After a week in which Benji Marshall almost hit the ton, Greg Inglis's run of bumper scores continued and Panthers cash cow Josh Mansour made an improbable 17 tackle breaks, things just get better in Toyota NRL Dream Team land this week with the Sharks and Warriors returning to action – meaning some welcome points from the likes of Todd Carney, Paul Gallen and the human wrecking ball that is Konrad Hurrell.
Round 13 will bring us to the mid-point of the Dream Team season, with things starting to heat up at the top of the DT rankings and in the race for the top eight in head-to-head leagues. With overall points coaches struggling to stay afloat during the bye rounds and head-to-head coaches looking to get their final "ultimate" lineup assembled, here are my answers to this week's big questions.
With a lot of Dreamers (myself included) hit hard by Liam Fulton's late withdrawal last weekend – particularly with Tom Humble coming in as an auto emergency with a woeful score of 3 – I got a lot of questions about the auto emergency rule.
Firstly, there's a reason why DT coaches aren't allowed to choose their own "18th man" as an emergency, and why you don't get your highest-scoring reserve as an emergency (as opposed to your lowest). Either of those rules would lead to Dreamers artificially changing the structure of their team, by picking a non-playing fullback/winger (for example) in their starting 17, and leaving a high-scoring player from another position in their reserves, knowing that player's score would be counted. There may be a change to the auto-emergency rule at the end of the season, but it's here to stay for now.
Secondly, you know how the rule works, so use it to your advantage. As you build towards getting your final team together, avoid having low-scoring players in your squad who are likely to be a disappointing emergency option. Having a non-playing nobody who comes with the minimum $77,100 price tag is arguably more valuable than a player who scores 10 points every week – particularly for those of you focusing on head-to-head glory, who don't need the depth of a full squad to cover the bye period. At this stage of the season, when trading out your cash cows, consider grabbing these no-names so you will have a decent auto emergency if disaster strikes.
And when you are picking up cheapies, look to get dual-position players – they'll give you a bit more flexibility when you look to bring in more gun players down the track.
From Te Arahi Maipi (on Twitter):
Is this the last chance to get Inglis at a reachable rate? Thinking of trading him for Halatau instead of Burgess. Thoughts?
From Jamie Geraghty (on Facebook):
LS, I got the money but should I now bring in GI? Or have I missed the boat?
This one's an obvious talking point after Greg Inglis's sensational run of form in the past three weeks. His recent scores are 65, 98 and 78 – massive scores which mean he will still go up in price no matter what he scores this week (he's already climbed $126,700 this year and currently costs $329,700). If you are chasing points now and can afford him, there's nothing wrong with making the move now – he's unlikely to be this cheap again for another month or two at least, and is clearly a genuine keeper.
On the other hand, you could gamble that his try-scoring run won't continue. His three big scores have coincided with plenty of tackle breaks, but also plenty of tries – six in three games. He has only scored one other try all year, and in the weeks before his scoring spree Inglis posted DT scores of 44, 48, 29, 49 and 41. Those last two scores both included 24 points in tackle breaks, meaning tackle breaks alone won't guarantee Inglis keeps up his monster scoring.
Even though Inglis's price will definitely climb in the short term, if he strings together three straight scores in the 40s again then his price tag will fall back towards (or below) the $300K mark. That means it may not be too late to get him, even if you don't have the cash to grab him this week (but you'll have to stay patient).
From "Nickel" (on Twitter):
Worth picking up Dugan with him named as the number 6?
Frankly, your guess is as good as mine. I was considering picking up Josh Dugan this week, but will now hold off after he was named to play at five-eighth for the Raiders against the Tigers.
Dugan's been a very good scorer at fullback in the five full games he's played in 2012, scoring 108 points through tackle breaks and 88 points through run metres. His numbers for tackles and kick metres have been reasonably low – two things that will change when he defends in the front line and plays as one of his team's two primary playmakers. But without the room to move, will Dugan's tackle breaks and run metres dry up? The Tigers are certain to target him in defence – will missed tackles cost him big points? And will his dodgy shoulder hold up for the rest of the year?
These doubts have me worried that his scores will dive rather than thrive in the new role, so I won't be rushing in to snap him up unless he has a blinder this week.
From Dom Carmody (on Twitter):
Just a quick question. Both DCE and Jarryd Hayne are undervalued this week. Who do you recommend picking up in the halves?
Both of these guys are quality buys right now – if you're focusing on head-to-head. For overall points coaches, Daly Cherry-Evans will miss rounds 14 and 17 with Manly's byes, and Hayne will miss the same rounds through Origin duty. Better to hold off buying them until after the byes if you're still in the hunt for the major prize.
But for others, either player is a good buy. Cherry-Evans's price has been nose-diving after a terrific start to the season, and he's now dropped more than $50K on his starting price despite averaging better than 50 points a week. He is also capable of the odd monster score.
Hayne's scoring is more erratic, but the impressive thing is he's still been scoring well despite the Eels' poor form. If Parramatta get their act together (it's a big "if", admittedly) then Hayne's scores could really take off. Plus he's a dual-position half/winger-fullback, which can give you more flexibility as cover for the likes of Todd Carney and Corey Norman. I've got DCE and rate him highly, but I think Hayne gets the nod at the moment. Ideally you'd have both by the end of the year.
From Chris Earl (on Twitter):
Is Corey Norman a keeper?
From Adam Murphy (on Facebook): Is it time to get rid of Norman?
A lot of Dreamers have lost patience quickly with the young Brisbane pivot after last week's season-low score of 17. But remember, that came in a game in which the Broncos were missing a few Origin guns and were routed by the Storm, giving few opportunities for Norman to score through attacking plays. The week before that he scored 56, and last month he posted scores of 61, 80 and 64.
If you only see him as a cash cow, then now is the time to trade (he has a break-even of 70) but there's a strong argument to keep the faith with Norman all year, particularly for those who used up a lot of trades covering for injuries at the start of the year. I've got him and plan to keep him.
From Ford Burr (On Twitter):
What do you make of Darius Boyd now, given the rumours he is playing at stand off?
The Knights' signing of dumped Bronco Dane Gagai does suggest they're considering playing Gagai at the back and shifting Boyd into five-eighth as Jarrod Mullen's halves partner. Strangely enough, this is the opposite situation to Josh Dugan's situation – simply because Boyd has been doing nothing in attack from fullback this season. He can only get more involved if he makes the move into the halves, and his price has already bottomed out after losing $75,800 in value this year.
In saying all that, he was named at fullback again this week, and there are still plenty of better Dream Team fullbacks out there. But if you are after a cheap/different option for your back three, keep an eye on Boyd in the next few weeks.
That's all for this week, make sure you check today's late mail before finalising your team and good luck with this week's trade choices.
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