This week I thought I'd answer one question that has been lighting up the LS switchboard.
With the rep season starting and Cameron Smith's price peaking, people are asking: should I trade him out for the Origin period, with the plan to trade him back in post-Origin after making plenty of cash along the way?
Let's look at both sides of the argument.
Why you should
Like all Test and State of Origin players, the next few weeks will hit Cameron Smith hard and he will score less points than usual and suffer the associated points drop.
Yes the guy has been phenomenal so far this season – scoring a whopping 67.62 points a week (nine points better than next-placed Corey Parker) as his value ballooned to a huge $432,600.
But it's very unlikely that price will get any higher. If Smith backs up for the Storm this weekend, it will be less than 24 hours after he leaves the field from the Australia-New Zealand Test.
Past seasons suggest he is likely to play for the Storm this weekend but he is almost certain to play reduced minutes, as he will in the three weeks following Origin games (Round 12, 15 and 18). In previous years, Craig Bellamy has given Smith a relatively light 60-minute workload in post-Origin weeks and his Dream Team points have dropped accordingly to the high 30s mark.
Origin will rule Smith out of the next three bye rounds (11, 14 and 17), meaning he's only expected to play the full 80 minutes three times between now and the middle of July.
In that time, not only will his scores drop but his value will too. Even if he starts scoring 45s and 50s on a regular basis instead of 60s and 70s, his price will drop back to the $300,000s – giving you the chance to snap him up again relatively cheaply after the Origin period (say, before Round 19). For reference, this week Smith's Break Even is 71, and it will rise slightly even if he posts a bunch of 60+ scores during the coming weeks.
Add to this the chance to make money on another hooker and you have a compelling argument to dump the DT superman (at least in the short-term).
Smith's replacement at the Storm, Ryan Hinchcliffe, will be expected to play more minutes in the coming weeks (despite getting the call-up for Country on Friday), while Riley Brown should get plenty of game time after replacing the injured Nathan Friend as the Titans' starting hooker. (Friend has been ruled out "indefinitely" with minor shoulder surgery, while Brown collected scores of 23, 25, 27 and 44 in Friend's absence at the start of the year.) Brown currently costs a mere $130.7K and will rise in price by a minimum of $15K+ next week (his break even target is -10).
If you're focusing on your head-to-head league and have a relatively easy run of matches coming up, or you've got a strong squad that scores well and/or plenty of trades in the bank, the Smith trade could give you a healthy cash boost and a definite advantage come the end of the season.
Why you shouldn't
Even playing reduced minutes, Smith should still be one of the better scorers in Dream Team. On current form, he could play 60 minutes of a game and still score 60 points (he may have notched high 30s in past years, but in 2011 he is scoring about 10 to 15 points-per-game higher). For DT players focusing on overall points, trading out Smith could be too much of a risk.
Missing him for the three pre-Origin rounds doesn't seem too much of a disadvantage – every Dream Team will be short on strength for the bye rounds in one way or another. It begs the question: why put extra trades towards getting a full-strength team together for each of the bye rounds, when it could come back to haunt you if/when injuries strike later in the season?
And if you're already getting low on trades, using up (at least) two more to trade Smith out of your squad and then in again surely negates the perceived cash bonus.
Even for head-to-head players, trading out Smith could be a huge mistake. If your team isn't strong enough to cope without him, you could be facing some big defeats in your private league – Smith's score has already been the deciding factor in many head-to-head matches this year. Are you willing to risk not having him for a prolonged period just to make a bit of extra cash?
It comes down to your team's circumstances. If you've got other trades to make, are playing for overall points, have a struggling team, or are facing a few tough head-to-head matches coming up, I'd say don't do it. You've already got the best player in the game, hold onto him and save yourself some trades.
But if you're confident you can survive a 10-week stretch without him, and are in the need for some extra cash, it could be a gamble worth taking.
Some other bits and pieces for Dreamers to think about:
- Kurt Gidley: Currently out injured for a non-specified period. Will he come back early for the Knights when he has a definite spot in Origin 1 to take up?
- Nathan Smith: Is turning out for the Windsor Wolves this week. Will he return to the struggling Panthers in Round 10?
- Hindmarsh, Stagg & Luck: All near the bottom of their value drop and highly unlikely to get into any rep teams. Should you pick one up now?
- Tim Robinson: King and Watmough are listed as highly unlikely. Is this finally his round for that elusive price rise?
- Corey Parker: My choice as captain this week, if you've got him.
- Byes: There are no H2H match-ups this round, however the points from these matches, for players taking the field, still count toward a player's value changes (as usual) ... yes, some people still need this reiterated ...
- Lockout: Don't forget the lock-out for this round is 7:30pm on SATURDAY, so don't be making any decisions until you have checked on the wash-up from the Test and City-Country matches.
That's all from me this week, enjoy tonight's rep games and good luck with the first bye round.
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