This weekend is the second big bye round of the year, and another crucial week for those Dream Teams still in contention for the major prize. Overall leader 'Prestige Worldwide' continues to hang on to top spot but, like most teams, won't be able to field a full 17-man lineup this week.
For those focusing on head-to-head there's still plenty of planning to do, even without a league match-up this week. Is it time to cash out those early-season bargains? Which big guns do you need to get into your team before the Dream Team finals arrive? Have you given your mate enough stick for beating them last week? All important questions.
And don't forget to pick your six-man Origin Dream Team lineup for Game Two, which kicks off next Wednesday.
Now, onto this week's Q&A.
Should I sell Sam Burgess?
You only need to glance at Sam Burgess's Dream Team price chart to see how much of a rollercoaster his season has been. When fit he's a Dream Team superstar but yet another knee injury means he'll be out of action for between a month and six weeks. It's yet another headache for the 39,683 Dream Team coaches who currently have Burgess in their squad.
It's easy to lose patience with Burgess and trade now – but I'd recommend holding on to him if you're focusing on your head-to-head league (which the majority of Dreamers are these days). With rounds 14, 17 and 18 being bye weeks, Burgess will only actually miss two or three head-to-head rounds.
Only trade now if you: (a) are playing for overall points; (b) desperately need to win your next couple of league match-ups; or (c) don't think he'll stay fit for the rest of the season once he gets back on the field. Trading him out now only to bring him back in a month's time seems a massive waste of trades at this stage of the season.
From Brendon Clark (on Twitter):
Is Curtis Sironen worth a punt?
Yes he is. Balmain legend Paul Sironen's son came off the bench for the Tigers and played 32 minutes in round 12, scoring 15, then started at five-eighth last week and scored an impressive 57. That performance included nine tackle breaks, a line break and a try – something you shouldn't expect from him every week – but it should mean he gets a prolonged run in the No.6 jersey at Wests. He should get a few kick metres as well this week in Robbie Farah's absence. With the time just about ripe to sell off one or two moneymakers in the halves (see below), Sironen is sure to be a popular buy.
Sironen's not the only rookie who is set for his first price boost this week. Raiders wingers Edrick Lee and Dimitri Pelo will both get their third game on the trot, although neither are likely to make the kind of quick cash that Andrew Everingham and Josh Mansour made earlier this year. Meanwhile Knights hooker Chris Adams will again start off the bench this week, after being preferred by Wayne Bennett to Matt Hilder. But beware – last week Adams scored an underwhelming two points, so he's unlikely to rise in price much in the short term.
From "Lane" (on Twitter):
Your thoughts on Matt Ryan – cash up or carry on?
A very tough call this one. Parramatta rookie Ryan has been a terrific cash cow so far this season, climbing $123,600 in value after just six games, but with the return of Ben Smith to the Eels lineup Ryan's days as a big-minutes player look numbered.
After a cameo off the bench on debut, in which Ryan scored 31 points, the young back-rower played 60 minutes or more in the next four games and posted scores of 53, 43, 49 and 49. But last week Smith made his comeback from injury and Ryan's minutes dropped, and he scored just 24. In Parramatta's next game in round 15 there's every chance the youngster will return to the bench again.
His break-even is 30, meaning it's probably an even-money bet whether his price will continue to rise or not. It's unlikely to fall too much, so there's no hurry to trade if you've got more pressing trades to make elsewhere, but it's also not a bad time to cash him out now in order to bring in a genuine keeper. The answer probably depends on your depth in the back row and whether you have the cash to upgrade Ryan to one of the genuine big guns.
From Stuart Mansfield (on Facebook):
Hey Lone Scout, do you think Sezer has reached his peak? Or should I keep him and hope he gets better soon?
Another handy mid-season cash cow, Sezer needs 37 points to hold his price. His average score is 38, but that's thanks to a couple of scores in the 50s – once when he scored a try and another when he kicked three goals and scored 20 from kick metres in the absence of Scott Prince.
But Prince is definitely running the show now after returning to form in the last few games, so Sezer's price won't climb much in the short term. Either sell him now or hold off until the end of the month when he could start edging closer to the $200,000 mark.
From Duncan Griffiths (via email to firstname.lastname@example.org):
Corey Norman's price is dropping like a stone, any reason that you can see as to why? Could this be a long-term trend? Might be worth cashing him in? Confused!
I was asked similar questions on Norman last week after he scored just 17 in Melbourne's loss to the Broncos, but I suggested he's still a decent keeper this season. I still hold that view despite Norman's surprisingly low score of 28 from a game in which the Broncos put 50 points past Newcastle.
The reason is that Norman is an attacking player, and attacking stats won't be consistent for any player week-to-week. Taking a closer look at his stats, Norman had no try assists last week (despite his team scoring eight tries) and only made one tackle break. But just two games ago, Norman laid on two tries, three offloads and 280+ kick metres in a 56-point effort. A fortnight before that he made five tackle breaks and another couple of try assists and scored 64.
The point I'm making is: apart from tackle-hungry forwards and halves who do all their team's kicking, not many players are truly consistent scorers in Dream Team. So yes Norman's price is dropping now, but there's every chance he'll string together a few 50+ scores in the next few weeks. He still averages more than 44 points a game this year, so I wouldn't write him off unless you are planning to upgrade to one of the top class fullbacks or halves (Carney, Hayne, Cherry-Evans, Cronk or Marshall).
From Vince Potaka (on Facebook):
Hey LS how do you think Tony Williams signing on with the Bulldogs will affect his minutes at Manly when he comes back from injury? Do you reckon Toovey will give him less minutes, looking to next year?
This is a decent question, and obviously a tough one to answer at this stage. Some coaches tend to give players a smaller role in the team after they sign on to play for a new club in the following season (see Zeb Taia becoming a bench player at the Knights since agreeing to join the Catalans Dragons). It's not necessarily as a punishment, but also acts as a way of preparing teams for how they will function next season.
But I don't think it will be such an issue for Williams, for a few reasons. One, this is Geoff Toovey's first year as a first-grade coach, and you'd have to think he'd want to put this season's results above all else – particularly with the Sea Eagles being genuine premiership contenders. Secondly, Williams is such a good points-per-minute player (see his 45 points in just 23 minutes in Origin I) that even if his minutes are reduced he's still likely to be one of Dream Team's top centres/back-rowers.
I'm staying patient and holding onto him for now, and still reckon he'll be a great buy when he eventually makes his NRL return.
That's all I've got for you for now. Keep up the chatter on Facebook and Twitter this afternoon and good luck with all your Dream Team moves this week.
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