Fantasy NRL: Star players out but tricky patch is over

By Dr Stats

Panthers, Rooster and Dragons have injuries but others return

Issac Luke is back starting for the Rabbitohs. Photo / Getty Images
Issac Luke is back starting for the Rabbitohs. Photo / Getty Images

The trickiest period of the Dream Team Fantasy NRL season is over and normal service resumes - this means that every team is in action over the final eight rounds of the regular season.

This also means that the biggest disruption a fantasy side can suffer comes via serious injury - and there are several major ones this week.

The Panthers suffered a double blow during their dramatic 35-34 win over the Broncos on Monday night with star players Tyrone Peachey and Josh Mansour leaving the field with injuries. Peachey will miss the rest of the season while Mansour is questionable, despite being named to play this coming weekend.

Paul Gallen is another big name set to miss time after suffering a bicep injury - he'll be out for two to three weeks to frustrate owners who were just starting to see big value from him.

Other injured stars include Roosters back Daniel Tupou, who is out for six weeks with a back injury, and Dragons forward Trent Merrin who will miss another two weeks.

On the flip side of these injuries, several notable players are back in action and deserve a look-in for your team this weekend - they include Anthony Watmough, Andrew Fifita and Tim Simona.

Issac Luke is also back starting for the Rabbitohs and is worth watching to see if this results in a return to last year's form.

Another note on playing time involves Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough who has been a valuable source of points all season. After McCullough suffered a knee injury last month, his replacement Jake Granville showed strong form and, as a result, has forced his way into increased minutes for the Broncos. This means McCullough is no longer an 80-minute player and no longer a top-five option in the front row.

This weekend's matchups to exploit involve expected great days for players from the Knights, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Cowboys, Tigers and Warriors.

The Knights face up against a Titans side that is conceding a huge number of fantasy points every week. Look to Kurt Gidley ($333,000) and Dane Gagai ($327,000) as top options this weekend.

The Sea Eagles come up against the Dragons on Monday where I'm expecting big games from the likes of Jamie Lyon ($596,000), Jorge Taufua ($457,000), Jamie Buhrer ($257,000), Anthony Watmough ($367,000) and Matt Ballin ($432,000).

The Sharks and Cowboys face up in a fantasy dream on Friday night - the Cowboys squad looks especially potent with Jonathan Thurston ($334,000), Tariq Sims ($220,000) and Kane Linnett ($396,000) the picks of their squad.

From the Tigers and Warriors, your best options are Robbie Farah ($328,000), Aaron Woods ($202,000), Pat Richards ($133,000), Konrad Hurrell ($388,000), Simon Mannering ($291,000) and Nathan Friend ($393,000).

Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins is in doubt to play against the Broncos and might be worth benching as a result.

Top pick:
Kurt Gidley - Knights

Value pick:
Pat Richards - Tigers

On the bench:
Paul Gallen - Sharks (out 2-3 weeks)
Daniel Tupou - Roosters (out 6 weeks)
Josh Mansour - Panthers (unlikely to play)
Tyrone Peachey - Panthers (out for season)
Trent Merrin - Dragons (out 2 weeks)
Sam Tomkins - Warriors (in doubt to play)

- NZ Herald

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