Category - Who’d You Rather? (2011)
WHO’D YOU RATHER? – BATTLE OF THE UBER PREMIUMS
I thought I’d go from a different angle this week and compare two of the most ‘in-form’ midfielders in the competition. At this stage of the year, from rounds six to twelve, I generally like to bolster my midfield before anywhere else to get the absolute brute scoring power into my team.
Assuming most people have the legendary Dane Swan (if not, they’d want to bring him in quickly!), I decided to look at the two other heavy weights of the midfield position that I think will go #2 and #3 in the overall scoring come round twenty-four.
Both these players had a MONSTROUS Anzac Day and if you didn’t have at least one of them, you’ll find yourself a fair way behind the pack by the end of this round and in the future until you get them in!
The question is which one do you bring in first, or if you can’t afford to have them both, which one would you rather of course?
The newly-appointed skipper of the Western Bulldogs has started season 2011 like a house on fire, taking his average of 115 last year, to a brilliant 123 in his four games so far. He boosted up that average with his score from yesterday of course, an amazing 162, from a career-high 45 possessions, 7 tackles, and 5 marks.
Boyd has become an elite running machine the past two years, picking up disposals at will but not losing that inside power he generates for the Bulldogs. He and Daniel Cross have been under rated by the football world for many years, but now that the Bulldogs have made two consecutive preliminary finals in a row, people are starting to understand why. I’m not sure where the Bulldogs would be at without these two guys honestly, as I rate them as the #1 and #2 inside midfielders in the competition at the moment.
From a fantasy perspective though, Boyd has torn himself apart from Cross and placed himself in the top five Dream Team superstars that you MUST have in your team in order to be worth anything really!
What sets Boyd apart from most players in fantasy land is his inside-out game. Boyd will never get you a score below 85 because he can adapt so well to any sort opposition, condition, ground or game-style.
If you put Boyd in a sunny Sunday afternoon at the MCG, he’ll score well because he runs so hard to create space for himself, and he’ll always rack up the cheap uncontested disposals.
Put him in a rainy, SCG slosh-fest against the Swans and he’ll still chop, with 15 tackles to go along with his 25 inside handballs!
Boyd is just the perfect Dream Team player and apart from Swan, is the one guy you can trust 100% with the captaincy.
I say this because he’s obviously adaptable to any game he plays, but also the fact that he’ll never get tagged. Opposition clubs will always look to stop Cooney, Griffen, Higgins and Murphy before they try to stop Boyd. His foot skills can be a little questionable at times, but if you’re getting the pill 40 times, you’re bound to make a mistake or two.
I really suggest getting Boyd into your team as soon possible, because waiting will cause more harm than good. I have a feeling he has a couple more 150+ games in him this season with the new sub-rule meaning he’ll be on the ground for longer. He also has his first bye out of the way and he’s one of the most durable players in the competition.
I am ashamed to say I’ve never had him in my Dream Team, but I can guarantee that run won’t last much longer! Jump on this train quickly.
Believe it or not, Pendlebury is very close to stealing Dane Swan’s mantle as the #1 Dream Teamer in the land. Only 6 points separate them after five rounds with Pendlebury only averaging a modest 129!
I’m a very proud owner of the dread-locked one, and I must say, he is super fun to watch! We all know he’s an out and out star of the game, but you really get to appreciate a player more when he’s in your Dream Team.
Yesterday Pendlebury scored a monster 166 points from 33 disposals and 3 goals. Five points per possession is not a bad figure at all!
He’s such a cool customer, in the way he just glides across the ground picking up possessions at ease. He has the rare ability to score more than 10 points in a minute, learning from his good mate in Dane Swan.
In contrast to Matthew Boyd, Pendlebury likes to sit outside the packs much more and be receiver. His kick to handball ratios are well up on Boyd, which gives him that extra advantage as well as good marking averages (an excellent over-head mark as well), and he’s also good for five tackles a game.
Pendlebury also likes to drift forward of the play and kick a goal or two a game as he reads the play so well. Of course playing in a brilliant Collingwood team will help front-running a little bit, but what do we care? As long as he keeps delivering these excellent score we’re happy!
I still have my reservations about how consistent he’ll be however. I’m probably being a tad pessimistic but I’m unsure Pendlebury is able to adapt to different game situations just yet, and it must be said, he’s had a pretty favourable draw. Pendlebury has also become the oppositions #1 threat, and they’ll start throwing their best tagger on him, but so far, he’s just brushed them aside with his elite aerobic capacity. I’m worried he still might be prone to the odd 70 game, but as long as he makes it up with a 150 the week after, then there’s not much to complain about!
If I had to choose one player, I think I’d lean towards Pendlebury JUST! My only deciding factor is the dominance of the team he is in, plus the youth he has over Boyd as well. What do you guys think?
Ok, as you a quite well aware, Footy Tragic had their own new addition in the off-season – Tuney was traded out for Kristian and the subsequent shuffling of positions began… I would still do my weekly wrap, Dan to do captains, Teams, video (TBA) and then there was the ‘Who’d You Rather’ article. Quite frankly, I always found this the hardest article to write every week last year, so I was quite happy to palm it onto the new kid… Little did I know, four rounds into the season I am actually missing having a crack of it myself. So I have dusted off the old stats books, logged into ‘Stats Centre’ on the dream team homepage and am ready to have a go for this week…
So, although we are only a few rounds into this season, I can tell there are already a few things pissing everyone off – the subs, byes, injuries, Andrew Krakouer, Fremantle defenders and a whole lot of missed mid-priced gems. Well, whilst I can’t cure a few of the above, hopefully the following article may answer some questions on mid-priced gems, as well as potentially what you can do with Mr. Krakouer. Right now he is priced at a very uninteresting and frustratingly low $171,000 in DT and $239,100 in Supercoach, having averaged just 58 and 68 points respectively. This, from the most selected player in both forms of the game, is simply not good enough. And it’s not like he has been playing good roles for Collingwood and is hence deserving of a spot, he has, quite simply, been stinking it up, and it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to predict he will be dropped for this week’s game against the Bombers. So, what do you do with him? You could keep him and hope he comes good, or at least makes a bit more cash, or alternatively you could trade him out – although this option is made a little harder due to his low price, meaning plenty of coaches may need to commit to a two-for-one trade to upgrade him to someone decent.
My personal thoughts are, whether you choose to keep him or not, that he is unlikely to add much more value to his price – a good case scenario may see him crack the $200k mark in DT and $300k in Supercoach. But still, this is far from guaranteed. So my feelings are to offload him to one of the few missed mid-pricers – there are a few – who are still relatively cheap and already averaging big numbers for the year so far. So without any further ado: Who’d you rather? Nat Fyfe or Chris Dawes?
Who’d have thought, coming into round five of the season, that Chris Dawes would be the highest ranked forward in the DT competition (2nd highest average)? Well I guess it’s not as hard to kick goals when you play for clearly the best team in the league… But Dawes isn’t just getting his points from goals – in fact, he is averaging a little more than two goals a game so far this season (2.25 to be exact, which is 0.75 more goals a game than in 2010) – he is working a lot harder around the ground to rack up not just disposals, but also tackles. So far this season he has averaged 19.25 disposals a game, 4.25 tackles and 6.75 marks. These are all very good numbers, even for a key forward.
