The first dreaded bye week is finally here as NRL Fantasy coaches look to the depths of their benches to field competitive sides.
For the many leagues who don’t break over the Origin-affected weekends, there’s no denying the fact that it can be incredibly challenging to know who to move on, who to hold and who to bring in to benefit your team both now and into the long term.
NRL Fantasy teams analysis: Round 13
Titans v Cowboys, Thursday at Cbus Super Stadium
Titans: Jayden Campbell ($568k) has been in sensational form with a three-game average of 55.7 despite producing 43 on the weekend. He’s a great differential option at home against a depleted Cowboys side this week. The Titans four most popular Fantasy players are bench forward Sam Lisone, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Origin), David Fifita (injured) and Will Smith (not named). Outside of that, there’s not too much to note — Beau Fermor will be a popular sell next week.
Cowboys: A huge boost for Fantasy coaches with Murray Taulagi and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow both named despite being called into Origin camp. There’s no Tom Dearden though, who will remain in the squad as 18th Man, with Ben Hampton joining Chad Townsend in the halves. Jason Taumalolo’s return is a welcome sight with the Tongan international set for big minutes in the absence of Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai. Tom Gilbert ($571k) is quietly rocking a three-game game average of 48.3 and will maintain his starting spot again this week. Jake Granville’s inclusion last week did n’t hurt Reece Robson too much, with the hooker still scoring 50 points due to his defensive work from him (52 tackles made).
Panthers v Bulldogs, Friday at BlueBet Stadium
Panthers: Despite missing Round 13 with Origin and Round 17 with the bye, Stephen Crichton ($545k) is still worth holding. Owned by close to 40 percent of teams and with an average in the 40’s, you’re only going to want him back at some point — especially with his dual-position flexibility from him. Izack Tago and Taylan May were close to scoring in the 50’s last week, and with the Knights and Warriors ahead in the following two weeks, don’t need to be moved on anytime soon (although they will be popular sells before the Round 17 bye ). Apisai Koroisau will start despite being in Origin camp this week, while Charlie Staines ($681k) is a welcome return for the five percent who still own. Spencer Leniu ($366k) should be on for good minutes as the only recognized prop on the bench, while Kurt Falls ($220k) will likely kick goals in the absence of Crichton and Nathan Cleary.
Bulldogs: Happy Max King week — we’ve been holding the Bulldogs forward for Round 13 and it’s finally here. Having said that, you can easily hold King for another fortnight or so; his 59 of him last week was a very welcome sight for Fantasy coaches. Matt Burton is a potential captaincy option this week against his old team. There’s no Tevita Pangai jnr again as he battles a back injury, but the inclusion of Raymond Faitala-Mariner ($373k) on an edge at just 0.4% ownership is very, very intriguing.
Sea Eagles v Warriors, Saturday at 4 Pines Park
Sea Eagles: Jason Saab ($221k) is a huge inclusion for the nine percent of coaches who still own the speedster, but it’s worth tempering expectations a little — Saab is averaging less than 20 and he won’t have Tom Trbojevic there with him. Still, his return from him from injury is a boost for the Sea Eagles backline. Ethan Bullemor has been dropped and can be sold — his playing time of him is inconsistent at best and, with the likes of Taniela Paseka (listed as 18th Man) close to returning, that he does not appear to be changing anytime soon. Haumole Olakau’atu is starting to come back to the pack and can be upgraded after this week. Christian Tuipulotu is worth holding a little bit longer, though, as he continues to tick along in price and points.
Warriors: Tohu Harris is back. The Warriors skipper scored 59 last week and is a great option this week and for the rest of the season (although he will miss Round 17), even with the inclusion of Bayley Siron this week and pending return of Josh Curran. Viliami Vailea is out in a blow for those who held for this week; Rocco Berry and Adam Pompey have been named in the centers instead. Reece Walsh has dropped below $500k in price and is kicking goals… but he hasn’t cracked 40 points since Round 6 and would take a very risky choice to bring in.
Raiders v Roosters, Sunday at GIO Stadium
Raiders: Xavier Savage only managed 23 last week against the Eels but did have a try disallowed, which would have seen his score (and price) tick along nicely. He’s still a decent cheapie at $220k. Adam Elliott at lock is a boost for those who picked him up during his run at hooker, as he could be a big beneficiary from Josh Papalii’s return to the Origin arena. Canberra’s attack could struggle without Jack Wighton against a full-strength Roosters pack, who dominated the Sharks last weekend.
Roosters: Joseph Manu goes back to fullback where we know he can absolutely dominate the points-scoring, having shown us previously in the Origin period. Angus Crichton’s omission from the Blues team is a boost for owners, while Nat Butcher will be a popular pickup after scoring 65 last week to rise in price by $52k. Teen sensation Joseph Suaalii earned a call-up to the Blues squad and is listed among the reserves. He suffered a category one concussion against the Sharks but is expected to be released to play should he pass the concussion protocols.