Injuries, COVID and coaches resting Origin players will seriously test many Fantasy teams in Round 18, while some also face crucial decisions when it comes to the choice between saving precious trades and making moves this week.
But never fear, Lone Scout is here to help.
Lone Scout's Fantasy Q&A: Round 18
I have no trades left, am I in a bad position? - @mattygrace89
While it’s not an ideal spot to be in with potentially eight Fantasy rounds still to play, depending on your finals format, the good news is you’ll have four more trades come Round 20 when the final batch are released to teams. If you’ve got 19 or 20 green dots within your current squad then you might be able to limit the damage until then, but otherwise you will be forced to field less than 17 players, a position I suspect many coaches will be in this week with a glut of players out.
Best captain choices for Round 18? - @zak_sattrup
It is between Nicho Hynes and Damien Cook for me. Hynes is the best player by average in the entire game and should be refreshed after not playing for a couple of weeks. The down side is he’s playing the red-hot Cowboys and could struggle to generate some of the attacking stats he normally does. Cook on the other hands is playing the Bulldogs, who while improving, are still a team a player like him could have a field day against at hooker. He only played 28 minutes in the Origin decider too, so should be fine to back up and play big minutes for the Rabbitohs on Sunday night.
Hynes at home in the wet
Is Payne Haas a sell? - @krobbo3112
It depends on the situation you’re in at this stage of the year. If you’re looking like making the finals, have an adequate fill-in option or, like our friend in the earlier question have trade troubles, then I’d be tempted to hold him at this point. Haas has a history of playing through pain and continuing to score well despite being physically restricted, and while there is no definitive timeline on his return it could be as early as Round 19.
However if you need wins or have ample trades left then he’s a sell, with his $676k able to be put to good use on a similarly priced player who should score in the high 40s or low 50s for you this week.
Should I buy Euan Aitken? - @tysonjohnston__
He averages 50 points per game possesses arguably the greatest gift known to Fantasy coaches – CTR eligibility without actually playing there on the field – but still, I’d be a little hesitant to pull the trigger on Aitken. When he’s playing in the second row he’s a great player to have in Fantasy, but if the Warriors suffer a loss in the backline at any point during a game, Aitken is likely to be the first player they move into the centres in a reshuffle. Not to mention he was named at centre in Round 16 before eventually shifting back to the pack come kick-off, with interim head coach Stacey Jones identifying him as a player who could help fix their leaky edge defence.
What’s happening with Ryan Matterson? - @finchie1
After a couple of frustrating weeks which have seen him named and then withdrawn from Parramatta’s squad, Matterson has been left out this week due to an ongoing rib injury. The good news is coach Brad Arthur said this week that the Eels are “very confident that he will play next week”, hopefully signaling at end to the anguish for those who have held Matterson all this time. Once he is back on the field he shapes as an excellent point of difference for Fantasy teams, given his ability to produce elite scores while being owned by less than 5% of teams.
Should I buy Latrell now or wait a week for Papenhuyzen? - @tomrobbyafc
After two impressive games back from his long layoff with injury, I’m leaning towards Latrell being the better of these two options for a couple of reasons. The first is that at $557k right now Mitchell is probably still cheaper than what you’re going to get Papenhuyzen ($719k currently) for in a week or two when his price should plummet. The second relates to reliable Fantasy metrics, which the South Sydney star has the edge in. His last two scores of 61 and 43 came mostly from goalkicking and base stats, without him scoring a try. Pap on the other hand needed two tries and three assists in Round 16 to reach a score of 53 and managed only 28 last week without a try.
The price is right and the numbers add up for Latrell.
Latrell back and focussed on the Rabbitohs
Who's a bigger priority to bring in, Isaiah Papali'i or DCE? - @khan_salic_
Cherry-Evans is the most likely to go up in price this week, with a break even of 49 which is well under his season average of 61 points per game. Papali’i has a break even of 67 so shouldn’t go up too much, but with an average of 62 across this season is also unlikely to drop significantly in value. DCE has the most potential for base stats right now – a good example being Round 15 when he registered nearly 50 points from kick metres and tackles alone – while Papali’i could still have his minutes impacted by the return of Ryan Matterson in the next week or so.
Both are good choices, with Cherry-Evans the more urgent buy.