Just to compare these above stats to other key forwards, Jonathan Brown averaged 15.1 disposals, 7.8 marks and 0.9 tackles a game in 2010, whilst Nick Riewoldt averaged 17.1 disposals, 8 marks and 1.7 tackles – so if Dawes can keep his current numbers up, there is no reason why he can’t score like the other big guns up forward. Now, I should preface, I don’t think Dawes has the ability in the AFL to reach the heights of Riewoldt or Brown, but fortunately Dream Team is a much different beast, and with Dawes sitting in the forward line for the most potent team in the AFL, there is little reason why he can’t at least keep up an average in the 90’s.
I have watched him pretty closely so far this year and whilst I do keep saying that his big scores can be attributed to the team he plays in, a lot of it is also to do with his own workrate. He is a big guy (193cm and 101kgs), so would have a bit of an excuse for just wanting to sit in the goalsquare, but he has clearly made an effort to build up a great fitness base so that he can not only go on long leads all day, but also be able to provide worthwhile forward pressure (see his 4.25 tackles a game!). This strong workrate will frequently see him with the ball in his hands, both inside and outside the forward 50. He also has a couple of mates, Travis Cloke and Leigh Brown, and whilst neither of these guys have kicked as many goals as Dawes this year, they are both just as dangerous when inside the forward-50, meaning opposition teams won’t have the luxury of double-teaming any of the trio.
Lastly, Dawes should, if anything, continue to improve in 2011 – he is easily in their best-22 and there is no-one outside the team currently that is even threatening to take his role off him. He is still on 22 years old and has played under 40 games of football – scary really! So there is plenty of scope for him to improve throughout the year, or at least stay at the level he is currently playing at. Still priced cheap, there is a very good chance Dawes could be a top-10 forward in both DT and SC by years end, so if you are keen to get him, now is as good a time as any to jump on!
We spoke several times through out pre-season articles that Fyfe was training with the midfield group and is looking likely of stepping up, although I am a bit embarrassed that we didn’t predict just how much better he would get in 2011! So far in 2011 he is the second-highest scoring forward and the fourth highest averaging. Also, as a bonus, if he is your trade target from Krakouer, he is also a mid/fwd DPP, meaning you won’t lose your DPP link by doing this trade! Woohoo!
As seems to be customary with Freo youngsters, Fyfe burst onto the scene, already looking like a great player, despite weighing less than one of Chris Dawes’ legs. He was recruited as a half-forward type, and whilst playing a lot of time in that role last year, he did move into the midfield for stints, proving himself as a very good ball-winner. This year he is already averaging more than an extra 10 disposals on his 2010 numbers – 16.1 in 2010, compared to his 27.25 in the first four rounds of this year, making him the third highest disposal winning Docker so far this year. This has in turn seen a remarkable DT increase from 68 points in 2010 to 104 this year – an improvement of 35 points per game!
These extra points have come from a lot more time up in the midfield on the ball and this is a role I can’t see changing for him anytime soon. His ball-use, along with his ball winning skills are very good, so they certainly want him playing in the guts. He has become an inside-50 specialist and was in Freo’s top-5 for inside-50s in 2010 and it is the same again this year. Not only that, but he has one of the highest ball retention rates when going inside-50 of anyone in the AFL. Also, Freo’s deficiencies this year are in the backline, hence the poor output to date from the likes of Broughton and Duffield – fortunately this isn’t a position he plays, so they won’t be moving him behind the ball in a hurry.
My only concern from him is the opponents that he has scored well against – scores of 95, 117 and 137 against the Lions, Crows and Kangaroos (all bottom-eight teams this year), and then a lowly 65 against the Cats. Unfortunately this is all the sample data available on him so far this year, so it is hard to tell whether it was just coincidence that he played poorly against the Cats, or whether in face he is just a bit of a downhill skier. Personally I am happy to write it off as just a bad game – at his current price and experience, you would be pretty unfair to expect him to be averaging 100 points week in, week out. In fact, with only 22 game of experience it is amazing that we are seeing these sorts of numbers at all!
Overall, I think Fyfe would be a great pick – as I said earlier, I am just disappointed that we didn’t predict this one a little bit earlier. I don’t think it will be surprising to see him average around 90 DT points this year – my expectations would be for him to be a little up and down from week to week, but overall his big scores (as we saw on the weekend) should keep most coaches happy. He is also a keeper, not a cash cow, so I believe a two-for-one trade isn’t a completely wasteful option.
Well, I hope this has helped you (or maybe it has just made things harder), and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on which one of the above you would pick… Or do you have someone else in mind?
WHO YOU’D RATHER: ROUND FIVE BARGAINS
So we’re entering the stage of the season where we begin to target some upgrades for our sides.
Every year there’s always a few players who start slow for one reason or another and the lucky people who didn’t select these players at the start of the season pick them up for bargain basement price.
However, there are no guarantees that these players will regain their scoring back to where it was the previous year/s, whether it be through a lack of form, injury, change of role, or fixture.
This week I’ll most likely be bringing in one of the three players I’ll mention very shortly, but it’s deciding which one of them is most likely to turn their scores around and become a ‘keeper’ for my side for the rest of the season that will cause the headaches.
GREG BROUGHTON (DEFENDER) $310,800
Gregory would be just about everyone’s favourite Dream Teamer after he burst on the scene in late 2009 and brought relief to everyone’s backline earning instant ‘keeper’ status in his debut season. He averaged 88 playing off the back flank mainly in the back-end of the season and then backed it up with an average of 89 last year. Broughton comes with some injury troubles though. He missed a large chunk of games early in 2009, and then copped an injury mid-season in 2010 which had him sit out 7 games.
Broughton would be just about one of the best small defenders in the competition right now in my opinion, and I think this may be hurting his Dream Team scoring. Mark Harvey’s got him playing a very tight-checking defenders role and therefore he isn’t getting as many cheap marks across the half-back flank as we’ve been accustomed to with Broughton. In good news though, he still is winning the ball, averaging just over 20 disposals in his 4 games so far this season. His kick-handball ratio, marks column, and tackle count are well down on previous seasons though.
Nic Suban’s injury doesn’t help Broughton at all, but the returns of Tendai Mzungu and Roger Hayden should help him get released.
If you have Broughton, I wouldn’t be trading him out. The guy’s a ball magnet, and he will score. At least form is not the issue, because he is playing absolutely brilliantly at the moment, but it’s just not translating into Dream Team scores.
The graph WILL go up from here. If you’ve got him, keep him. If you don’t, wait one more week for his price to drop more, then in round six he has a bye, and then in round seven say hello to what will prove to be one of the bargains of 2011.
PAUL DUFFIELD (DEFENDER) $310,500
In contrast to his teammate Greg Broughton, Duffield has started this season quite poorly, and if it wasn’t for the Dockers injury woes and good form, I think he’d be one of the first on the chopping block.
Watching Duffield this season gives me the impression he’s almost a little lost in Mark Harvey’s game plan. Last year we saw Fremantle use the switch frequently on the wide expanses of Subiaco, but this season so far they’d rather kick long down the line and use the switch barely as just a ‘surprise’ tactic.
In 2009 and 2010, when Duffield averaged 89 and 87 respectively, he was the main beneficiary of the switch, as he was the Dockers designated kicker out of the back half.
This year it seems Harvey feels much more comfortable with Roberton, Suban and even Jayden Pitt taking it out of defence. The injury to Suban may mean Duffield will be freed up in defence as well as getting back in the midfield rotations, which has also been lacking this season.
