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NRL Fantasy teams analysis: Round 9

One young speedster, a returning Fantasy stud and an English star have all been included in this week's team lists, as the regular season nears the halfway mark.

Round 9 team news

Cowboys v Roosters, Thursday 7.50pm at Queensland Country Bank Stadium

Cowboys: Hamiso Tabaui-Fidow owners will be happy to see 'The Hammer' back in the No.1 jersey, with Valentine Holmes named on the wing. Connelly Lemuelu moves to centre, with Tom Opacic and Justin O'Neill out of the side, and Tom Gilbert replaces Reuben Cotter on the bench.

It was another big round for middle men Jason Taumalolo (63), Reece Robson (62) and Josh McGuire (69) last week, while Scott Drinkwater's price is starting to move downwards for those who have still got him.

Roosters: Daniel Tupou (ankle) and Boyd Cordner (head knock) are out with Ryan Hall on the wing, Mitchell Aubusson in the back row and Lachlan Lam joining the bench.

James Tedesco and Angus Crichton each produced 82 points in last week's epic against Melbourne, Tedesco racking up 268 metres and nine tackle breaks while Crichton made 54 tackles and had a try assist. Tedesco's price tag has passed $904k and will probably come down at some point, but as easily the game's best winger/fullback can you afford not to have him?

Kyle Flanagan ($757k, 65 points last week) keeps scoring tries and kicking goals and has been among the elite Fantasy halves this year, while Nat Butcher's 48 in 54 minutes at lock was probably slightly underwhelming in a fast-paced, golden point game.

Titans v Warriors, Friday 6pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Titans: Rookie Beau Fermor will be a popular buy after scoring 56 on debut – the majority coming in a first half in which he made two big line breaks. But he's been switched to the centres in a shaken-up Titans line-up this week, meaning while he may keep a spot in the Titans side when Kevin Proctor returns from injury his scores are likely to drop if he's playing in the backline.

Elsewhere Corey Thompson is back at fullback, Tyrone Peachey's on the bench, Treymain Spry is on the wing, Erin Clark replaces the injured Mitch Rein at hooker, and Sam Stone starts in the second row. Moeaki Fotuaika ($717k) is still a little underpriced as a 60-point front-rower, while his prop partner Jaimin Jolliffe ($404k) has scored 50, 30 and 51 in this three appearances as a starter.

Warriors: Jazz Tevaga's long-awaited return will come via the bench. At $727k he's an intriguing option and just the kind of tireless workhorse who could thrive in the six-again era. He could also potentially take some points off the in-form Tohu Harris in the middle. One to consider next week.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is back after a one-week ban and his price must have just about bottomed out at $564k – that's $174k below his starting price this year – but with two scores in the 20s and none above 50 this season he's still no sure thing. Elsewhere Chanel Harris-Tavita replaces the injured Kodi Nikorima in the halves, and Gerard Beale drops out of the 17.

Try of the Week - Round 8

Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers, Friday 7.55pm at Bankwest Stadium

Rabbitohs: Bayley Sironen returns from a back complaint to replace Braidon Burns (knee, season) on the interchange. Cameron Murray's 70 points in 63 minutes was his best return at lock so far this year, while Adam Reynolds (66) looks decent value as a potential keeper at under $700k.

Latrell Mitchell only scored 22 in a winning team against the Bulldogs but is probably a hold if he's in your side now – he's rocks and diamonds as a Fantasy prospect but just a month ago he scored 63 against Melbourne and 74 against the Titans in consecutive weeks.

Wests Tigers: Michael Chee-Kam is the man to replace the suspended Joey Leilua at centre, meaning cash cow Tommy Talau stays on the wing. Luciano Leilua and Sam McIntyre are named despite copping head knocks last week.

Matt Eisenhuth scored 77 with a try last week but will hand the lock role back to Alex Twal in the next few weeks. Luciano Leilua's price appears to have peaked but he's still a handy player to have in your squad with an average in the high 40s, if you can't upgrade him to an elite scorer.

Sharks v Panthers, Saturday 3pm at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Sharks: Josh Dugan replaces the injured Matt Moylan (hamstring) at fullback with Bryson Goodwin at centre. Those who stayed patent and held onto Blayke Brailey have been richly rewarded with scores of 62 and 69 and $82k in price rises in the last fortnight alone.

Shaun Johnson ($753k) is averaging 59 in his past three games, while Toby Rudolf gave his price rises a kick along with 46 in Saturday's win over the Titans.

Panthers: Brian To'o (ankle) is out with Dean Whare returning to a reshuffled backline, with Brent Naden moving to the wing.

Just when Jarome Luai's price rises appeared to have ground to a halt he produced easily his performance of the year, with eight busts and two try assists against the Tigers for 68 points. He's now projected to take his value well past $500k in the coming weeks.

Isaah Yeo is absolutely a hold after "only" scoring 46 – his first sub-50 score of the season – while Api Koroisau and Nathan Cleary remain elite keepers with averages above 65.

Will the Broncos' senior players survive the axe?

