We're into the second month of the season, head-to-head leagues are underway, the cash cows are climbing, and NRL Dream Team continues to heat up.
Some of us have been fairly lucky with injuries and are already claiming early bragging rights (the Scouts are sitting just outside the top 100 at the moment, in case you're wondering), while others are busy trading out big-name flops, chasing more bargains, and watching their star halfback score -4.
Chris Sandow aside, there are plenty of talking points for Dream Teamers considering this week's trades. Is the latest cash cow sensation the real deal? Is Jarryd Hayne still a Dream Team gun? Can Kurt Gidley survive a whole game without getting injured?
If you're wondering what to do this week with Tom Humble, Jamie Buhrer, Hayne, Gidley, Sandow, Nathan Smith, Jack Stockwell, Adam Cuthbertson or Scott Moore, then read on...
From Ian McPherson on Facebook
Time to jump on the Tom Humble train?
After replacing Lachlan Coote at five-eighth for Penrith and posting two decent scores, Humble is the obvious cash cow buy of the week. He won't score long-range tries every game so his latest score of 53 is probably a one-off, but he comes at a great price and is a guaranteed moneymaker this week. I'm strongly considering bringing him in for axed Tigers halfback Jacob Miller.
From Stephen Uglow on Facebook
What is Humble's job security like? Upon the return of Walsh, will he retain his starting position in the halves?
This is the big risk with bringing in Humble now. Penrith supremo Phil Gould has said that halfback Luke Walsh's demotion to the NSW Cup isn't permanent, meaning he'll be back in first grade sooner or later. That is likely to come at the expense of either Humble or new Panthers halfback Blake Austin, so it could be a playoff between those two over the next few weeks to see who keeps a starting spot.
Austin's been in good form in the lower grades and could end up being the better cash cow of the two if he performs, but the fact Humble was the first choice to replace Lachlan Coote as five-eighth suggests he's got the inside running to hold his spot at the moment. It's not a sure thing by any means, but if you're going to get Humble, you want him this week before his first price rise.
From Matthew Dutton on Facebook
Thoughts on a Jarryd Hayne replacement Lone Scout?
I've got Hayne in my side, and will keep him. He's been a 50+ point player in the past and even without his usual kick metres should be scoring in the mid-40s or thereabouts by the end of the season. That still puts him in the top bracket of Dream Team fullbacks, so I see any possible replacement as a sideways trade (unless you haven't got Greg Inglis yet). And if you see Hayne as a keeper, then his price changes don't matter.
From Iain Stanmore on Twitter
Kurt Gidley named at hooker this week: better or worse than him playing in the halves from a DT point of view?
It's hard to say. He's unlikely to play the full 80 minutes with Danny Buderus to come off the bench for the Knights and Tyrone Roberts playing well at halfback, but he should get a lot of defensive work while he is on the field. His kick metres won't drop too much as Jarrod Mullen did most of the kicking anyway when Gidley played halfback, although he'll obviously lose some goal kicking points if the Knights score while he's on the bench. My guess is that the extra tackles will roughly cancel out the other points losses, but we'll have to wait and see this week.
From Conor Fitzgerald on Facebook
Keep Gidley or trade out LS?
I'm keeping. Ignore last week's score – he only played half the game before leaving the field with concussion. He's still got price rises in him when he eventually strings a few games together.
From Ed-Cassie Taylor on Facbook
Will Jamie Buhrer continue to lose minutes now that Tom Symonds has pushed him to the bench? Should I trade him out?
Yes, it looks like Symonds has the edge on Buhrer for now, and it won't get any better when Glenn Stewart returns from injury for Manly in Round 7. I'd sell (in fact, I sold him last week).
From Daniel Nelson on Facebook
Thoughts on dumping Sandow?
Tough one. Sandow's got a high break even now (71) but he had barely any kick metres and a lot of missed tackles against the Roosters, and that won't happen every week. He'll lose money this week but if he strings together a few more 50s his price will eventually climb a bit more. I'd probably stay patient with him, but he's always going to be a risky player. If you're within reach of buying a Cronk or Cherry-Evans, make the move when you can.
From Zoe Zapper Teloar on Facebook
Is it worth trading Nathan Smith for Jack Stockwell?
Looks like a good trade, but you can wait a week before locking it in – Stockwell's only played one game for the Dragons so won't get a price rise for another couple of weeks, while Nathan Smith hasn't been named for Penrith this week so his price won't fall again (unless he's a late inclusion).
Stockwell had great base stats on the weekend and scored 40 points in 35 minutes, but could lose his starting spot when Michael Weyman returns from a knee injury in about Round 8. That means he's probably a short-term option, but it could be enough time to earn some cash. I'll be considering this trade next week.
From Joe Reacher on Facebook
Thoughts on Adam Cuthbertson Lone Scout?
He won't score two tries every week, like he did on the weekend, so don't expect too many more scores in the 60s. Cuthbertson's a good player on his day and has looked great off the bench this year but I'm not quite convinced yet for DT. He comes at an awkward middle-of-the-road price, and traditionally scores in the low 30s. He is guaranteed price rise this week though, and should get decent game time over the next couple of months with Beau Scott sidelined with groin surgery.
From Nick Kershaw on Facebook
Who would be a good replacement for Scott Moore as a reserve hooker? I still want to make cash off that position but I don't think he will go up in price any more.
I've got the same issue Nick, but I'm holding. Two reasons why. First, with a break even of 19, Moore should keep slowly rising in value, particularly if he manages to get a decent score or two in the next few weeks. He's still getting used to the game in Australia, and as a starting hooker his scores shouldn't get any lower than the mid-20s he's hitting right now. If he gets shifted back to the bench then it'll be time to worry.
The other reason is there simply aren't many other good cash cow options out there in the hooker position. Nathan Fien will climb this week but costs $233,800 already, John Morris at the Sharks costs even more, and Matt McIlwrick will get his first boost this week but is no guarantee to hold down a spot on the Raiders' bench. They're your best trade options of the cash cows, but I suggest you hold onto Moore for now and look to upgrade him to a gun when you can.
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