The reason Duffield may be playing so deep in defence is most likely the fact that the Fremantle backline is bereft of quality small defenders at the moment.
If you’re looking at bringing him in soon, just be wary of his questionable job security at the moment. A few more shaky games will see him on the outer, and Mark Harvey has been renowned to do some pretty confusing things. Fremantle’s selections will sure be interesting in the coming weeks.
JACK RIEWOLDT (FORWARD) $263,900
Not often do you really consider genuine full-forwards for your Dream Team, but at Jack’s current price, can you resist?
Let’s put some things into perspective. Last year he averaged 84 playing in such a poor side. Most of his points came from ‘mark, kick, goal’ plays, but he also averaged 3 tackles a game, which is great for a key forward.
Jack does NOT handball. He averaged 1.6 handballs a game last season. That surely has to be some type of record. He’s only recorded 3 handballs to date so far this season as well.
For such a great mark, he also doesn’t take many of them either, only averaging 5.5 marks a game last season.
This tells us pretty much everything we already knew, but at his current price, is an average of 85 for the rest of the season acceptable?
I wouldn’t be too deterred by his early season form. He mauled the Carlton defence single-handedly in round one, getting himself 106 Dream Team points from six goals. In round two he was concussed in the first quarter without registering a stat. In round three he struggled all night against a brilliant Hawthorn in terrible conditions for tall’s, and on Friday night he managed to snag four goals, albeit for only 55 points, against the best defence in the league.
There is no questioning the best is yet to come for Jack. We do know he will kick goals, but will he drift up the ground and get some more marks to boost his scores? He certainly has the athleticism to play that role, and I do think he’s at his most dangerous when he loses his opponent in midfield traffic and then runs back toward goal, so it’s not totally out of the question.
We must also not forget that Brad Miller is now in the side. Both he and Vickery are more suited to playing deep. It will be interesting to see how the forward structure works against a weaker North Melbourne defence on Sunday.
The Richmond midfield is much stronger than it was last year, so Jack should get much more supply as well. With the tough games out of the way, and a much more competitive Richmond, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack pulls out a 90 average for the rest of the season and storms home for his second Coleman medal while he’s at it (I hope!).
I reckon I might pull the trigger on this one, and enjoy the ride.
Would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks guys.
WHO’D YOU RATHER?: JASON GRAM VS COREY ENRIGHT
Let me guess, you spent your entire Monday cursing over your failed premium backline players? I wouldn’t stress too much though, I’m pretty sure we all endured a nightmare weekend, and if you didn’t, you sir are a genius!
I’m tipping most of the hatred comes from the backline premiums. Who would’ve thought all of Brett Deledio, Cameron Bruce, Paul Duffield, Greg Broughton, Sam Gilbert, Daniel Connors, and even Brendon Goddard would be ABSOLUTELY stinking it up in the first three rounds of the season?
The guys who are doing well are the players most us would’ve looked over in the pre-season. I’m assuming a lot of Dream Team Coaches this week will be looking to trade out their under-performing premiums before it’s too late so I’ll be looking at a few options you should consider brining into your side.
I will be forever livid at myself for not going through with my gut feel that Jason Gram would continue where he left off in 2009. His stats were down last year because he was interrupted with injury throughout the year but he still averaged a very nice 84 from his 14 games. Season 2009 was his break-out year in terms of Dream Team stats, averaging 92 from 21 games. Of course playing in a high-possession style team that was successful boosted his scores but now he’s shown he still has the game while the Saints are currently struggling.
The annoying thing about Dream Team is that if you took his pre-season form on face value, you would’ve instantly said ‘no way’. I thought during the NAB Cup he played terrible and looked a shadow of his former self, which swayed me away from picking him. Then little would you know, straight away in round one he’s playing a full time midfield role and looking great!
I got to watch his game closely against Richmond, and although it isn’t a great indicator, he was floating around the middle all by himself, in a head to head role with Bachar Houli if my memory serves me correctly. What I’m getting at is that his role has changed, even from 2009, and he’s now playing exclusively midfield, playing that outside receiver role. Lenny Hayes going down doesn’t really affect Gram all that much, but it will consolidate his spot in the midfield if it was ever in any danger.
Gram has the bye this week, which is great news. His price won’t go up any further for another round, and he’ll be defender who you can bring in whose had one of his byes out of the way.
I know I’ll be doing all I can to get him in as soon as possible because I think by the end of the year he’ll definitely be in the top 10 defenders for points scored.
How could we ever doubt the ‘general’ down back for the mighty Cats? In hindsight, he should’ve been one of the first guys picked in every team, but for some unknown reason, the majority of us over look him.
Over his last five seasons he’s averaged an elite 89, and missed just 2 games. He’s showed no signs of slowing down, and even though he’s turning 30 this year, it was only last year where he recorded his best statistical season of his career, averaging 92 Dream Team points.
Much like Jason Gram, Enright’s pre-season looked very sloppy, and I think we all thought Geelong would come back to the pack this year and Enright would naturally slow down with age.
Three rounds in and this is far from the case. Enright looks awesome, marshalling the troops in defence as well as having brief stints in the midfield.
I wouldn’t be too alarmed by his score of 62 on Sunday though, the ball barely reached his side of the ground at all, and I think he did very well to get you a score like that if you have him.
After his bye in round 5, Enright is a must-have in your defence as he will offer durability in consistency.
So who will be your first defensive upgrade? In my opinion these two are the two best targets by far at the moment, but personally I’d be leaning towards Jason Gram. I think he’s a little bit more unique, probably less consistent, but is far more capable than Enright of knocking off those big 130-140 scores.
OTHER PLAYERS TO CONSIDER………
Heath Scotland has continued on his stellar Dream Team form with an average of 88 to kick off the year. His role is very much similar to last year, basically providing rebound off half-back as well as kicking it inside 50.
Robert Murphy is a guy who I never really rated as a Dream Teamer when he made the move to half back, but this year so far he’s proved me wrong. I think with the exclusion of Jarrod Harbrow and the injuries to Easton Wood and Ryan Hargrave, Murphy shoulders a lot of responsibility in that defence. I don’t think it will be long before opposition teams sit a forward tag on him to nullify his influence.
Apart from obviously Bryce Gibbs, there really aren’t any other defenders setting the world on fire at the moment. Once you get yourself one or both of Enright and Gram, you can probably sit on trading in your defence for a while because there are some great rookies in this line who are doing just fine anyway.
I look forward to your opinions guys!
So we’ve had one round to take a sneak peak into how each of our players will go throughout the season and some coaches may take this opportunity, before player prices go up and down in round three, to fix some small errors in judgement they might have made in the pre-season.
Some coaches will look to find a replacement for Andrejs Everitt, who was disappointing on the weekend, or some might want to cash in Foley for Ed Curnow. All these situations play on a Dream Team coaches mind during the week and I hope I can assist you in any way you might need.
I’m guessing a popular trade will be people getting rid of Nathan Foley this week. I certainly won’t be, as he was obviously ill on Thursday night, but I can understand some people that might’ve saw a few rookies on the weekend, and they believe these players can deliver similar output in a much cheaper price range.
I thought it’d be good then to sift through a few of the midfield rookies who played this week and give a quick rundown on how they each went in their first game, their scoring potential, and their job security in the future.
