You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Thanks to everyone who thought it might be useful to get my two-cents worth. I had plenty of emails this week from people after a bit of Dream Team advice.

Unfortunately, I can't answer them all (so many questions, so little time), so I've chosen that are indicative of the batch I've received.

I will answer more in the coming weeks, so don't fret if you missed out this time. That said, in future emails you must include your team name, remaining salary cap and, from now on, your remaining trades – it all helps me out in answering your questions.

Also, I should point out that I've continued my help-the-masses vibe and kept in reserve those queries I felt came from DT guns – ie. if you scored 630+ in the first week, I figured you don't need my help.

That said, I did answer one from a high-scorer, as it addressed a question a lot of DT coaches have and also allowed me to have a small blab about chasing the car.

Anyway, here goes. Hope it helps to ease the burden come trading time.

Nick Botica (The Grange) - Trades: Assume 30, Bank: "zero dollars"
What's your opinion on trading in Simon Mannering? I've made the mistake of buying Corey Parker and leaving myself with zero dollars. I figure for an 80-minute second rower for 240k he's underpriced.

At first glance this seems like a sweet deal. The big Kiwi is one of the first on the Warriors team sheet, should have extra motivation to go hard with the big C next to his name, and will average about 40 a game. So an immediate trade looks worthwhile, especially as it will net you a meaty $145K or thereabouts to put to your future trading. If Mannering keeps up the early tempo he will even gain a further $20K on his current price.

Like you I'm mulling over a similar trade, but a word of warning before you hit the transfer button.

Mannering has also played as a centre and will be moved there if needs be. In past seasons this has dropped his match scores. Mannering also had a perfect DT game in Round 1; lots of defence to do and a minimum of mistakes. Can he do that regularly? It's the big question you need to answer for yourself. He certainly won't get you the odd 60 or 70 like Parker might. Are you willing to dump last year's No.1 after one match?

Personally, I think you should trade – you need the money to beef up your CTW group – but with no injury problems after Round 1, I'd wait a week to see how things pan out. With no head-to-head this week and prices fixed, it can't hurt to wait a week to complete this trade. You may find it's better to trade in Mannering for another 2RF (if you trade now what happens if Hindy goes down) or even to trade in someone else for Parker. The extra week's watching will also give you a better idea of which CTW to spend your new cash on. You will certainly appreciate the patience come the end of the season when you have an extra trade or two to play with.

Thomas Arkwright (Kelson KKK) - Trades: Assume 30, Bank: $120.4K
Should I trade out Mathew Scott for Aiden Tolman?

It's no secret Tolman is an up-and-coming dynamo who's Round-1 performance proved he has what it takes to be DT gold. Can he do it again? I think so. Will he do it every week? I doubt it. Should he be in your team? An emphatic "yes".

Looking at your team (and it's a good one) I reckon you're on the money in choosing Matt Scott to make way. He will likely get better this season, but is still a 30-a-week guy. Especially now the Cowboys have some other big units up front. Sam Thaiday is worth considering for the trade. He is struggling at present after an interrupted pre-season and may take some time to get back to being a gun (especially if the rumours of groin issues are true), meaning his price will drop and you can swing him back in later on for cheaper than you sold ... bargain.

Before you make that trade, read the answer above. You have another week's grace on Tolman and it would be a shame to bring him in now, only to find you have injuries to cover after next round. A quick look at your team makes me think your first priority is getting the CTWs sorted as you're at bare minimum and Reed &/or Beale may go soon. Chase Stanley must go before the Round-3 lock-out.

PS. Sam Thaiday may start the season slowly and be caught up in front-row rotations (only until Hannant returns), but he is a keeper for mine. Hold on to him or buy him back later and he will repay you come the end of the season. The wildman is capable of cranking out a few big scores.

Plus, give Hinchcliffe some time – he can score decent numbers (especially during Origin) and Bellyache is still experimenting with a new pack – it's probably better than wasting a trade on an uncertain gain. And keep Hindy, unless he gets a decent injury. He will also bring home the bacon.

James Jacques (Dyinofthehivvy) - Trades: Assume 30, Bank: $340K
I know its early days, but my front row seems to be looking a little shakey. I'm wanting to make changes, if changes are needed, before the end of Round 3 and the price change. Wondering what trades if any you would recommend.

You have plenty of money James, so I'm recommending you make one trade this week, however it's not to the front row.

By my reckoning your biggest issue is at the back as you have little chance of scoring a point this week with Dugan and Fisiiahi there. Use some of you cash to buy Hayne or Gordon (Gidley being injured rules him out). That should add a regular 25-40 points to your weekly score.

