Magic Round looks like being one of the trickiest of the season for NRL Fantasy coaches, with one of the buys of the year now sidelined and a wealth of new cash cow options available.
The Lone Scout is here to help with answers to this week's big questions.
Round 9 Fantasy questions
Is Bateman worth holding or is he a definite sell? Also, which are the best cash cow options this week, Turpin, Young, Field etc?
From Kieran Waters
John Bateman's fractured eye socket is set to keep him out of action for the next six to eight weeks, which makes him a sell unless you are absolutely flying in your head-to-head league, not concerned about your overall rank and are willing to give up points (and potential cash rises) in order to save a couple of trades. I'm trading.
In terms of this week's cheapies, here are the pros and cons as far as I can tell:
Hudson Young ($213k)
- Pros: His -5 break even is the lowest of any player this round. Scored 46 points in 55 minutes last week. Could hold a starting spot in Canberra's second row for the next 6-8 rounds before Bateman and Joe Tapine return. Also plays in the first bye round.
- Cons: Job security slightly risky considering he's a 20-year-old with five (mostly brief) NRL appearances to his name. Tapine or Bateman could potentially return early from injury and bump him back to the bench. Would need to be sold quickly once he's a bench player again before his price slips.
Jai Field ($228k)
- Pros: A lightning quick half who has a penchant for long-range tries, Field is set to replace the injured Corey Norman (cheekbone) for the next four or five weeks.
- Cons: Unlikely to get as many games in the top grade as the other contenders, unlikely to score as well as forwards Young and Turpin.
Tom Dearden ($233k)
- Pros: The Broncos No.7 jersey is his to lose after Kodi Nikorima's switch to the Warriors. Has a break even of 3 after last week's 35 (he's projected to earn about $120k in the next three weeks alone if he keeps hitting 35s).
- Cons: There is some competition from fellow Brisbane halves Cory Paix and Sean O'Sullivan, who were both included in this week's 21-man squad. Unlikely to score as well as Young and Turpin.
Zac Lomax ($239k)
- Pros: Break even of 1, covers both winger/fullback and centre positions, kicks goals, job security looks fairly safe with Euan Aitken relegated to the bench. His goal-kicking alone makes him a vital member of the starting team with Gareth Widdop injured.
- Cons: Some risk Aitken could win his spot back. As a centre he's likely to score around 30 points a game.
Jake Turpin ($248k)
- Pros: Andrew McCullough's knee injury means it could be Turpin time for Fantasy coaches with a brand new cut-price 80-minute hooker. That role usually means scores of between 40 and 60, which would mean rapid price rises for a player under $250,000.
- Cons: McCullough is sidelined "indefinitely" and could return before Turpin has time to reach his peak price. Slightly higher price tag than the others due to due games last season, is untried at this level as an 80-minute hooker, and most Fantasy teams already have a few hookers in their squad.
Young and Turpin will probably make the fastest money, while Dearden and Lomax have the better long-term job security. At this point I'd rank them Dearden, Lomax, Young, Turpin, Field – but if you're happy to gamble then bump up Young and Turpin a place or two.
With CHT dropped, is it best to go for another cash cow in Deardan/Flanagan, considering I cannot afford a keeper?
From Josiah Atkinson
Yep, get Dearden.
Tedesco? Is he still considered a keeper? Averaging below 50
From Guy Flynn
Yes. In the past four seasons Tedesco has averaged 54, 48, 52 and 53. He's the kind of tackle-busting fullback that thrives in Fantasy, and he's playing for the best team in the competition. Even this season despite being a little underwhelming he's averaging 47.6, and only needs a couple of 60s (like the 62 he scored a week ago) to get his average back above 50. After dropping $110k he's a good buy (although he'll probably be a little cheaper next week). He's definitely not a sell.
Bateman and Morgan to Reynolds and Cam Smith this week and Garner to Taumalolo next week? Have Rein and Mahoney already and Pearce is my other half.
From Barry Chatfield
Is Fainu worth trading in now Koroisau is in the halves?
From Colin Gledhill
Manly's reshuffle after injuries to halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Lachlan Croker means Manase Fainu looks set to play 80 minutes at hooker. His price has bottomed out after dropping by $160k this year as a bench player, and after back-to-back scores of 64 his break even is just under 30. But for how long will Fainu start? Croker could be back as soon as round 10 while Cherry-Evans is looking to return a couple of weeks later. That means although Fainu will definitely rise in value in the short term it might not be worth trading him in now and out again in a month's time.
Who are the top targets for round 12?
From Mitchell Staples
Round 12 is the first of the two major bye rounds this year, with half the NRL clubs and all State of Origin players out of action. The teams that will play that weekend are Penrith, Manly, Parramatta, Souths, Canterbury, Canberra, Gold Coast and North Queensland.
I wouldn't be buying players purely because they play in round 12 – if they're not a keeper you're going to be using two trades on them, so you're best off selling them for a profit rather than burning trades for the sake of a one-off score. And if you buy a keeper who plays in round 12, they obviously won't be playing in the other bye round (round 16).
So if you're planning for the byes, the smart move is to bring in round 12 players you would sell before round 16, or hold onto any borderline keepers until at least after round 12.
That being said, here are the (potential) cash cows who will play in round 12: Hudson Young, Reuben Garrick, Maika Sivo, Kane Elgey, Corey Waddell, Manase Fainu, Jaeman Salmon.
And the keepers or borderline keepers: Jason Taumalolo, Cameron Murray (if he misses Origin), Adam Reynolds (if he misses Origin), Martin Taupau, Reed Mahoney, Aiden Tolman, Sam Burgess, Cody Walker (if he misses Origin), Jordan McLean (if he missed Origin).