I was very impressed with this kid’s composure in his first game. Conca was always a good bet for your bench as Hardwick likes to give the young guys a good run in the seniors, but I think he’s now fully justified his position. Reece played on the dangerous Garlett on Thursday night and more than held his own. He isn’t specifically a shut-down defender though. Conca was involved in quite a lot of defensive rebounds, and wasn’t afraid to use his dash to run through the zones. I predicted he’d average somewhere close to 60-70 points per game, and with his solid 61 on debut, you really can’t get much more safe here, even though you have to fork out a little extra coin.
We always knew this bloke could find the footy. My reservations were how he’d come back from a broken leg and if he’d be able to contain a spot in the Blues midfield. He’s ticked one of those boxes, but I still hold fear that he may make way for McLean and Ellard when they are ready to come back. Curnow scored 107 on debut with 24 possessions, 7 tackles a goal. You really can’t ask for much more. His scoring power is easily the best out of his price range but it will be largely insignificant if he gets dropped or even worse, used as a sub. Personally, I would not trade him in this week. Wait one more week, suss out his role again, and then make a decision. His price won’t move until the end of round three.
I watched the Port Adelaide vs. Collingwood game, and Irons was very shaky early, absolutely shanking a set shot in the second quarter. He then settled in very nicely in the second half and ended up slotting a couple of games and providing some very good forward pressure. He ended up with a very nice score of 71 from only 13 disposals. What I think Irons has got going for him is the fact Hitchcock had a shocker. I don’t think Port can carry both of these guys when Motlop comes back and at this early stage I’d have Irons slightly ahead. Irons’ scoring will be inconsistent with the role he’s playing, but he should be good for a few games early now.
Savage isn’t quite a rookie but he’s priced at one. I was actually very impressed with him on Saturday night and thought he was one of the Hawks best in what was a very sombre second half. He cracks into the contest well and has generally good disposal. He will score for you but the worry is that Luke Hodge is back this week and Savage hasn’t quite broken into the best 18 yet, so he’s one of a few players that will have to make way for the Hawks captain.
OK, now that he got selected, got a good run, found some ball, and played quite well, I can kind of have faith now that Woosha will realise he’s in the Eagles best 22 quite easily. He’ll run all day, and generally use it well, and most importantly will score big. He only netted 53 points, but he really turned it on in the second half and I thought he was a real catalyst for keeping West Coast in the game and in front. Again, like Conca, you’ll have to fork out a bit more, but the extra cash is worth it. Jump on.
Boy, he slotted in just nicely into the big league on Sunday. He racked up six touches in about five minutes in the first quarter with a few clearances to boot. Libba is physically ready for AFL, and I honestly thought he was one of the Bulldogs best. I think he’s a good show for a solid run of games now as long as keeps on performing the way he did. He’ll score very well for you, but I’ve just got slight reservations that he may be used as a sub when a few of the Doggies players come back from injury and Sherman is fully fit.
Rohan delivered exactly what I expected of him. He’s not the most muscular player going around, but he’s an outside user that will compliment the Lions very well. I thought he looked very comfortable out there and he was one of the more composed Lions players in the dying stages, which should win him a lot of brownie points. Don’t expect the 118 he dished up in the NAB Challenge but Bewick will be a consistent 60 to 70 scorer that will get plenty of game time and opportunity now that Brisbane have so many injuries, again.
If you have any questions about any other players, please feel free to drop a comment down below!
This week I am looking at the players who have had ordinary 2010 seasons, whether it be due to injury, form or something else. Many of these players will be ones we will focus in on in next year’s pre-season as we try and find the best bargains that money can buy. Obviously with the Gold Coast team coming in, bargain mid-priced players may not be quite as necessary, however I still feel that these players aren’t just in your team to make money, but also contribute to your team with good scores.
The way that players are priced each year is determined by their average from the prior season. This number is then multiplied by a ‘magic number’ to equal the players starting price. There are, however, some flexibility in these rules – players that played zero games can get up to around a 60% discount – although this is where the rule gets messy – some players may only get 20%, or somewhere in between, or some are put all the way down to ‘base price,’ the starting price of a first year player. So it is hard to predict at this stage what sorts of discounts players will get – one thing we can rely on though is that players that have played anywhere between zero and five (or so) games for the year should be dirt cheap in comparison to their potential 2011 output. In 2010 we had players such as Malceski, Waters, Maguire and Hille who all proved to be great bargains for teams that selected them. In this article I will look at the best potential bargains in each position for 2011. Also, if you have any players you believe to be great 2011 bargains, I would love to hear your thoughts below!
Andy Otten: Otten was a bit of a DT star in 2009, having a breakout season in which he came second in the NAB rising star to Daniel Rich. He averaged 68 points through the season as a running defender and was a standout player in the Crows’ campaign. Unfortunately, in the pre-season this year he ruptured his ACL, meaning he hasn’t played a single game all year. He should be back fit and firing for round one next year and should be dirt cheap thanks to the fact he hasn’t played at all this year. The Crows are a very good team at rebounding from defence, and with the deferral of Bock to the Gold Coast, there will be plenty of chances for Otten to step up and improve his average from 2009.
Nathan Bock: As we are now aware, Bock is officially the first recruit to the Gold Coast Suns and will very likely take his position at centre half back as he has done at the Crows over the past three and a bit years. When on song he is a great player and a great dream teamer – he has averaged 88 points a game across 2008 and 2009 (the two years where he has played CHB), and has the capacity to pull some pretty big scores. This year he has spent plenty of time injured on the sidelines and has never really had the chance to hit his straps, averaging just 78 points across 13 games. Whilst he won’t be eligible for a discount, I believe that he is capable of scoring much more than what his starting price will likely suggest. Being one of the senior, and therefore most trusted, players at Gold Coast should mean he is capable of winning plenty of ball – we will still need to watch his pre-season though to ensure that the GC gameplan will allow for a high-possession game from a half-back.
Nathan Foley: Foley has had a shocking run with injuries this year, restricting him to just four games with an average of 71 points – enough to give him a sizeable discount next year! Last year, Foley was fantastic, averaging just over 90 points until succumbing to an injury in round 14. At his best, Foley is brilliant around the clearances and is also a very good outside runner for Richmond – he can sometimes struggle with a tag, however this is often to do with the lack of other decent midfielders at Richmond, something they are quickly changing with the emergence of Deledio, Martin and Cotchin. Whilst he won’t be a player capable of averaging over 100, he should be a very good mid-priced player to both make you some money and score pretty reasonably in the process.
Tim Houlihan: Houlihan has been another player to miss the entire of the year thanks to a series of injuries. He has played several games at WAFL level, but has frustratingly gotten injured every time he is close to senior selection. He is a very capable midfielder and a good DT scorer, however the concern must be his place in the team – I have heard many West Coast fans question why he regularly misses selection as he has previously proven himself as a good AFL player. He finished the 2009 season with a run of seven games through which he averaged 82 points and only dropped below 75 points once and scored over 100 points twice. If he manages to stay on the list until next year and proves himself fit and firing in the pre-season, I believe he could be a great pickup.
Brock McLean: After crossing to the Blues in the off-season, McLean has had a horrible season, which I’m sure he would rather forget. He has again been plagued with constant injuries and has only managed to get onto the field six times for an average of 70 points. At his best, McLean is a great in-and-under midfielder and exactly the type of player needed by the Blues to help give Judd a chop-out. Over previous years at Melbourne (in a team at the bottom of the ladder), McLean has proven himself as a decent Dream Teamer, averaging 83 in 2009, 86 in 2008, 74 in 2007 and 92 in 2006. The problem is, injuries have often struck at some point in many of these seasons and thus he has averaged just 14 games a season since 2006. However, if he can prove to be fit, he could again be worth some close consideration, especially if he comes at a tempting discounted price!
