Can we rely on Tapine as a starter? Will Bula continue his outstanding rookie season? Can Nanai recapture his 2022 form? There were so many questions coming out of round 17 and some of them were answered in round 18. But let's turn our attention back to fantasy footy for a second and identify some risers in form and others who should be falling out of favor with all fantasy coaches. Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our social channels: twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.
Joseph Tapine – MID, Canberra Raiders (80 points)
Tapine had his best game of the season as the Raiders earned themselves a gritty win against the Titans. What really impressed me about this performance was the amount of work he was able to get through. He made 44 tackles and carried the ball for 156 meters, that’s 59 points in base stats. He also chalked up 6 tackle breaks and this was a season high. This was the third game of the season where Tapine didn’t have any demerits and across these games he’s averaging 72 points. With Round 19 being a major bye round, Tapine might be considered as one of the top MIDs for round. I think with Josh Papali’i being sidelined for a couple of weeks; this only adds to Tapine’s upside as he is likely to see increased minutes. We might even see him move back to lock if Horsburgh is selected for Game 3. Tapine has played twice at lock this season averaging 62 points and 70 minutes across these games.
Jeremiah Nanai – EDG, North Queensland Cowboys (72 points)
Nanai put in a dominant performance as the Cowboys totally outclassed the Wests Tigers. This was his second score in a row of 60+ points and it looks like he might be back to the form that he showed in 2022. In this performance he came away with 1 try, 8 tackle breaks and 3 offloads on attack, this came to 40 points. He also earned himself 45 points in base through tackles and running metres. These sort of numbers in base stats are up there with the best edges in the game. He did however lose 13 points through missed tackles and an error. If Nanai can continually reach 40-45 points through base stats, he may become a solid option on the edge. With Nanai having great attacking upside and the Cowboys absolutely flying at the moment, we might just see this recent form continue. Personally, I’d want to three date him before giving him a start in my side. I believe he is a point of difference (POD) play for GDS coaches, but he can be a risky option due to the number of missed tackles he makes.
Bradman Best – CTR, Newcastle Knights (93 points)
Best had a career game as the Knights smashed the Bulldogs 66-0. In this performance he came away with 3 tries, 2 try assists, 2 line breaks, 1 line break assist, 7 tackle breaks and 3 offloads on attack, this came to 80 points. He also ran for 144 metres but lost 10 points through missed tackles and a penalty. Like most CTRs, Best can be inconsistent, but this is his best season to date in GDS fantasy. It’s great to see him fit as he’s a very talented footballer with a bright future. With Ponga being back at fullback is a great thing for Best as Ponga likes to attack down the left edge. With Gagai being out this week also helped Best’s fantasy production as the Knights attacked down the left more than usual.
Nick Meaney – WFB, Melbourne Storm (14 points)
Meaney had his quietest game of the season, and he didn’t chalk up any attacking stats other than the 4 goals he scored. He also missed 4 tackles and made 2 errors, that’s 20 points in demerits. Since round 10, Meaney has really relied on goals to prop up his score. Over this period, he has averaged 42 points but when you exclude goals, he only averages 31. This is not the sort of fantasy output you want to see from the fullback of one of the better teams in the NRL. Meaney can have the occasional big game, but he doesn’t offer the same consistent upside as many of the other WFBs. Due to goal kicking, he has only had 4 scores of less than 40 points this season and this is great for a WFB. If you are looking for a safe option, Meaney might be your man but if you are looking for that player each week with boom potential, it may be an idea to look elsewhere.
Connelly Lemuelu – CTR, Dolphins (16 points)
Lemuelu had a poor game in a fantasy sense and registered his lowest score of the season. He started at prop and moved to the edge after Kaufusi was ruled out of the game. After a poor start to the game, the change back to the edge didn’t really improve his performance. Demerits were the real coach killer for Lemuelu as he lost 30 points through missed tackles, errors, and penalties. When we have an 80 minute forward registered as CTR in GDS Fantasy, usually we would jump at the chance to start him. This is due to the safer base that forwards tend to offer for coaches. Lemuelu doesn’t fall into this category in my opinion as he has only 3 scores of 50+ points and averages 36 points across the season. Due to the nature of the CTR position, coaches are generally after a CTR that has a good matchup against a poor defence. Lemuelu isn’t one of these CTRs and with him only averaging 29 points across his last 6 games, he won’t be seen in my starting team anytime soon.
Jahreem Bula – WFB, Wests Tigers (7 points)
Bula has been outstanding in his debut season and is a bright dynasty prospect for coaches. However, against the red-hot Cowboys he had his worst game of the season. To be honest, most of the Wests Tigers players were dreadful in this game. When your team is held to nil, WFBs scores really take a hit. Without Brooks and Koroisau, the Wests Tigers look lost without these two key members of their spine. This doesn’t help the inexperienced Bula as he is now their main attacking threat and the opposition will be able to concentrate on shutting him down. In my opinion, Bula isn’t a starting option until Brooks and Koroisau return from injury.