With injuries to cover and bye rounds to play for, here are the answers to this week's big NRL Fantasy questions from NRL.com's resident Fantasy guru the Lone Scout.
Who are some keepers in the backs between rounds 12-19? I have Corey Norman, will grab Cody Walker but I know other teams have good buy schedules besides the Eels and Rabbits. - From Isaac Bishop
OK, I'll break this down because bye planning can be tricky at the best of times. If you're playing to win your head-to-head comp only you can skip this answer as this is only really a concern for overall points. There are five groups of teams you should be keeping in mind when making trades over the bye rounds, with most NRL players to be out of action in Round 12, 15 and 18:
a) Rabbitohs and Eels – These teams play in all three major bye rounds so should be your main targets for overall points. Think Norman, Walker, Adam Reynolds, Sam Burgess, Nathan Brown, maybe Clint Gutherson.
b) Sharks – Cronulla play in the first two major bye rounds (12 and 15) so will be handy for the first half of the Origin period. Beware they do miss Round 13 though. Paul Gallen's the standout.
c) Bulldogs and Roosters – These teams play in Round 12 and Round 18, and don't have their second bye until Round 19. Key players are James Graham, Jake Friend, Aiden Tolman, maybe Will Hopoate and Mitch Pearce if he doesn't get picked for Origin.
d) Storm – Melbourne play in Round 15 and 18. Obviously they lose a few superstars to Origin but they still have Fantasy guns Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi and Tohu Harris.
e) Knights, Panthers & Sea Eagles – All these teams have both of their byes out of the way by Round 15 so will be good to swoop on for Round 16 onwards. Think Nathan Cleary, Martin Taupau, Dylan Walker, Bryce Cartwright and Trent Merrin and the Trbojovic brothers if they miss Origin.
Should I get rid of Thurston or should I hold on in hopes he will make a comeback late in the season. This will leave me with Milford and Sezer in the halves. - From Joshua Long
Time to trade. When Thurston comes back he'll be straight into the Origin side and he's not dominating in Fantasy anyway. There are a lot of good options in the halves – Shaun Johnson's the best of them this year, with Corey Norman (for overall points) and Mitchell Pearce (for head-to-head) not far behind.
Would you trade Jamal Idris to Joseph Manu leaving $191k or burn all my cash (leaving $14k) by going Idris to T Turbo? - From Lachlan Camilleri
Joseph Manu has only one score above 30 in five games this season, so I'm not confident he'll continue to score well despite a 50 last round. So I prefer Tom Trbojevic, who may play Origin but would only miss the three major bye rounds anyway. There aren't any real "must halves" in the tricky centre position this year. Jarryd Hayne ($237,000) could become a dual position player if he plays three more games in the centres, and he's good value now although only available at the back.
I traded out ponga for Tedesco... good move? Or hold Ponga? Maybe even bring in Nofaluma instead? - From Lance Naera
Good move I think. Ponga isn't a must-trade yet - he could still get a chance if Lachlan Coote gets injured, or moves into the halves in Round 15 - but Tedesco is likely to be the top-scoring winger/fullback in Fantasy this year once again. Nofoaluma is giving Tedesco a run for his money this year and will play in Round 15 while Tedesco's on Origin duty, but I still feel like Tedesco will have the edge in the long run.
Adam Elliott? Is it too late? - From Jeremy Field
It's only worth grabbing him if he gets promoted to the starting side again on Thursday night. Fortunately it's the first game of the round so we'll see the final team lists before lockout, but unfortunately he's likely to stay on the bench considering he's backing up from City/Country on Sunday.
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