Drew Petrie: Every year we seem to get treated to one bargain in the rucks – next year it looks to be Petrie (assuming he keeps his ruck status). Unfortunately for Petrie, he has played just two games this season after suffering two separate broken feet. Fortunately though, both injuries are just impact injuries and not degenerative ones, meaning that once he has recovered, there shouldn’t be any reoccurrences unless he is incredibly unlucky. It has actually been in both of his games this year that he has gotten his injuries, meaning he has finished the year on a very low average of 50 points. On top of the fact he has a low average, he should also come with a very good discount thanks to the fact he has only played twice this year. Over the previous couple of years, Petrie has been a great player, switching between the forward line and the ruck and has averaged 85 points over the past two years. He should be 100% fit come round one next year and is every likelihood of lining up at CHF for the Roos (his best position), meaning he will be a player almost impossible to neglect from your Dream Team.
Chris Knights: Knights was one of the stars of the competition in 2009, playing a new role across the Adelaide half-forward line, not only racking up plenty of ball before it was delivered inside the arc, but also booting plenty of goals himself, including one five-goal haul. Unfortunately, 2010 hasn’t been so kind to him and he has struggled most of this season with hamstring troubles. The latest injury came in his second game back in round 20 when he pinged his hammy after just two disposals, finishing him on four points, a score which dragged his five-game season average down to 66 points. This eventual average will drag his price right down in 2011 and if he can show the form we know he is capable of in the pre-season, then I believe he should be one of the first picked players. There are also rumours that he could be on the move in the off-season to a Victorian club, but time will tell as to whether that is true or not.
Max Rooke: Rooke is an interesting case – he isn’t particularly a great dream teamer, but his low average (36 from one game) will see his price start very low in 2011 and mean that he could be a fantastic 7th forward option for teams looking to save on a bit of cash. Rooke is a tough-nut half-forward and regularly throws himself onto loose balls with no respect for his own body. Over the past two seasons he has averaged 60 points, so he is not a total waste of space, but I think that if he starts the year priced between $150k and $200k it will be very hard to ignore him.
Ricky Petterd: Petterd was looking likely of becoming one of the breakout players of the year until he badly injured his shoulder in round 6. Until this point of the year he was averaging 80 points, but this mid-game injury pulled his average down to 76 for the year with a likely 2011 discount thanks to him only playing six games. Melbourne are looking very likely of going up another notch next year and becoming a very quality outfit, and up till the point of Ricky’s injury he was one of the Dees’ better players. And now with the news that Brad Miller will be delisted, it is a position that they are desperately crying out for. So it looks like the expected breakout year could be delayed until 2011 – and fortunately it should come pretty cheap!
As the season draws to a halt, I can understand that some of these articles can become a bit irrelevant. That is why I want to write the first of my reflective pieces about season 2010. Over the next week or so, expect articles to shuffle around a bit as we all look back on a season that has been, as well as casting our eyes forward to 2010. Today I will reflect back on my ‘Who’d You Rather’ series from this year, determining who won some of the key battles in hindsight. Next week I will attempt a piece looking ahead to next year and the changes that may arise, whilst Ben will continue to look at the Gold Coast list. Our last official article of the season will be a ‘Season Wrap’ in the place of the ‘Weekly Wrap’ article on Monday week. From there we will certainly be staying active on the site over the off-season and we encourage you to do the same. We will attempt to keep up to date about all the key Gold Coast signings, plus my favourite week in the AFL calendar - Trade Week. We will be on top of the draft too, with our expert on the kids, Dan looking at all the talent for 2011. Articles will be announced soon as we still establish our structure, but remember that Dream Team is really won in the off-season, so having a great DT knowledge base leading into picking your 2011 team will give you the best possible head-start over your mates. And you KNOW that Footy Tragic will be the place for all this info throughout the off-season!
Who’d You Rather: The Hindsight Edition
Round 1: Mark Seaby vs Todd Goldstein
To kick things off, I compared two developing mid-priced ruck options. To this point, Seaby had averaged 104.5 over two games and Goldstein 86.5 and 84% of people said Seaby was the best option. However, from this point on, Seaby averaged 35.5 points over four games, including a season ending mid-game injury in round 6 - a game where he scored just one point! Goldstein proved to be a better option - whilst he didn’t have a breakout year as predicted, he did go on to average 74.8 for the rest of the year, finishing as the 6th highest scoring ruck of the season.
Voted: Mark Seaby - 84%
Winner: Todd Goldstein
Round 2: Jarred Brennan vs Jonathan Brown vs Cyril Rioli vs Ryan O’Keefe
This was hardly amazing advice either… At the time, all four looked amazing, however form and injury have cruelled all of them at separate times through the year. Brown has had abdominal issues and has averaged 73.1 from this point and has missed five games in the process through injury. O’Keefe was great for a while, but after averaging 115 over the first three games, he averaged 82.7 - at least he hasn’t missed too many games, but nine scores below 80 points have made it an average season at best. Brennan averaged 116 from the first three, and injuries derailed his year - he missed four games not long after this article and struggled to recapture his early form, averaging just 77 points and scoring above 100 points twice. Rioli looked for a while like his 130 points was a blip on the radar, but after averaging 65 points over the next eight games he then hit form, averaging 97 points for the next six – unfortunately he was then hit with a two week suspension on the eve of finals, meaning plenty had to trade him out.
Winner: Ryan O’Keefe
Round 3: Alan Didak vs Steve Johnson
At this stage of the year, neither player had hit form, with Stevie J averaging 86 points and Didak averaging 84. From this point, both have really hit form, with Johnson averaging 99.5 for the rest of the year and Didak averaging 102.5. Didak also played all remaining games, a fact Johnson can’t claim, having missed three games with suspension late in the year.
Voted: Alan Didak - 74%
Winner: Alan Didak
Round 4: Jordan Lewis vs Domenic Cassisi
Two players that were well down on their expected output for the year with Cassisi averaging 68 points to this stage and Lewis 76 points. Immediately after this article both players seemed to hit form with Lewis averaging 98 over the next six weeks, dropping below 100 just once; Cassisi similarly averaged 97 points over the next six. As the season comes to a close, Cassisi has averaged 94.6 since and Lewis has averaged 87.6.
Voted: Jordan Lewis - 70%
Winner: Dom Cassisi
Round 5: Ryan Hargrave vs Paul Bower
We can probably pretend this article never happened - whilst Hargrave was up and down for the remaining rounds, Bower has only played seven games since with an average of 55. Hargrave has at least averaged 84.5 points and only missed the two games, making him the clear winner.
Voted: Ryan Hargrave - 81%
Winner: Ryan Hargrave
Round 7: Lenny Hayes vs Dane Swan This isn’t a particularly difficult one to work out after Swan’s dominant season, although it is worth commenting that you wouldn’t have done too badly picking Hayes either for $40k less. Lenny averaged 113 points since this article with only two scores below 100 and six over 120 points. However, Swan makes these scores look pathetic, averaging a whopping 128 points since, scoring below 100 just once and scoring over 120 on 12 occasions (five of which were over 140!).
