Expert Panel: Best & worst starting picks, what to do with NPP rookies & current trading strategy

The overall rankings are beginning to shape up in AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach after three rounds but there’s some common dilemmas facing coaches, so we’ve assembled three experts to discuss.

Our Expert Panel features Daylon Seakins, aka @DTS098, who is currently 35th overall in the SuperCoach rankings.

We’ve also got AFL Fantasy guns Matty Finch who finished 29th overall in AFL Fantasy in 2020 and Perth-based Hawthorn fan Aaron Olow whose side ‘Hans Olow’ is currently 19th overall.

It’s important to note the difference in trading strategy between AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach at this stage, with the delayed two-game price change (the bubble) in the latter format, compared to Fantasy. This is particularly relevant for rookies.

HB: Who's been your best starting player (pre-R1) and why?

Daylon (SC): Of my premiums, Ridley is looking the goods so far, with scores of 125, 136 and 147. It seems as though he's owning that Essendon defence and looks to be one to get in sooner rather than later. Worth noting Ziebell and Impey are looking great in their defence roles too, and will be important for cash generation. If they can manage to keep it up, they could be in the frame for potential keeper status come later in the season. Touch wood!

Aaron Olow

Matty (AF): Best starting point I have would have to be Zac Merrett. He is consistent and realistically just a jet around the ground, gets in the right places and knows how to get the ball and loves junk time footy.

Aaron (AF): Errol Gulden by far. You obviously hope to make a heap of coin on your rookies but he has been so impressive for a young player. It also helps that he has made over $200k in three weeks.

HB: Who's been your worst starting player (pre-R1) and why?

Aaron (AF): This was the first season I have brought Andrew Gaff into my side from the start and I've been hating that decision ever since. He was lucky to get what he did in Round 1 and the Eagles seemed to trying to boost his confidence against Port. Now that Luke Shuey is out again, I'm very keen to see how Gaff goes.

Matty (AF): Worst would easily have to go to Paddy Dow. Showed quite a bit of promise in the pre-season and is in the right places, just not getting enough ball and not getting the job done for me.

Daylon (SC): Fortunately just a rookie-ish priced player in Paddy Dow. I do think we need to temper expectations around his output (65+ would've been ideal) but with scores of 60, 53 and 27, he hasn't quite hit the right level. Despite getting the win in Round 3, he may find himself on the edge of the side. If he's dropped it may make the hold or not decision easier, but if he keeps his spot he will be one to ponder.

HB: What's the priority for trading between R3-R4? And the next two rounds beyond that too?

Matty (AF): At the moment my priority is fixing injuries as Iโ€™ve been hit pretty hard with a few but the main priority I would say it would have to be getting those premium plus players that Iโ€™ve almost got it out e.g. Gaff/Lachie Neale/Brodie Grundy.

Aaron (AF): Personally it is to upgrade the likes of Jacob Koschitzke. Yes, he still has a BE of 14 but there are better options out there. From general point of view, it is still early days and still an opportunity to get your team and structure right.

Daylon (SC): I'm personally of the philosophy to try limit your trades this early. If there's immediate or urgent issue, then sure, they'll need to be sorted but I think we need to remember it's a marathon, not a sprint. Last year we had far more trades than normal and need to be cognisant that this year is back to the regular. Whilst we all get that itch to flick an underperforming player, do consider all scenarios before a move.

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HB: What should coaches do with rookies who've been dropped, ie. Harry Sharp, Tom Highmore, Myles Bergman?

Daylon (SC): I personally had all three, but managed to switch Bergman to Jordon during the previous round luckily. I have faith that Highmore will be back this round after the Saints' performance in Round 3.

Bad news with Bergman though, with Lachy Jones named to debut, it seems to be he's ahead of him for now and hard to see them playing together with a mostly/fully fit backline. We could be in trouble regarding Sharp too. If you've got him, and don't have a loop, you could do worse than a DEF-MID swing. Port and Lions don't have the worst fixtures for looping coming up with 2nd, 5th, 9th, 5th, 5th (order of matches in round, later being better) games for Port and 3rd, 5th, 4th, 5th, 9th games for Lions confirmed currently. I plan on holding Sharp for the looping option, or if he manages to get back in, it'll be a bonus. If you already have a loop, (Aiden Fyfe, Comben, etc), it might be worth the sideways before upgrade season kicks in, it's a tough call.

Matty Finch

Aaron (AF): Do your research and utilise all the information out there. Some of the rookies probably won't make a lot more cash, especially the likes of Sharp where that side is so hard to get into. Wait until as late as possible to make your decision before trading out/in your rooks. This stagnated release of teams is a pain in the you know what, so be patient.

Matty (AF): Players like Highmore and Bergman I reckon will get another run through the season but the likelihood of Sharp getting another gig I would say would be pretty slim seeing the death of a line-up and if you donโ€™t have other problems on ground nothing wrong with getting in cash generation.

HB: Which player who's not in your team do you want most and why?

Daylon (SC): Who'd have thought Tex Walker would have the start he's had. Scores of 146, 143, 130 and upcoming fixtures against North, Fremantle, Hawthorn and GWS, it could be a very, very tough watch as non-owners. I don't feel too terrible over not having got him in last round, as it would have taken some drastic moves to make it work but it hurts nonetheless seeing him tear it up like this. Good for footy, but bad for SC!

Matty (AF): My most wanted player would have to be Brodie Grundy and will be in next week but would have been this week if I didnโ€™t cop three injuries this week. I have regretted starting Reilly O'Brien and only reason he got a 90 last week was because opposition ruckman Jarrod Witts got injured.

Aaron (AF): Jordan Ridley and Callum Mills. Both are dominating and should continue to shine, especially Ridley given where Essendon is at and their lack of decent mids. I'd expect the ball to be in the Bombers back half more often than not.

HB: Many thanks all, trade wisely and good luck!

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