Four rounds and twelve trades separate our current team from our first big bye round side.
We need to remember that we can’t compete for a respectable overall rank if we ignore the three big bye rounds. As we all know, our rank can change by thousands if we push rounds 12, 15 and 18 to the side.
We need to be prepared but we can’t compromise the integrity of our teams just to field decent numbers. Let’s take a quick look at the teams and players that’ll give your team a boost while avoiding wasting your trades.
Parra players will have their byes in rounds 16 and 19 so they’ll boost your numbers for all three of the big bye rounds. There are a handful of Eels’ players that are averaging well so you just need to decide when it’s best to bring them into your team.
Clint Gutherson is one of the better options available for the bye period. He’s averaging around 65 PPG, has DPP FE/CTW status and also has the goal kicking duties. The best part is we can pick him up for a little over $350k if we grab him this week.
Semi Radradra is a controversial choice but we can trade him in for around $90k less than his starting price. He’s had a run of shocking scores but his performance last weekend has put him back on some of our radars. We just need to ask ourselves whether we think he can continue these run of scores when the Eels have a fairly tough run coming into round 12. I’d hold off as long as possible.
Corey Norman has now fallen below his starting price but he’s been averaging poorly for the past four weeks. Owners will find it tough to let him go and those of us who have monitored his progress are far from impressed. If you’re like me and Norman isn’t part of your team, we should probably wait until after round 10 before making our decision.
Manu Ma’u will be popular for the bye period due to his consistency and having DPP CTW/2RF status. He’ll give you an average of 50 points per week and we should be able to offload him for a similar price to what we bought him for. Be prepared to use another trade to get him out after round 18; the Eels won’t play round 19 and you won’t want him in your run home side.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Bunnies are the only other team with perfect bye coverage. Their byes fall on rounds 13 and 16 where just one other team will also have a week off. They don’t exactly have a large number of appealing options but there are definitely a few options we should consider.
Sam Burgess has already lost around $75k on his starting price but he’s still averaging over 60 PPG. I forked out around $500k to have him in my starting side but the 58% of coaches that don’t own him can now pick him up for a discount. Thankfully we won’t have to use another trade to get him out as he’s worthy for our run home sides.
Cody Walker is close to a ‘must have’ for the bye period but he won’t be cheap if you don’t own him already. The Bunnies have a tough run through the bye period so the only issue with Walker will be his attacking potential. He didn’t score well last weekend but was one of the highest averaging players through the opening six rounds of the season with 83 PPG. Ignoring him could be a risky move.
Damien Cook is a risky option as your hooker because he’s been fairly inconsistent in recent weeks. Unfortunately he’s now creeping towards $300k so he’s slowly becoming less appealing as each week passes. I’d recommend having a gun performer as your other hooker as you might fall behind if you rely on Cook’s stats each week.
Angus Crichton was a better pick-up last week and we won’t want to pay much more than $300k for his services. The only concern with Crichton is whether he’ll drop back to the bench in the coming weeks. None of the Rabbitohs’ forwards will play Origin and his spot in the starting side isn’t guaranteed. He’s playing well enough to keep his spot at this stage.
Siosifa Talakai is a very controversial choice unless you started the season with him. The big appeal with Talakai is his cheap price tag although his job security isn’t the greatest. There’s no harm in holding him through the bye period but it could be a wasted trade if you’re thinking of trading him in. We should keep in mind that he’s averaging below 40 PPG which isn’t worth the two trades getting him in and out of your side.
The Sharks are the only other team that will play the first two big bye rounds. We just need to be wary that they share their first bye round with the Rabbitohs (Round 13) and they’re not playing the final big bye week (round 18).
Paul Gallen is arguably a must have player for the bye period. He won’t be playing Origin this year and he’ll likely be among the top five highest scoring forwards for six of the eight week period. Don’t expect his price to come down before round 12; he’ll probably maintain the same price tag for the next three to four weeks.
Valentine Holmes has been playing well since returning at fullback and could be one of the better performing FB/CTW options throughout the bye period. Be wary that he may not be any cheaper in the coming weeks as he’ll be up against the Titans and Tigers in the next two weeks. He was selected as part of the emerging Maroons squad last year but it’s hard to see him in the Origin frame this season. He’s on my trade radar this week.
Matt Prior is a risky choice and is more suited to coaches who have saved trades throughout the opening rounds of the season. If you’re still chasing your Overall PB and need a boost for rounds 12 and 15, Prior could be your answer. Andrew Fifita will be absent for these two games so Prior (or even Bukuya) should be able to maintain a 45 to 50 point average. Be sure to show Prior/Bukuya the door by round 20.
Helpful Hints and Tips
- The Bulldogs and Roosters will play round 12 and are also available for the third big bye week (round 18)
- The Dragons will play just one big bye round (round 15) but have the most favourable draw throughout the bye period (playing against the Tigers, Bulldogs, Eels, Knights and Titans).
- As an Overall coach it’s ideal to have a minimum of ten trades coming out of the bye period. These are to cater for injuries and upgrading your bye friendly middies.
- Guns and Unnamed Players are your trade targets for the closing rounds. This will allow you to use the loophole without having any AE nightmares in your NPRs.
Best 5 Break Evens (Must have played at least two games and named in the 17)
James Roberts ($393.3k): -36
Kirisome Auva’a ($213.9k): -26
Felise Kaufusi ($325.4k): -24
Dane Gagai ($339.5k): -20
Matt McIlwrick ($256.1k): -14
Worst 5 Break Evens (Must have played at least two games and named in the 17)
Shaun Johnson ($509.9k): 160
Jarrod Croker ($412.3k): 121
Nathan Cleary ($421.6k): 121
Jackson Hastings ($279k): 118
Cameron Munster ($447.9k): 117
Team List Tuesday
Corey Harawira-Naera and Bryce Cartwright are named on the extended bench
Kalyn Ponga is named at fullback but Gela-Mosby has been dropped
Sam Stone is starting in the second row
Jarryd Hayne, Kevin Proctor and Konrad Hurrell are all named on the extended bench
David Klemmer has returned
Matt Frawley is named on the extended bench
Latrell Mitchell named on the extended bench (Joseph Manu retains his spot)
Josh Dugan returns at fullback
Cameron Munster named on the bench
Ben Matulino named on extended bench
Coen Hess to score 80+
BJ Leilua to score another 80+
Josh Hodgson to maintain a 65+ average over the next 4 weeks