Voted: Dane Swan - 73%
Winner: Dane Swan
Round 10: Ash McGrath vs Sam Fisher
I went out on a limb this week and both ended up looking pretty good (until McGrath injured himself). Until the time of this article, Fisher was averaging 82.57 and McGrath 73.25. Since then, Fisher averaged 93 points and McGrath, whilst averaging 122 over the next fortnight, injured himself the next week and went on to score a rather average 55 points for the remaining rounds.
Voted: Sam Fisher - 80%
Winner: Sam Fisher
Round 11: Paul Chapman vs Gary Ablett
This was the battle of the balding Cats and Ablett was clearly the voters choice with 76%. However, since this date, both Cats have been a lot closer than people expected. Firstly, Chappy has missed only one game, whilst Ablett has played every one. Ablett has averaged an impressive 112.9 compared to Chappy’s 107. The fact Ablett has played all games and averaged five points higher makes him the clear winner.
Voted: Gary Ablett - 76%
Winner: Gary Ablett
Round 13: Jack Riewoldt vs Richard Douglas
Two players having clear breakout seasons, with Riewoldt leading the way at this point, averaging 93 compared to Douglas’s 87. However, as seems to happen with younger players, both have waned in recent weeks, with Riewoldt averaging just 68 points since this article. Douglas has still remained a good average of 92 points since the article, suggesting he has been the better performer. Also, for those looking at forwards to replace J Brown or Higgins this week, Douglas could be a great pick, especially with Vince now out for the year – Douglas should line up in his midfield spot.
Voted: Jack Riewoldt - 58%
Winner: Richard Douglas
Round 14: Lance Franklin vs Alan Didak
For the second time this year I looked at Didak - this time up against Buddy in what proved to be the closest vote of the year. To this stage, both players averaged 95 points for the season, however Didak’s was from more matches thanks to Buddy’s couple of trips to the tribunal. From here, Buddy averaged 104 points, however missed one more game from suspension. Didak managed 108 points whilst still playing all seven games between then and now, making him the eventual winner from this article.
Voted: Alan Didak - 54%
Winner: Alan Didak
Round 17: Adam Goodes vs Nick Riewoldt
In the final real ‘Who’d You Rather’ article, I pitched two forward heavyweights against each other - both had had poor seasons to date with Goodes averaging 86 points for the season and Roo missing 12 weeks with a significant hamstring injury. At the time of writing this article, Riewoldt had played two games since returning, scoring 68 and 71 points. Goodes on the other hand had just played two blinders through the midfield, scoring 158 and 116 points. Both players have continued some good form since though with Riewoldt since averaging 111 to Goodes’ 104. Riewoldt’s DT finals form has been fantastic, averaging 132 points from the two games so far, making him the clear winner over Goodes who has averaged just 86 points in the finals series.
Voted: Adam Goodes - 59%
Winner: Nick Riewoldt
Well, as promised in last week’s article, this week I am going to focus my energy on a couple of players who are probably not on too many coaches radars. I believe that at this time of year you need to be a bit creative to give you the edge over other players – for example, the guy I played this week had 17 players the same as mine, meaning that we really had only five players going head to head! It was ridiculous, and when Bartel and Rockliff dropped in dud games for me, my finals assault took a slip. So what if we had a few more differences between each team? What if I had replaced Gibbs, whom we both had (and who has been underperforming lately) with a player such as Rischitelli, Vince or Rawlings? Each player is a plausible inclusion on their recent form and each would have given me enough points gain to win me the match! Whilst this isn’t necessarily going to be the case in every circumstance, look at common players like Higgins, Bartel, Waters, Malceski and Podsiadly – all of whom are in a current form dip – and look at your options around their price range. Giving myself as another example, five of the remaining six teams in my league have Gibbs, five have Bartel and six have Waters. So what good are these players really doing for me? Essentially Waters is wasted space as he will simply cancel himself out every time I play any one of my opponents. Whereas if I had Newman, Broughton or Symes, I would not compete against an opponent with the same player. Whilst I could be totally screwed if Waters came out with a score of 120 vs 60 from any of the others, I believe it is a risk worthy of being taken, considering the form of any of the three listed above compared to that of Waters. Once again in this article I have taken the brief approach, choosing quantity over quality, and will list a number of players worth considering for your finals X-factor. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you only have one trade left, or if you have the week off after winning round one (a trade in week two could still be on the cards if you have no injuries), it could be a great last grab for any teams clutching at their final chance of finals glory. Good Luck!
Greg Broughton – $353,200:
Broughton is best known as the DT rising star of 2009 with his highly impressive scoring in the back half of the year whilst playing a rebounding role in Fremantle’s developing team. This year he started the season OK, averaging 92 points until round 8 when he injured himself. He was then out of action until round 16 when he returned with 71 points - he followed this up with an ordinary 60 points in round 17. As it turns out though, both these games simply saw him rebuilding his fitness base. The two games since (rounds 18 and 19) have seen Broughton played through the middle, with positions in Freo’s backline already taken up. In round 18 he was best afield versus West Coast (and racked up a handy 120 points), and this week he made his way to 99 points as the second highest scoring Docker. He is in only 8,227 teams and Freo have a reasonable run home with two games at Subiaco versus Sydney and Carlton and an away game to Hawthorn in round 21. If he can stay in the midfield (and there is no reason he shouldn’t), I believe he could continue to average his 100 points for the remaining rounds.
Chris Newman – $359,600:
Whilst Newman may play for a side sitting towards the bottom of the ladder, it is certainly worth considering him. He started the year slowly playing a more dour role, but since the Tigers season hit it’s strides with a win over Port Adelaide in round 10 he has been very consistent. He now plays a rebounding role from defense, much in the mould of Brian Lake or Sam Fisher in that he still takes a strong opposition forward, but also works hard to break free, creating plenty of rebound from defense, as well as cutting off opposition marks. In the past 10 games he has averaged 93 points and has only dropped below 75 points on three occasions. He has also scored himself four tons in that period. In just 8,513 teams, Newman could provide a great defensive option in the run home.
Andrew Swallow – $428,200:
Swallow has had a consistent year this year after a breakout season in 2010, however he has really hit his straps over the past month. After averaging a respectable 91.5 points until round 15, Swallow has gone BANG over the last four matches, averaging a huge 121 points, which includes 160 points in round 17. Swallow is a tough in-and-under player and will regularly win his own ball. He is also a tackle fiend, averaging over eight per game this year - his huge round 17 game consisted of 15 tackles! He is also rarely the focus of taggers, with captain Brent Harvey the much more popular target. The Roos have a very important week ahead of them with their hope of finals on the line, so watch for Swallow to give his all at the contests, winning plenty of his own contested ball and tackling hard.
Scott Thompson – $422,000:
Thompson’s Crows have had a season to forget, but at least he has been relatively consistent for his 6,172 owners, especially over the last month. With the Crows pushing for finals, Thompson has really lifted with his team since beating Essendon in round 14. In that game he scored 146 points and since then he has averaged 116 points. Although the Crows are no chance of making the finals, expect them still to work hard at shaping the top eight – they may be out of the eight, but do still have respect for themselves. With games against Brisbane, Collingwood and St.Kilda remaining, the Crows will really set themselves tasks over the next few weeks – especially against the Saints as it will be played at AAMI stadium. Also, the Crows deficiencies are not coming from their midfield, but from their forward line, so at least Thompson should be capable of winning plenty of ball. Also, Vince now seems to be the first tagging choice for opponents, meaning Thompson will at least get some games where he can be off the leash.
