And welcome back to Quick Tap! Plenty happening in Fantasy land with several key suspensions, injuries and restings causing chaos for Fantasy Coaches.
Cowboys v Sharks, Friday 6.00pm at Queensland Country Bank Stadium
In a move that surprises no one, Jeremiah Nanai and Valentine Holmes are rested, paving the way for Connelly Lemuelu to start. You’d expect coach Hop Todd will give Lemeulu the 80 minutes, with Leilua sliding into the left edge role when Tom Gilbert moves to the middle.
Jason Taumalolo will continue to rack up big minutes as Reuben Cotter remains out. Whilst the bench composition may change before kick-off, another 65 minutes is on the cards.
Nicho Hynes returns from health and safety protocols. With Cleary out, he should be your captain this week given you can’t use his DPP to aid your looping travails this week.
With Holmes out for the Cowboys, could we see another massive game from Ramien? I wouldn’t rule it out.
Cameron McInnes could be a solid hold, with decent points and minutes in round 17. Given most are struggling to field 17, you’d be bold to sell him.
Expect late changes as Siosifa Talakai is named in the reserves and could be an inclusion for an important game in the top 4 race.
Eels v Warriors, Friday 7.55pm at CommBank Stadium
Still no sign of Ryan Matterson, who battles his rib injury leaving owners in a difficult spot this week. Matterson has shown why you don’t C/VC a traded-in player, as those who bought him before round 16 would’ve been unable to reverse before he lodged two DNPs in a row.
Jake Arthur is on the bench which probably gives Dylan Brown owners some form of Fantasy PTSD. It’s unclear what his role is, but Reed Mahoney owners will be looking on nervously as well.
Isaiah Papali’i has now bottomed up and is still a buy, even if the last bye round has entered the rear-vision mirror.
Conversely, Will Penisini will continue to leak cash and is one you should look to sell if your numbers allow it.
Popular cheapie Volkman is out for the week due to a virus, further weakening the bench depth of several coaches.
Reece Walsh returns after missing round 16 with health and safety protocols and will be a welcome addition to the WFB stocks of his owners.
Roosters v Dragons, Saturday 3.00pm at Central Coast Stadium
Besides the absence of Luke Keary, it’s “All Gas, No Brakes” for the Roosters as they look to return to the top 8. Expect all the origin contingent to feature as named.
With Keary out, it’s more Gossy Good Times for Joseph Manu owners as he’ll his hands on the ball plenty of times.
Ben Hunt is named and provided he comes through the decider without too many battle scars will line up for the Red V.
Jack Bird posts another impressive score and is a fantastic alternative to a Euan Aitken if you need a more-budget friendly option at CTR.
Sea Eagles v Knights, Saturday 5.30pm at 4 Pines Park
Reuben Garrick is named at fullback and one would think the bye was perfect timing for him to rest his hip injury. Assuming that injury has healed, he should resume the goalkicking.
Besides Garrick, the only real fantasy assets of relevance in this team are Daly Cherry-Evans, Haumole Olakau’atu and Tolutau Koula who hopefully all dine out against one of the poorer defensive teams in the NRL.
Origin stars Kalyn Ponga and Dane Gagai are named for the Knights and are both interesting options for those needing cheap outside backs with big upside.
It was contrasting fortunes for edges Mitchell Barnett and Tyson Frizell, although it’s important to note that Frizell battled through the last 50-55 minutes with a lower leg issue. At the ground, it was clear to see that he was quite proppy however he should he good to go this week for owners.
Jayden Brailey is named to start with Chris Randall out of the 17. With Kurt Mann and Simi Sasagi capable of relieving him, I wouldn’t be going near a player with a high BE.
Titans v Broncos, Saturday 7.35pm at Cbus Super Stadium
Aaron Booth finally gets a chance, named as starting hooker with Erin Clark dropping to the bench. With the deckchairs being shuffled on the Titanic before they run into Iceberg Lettuces, I’d hold off him for now.
David Fifita is the only interesting fantasy asset in this team. Given the high break-even, there’s no rush to bring in the $1.25m man.
