes at centre every week there'd be an argument there to buy him. But with Connor Tracey, Matt Ikuvaly and skipper Wade Graham all set to return over the next fortnight there's a big question mark over his minutes going forward.
Should I sell Ethan Bullemor?
An easy question to finish with. Yes, you should definitely sell Ethan Bullemor.