Michael Rischitelli – $403,500:
Rischitelli has had an ultra consistent season and it is a surprise that he is not in more than just 17,051 teams. Across the 19 round season he has picked up 100 or more on eight occasions (including the past three) and has dropped below 85 points only once. Since being moments from being traded to Carlton in the off-season, Rischitelli has really had a breakout season, easily becoming the Lions best midfielder for the year. He is averaging nearly 98 DT points for the year and 105 across the last nine. Whilst he hasn’t been a prolific scorer (only one score over 120), he has been one of the most consistent week-to-week performers of the year. It’d be nice if he could step up another 10 points on his average, but I wouldn’t be counting on it. He could be the perfect pick for someone scared of an ultra inconsistent midfielder in their lineup.
Chris Knights – $356,100:
I mentioned above that you may have to take a risk for a big reward, and Knights certainly is that big risk. He has played only four games this year, the fourth one against the Doggies on the weekend, the first time he has played since round five. Early in the season he was hardly setting the world on fire, but when a player has only played four games for the year his history can count for something. Knights was a revelation for Adelaide last year, going from a ball-winning midfielder to a goal-kicking forward flanker, capable of drifting through the midfield. He is a player easily capable of averaging around 90-95 points and then pulling out a 140-point blinder. Unfortunately though, we have seen very little exposed form from him, causing him to be a bit of a risk. Albeit, he did look decent on the weekend, gaining 91 points for his 17 disposal, 7 mark and 6 tackle game. He should get better as he builds fitness, but perhaps not in time for the Grand Final. If you are not looking to trade this week I’d keep an eye on him, but there may be some less risky picks with just as much upside. He is in only 2,563 teams though!
Adam Schneider – $373,900:
I did an article on Schneider in the pre-season, praising his ability to find space and kick stacks of goals and run through the middle, etc etc… But the sub-text on that article (for those who remember) was that it seems to only happen in the latter half of the year – and that is exactly what we are seeing from Schneids at the moment. Whilst he has had quite a good season, his recent form is what stands out the most for DT purposes. His role is much more of like a midfielder than a forward at the moment – he will start forward, but drifts through the middle for five minute bursts to lose his opponent, then has a very good knack of finding space up forward and then kicking goals. The weekend’s game was the best example as he continually presented in the forward line and was the Saints target in the forward line the same number of times as Riewoldt. But at the same time, he racked up 30 disposals and five tackles in his 154 point game. He has averaged 102 over the past eight games and is in good form with some presumably easy games coming up over the next fortnight against North, Richmond and Adelaide. He is in only 12,028 teams.
Others to consider:
Brad Symes – $340,400:
Came back from injury in round 12 and has averaged 91 points since, including 100 over the last three. Looks in very good nick and is part of an extremely functional and well-drilled backline. Unfortunately, it is the Crows forward line that is stuffed.
Dale Thomas – $376,100:
Has dropped off a little lately but re-found form on the weekend against the Cats with 115 points. He is in 38,180 teams, but still there are plenty of DT coaches not to have caught onto his great 2010 form. As I have said above, look at your opponents’ teams and go from there. Thomas is a great pick if only one or none of your opponents have him.
Colin Sylvia – $430,500:
It only took him all bloody year, but he finally got there, averaging 115 points over the last five games. He has mistreated his owners terribly this year, but it is great to see him bounce back into some form with a role in the Melbourne engine room.
Shane Tuck – $396,600:
He is a guy that has worked bloody hard to stay in this team and he is not about to let anyone take his spot from him. Despite a couple of off games in the last month (a 64 and a 76), he has averaged nearly 100 points for the full season - in fact, despite these two down games, he has scored below 85 twice. He is never going to get tagged and has some big games to round out the season, which he typically loves. Also, he is in just 1,982 teams!
With the finals now on our doorstep, everyone will find themselves in a variety of different circumstances – whether you have made the top four, just missed it, or are sitting outside the eight, you will be working on your own strategies to deal with the next month – a month which will build to that one day in August – the dream team grand final.
As well as everyone having different finishing positions, everyone will also find themselves with varying amounts of trades. We have talked many times on this site about the ‘ideal number’ of trades, but whether you have stormed in with six or limped in with one, you must use them all very wisely. The first issue that will test coaches will be player resting, which will likely happen over the next month or so. Fortunately, the Saints and Hawthorn losses on the weekend will make it very hard for them to rest any players, just as Freo and the Bulldogs will be needing to win every match to snare fourth spot. Collingwood and Geelong on the other hand are another story – whilst Collingwood may play around a bit with their lineup, I can’t imagine them really resting too many stars since they far from have top spot sealed. Geelong is the real DT enemy this year – they have already forecast resting Enright, Chapman and Ablett, after already resting Podsiadly and Bartel this week. We as coaches are going to have to think very long and hard about what to do if one of our stars is put out for a week through finals, and I think it will differ depending on where you sit on the finals table;
- If you are in the top four, and have bench cover, you can certainly consider saving a trade. I probably wouldn’t trade if your opposition the rested player too, but would certainly consider it if you are going in as the underdog.
- If you are ranked 5-8 (whether in the top or bottom league), I would probably trade unless if you have very good bench cover (i.e. a mid priced player who could score 80+ points). You have no second chance here so you need to go in with the best team possible.
When trading in players in the finals series, suddenly trading strategies become a bit different. When through the season, trading in a Swan, Ablett or Montagna are all good picks, it can be worth looking at who your main opposition has in their team. If all of the top four have Ablett and Swan, what is the point of trading them in? All that you will do it match them point for point when ideally you want to be beating them. Look to less common players like Boyd, Tuck, Hayes, Cross or Corey to give you an edge on the opposition. Whilst your player may not outscore theirs, it is a risk worth taking at this time of year. Over the next three weeks, my ‘Who’d You Rather’ article will focus on these less common picks.
This above point can also be made about Captain choices. I know some coaches who intentionally try to pick the same captain as their opposition every week – this is simply just not backing your own judgement and it certainly won’t help you win matches. Whilst Swan is probably going to be the best captain choice through the finals, why wouldn’t you select an in-form Montagna, Goddard, Chapman or Hodge who may be able to give you an extra 20-30 points? Swan only got 114 points on the weekend to Boyd’s 145, proving that the great Dane is not always going to be the BEST option for you every week (make sure to read Dan’s Wednesday article on Captain choices for hints and advice!).
I have already spoken about trades, but to go back over it, I want to remind you to use ALL of your trades! This probably sounds laughable to all the people limping in with one or two, but there is a chance of getting to the final week with one or two still in hand. Whether this means using the spare trades to upgrade your 7th forward or defender, or possibly just upgrading on your bench, it won’t harm your finals aspirations in any way. And by this same theory, if you are in an elimination final, throw everything you have at it – remember that if you lose this game your season will be over.
At the end of the day, I think there is one rule more important in dream team than any other – and that is showing off, talking yourself up, rubbishing your mates team and being anything but humble in either victory or defeat. It has been a long season and we have finally hit the business end – I must comment that it has been a thoroughly enjoyable year on Footy Tragic. I can speak on behalf of the rest of the boys when I say that we have really appreciated the comments, feedback and ‘robust discussion’ on the site this year and can’t wait to show you the bigger and better site layout that has been in development all year (hence some occasionally short articles!) – hopefully we can get it online before the season closes.
Best of luck to you all over this next month and keep the comments flying – great to hear how everyone is doing in their own personal leagues!