Broncos v Bulldogs, Saturday 5.30pm at Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: Despite another loss to the Warriors it was a good scoring round for Payne Haas (79) while fellow young guns Pat Carrigan (69), Tevita Pangai jnr (68) and Xavier Coates (60) all produced career-best numbers.

Pangai starts at prop this week with Corey Oates in the second row and Tom Flegler goes to the bench. Kotoni Staggs and Matt Lodge could both be game-day inclusions after being named in the reserves. Fanitesi Niu ($212k) is finally set to starting earning price rises with a break even of 4 this week.

Bulldogs: With Adam Elliott (shoulder) gone for the season English recruit Luke Thompson ($550k) has been named at lock for his NRL debut. Raymond Faitala-Mariner's scores have improved almost every week this season – he hadn't surpassed 45 after five rounds but is now coming off scores of 51, 55 and 70.

Aidan Tolman has a three-game average of 59 and a season average of 57, while Brandan Wakeham's 57-point effort against Souths was the best of his career so far – built largely off base stats including 507 kick metres.

Raiders v Storm, Saturday 7.35pm at GIO Stadium

Raiders: Canberra's middle forwards have been smashed by injury, with Emre Guler and Sia Soliola joining Corey Horsburgh and John Bateman on the sidelines. It creates opportunities for new starters Dunamis Lui and Joe Tapine and debutant Kai O'Donnell ($228k) who will come off the bench.

Also coming off the bench will be Ryan Sutton ($459k), who scored 67 in 56 strong minutes at lock last week. His demotion to the interchange is a bit of a surprise although he hasn't traditionally been a huge scorer when starting either – he averages about 42 in 48 minutes when wearing the No.13, although the sped-up game with the six-again rule and the absence of Bateman and co could mean he scores more 50s than 40s this year.

Storm: Marion Seve replaces Suliasi Vunivalu on the wing, Ryley Jacks is named in the halves with Cameron Smith back at hooker (as they were last Tuesday), with Brandon Smith on the interchange.

Apart from two-try hero Jahrome Hughes (70) the Storm didn't have many massive scores from their golden point win over the Roosters, with Cameron Smith (52) outscored by his namesake Brandon (59) after switching from hooker to halfback. Cameron Munster could return sooner than expected from injury after being included in the reserves this week.

Every try from round 8

Knights v Eels, Sunday 4.05pm at McDonald Jones Stadium

Knights: Tex Hoy starts on the wing for Edrick Lee (arm) but specialist winger Starford Toa is named on the bench. Sione Mata'utia (head knock) is out with Aidan Guerra in the back row and Brodie Jones on the interchange.

Kalyn Ponga's 17 will have hurt a lot of Fantasy teams last week but selling him is a bad idea; just a week ago he was averaging a massive 64 points a game. Ditto Bradman Best, who is still averaging 51 and whose score of 30 without attacking stats is absolutely fine for a centre.

After a superb start to the year Kurt Mann's price tag has peaked around $600k, while Mitchell Pearce's is on the way up – he scored 64 last week and at $679k is still excellent value for a player averaging 58 when playing the full 80.

Eels: Nathan Brown returns from suspension at lock with Marata Niukore benched, Stefano Utoikamanu promoted to the interchange and Ray Stone and Oregon Kaufusi out of the side.

Clint Gutherson celebrated his 100th NRL game with 102 Fantasy points and with a 53 average has rocketed into contention as a potential top-three option at WFB. Halves Dylan Brown (84) and Jai Field (64) both cashed in in the absence of Mitch Moses in last week's thrashing of the Cowboys, but keep in mind Moses could be back in the next week or two.

Dragons v Sea Eagles, Sunday 6.30pm at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Dragons: Jordan Pereira replaces Jason Saab on the wing and Tariq Sims bumps Tyrell Fuimaono out of the starting side, but the big move for Fantasy coaches is arguably Ben Hunt's promotion to starting hooker which means Cameron McInnes starts at lock.

It's unlikely to affect McInnes's scores too much but has him in line to become a dual-position player with the next batch of DPP updates after round 12. McInnes has been the Fantasy player of the season so far with a stupendous 80-point average, after scoring 89 last week.

Matt Dufty has proven to be one of the best buys at WFB this season, scoring 49 points a game and jumping in value by $167k. Zac Lomax (54) continues to get the job done in the centres but is in some doubt with injury this week, while Adam Clune (24) is playing well enough but it's not translating to Fantasy scores and he could be cashed out unless you're willing to wait for a try or a few assists to give his price tag a boost.

Sea Eagles: Addin Fonua-Blake is suspended with Taniela Paseka starting in his place and Morgan Boyle joining the bench. Fonua-Blake's suspension could potentially lead to more minutes or a higher workload for Martin Taupau, whose price is just about bottomed out after dropping by $167k this year.

Daly Cherry-Evans had been solid if unspectacular in the early rounds with good base stats but not much in the away of attacking stats, but a try, an assist and seven tackle breaks helped him to 86 points against Newcastle and he'll be Manly's go-to man in the absence of Tom Trbojevic.