There might only be four games of action this weekend but there's no shortage of NRL Fantasy questions that need to be answered as coaches try to make the best of the first bye-affected weekend.
A number of key Fantasy players are away on State of Origin duties; others are injured, while some are simply not quite in the form we might want them to be in.
All in all, there's no shortage of big decisions to be made, and your burning questions this week are a good place to start as we try to make the right calls!
Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A
Is Jackson Hastings a sell? —@xaves_
Averaging over 50 and having risen in price by over $200k, the Jackson Hastings ride was looking to be a dream one for Coaches... until the last two weeks brought him back down to earth with scores of 30 (at home to the Bulldogs) and 21 (away to the Rabbitohs). Having said that, I still think he's a hold for after the byes. Hastings was clearly troubled by a foot injury that saw him hand over the goal-kicking duties last week, and the week off will undoubtedly help with that. But more importantly, the Tigers are starting to get some players back which should, in turn, help their attacking output. Adam Doueihi, David Nofoaluma, Jacob Liddle and James Roberts should all be available for selection or close to in Round 14, which will help Hastings' attacking returns. He's a great hold for the Round 17 bye (which will come before you know it), and has shown that he can still score well despite the Tigers' struggles. The last two weeks haven't been great but I still think he's a great hold.
NRL Casualty Ward ahead of Round 13
Is Xavier Savage a good pick up? —@zackgatau183
If you're looking for a downgrade option this week then Savage is probably your man, but he is only available at wing-fullback which does limit your options. I guess it largely depends on who you're moving on to get him in, but he's certainly not a bad shout — especially if it frees up the money for you to get someone like Tohu Harris or Angus Crichton this week. With a low break-even heading into Round 13, Savage does stand to make some decent money with a fair run of games on the schedule, including the Knights and Dragons in Rounds 15 and 16 respectively.
Is TPJ a hold or a sell? —@justmeadyaan
Sell. The biggest appeal of Tevita Pangai jnr was his Round 13 coverage as he probably wasn't going to be a keeper until the end of the season anyway. Now that he's out for a second straight week with back spasms, he's a sell for mine — especially when you consider that he wasn't even starting under Mick Potter in the one game he did play back in Round 11 (although he did score 53). The dual position flexibility is nice; moving to someone who will cover the byes like Crichton, Tapine or even Taukeiaho as a differential is probably nicer, though.
Quick fix: Bulldogs v Dragons
Is Reuben Garrick a buy? —@harry_stoneman07
Garrick showed last week (just as he has done in the many other weeks that he's played fullback for Tom Trbojevic) that he's a very handy number to have when playing in the number one for Manly. The work-rate is good, he's heavily involved in their attack, and he's kicking goals. Des Hasler's side play an out-of-sorts Warriors team this week (minus just DCE) before taking on an equally out-of-sorts Tigers team in a Sunday afternoon game at Campbelltown that screams attacking returns. Whether Garrick is a keeper right until the end of the year remains to be seen, but he's certainly a great option in the interim who at the very least could make you $50-100k while averaging 50 over the next four weeks. I'd happily take that and reassess come the Round 17 bye.
Sea Eagles v Warriors: Round 13
Has Tohu Harris' price bottomed out? - @leo.khayyat
Pretty much. We wanted to see Tohu return from injury, which we did, and then we wanted to see him play big minutes, which we did, before we brought him in. With those two big ticks to his name, I think he's an absolutely must-have option for this week that you could hold right through until the end of the season barring any unforeseen circumstances. Harris scored 59 points last week; if he does that again this week he'll make money so it's time to strike while the iron is hot.
Is Harry Grant a hold or sell? - @ryan.saward
I can see the thinking why — won't play this week or Round 17 and potentially won't back-up with a niggling groin injury — and the Harry Grant to Apisai Koroisau trade does have some merit to it as a result. But I just can't get around it. You know Grant is a keeper and probably the best in the position who you are only going to want to get back in at some point. The Storm's full-strength spine could be back on deck in Round 14 or 15 and Grant could very quickly return to the 70-plus scores that he was churning out with regularity only a month ago. Invest that trade somewhere else and don't worry about him losing money. The price only matters if you're planning on selling Grant at some point later on. If you're not, just look at the points.
Hampton and Elliot ready to step up: Payten
Who's the best captaincy option this week? —@t.ipene_
I've mentioned him already but Tohu Harris is certainly a good option, while Angus Crichton or Joey Manu (for the brave at heart) could find some attacking joy against a Raiders team that isn't defending the best at the moment. Matt Burton is a good vice-captain option against his old side, as is Apisai Koroisau. If you want an absolute left-field selection: Siosiua Taukeiaho.
Whats the best way to use my trades during the bye rounds? —@_teeleey
Good question. You essentially want to be doing one of two things during the bye rounds. You either want to be trading up cheapies who have peaked in price or mid-rangers who aren't going to rise any further to players that are genuine guns OR you want to be cashing out your risen cheapies or fallen guns to a new cheapie who will play this week (like Xavier Savage, for example). While we've discussed some mid-range options in this week's Q&A, you really want to be sticking to the principles of getting in keepers or cheapies that play this week. Too many mid-range players will get you stuck without the flexibility to move your team around come the Round 17 bye weekend, and you'll have to use too many trades come the back end of the year. You should have spent the last few weeks planning for this week's bye — now it's important to start thinking about Round 17 and beyond.
Who are the must-have WFBs besides Tedesco? —@finchie1
Nicho Hynes is still a must-have but the one every coach will need when he returns shortly after the bye round is Ryan Papenhuyzen. If you don't have the money, you're going to need to start finding a way to create the cash to bring him back in. Players like Reuben Garrick (see above), Taylan May (who most already have) and Joseph Manu (who will play fullback with Tedesco at Origin) will all work in the interim but you will want to move them on at some point. I have a feeling that May to Papenhuyzen will be a popular trade in the coming weeks.