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It's crunch time for NRL Dream Team trades, with the first  player price rises to kick off at the end of Round 3. So now's the time to snap up those last two cash cows you've had your eye on – or get rid of those underperforming players who could lose value next week.

I strongly recommend making both available trades this week unless you're very happy with your squad, but the key is making the smart ones. Avoid like-for-like "sideways" trades – trading solid one cash cow for another, or one long-term keeper for another. Both trades this week should be made with the aim of increasing the value of your squad next week, with an eye to upgrading your cash cows to keepers in the next month or two.

Now on to this week's big questions.

From Ross Mitchell on Facebook
Hey LS. If a player is out injured, like Josh McGuire, will his price stay the same until he returns from injury to play his third game?

Yes that's right. If a player doesn't play, his price won't move. So consider holding on to an injured player this week and trade out someone who's likely to lose value instead.

From Mahfusul Islam via email
Cameron Smith: recently he isn't performing as most people had expected, even though it is only round 2, and before the value of players start to rise and fall I was considering trading him in for Farah? Smith has a huge price tag, plus getting Farah will allow me to have some cash. Do you think it is worth trading in Smith or just stick with him?

The price gap between Farah and Smith means a trade could give you a lot of cash to play around with if your squad needs help elsewhere, but in the long term I'm still confident Smith will be a better scorer than Farah. At the moment Smith's scores have been all base stats, while Farah's have been boosted by a massive defensive workload against the Knights in Round 1 and a big attacking performance (two try assists, two tackle breaks, a line break, etc) in game two.

I'd base the call on what the rest of your squad needs – if you'd be better off with a couple of trades elsewhere before the prices move then I'd go with those, but if you only have one other player to trade out, would like another $100K or so to spend on a replacement, and are willing to not have the best player in Dream Team as your captain, then it could be a wise move.

Keep in mind that it will effectively cost two trades – your end goal should be to get both Smith and Farah into your team, and to do that you'd need to use another trade to bring Smith back in later in the year. So any cash advantage you get out of a trade now has to be balanced against the points you may miss out on with Smith gone, and the cost of two trades.

From James Beauchamp on Facebook
Lone Scout, what's your opinion of Jacob Lillyman this year? I haven't seen a Warriors match yet this season (only team I've missed seeing). So far he appears to be performing quite well especially at his price. And if the Warriors keep playing the way they are, a solid Warriors defender could be a handy inclusion in my team.

Lillyman's an interesting one. He comes off the bench and played 39 minutes in Round 1 and 49 minutes in Round 2, but has been rock solid with a combined 54 tackles and 230+ run metres over those two weeks. His score has been exaggerated a little by a try in week one, but more promising has been his low error count – he didn't miss a tackle or make a mistake last week. And that's saying something in this current Warriors side. He's also a handy dual position front-row/second-row forward.

On the other hand, this year's scores mid-40s have been unusual for him. Lillyman's a former Queensland Origin player but he's never been a particularly big Dream Team scorer, mostly averaging scores in the 20s since 2007 (he scored 25 points a game last year). His minutes have increased a little under Matt Elliott this year so if he keeps those minutes up he'll make some good price rises, but don't be too surprised if he drops back to the pack either.

From Lee Whiting on Twitter
I thought Liam Fulton was going to be a gun this year but he's on the dud list with T-Rex (Tony Williams). Would you trade either?

I think "dud" is a little strong for a guy who's posted solid scores of 38 and 40 at the start of the year. Fulton played the full 80 last week and topped the Tigers' tackle count with 34, and made 39 tackle in 69 minutes in the slaughter against the Knights the week before. Fulton, like Canberra gun Shaun Fensom, is all about tackles and minutes in Dream Team.  He won't be a tackle-busting machine but pretty soon you should expect a few 50-point hauls coming his way. With an achievable break-even of 52 this week, I wouldn't trade him yet.

Now onto Tony Williams. With two scores of 28, at least he's been consistent. The T-Rex is capable of monster scores (which is why you bought him) but he needs to be blasting holes in defences to do that, and he's been very quiet so far this season. If he keeps taking the ball flat-footed and just trying to shrug defenders away he's not going to score many points in DT. Des Hasler is one man who can get him playing at his best, but the safer move for you could be to ditch him for someone who's guaranteed to make money this week. If you're low on cash cows, T-Rex is the man I'd be trading out of these two.

From John Parkinson on Facebook
LS a simple one for you: keep T-Rex or ditch him?

Ditch. See above. (But don't blame me if he scores 80 this week!)

From Nic on Twitter
Who would you bring in, Sandow or DCE? Both should increase in value next week but I'm leaning towards DCE for the long run?

Both these guys have been great so far this year, but the difference is this: Chris Sandow is a cash cow, Daly Cherry-Evans is a gun who you'll want in your team all year. So Sandow will get you money but cost you another trade down the track (when you upgrade him to someone like Cherry-Evans) while DCE will get you big points right now. If your scores have been low, get Cherry-Evans; if you need more cash cows, get Sandow. If you've already got four decent money-making halves, get neither.

From Tim Vogel on Facebook
Beale has killed me, do u think I should ditch him before his imminent price plummet Scout?

I've also got Gerard Beale, and might well trade him out, but not because he could lose money this week. In fact, Beale's break-even is still just 20, so if he scores like he did in Round 1 he'll actually make money.

The problem with Beale is, with the Dragons playing like they are, it's hard to see him getting the attacking points to make him a big-scoring DT fullback in the Michael Gordon mould. Yes, he's a talented player coping with a new club, but the evidence so far is that Beale will only be a minor cash cow. I think he'll still make some money so isn't a must-trade kind of player, but if you're eyeing off a better cash cow elsewhere he's not a bad trade to make.

From Duane Gorry on Twitter
Will Konrad Hurrell's price drop this week and do you think he is a keeper?

With scores of 3 and 10, and a price tag of $288,800, you can be sure that Hurrell's price will drop this week unless he pulls a 100 out of somewhere. In fact, his break even is 90, but that looks a long way off considering how poor the Warriors have been so far this year. Against a Sharks side that was tough in defence against Souths on Monday, it's hard to see Hurrell crashing through for a few tries.

Is he a keeper? That's a tougher question. Like Tony Williams and Akuila "93 one week, zero the next" Uate, Hurrell has the potential to post massive scores but will never be a consistent scorer.

That doesn't mean he can't be a good player to have in the long run, particularly in that tricky centre position where there aren't many big scorers. But at this stage keeping him is a gamble. Yes it would be frustrating if you sold him now and he scores 50 on the weekend, but it'd be more frustrating if you kept him and he kept scoring less than 20. I'd sell for a cash cow this week.

Follow the Lone Scout and ask your questions on Facebook, Twitter, or via email. Or just starting playing Dream Team now.

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