It's a big week for the NRL Dream Team season, with player prices making their first move on Tuesday and the head-to-head league matches kicking off tonight.
I hope you've followed a few of my hints and picked up some cash cows already. Now it's a case of making the tough calls on whether those underperforming members of your squad deserve to survive the axe this week.
Before I get onto this week's questions, here's a rolling lockout tip that I (and a lot of other DT coaches) learned the hard way on Monday night.
Kurt Gidley's late withdrawal from the Knights side on Monday hurt plenty of DreamTeamers, especially those of us who had him in our starting 13 (rather than in our playing 17 but on the bench). If he had been one of the four "interchange" players then he could have been swapped off the bench with Cowboys hooker Scott Moore (or another player involved in the Knights-Cowboys game) subbed in.
So: if any of your players play on Monday night, make them a bench player if you can. That applies to the Warriors, Cowboys, Roosters and Eels this week.
Now, onto your questions...
From Shaun Nicol on Facebook
Should I trade Jarryd Hayne out for Ben Barba this week?
No, I'll be waiting on Barba – there's no guarantee he'll match last year's super scoring (he was pretty incredible last year), especially with his personal issues. If he plays the house down against Souths then I'd look at it next week.
I do agree Hayne's a bit of a concern though. He's still one of the top fullbacks in Dream Team but without his kick metres from last year (which have been taken by Sandow this season) he's probably a little overpriced. That doesn't necessarily mean he's worth a trade out as he's still one of the best options in the winger/fullback position. I'll be keeping him, but Barba's scores will be very interesting in the next couple of weeks.
From Sam Porter on Twitter
Lone Scout, I gotta get rid of Fulton, he's bleeding cash. Should I trade in SBW or Lillyman?
For pure cash gain, Jacob Lillyman will make more profit for the next few weeks (his break even is 1, despite already rising $40K this week).
But I'd still lean towards Sonny Bill – after three games back in the NRL he's just getting back into the swing of things and already he's starting to look very good. He's playing the full 80 and made 38 tackles last week, and when he really starts breaking tackles and laying on tries on a regular basis he should be a keeper scoring 50 points a week. His price is on the way up (his projected break even is 29) and even though it won't rise as much as Lillyman's it's probably saving you a trade. I still see Lillyman as a cash cow, so you'd need to trade him out to take advantage of his price rise, whereas you could keep SBW in your squad all year.
From Donald Sapias on Twitter
Should I swap Gidley for DCE? Or should I wait for Gidley's price to go up first?
It's very tempting to jump on the Daly Cherry-Evans train as soon as possible, with the Manly half starting the year on fire and leading the Dream Team scoring charts. He's already climbed $32,900 in price, and is likely to hit his break even of 45 this week.
On the other hand, you presumably bought Kurt Gidley with an eye to making some money out of him, and he will do that the next time he plays. Gidley's injury isn't expected to be long term, so the smart move in the long run is probably to hold tight for now, sit him in your reserves and make the most of his cash boost down the track. There's every chance Cherry-Evans will score one or two 40s at some stage and his price will come back down a little.
If you desperately need points now, and have the cash already, then go for it, but if there are other more pressing areas in your squad that need fixing then I'd address those first.
From Mitch Kennedy on Facebook
Hey Lone Scout what are the chances of John Morris keeping his No.9 position at the Sharks?
Not great. Issac De Gois returns from his hamstring injury this week off the bench and is Cronulla's first-choice hooker, so expect to see Morris bumped back to the bench sooner rather than later. Morris has been a shock cash cow so far this year but he may have done his dash already. He'll get another price rise this week but it could start dropping back down after that.
From Jason Wood on Twitter
What is your take on Matt Bowen's first three performances? A keeper this year?
Bowen's just behind the top winger/fullbacks in Dream Team (Inglis, Hayne and Michael Gordon look like the ideal back three) but he's obviously a quality player, who's as good at creating tries as he is at finishing them. In Dream Team terms he's at his best over the Origin period, when he has to take on a larger playmaking role at the Cowboys in Johnathan Thurston's absence. He's yet to find the tryline this season, which has taken a toll on his scores, and unless he bags a couple this week he's unlikely to hit his break even score of 71.
Not an urgent trade necessarily, but if you're in the market for certain keepers or money-makers, then Bowen is neither.
From eloquentEEl on Twitter
What's the theory on Tolman's drop in points? I expected him to increase workload to cover Graham.
Aiden Tolman's a great worker in the front row, and with James Graham's lengthy suspension at the start of the year a lot of people expected Tolman to pick up some of the slack at the Bulldogs. Instead, that workload's been shared around between Tolman, fellow starting prop Martin Taupau and bench props Dale Finucane and David Klemmer. Tolman still gets the most game time out of those four, but not by much – his minutes per game so far this season reads 58, 46 and 52. Last week Finucane played 51 minutes and made more tackles and hit-ups than Tolman.
That's a bit of a worry for Tolman owners, and suggests that – at best – he'll be a similar scorer to what he was last year. He should still average in the 40s, but the likes of Trent Merrin, Aaron Woods, James Tamou and Andrew Fifita are better.
From Damien Spresser on Facebook
The Nathan Smith situation: is he likely to remain 18th man for Penrith? Or will he be back in? If it's the latter, who do you suggest to replace him? My thought was Scott Bolton, but I don't know anything about him. Will he remain in the Cowboys team?
It looks like Smith is on the outer at Penrith for now, but with so many new faces at the Panthers this year it's hard to tell for how long. Bolton scored well for the Cowboys on the weekend but has only played one game so far, so it could be worth waiting to see how he backs it up this week before taking the plunge (his price won't move until after his third game). If you can replace Smith in your 17 then the smart move could be to put him in your reserves and wait a week before deciding – Smith won't lose any value in the meantime.
From Jono Chabowski on Twitter
Are Adam Docker (playing for Latimore) and Vai Toutai (now replacing Blair) good cheapie buys? Looking to move some cash around.
Yes and yes. I can't speak for Docker's job security (he's a bench back rower at the Panthers, and they have dozens of those guys this season) but Toutai seems to have just about tied up a wing spot at Parramatta after Cheyse Blair was the man to be dropped when Ken Sio returns to the side this week. He is a winger, so is risky, but he's at the rock bottom price and is guaranteed a few price bumps if he keeps his spot.