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Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 10

Magic Round is shaping as a pivotal week in the season for Fantasy coaches with big decisions to be made around which players should be held on to and which ones need to be moved on.

Your burning questions answered

Thoughts on Ben Trbojevic? —@leo.khayyat

It's hard not to be impressed with what "Burbo" delivered last week in his first start for the Sea Eagles. 64 points in total with two tries is a great return, but for mine, the bigger positive is the job security. Despite playing in the back row in the end due to injuries, Trbojevic was originally named in the centres ahead of Morgan Harper and, having been named there again this week, looks to have the spot secured until Brad Parker comes back. He's a fantastic downgrade option in the centres who can easily pick up some attacking stats playing alongside Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic, and stands to make close to $100k over the next three weeks. Plus he plays Round 13. At home. Against the Warriors. Bring him in.

Should I sell Ryan Papenhuyzen? —@nicko_a33

Unfortunately, yes. As much as we'd like to hold Papenhuyzen, you simply can't afford to have that much money not playing in your side for four, potentially six weeks. There's plenty of great options at wing/fullback and, if you've got someone like Nicho Hynes or Taylan May, you can swing them around to bring in a range of different players. You'll need to get Papenhuyzen back at some point, but given this injury may now see him miss Origin all together, he could turn into an essential player to have throughout the middle of the year.

NRL Casualty Ward ahead of Magic Round

What is a break-even? —@lachlanabernethy

A break-even is a prediction of the number of points a player needs to score in his next game in order to maintain his current price. It's an important stat as it's the biggest indicator of whether a player is likely to rise or fall in price — a break-even that is lower than his projected/average score means he will likely make money while a break-even that is higher than the projected score means he will likely lose it.

Should I hold Kotoni Staggs? —@connorkeating_

The Kotoni Staggs rollercoaster took another drop last week with the Broncos centre scoring just 16 points against the Rabbitohs after producing scores of 79, 69 and 50 in the last month or so. He's now owned by less than 10 percent so he is bordering on differential territory but I think there's better options out there than Staggs. For $610k, I'm not convinced that it's worth riding the rollercoaster; Justin Olam, Matt Burton, Campbell Graham or even Joseph Manu are all available for around the same price and give you a much safer floor while still providing you with the high ceiling. Staggs will product some big scores, so you need to be prepared for them to potentially hurt, but it'll be worth it for the smaller scores when they inevitably come.

Ben Trbojevic making a name for himself

Best cheapie to buy under 400k? —@sam_bucs05

There's a few options here but I really like the look of Christian Tuipulotu at Manly. He's available for $356k, has great job security with Jason Saab sidelined for the next few weeks, and is really starting to rise in price (and popularity) following scores of 46 and 39 in the last two weeks. We know the Sea Eagles can score points with DCE and Turbo in the team, so I think he's a great option for the next few weeks. There's obviously Ben Trbojevic as discussed above, Oliver Gildart has favourable draw in the next three weeks which could bring some gold for the brave of heart, while Herman Ese’ese is also a sneaky option if you need a forward. Ese'ese has a PPM (points-per-minute) rate of 1.07 and covers Round 13. 

What should I do with Kelma Tuilagi? —@matheweade1

Between a handful of head knocks and shoulder injuries, it just hasn't quite worked out as we might have liked for Wests Tigers cheapie Kelma Tuilagi. He's managed to rise in price by $128k since the start of the year, but it's time for him to go. He should be moved on in the next fortnight as you start to plan for the bye rounds. It's getting to the point of the year where mid-rangers just won't cut it — either downgrade him to a cheapie or work him up to a gun. There's not the urgency that to sell him like Tago (which we'll get to later), so if you want to hold him for Magic Round — where Wests Tigers play well — and then a home game against the Bulldogs you can... but I think you need to move on him by Round 12.

Should I bring in Adam Elliott? —@lachie.davo

Look, I'm not going to lie: I'm worried I might have been wrong on this one. Last week I was convinced that Adam Elliott starting at hooker and then shifting to the middle wouldn't last... which would invariably limit his Fantasy potential. But here we are again following another Tuesday team list with Elliott named to start at nine and I'm worried I may have misread the situation. My gut still says no, but following scores of 40, 53 and 51, I think it might be worth it. At worst, he makes you some cash over the next few weeks and covers Round 13. At best, he's a potential keeper who you could pick up for under $450k this week. If you're going to do it, I think you've got to go now... but it's one I'm going to let go and just hope for the best.

Hynes in a league of his own

Is Hynes a good captaincy option or am I chasing last week’s points? —@claytsclaytsclayts

Yes and yes. You're definitely chasing last week's points, but after scoring 132, who wouldn't be! With the likes of Nathan Cleary, Harry Grant and Cameron Munster all facing tough matchups and Payne Haas' minutes potentially in doubt given his return from injury, Hynes is a fantastic option at captain and he'll be getting the armband for my team this week. We know he's a proven performer at fullback after watching him light it up last year, so I've got no hesitancy there, and he'll retain the goal kicking duties despite Braydon Trindall coming into the side. If anything, he gets his hands on the ball in even better attacking positions at fullback, which should offset the base stats that he gets from defending in the line at halfback. Captain away with confidence, I say.

Should I wait until after Round 13 to bring in Nathan Cleary? —@kensze

Nope, get him in as soon as you can. He might not be the set-and-forget captain of last year — particularly with three tricky fixtures on the horizon — but he is one of, if not the best halfback in Fantasy with Hynes also available at wing/fullback. His bad game last week was 45 points, which means he is facing a high breakeven this week and could drop further in cash... or he could easily hit his break-even in the 80's and start to rise further in price — by which point he could be out of reach for you. You're going to want Nathan Cleary at some point, and the fact that he will likely play in Round 14 after Origin means you're only without him for the one game.

Is Tago a sell? —@will.owxns

I think the time is right to move on Izack Tago. Having made a lot of cash for coaches since the start of the season, he's starting to drop back down again and there's no guarantee of it improving with touch matchups against the Storm, Roosters and Cowboys in the next three weeks. After that he will play in Round 13, but there's no guarantee that he goes well in a Panthers team that will likely be without Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Liam Martin, Brian To'o, Isaah Yeo and potentially even Stephen Crichton. If you can find an extra 70k in the bank to go from Tago to Matt Burton then I'd be pulling the trigger and not looking back.

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