Stats Blog: The bright side of injuries & the Tiger truth
The injury list has been painful in 2020 but sometimes absence creates opportunity and that’s been a theme of late which AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach coaches need to note.
Last week, I wrote about how some of the Eagles mids were benefiting from Luke Shuey’s injury enforced absence with an upswing in scores and there’s numerous examples across the league. This is pertinent in a season where there appears to be more injuries than normal.
Gold Coast’s Hugh Greenwood (AF $711k SC $557k MID/FWD) has produced personal season-best scores of 109/132, 103/126 and 109/144 (AFL Fantasy/SuperCoach respectively) from literally the moment Matt Rowell went down injured against Geelong.
Richmond’s Jayden Short (AF $636k SC $454k DEF) was averaging 66.2/89.4 until Bachar Houli opted not to join the hub a fortnight ago. Short has posted scores of 100/118 and 84/86 the past two weeks, which is an average of 92/102.
Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw (AF $622k SC $512k MID/FWD) appears to have benefited from Nat Fyfe’s time out of the midfield too, averaging 88.67/123 across the past three weeks.
It’s no secret Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield (AF $761k SC $598k MID) is a gun but his good recent run has coincided with injuries to Mitch Duncan, Quinton Narkle and Joel Selwood, improving his overall average from 73.4/100.6 to 82.7/110.9 in two games.
There’s others to consider such as Luke Parker (AF $736k SC $541k MID) with Josh Kennedy and Isaac Heeney injured or Stephen Coniglio (AF $682k SC $501k MID) with Callan Ward out, although those influences are more arguable than proven. But both had a lot of centre bounce attendances in Round Seven.
On the flipside, players returning from injury are a factor which may explain Hugh McCluggage’s (AF $718k SC $548k MID) recent drop-off, upon Dayne Zorko’s return to the side.
McCluggage was averaging 82.4/112.6 until Zorko returned a fortnight ago, posting scores of 64/74 and 64/89.
TIGER TRUTH OR MYTH?
There’s been a perception that Richmond’s lack of interest in tagging means individuals can rack up massive scores against them.
North may have been flogged by Richmond but Shaun Higgins’ (AF $644k SC $491k MID) 36 disposals was the most of any player in the AFL in 2020.
Higgins’ 36 touches equated to an excellent 121 AFL Fantasy points and a whopping 182 SuperCoach points.
His score was the best for the round in AFL Fantasy and third in SuperCoach behind Tim English’s (AF $732k SC $600k RUCK) 204 and Max Gawn’s (AF $943k SC $776k RUCK) 185.
Higgins isn’t your typical high scorer, so it’s interesting to note individual round top scorers in both AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach in both Rounds Five and Six also came against Richmond.
Gawn posted a huge 131/163 in Round Five and Callum Mills (AF $656k SC $557k DEF) went large with 125/173 in Round Six.
Richmond play the GWS Giants at Giants Stadium on Friday night in Round Eight.
Before I get into this, someone asked me during the week why collective stats are relevant. It’s a good question.
The relevance is they represent good information for your captaincy choice as some teams are easy to score against and others are hard. Likewise they play a part in trade selection, particularly later in the season when a player may have a run against ‘leaky’ opposition.
In Round Seven, West Coast scored the most collective points in both AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach and the Eagles also conceded the fewest points across both competitions.
That’s also damning on West Coast’s opponents Fremantle, who’ve now conceded the fourth most points in AFL Fantasy and third most in SuperCoach.
The Dockers play Geelong in Round Eight, but it is the Monday game if you’re pondering a captaincy choice.
Melbourne and Collingwood were the other two big collective scorers in Round Seven, with the Pies moving into top spot for best collective average score per match in both AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach.
Collingwood not only scored big, but they restricted Geelong’s scoring to be 15th and 16th across the league in AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach respectively.
That’s impressive as Geelong have been among the top three collective scorers in both AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach all season.
The point is clearly it’s a risk to choose a captain against the Pies. Next weekend they play Round Seven’s top scorers West Coast.
However, the side you want to avoid playing against with your captaincy choice is without a doubt Port Adelaide who’ve conceded the lowest points per game on average across both AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach.
The Power play St Kilda in Round Seven, who aren’t overly blessed with captaincy options anyway.
In terms of Thursday’s VC loophole game between Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs, both sides are very middle of the road collectively, so pick the best player available and don’t be swayed by team.