Assuming there are no injuries you should trade again next week. This time to cover the front row. If Aiden Tolman backs up his first week heroics (and he should) drop Michael Weyman and bring Tolman in (at the same price he is now).

That should leave you in a better position to use the remaining $200K+ (plus potential interest payments) to upgrade to a first-rate hooker or another gun 2RF (assuming you don't need to cover for injuries) before your first H2H go in Round 4.

Alternative frontrowers? Check the Stats Centre after Rounds 2 and 3 and you will get a more accurate assessment of who really is likely to score well all year.

Anthony Bird (Birdikins) - Trades: Assume 30, Bank: $15.3K
I am a bit worried about Shaun Fensom? I noticed he didn’t get a full 80 minutes last week. Is this a trend that you think will continue and if so should I trade to someone that will play 80 (minutes) like Mannering and create some extra cash?

Extra cash is good to have and, after checking your well-performed team, you should have plenty more in a few rounds just by doing nothing. So, why make a trade if you don't have to?

At this point I say you can't be sure. For mine, the Raiders did it easy against the Sharks and only had to make 236 team tackles (Fensom made 29 tackles in 67 minutes). Against stronger opposition he will make more. His value is in points earned per minute played and with Tongue now out for an extended period, Fensom should get plenty of minutes for a few more matches and will warm into his role as the team's primary ballstopper.

So, despite similar concern to you, I'm keeping him – for another week at least – as I think there's more to be gained from saving this early trade.

If I had your team, I'd hold tight and work on that three-quarter line first.

That said, I'm not going for the overall title. The only reason I can think to trade Fensom after one week is if you're going after the Toyota and want maximum points each week. With a first round score of 658 I reckon it's worth a shot, if only for another week or three.

In this case, you are faced with guestimating; does Mannering plus $70K (or someone else) outscore Fensom in the long-run? Your educated guess is as good as mine, but if I was you, and I was thinking new motor, I'd gamble and pull the trigger next week. You need a bit of cash to buy another decent-scoring centre. Round 2 scores should tell you who to buy and who to sacrifice here.

Greg Mckenzie (Team Latte) - Trades: Assume 30, Bank: $56.2K
I don't really need any help, but I have a different theory to many that seem to be going around. Wouldn't it be a smart idea to make some trades within the first 3 weeks. I mean, for example, I can't see Paul Gallen's value going anywhere but down, but players such as Glen Buttriss or Luck will more than likely rise. If I trade Mr Gallen for Buttriss I will be making over $100,000 on the trade plus the increase in the value of Buttriss after 3 weeks. What do you think?

Greg, you are on it mate. The first few weeks of DT provide the perfect platform for spotting and plugging holes in your initial 25, whilst making a little dosh on the side. I hope my previous answers have shown I am right up for this tactic. Coaches should utilise as many trades as they need during the first couple of weeks to ensure they are set-up for the long-haul (if they aren't already).

But I also hope I've made it clear that you must consider the long-term cost of your (apparent) short-term gain. Trades are there to be used, just use them wisely and remember are the golden rule of trading: only trade if it is for long-term gain.  

For instance, Buttriss may well get decent game time for the next few weeks, but are you sure that he will last past Round 7 or 8, when Tongue comes back? And would Mannering or Luck be a better alternative for a little less cash back? What makes you think Paul Gallen won't turn in a 60 pointer this week (and the following 24 weeks for that matter)? After all he had a pre-game injury against the Raiders and the arch-enemy hit town this round. Most likely you will want Gallen back later on in the year. It seems an easy play now, but it's surprising how covering the week-to-week grind can become such a difficult thing to do. Will you have enough trades to last the season if you fire off six in the first three weeks? That only leaves 16 to 18 for the rest of the DT regular season, assuming you want 6 to 8 for the DT finals series assault. Perhaps a targeted three or four would be better? Especially as we all have one round only to assess form at this stage.

For mine, if I had your team I'd hold fire another week and make two slightly-more-assured trades next round. Especially as I reckon you are a bit thin around the CTW and FRF zones.

Anyway, you get the picture. Trade for gain, it's what the game is all about (especially in the early weeks). But be sure you're having a good think about why and not just grabbing a one- or two-week advantage. I have a feeling this year will be the most competitive yet for Dream Teamers, so make each trade count.

And finally a reminder to all that haven't got it firmly set in their minds – never trade until Friday after you've checked the late mail.

On that note, if you haven't already, catch the Late Mail News video for plenty of late team news from Sterlo, or check out the updated Round 2 team list article. And check out my Facebook and Twitter pages to keep the Dream Team conversation flowing.