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The Schedule - Season Trade Strategy

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

Welcome to the 2023 season’s first edition of ‘The Schedule’.

With three Wednesday night State of Origin games, team/s having a bye each week and a 27 round season, trades will be at a premium in 2023. This season, you will have 44 trades to build a gun 17 man team and squad value in excess of 14 million. The aim of this article is to provide you with a season guide subject to the strategic usage of trades.

NRL Fantasy has placed limitations on the number of trades available to coaches throughout the season. These include;

· Round 1 - Round 6: Make a maximum of 2 trades per week.

· Round 7 - Round 12: Make a maximum of 3 trades per week.

· Round 13 onwards: Make a maximum of 4 trades per week.

Fantasy coaches will have a maximum of 36 trades available through to the end of round 19. It is important that fantasy coaches set their teams up correctly in the early rounds. This allows you to bank trades while maximise point scoring and cash generation.

Throughout the season, you should ideally always have 50k – 100k in the bank. This prevents the need to utilise and waste an additional trade in weeks when your trade in targets are slightly more expensive than your trade out options.

Prior to round 2, fantasy coaches should use 1 – 2 trades to correct cash cow and mid-ranger selections. This is achieved by trading in players with high job security and whose output in round 1 indicates a projection of at least 150k in value. Trade out candidates include guns injured or suspended for greater than two weeks and cash cow and mid-range options whose output, role or PPM was less than projected and indicates they do not have 10 points of value.

From rounds 3 – 5, look to hold your cash cow and mid-rangers while they increase in price. Only sparingly use approximately 2 – 3 trades in this period to trade out players that have a sudden reduction in role or succumb to an injury or suspension greater than two weeks.

During rounds 6 – 10, use 5 – 6 trades to upgrade and downgrade peaked cash cow and mid-ranger selections. This will allow you to trade in new cash cows, mid-rangers (must have a sudden increase in role) and additional guns. When trading in guns during this period, give some consideration to their likelihood of playing State of Origin and in the round 13 major bye.

Between rounds 11 and 19, trade heavy to continue to upgrade and downgrade peaked cash cow and mid-ranger selections. Trade in and trade out targets during this period should solely be determined by the players’ likelihood of playing State of Origin and scheduling of their major and minor byes. Give special consideration to the positioning of trade in targets and existing team members in your squad to ensure you can field a team of 13 on field players (not 17, as your bench will not contribute to your overall score) during the round 13, 16 and 19 major bye rounds. Kiwi guns including Joseph Tapine, Isaiah Papali’i, Dylan Brown and Joey Manu should be strongly considered as top-tier options to trade in and hold right through to seasons end. Continue to trade in cash cow and mid-range options that may have a sudden increase in role during the State of Origin period. Someone like Reuben Cotter should be traded out after round 12, as he is a lock to be involved in State of Origin (in camp during rounds 13 and 16) and projected to have his minutes managed in rounds 14, 17 and 20. The Cowboys also have scheduled byes in rounds 15 and 19, leaving their round 18 fixture to be projected as the only game Cotter’s minutes will be unaffected. In the major bye rounds, look to pick up 1-2 cash outs that can be used as scorers in your playing 13 for the week.

In round 20, coaches will receive an additional eight trades. On the run home, coaches should allow for the usage of one trade per week to straight swap and trade in top-tier guns. It is important to consider your squad balance during this period, ensuring you have cover for all positions and an appropriate 18th man. Look to have 2-3 cash outs in your emergencies to maximise the usage of your team’s value. Ideally, at least one cash out in your squad will be a rookie from a bottom eight team with strong job security.

As we move closer to and throughout the 2023 NRL season, you can expect to see an edition of ‘The Schedule’ fortnightly right through to round 27. Each edition will focus on trade usage and the navigation of byes. There will be plenty more on offer across the writer’s room, with Sean coming on board to bolster the content provided by Jake, the Professor and Rich. Plus, TK may also share his thoughts via ‘The Playbook’.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has bought the Talking League Textbook. Your contribution towards support of the podcast and raising much needed funds for Bowel Cancer Australia is appreciated.

Until next time, enjoy making unlimited trades in your NRL Fantasy team and the official kick off of the 2023 preseason trials this weekend.


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