The Broncos have taken the prudent approach and rested several origin stars. This is great news for Zac Hosking owners in need of a score this week before becoming a red dot.
Ezra Mam hold his spot and is getting closer to the peak in his price. You’d have to be swimming in green dots to even dream of selling him this week.
Mam’s halves partner Adam Reynolds had a less-than-desirable score in round 17. It’s hard to see him scoring so low again, but I wouldn’t be buying him anytime soon.
Wests Tigers v Panthers, Sunday 2.00pm at CommBank Stadium
As Bill Lawry would say, it’s all happening! Adam Doueihi gets his wish and returns to the halves. With a massive BE, I wouldn’t be rushing out to buy him just yet.
Doueihi’s move to 6 was made possible by shifting Jackson Hastings to lock, which pushes Joe Ofahengaue to Prop and Fonua Pole back to the bench. Given the impressive efforts from Pole, you’d think he stays in the 17 for the rest of the season.
Justin Matamua is given a crack in the starting side at the expense of Luke Garner, whose owners have a very difficult prospect of selling him before he plays his future employers.
Stefano Utoikamanu drops out of the squad as James Tamou returns to captain the side.
All of the ladder leader’s origin contingent have been rested, a sensible decision for the club three games clear at the top. This is good news for anyone who took Kurt Falls as an early cash-out before round 13, as he gets another run in the top grade.
Fantasy Coaches get a sneak preview of what Mitch Kenny may deliver in 2023. Lets hope he looks promising, but doesn’t get an inflated score so he’s nice and cheap for 2023!
Storm v Raiders, Sunday 4.05pm at AAMI Park
Brandon Smith will miss several games after questioning the integrity of the referee in the Storm’s defeat to the Sharks. He’s a sell unless you’re running on fumes when it comes to trades. EDIT: Missing three games means he's borderline, especially given he could be a handy loop option in rounds 19 and 20.
Cameron Munster has been named after being ruled out of the Origin decider due to health and safety protocols. Expect him to take his frustration out on the Raiders with a big performance.
Chris Lewis makes way for the return of Felise Kaufusi, ending his run of handy cash-out scores for now.
Ryan Papenhuyzen was a favourable obstruction call away from a 50. Unless you owned him, I’d want to see more from him before buying.
Much like the Sea Eagles, there’s only a few fantasy relevant players in this team: Joseph Tapine, Hudson Young, Jamal Fogarty and Adam Elliott. I wouldn’t strive to own anyone else.
Xavier Savage should continue at fullback, with Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad announcing last week that he would return to NZ in 2023.
Bulldogs v Rabbitohs, Sunday 6.15pm at Accor Stadium
Matt Burton is named to back up and should do so unless he picks up a knock whilst playing for NSW.
Tevita Pangai Junior makes a speedy recovery, effectively pushing Raymond Faitala-Mariner to the bench. It wouldn’t surprise me to see RFM play the final 55-60 and make a big impact from a fantasy perspective.
Until Luke Thompson returns to the team and chops into Max King’s minutes, I wouldn’t really consider the sale of him unless you have no other assets to upgrade.
The significance of this fixture is probably helpful for owners of Cameron Murray and Damien Cook, as the Rabbitohs must keep winning before they hit the horror run of fixtures if they wish to play finals footy. Expect both to get a rest if the bunnies get to an unassailable lead in the second half.
Latrell Mitchell was exceptional on Friday Night, bringing the heat with some sparkling attacking play and some quality goalkicking. If you’re desperate for a WFB, it’s hard to tell you to look elsewhere considering the value he poses.
After a strong showing in Newcastle, Jed Cartwright retains a spot in the 17 via the bench. It wouldn’t surprise me if he continues in that role, enabling Arrow to slot into the middle during the match. Not great if you bought the former Panther to be a red dot!
And that’s all for Quick Tap for round 18. Remember to keep an eye on the team lists, as several origin players could be late withdrawals from their club teams. In the meantime, be sure to check out this week’s Buy, Sell, Hold, Avoid where I’ll join the team to analyse the key players of interest!
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