We're starting to get to a pivotal point of the season for coaches, where decisions around which players to move on and which ones to keep the faith with will prove decisive come season's end.
Your burning questions answered
Should I hold or sell Stephen Crichton? —@finncarr
Having risen $167K already this year, it's a fair question as to whether Stephen Crichton is a keeper for the season or someone to cash in on. Especially off the back of an up-and-down last month that has seen him score than 29 just once. The run ahead is tough — Eels, Storm, Roosters — but I'd hold for this weekend before readdressing. The Cowboys ripped the Eels to shreds in Darwin and Penrith, at home with Brian To'o potentially back, could do the same. He's also somewhat unlikely to play Origin for those looking further down the track, with Kotoni Staggs appearing to be the front-runner to replace Latrell Mitchell... for now, anyway.
Is it time to trade out Blake Taaffe? —@samwansbone
No. We know Taaffe's job security is great and he's goal-kicking. But the biggest upside is the Rabbitohs' upcoming draw. While they don't play in Round 13, South Sydney don't play a single team inside the current top eight until facing Parramatta in Round 16. Three of their next four opponents rank in the bottom four defensive teams in the competition so there should be plenty of attacking returns for the Rabbitohs fullback, which would kickstart another cycle of price rises.
Should I pick-up Adam Elliott? —@alastairpjw_
I'm hesitant to go down the Adam Elliott path, even though he was superb last week. Starting at hooker and then playing in the middle when Tom Starling came on, Elliott chalked up 53 points and, at less than $400K, is certainly eye-catching for coaches desperate to generate some cash. But I think there's better options (read on) at the price, and him starting at hooker might not be much of a long-term strategy for the Raiders if they can't turn around their recent run of form.
Is David Klemmer worth buying? —@robbie_hetherington
Owned by just 1.3% of coaches, I think Klemmer is a great differential selection... although the price tag is steep. The Knights have lost six in a row and are in free fall — having gone from first on the ladder to last — but Klemmer has been arguably the shining light of the forward pack, having averaged 62.3 in the past three weeks. Mitch Barnett is back from suspension soon, but aside from him, there's not too many middle forwards coming back to the Newcastle pack to hurt his minutes. Newcastle will be desperate for a response after being hammered in the past two weeks and the experience of Klemmer will go a long way to delivering it.
Action Jackson and cool-hand Luke
Is Jackson Hastings worth picking up? —@ethan_carrbenge
Yep. In a side that scored just one try on the weekend, Hastings churned out another superb score and appears the real deal for Fantasy coaches. Adam Doueihi is still at least another month away so there's no danger of him losing the goal-kicking any time soon, but it's Hastings' running game that is impressing most — having run for 90, 102 and 96 metres in the past three weeks. Tyrone Peachey's inclusion on the bench will also mean that Luke Brooks doesn't have to swap in to hooker and can maintain his combination with Hastings in the halves. Hastings has just two try assists in the past three weeks but has averaged 63; imagine what the scores could be with a few more attacking stats sprinkled in. Buy, buy, buy.
The trade you need to make this week
Is Mitchell Moses a sell? —@cooper_jamess
Do you have Nathan Cleary? That's the bigger question to ask. If you do, then Moses isn't necessarily a sell given he still ranks as one of the top five halves per round average, and leads one of the best attacking teams in the competition around the park. With his kicking game and goal-kicking such a consistent part of his game, Moses is fairly reliable and the 22 he scored against the Cowboys last week is about as low as it's going to get. Having said that, that low score means his break-even is high this week, so if you're going to sell then it's time to pull the trigger before the $122K he's made so far this year starts to go. If Moses can be the bridge to Cleary, then by all means sell away. But I'd be tempted to hold if you already have the Panthers skipper, especially with Dylan Brown now back in the halves.
Who’s the best middle under 500k? —@ollie_glackin
Alex Seyfarth has the potential to fly under the radar at Wests Tigers with Luciano Leilua (hamstring) sidelined. There's no official confirmation on Leilua just yet, but with the Sea Eagles, Cowboys and Bulldogs up on the schedule for Seyfarth, there's potential for him to do a job in your team. Kelma Tuilagi hasn't played consistent minutes all season and Luke Garner is currently in the centres, so Seyfarth's job security should be pretty good if Leilua is sidelined for any sort of time. He's available for just $347K, and has two scores in the 50's this year both times that he's played 80 minutes. Tevita Tatola is a tick over $500K if you can make it work and is also not a bad shout while Matt Lodge is bang on the dollar and could be an option.
Should I buy Alex Twal? —@william.fanshawe
A Fantasy favourite, it might just be Twal time in 2022 after averaging over 60 in the past three weeks with no apparent sight of slowing down. Twal has been enormous in the Wests Tigers' recent run of form, with his minutes pushing from 50's to 60's, which has led to his Fantasy scores doing the same. The Wests Tigers bench is big this week, however, with three middle forwards following the return of Stefano Utoikamanu. With Peachey also capable of playing lock and Joe Ofahengaue needing minutes as well, there appears to be too many minutes to go around for my liking. I'm somewhat on the fence but leaning towards no.
Panthers v Eels: Round 9
Should I hold Dylan Brown? —@will.daley1
While he's back in the halves, which is good for Fantasy coaches and Eels fans alike, I think it's time to move on Brown. Parramatta looked out of sorts against the Cowboys, and now have upcoming games against the Panthers, Roosters and Sea Eagles. It's not exactly a great run, and you can move to someone like Jahrome Hughes or Adam Reynolds for a similar price, or make $100K going down to Scott Drinkwater, who just so happens to play in Round 13.
Is Brad Schneider a hold? —@raul_santiago1
As much as I'd like him to be, I'm leaning no. First of all, there's Jarrod Croker being back in the team, which could impact his goal-kicking numbers. Second, there's the fact that former Dally M winner Jack Wighton is sidelined for the next two weeks... before returning for a three-game stretch after that of the Rabbitohs, Eels and Roosters. His scores are starting to go backwards, which means he's going to start leaking all the cash that he's made so far this year. He's been a great cheapie for us all, but it's time to move on the Raiders rookie for greener pastures.
Raiders v Bulldogs: Round 9
Is Max King a sell? —@rowland_ike10
King has definitely peaked after making close to $300K for coaches this year, but I'm still not seeing any urgency to get rid of him just yet. He's still viable to use in your 17 so there's absolutely no rush to part ways with him just yet. At some stage, you'll need to upgrade him for another keeper, sure. And if your team is that settled at the moment that you can do it, then by all means go ahead and I envy you very much. I'd still be holding and putting out one or two other fires before I move on King.