We discussed this a bit last week in the wash up from my article, and it is the theory that at this time of year you shouldn’t bring in anyone but the best. Many ask about the idea of sideways trading and I wanted to confirm the definition of this; a sideways trade is one that nets you little noticeable points value - i.e. a trade to a player who will only score an extra five or so points is considered a sideways trade - especially at this time of year. What we want at this stage is a player who will regularly score at least a ton. There are only a few players who fit this bill, and my recommendation to you as finals approach is to hold tight on sideways trading. If you have any of the frustrating players such as Gia, Higgins, Pods, Pav, Cox, Enright, Waters, Carrazzo, Harbrow (and I’m sure everyone could name a dozen or so more), it is now probably best to hold tight – keep them as your 7th forward or 6th mid or whatever and just hope they fire in finals. The grass can always seem greener, but don’t get sucked in to trading one of these guys to someone who is likely going to frustrate you as much.
However, if you can afford a proper upgrade of any of these guys, then I can certainly see the merit - an upgrade is a noticeable points increase, as discussed above. If you have a fair amount of trades left, it could even be a consideration to do a two-for-one trade to bring one of these guys in to strengthen your side. My suggestions of the real premiums are detailed below; please note though I have only picked a couple of midfielders as there are quite a few who could fit the bill.
Good Luck! (and apologies for the lateness of the article!)
Brian Lake – $457,200; season avg. 104.29; last five avg. 118.8:
I think coaches started waking up to Lake as a dream teamer when he scored a whopping 192 points in round 9. At the time I wrote it off as a blip on the radar, never to be seen again. As it turns out, I was proven wrong. Although playing a full-back role, a position typically inhabited by players with no interest in finding the football, he plays a very creative attacking game – and what’s more, he is very capable of shutting down his direct opponent in the process.
Lake is a fantastic reader of the play and is ranked first in the AFL for marks from opposition kicks, showing that he is almost able to play the loose man role in the backline whist still actually having an opponent - he knows exactly when to zone off his opposition and intercept a foray forward. He has brilliant marking skills too, ranked number one in the AFL for marks and number five for contested marks. Even lately, opposition coaches have attempted shutting him down and this became laughable against Carlton when the Blues forwards spent more time trying to spoil Lake from marking, rather than marking it themselves.
Whilst he has had 137 contested possessions for the year (remembering that backmen will typically have a very high contested count), he has had a whopping 235 uncontested possessions, which for a backman is typically consisting of either rebounding out of the backline with no pressure, or kick-to-kick football. Lake loves a bit of kick-to-kick, and it often the middle man when bulldogs play the game – last week he racked up 30 points in under five minutes of play and this is not the first time it has happened. With the Bulldogs killing games early, Lake is able to get plenty of ball later in the game as they chip it around.
By now it is hard not to think of Lake as a dream team star - he has done it consistently now for most of the year, only dropping below 80 twice – both times in the first four games. You could do much worse than bringing Lake into your squad, and being in just 11% of teams, there is a strong chance you won’t have too many opponents who have him too.
Dane Swan – $539,000; season avg. 124.41; last five avg. 136.6:
There is little more to say about a man who is so prolific in this game we play - he is a star, plain and simple. In fact, looking at his season stats, he has only dropped below 110 points on three occasions, and two of those times in the first five rounds! That’s mammoth! He is a ball magnet, but more so is a ball winner. His incredible fitness allows him to run all day and run into space to pick up plenty of ball from his teammates. He is also great at clearances, regularly seen streaming out of packs with the ball and kicking it long into the forward line. Another stat line he seems to be succeeding at is tackling - he averages nearly five per game.
Essentially, at this point of the game, if you don’t have Swan you are making it very very hard for yourself. With those clever enough to have kept him captain over the past month would have been treated to scores such as 322, 282, 276 and 266 – all immense figures. Compare this to players using Ablett as Captain over the past month – 216, 218, 162 and 252 – that’s a huge 298 points difference in four games of football!! So it is worth not only thinking about what he may bring to your team as a player, but think about what he may bring to your team as Captain! He could quite easily be the difference between you winning or losing your final.
He is not slowing down either, proving himself untaggable again this year. Fortunately, the likes of Didak, Pendlebury and Thomas are all having good years too, meaning Swan is not regularly at the attention of taggers, and if he is, it is generally not the primary one. Teams have learnt not to let the likes of Didak off the leash as he is much more damaging by boot.
Essentially, I think you need Swan this year. Most years it is not as easy to suggest one player as a necessary addition, but he is simply so far ahead of everyone else it is just ridiculous. If you don’t have him, he may be the guy who squashes your own finals hopes, being your opponent’s captain.
Matthew Boyd – $489,700; season avg. 115.8; last five avg. 125.4:
Boydy is way too unrecognised for his amazing DT skills – in the past month or so he is in fact not too far behind Swan. Since round 11 he hasn’t dropped below 110 and has been over 130 on three occasions. He is Mr. Consistent this year, and whilst his best may not be as high at Swan, he is consistently around a very good level.
One of the best things about Boyd is his lack of owners - he is only in 11% of teams, mainly thanks to his lack of media attention, but this doesn’t make him any less great. He is currently ranked 15th in dream team and 10th for disposals in the AFL, despite missing two games earlier in the year – if he had played them and gotten his average in each, he would have been ranked 3rdfor disposals and 2nd for dream team – not bad figures at all!
Boyd is another untaggable, but that is mainly because he typically plays a role on opposition mids. Boyd is very good at stopping the tougher in-and-under mids in the competition, but will often try to hurt them the other way with his own fitness. He will often play on players who lack much of a defensive side to their game, meaning that they will rarely stop him from sneaking forward for a goal, as he does quite a bit.
I don’t think Boyd is a better pick than Swan, but he is cheaper by $50k and won’t average significantly less than him for the rest of the season. He is also a lot less common, so if you are looking to beat your opponents rather than be the same as them, Boyd could be a fantastic way to go.
Paul Chapman – $454,500; season avg. 117.25; last five avg. 112.6:
We all know the highs and lows that are Chappy – whilst he is far and away the best DT forward option this year, averaging nearly 20 points better than his nearest opponent, most of those who don’t have him are clearly paranoid about his hammys going ‘ping!’ But so far in 2010, Chapman has missed only the one game, a stat which certainly goes against what history would suggest of him.
Chapman claims that Geelong’s new fitness guru has cured his plight with hamstrings, so we have to choose whether to believe this or not before trading him in. The worry is, if the issues really aren’t gone, history suggests that Chapman will miss most of his games at the back-end of the year. For example, these are the games he missed for the past three years; 2009: Rd 8, 10, 19, 20, 22; 2008; Rd 9, 10, 18, 19, 20; 2007: Rd 7-9, 17-19. Get the gist? Knowing that rounds 19 – 22 are DT finals time, Chapman has missed 6 of a possible 12 finals games, including last year’s Grand Final! So if you were to trade him in, you’d want to damn well believe his word!
Also, Bomber Thompson has signalled he will be resting his stars over the next month or so, putting further doubt into the minds of many. But all this aside, perhaps we have to look at the positives – you won’t win dream team without taking risks and Chapman is certainly a big one. He doesn’t appear to be carrying any injury and we know that he would certainly have been rested if he was. I really like him as a pre-finals trade. Just before (or maybe after) week one after assessing all the current media about him. I have a gut feeling that all will be OK, but still, you would want to have some fair cover. Personally I don’t have him, but I will shortly be doing the maths to find out how possible trading him in is.