The Buzz: Ethan’s R7 Burning Questions – Fwd line crisis, Fallen premos, cheap upgrades

Round 6 was another devastating round for SuperCoach and AFL Fantasy coaches filled with under-performing premiums and plenty of injuries to deal with.

Ethan Lee (pictured right), who finished 257th in Super Coach in 2015 and is currently just inside the top 3000, dissects some of the more common questions that you SuperCoach and AFL Fantasy coaches may be pondering before rolling lockout commences on Friday night.

Forward Line Crisis
Fifty-three per cent of coaches in Supercoach and 23% of Coaches were absolutely devastated when they heard that Josh Dunkley (AF $823k SC $634k M/F) was to have shoulder reconstruction which would see him miss 12-16 weeks. So, who can we replace him with?

My number one priority would be to get Jack Ziebell (AF $799k SC $541k SC D/F*), with the ball always being in the North Melbourne backline, Ziebell’s role of being a sweeper is very fantasy friendly and that is reflective of his averages of 127.3 (SC) and 119.2 (AF). However, most SuperCoaches will already have him given his starting price, while plenty have jumped on in AFL Fantasy, so what other options are out there.

Dayne Zorko (AF $729k SC $485k M/F) and Steele Sidebottom (AF $726k SC $493k M/F) are two players that are looking to take greater midfield loads thanks to injuries to their co-stars and that was shown on the weekend with their CBA numbers reaching a season high of 68% and 88% respectively. Their scores this week also were above their season average showing that an upward trajectory could be on the way as a result of this slight role change.

The likes of Toby Greene (AF $646k SC $505k FWD), Rowan Marshall (AF $717k SC $557k SC R/F) and Taylor Walker (AF $656k SC $491k FWD) are all viable options that can fill a forward premium role however they all carry some risk with them.

Greene is a player that does not have a great track record of staying on the park and has only played 79 of a possible 132 games since 2016.

Question marks on Marshall’s role and his scoring ability when Paddy Ryder returns (which the Saints have hinted will be this week) so it would be wise to observe his role and scoring before jumping on him.

Finally it is worth noting Walker has been carrying a minor calf complaint for the past few games which has coincided with his scoring output dropping from 139.6 to 98 (SC) & 120.3 to 83 (AF). This combined with a tough run of games in his next 5 (GWS, PTA, WCE, MEL, RIC) may see his scoring take a dip from his fairytale run.

If you are looking for a midfielder to replace Dunkley, scroll down to the options I recommend below where I discuss replacements for Lachie Neale.

Finally if you are an owner of Dustin Martin (AF $637k SC $482k SC M/F) you should be holding him unless you have some how avoided all the injury carnage, given the only information we have so far is that he will miss this week due to concussion he should only miss the one match.

Remember there are still 17 rounds of the season left and all you Supercoach players out there will need every single one of those trades. However if we get more news that his lingering foot injury will force him to miss a good chunk of games then that decision may have to be revised.

Oh Neale!!!
A syndesmosis injury to Lachie Neale (AF $746k SC $578k SC MID) seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for owners of him given, he will be missing between 6-8 weeks. However, there are plenty of replacement options that will certainly fill the expectations of owners.

The obvious one is Jackson Macrae (AF $871k SC $668k MID), currently the number one ranked midfielder in both formats, he is having a career best year even after the addition of Adam Treloar (AF $748k SC $578k MID) to that stacked midfield. It will cost you a bit of coin to go from Neale to Macrae however there are certainly no signs that he will slow down on his scoring output.

Fellow Brisbane teammate Jarryd Lyons (AF $819k SC $608k MID) in theory should step up to the plate as the number 1 midfielder in that side and has shown he is ridiculously consistent as he is yet to drop a score below 100 in SC and has a low score of 95 in AF. Once again you will need some coin to trade Neale to Lyons but we may see him shoot his average up, given extra opportunities.

If you do not have many funds in the reserve and are looking at more value options or sideways trades. Then the likes of Sam Walsh (AF $763k SC $581k SC MID) and Tom Mitchell (AF $763k SC $527k MID) might be a better fit, still technically a slight upgrade at the end of the day, Walsh only dipped below the ton once this year (SC) and still has provided good scoring with 2x95+ scores to go along with 3 tons in AF.

Mitchell’s ball winning ability suits AFL fantasy’s scoring algorithm more than Supercoach as he has dipped below the ton once in AF after Mark O’Connor “tagged” him. His cleanliness with the ball can be an issue which is why he his SC numbers are down, however the positive light is that he can still find the football with ease.


Upgrade Season
If you managed to avoid all the injury carnage, then you might as well get a jump start on upgrading some of your rookie selections. The likes of Errol Gulden, James Rowe and even Health Chapman are approaching their price ceiling and it will be worth while to turn them into premium selections. Or maybe you are looking to pocket a bit of cash from trading from an injury uber premium like Dunkley or Neale. However, we cannot just pick out the most expensive players in each line, so who are some value selections we could look at instead?

Dan Houston (AF $666k SC $500k DEF) - BE: AF 95/SC 140
After an apparent shoulder injury in Round 5, Houston’s price has taken a tumble in both formats and will leave him cheaper than his starter price in both formats. He has got a very fantasy friendly role as an attacking halfback flanker who will have stints in the midfield and as a result has delivered 3 tons in both formats with 2 scores of 80+. With his score of 48(SC)/32(AF) to come out of his rolling average, it will be important to jump on him either this week or next week.

Hugh McCluggage (AF $753k SC $547k MID) - BE: AF 83/SC 54
The improvement of the Brisbane lions has allowed McCluggage to improve his scoring output in both formats. Since their win over the Pies in Round 3 he has managed to deliver an average of 114.75(SC)/116.75 (AF) and he is only slightly more expensive than his initial starting price of $545k (SC) and $708k (AF). Another midfielder that will potentially benefit from Neale being injured; he’s certainly shown he has the potential to rise to another level.

Andrew Brayshaw (AF $694k SC $479k MID) – BE: AF 93/SC 53
Brayshaw has become a formidable accumulator of the ball racking it up 30+ times in almost 4 games, it’s a shame that the other 2 games he struggled the shake the tag and thus scored extremely poorly. Another one that has fallen below his starting price he does present some real value, but the jury remains out there whether he can shake any defensive attention away as owners will not appreciate 50’s and 60’s splashed in with an expected 105+

Shai Bolton (AF $598k SC $453k M/F) - BE: AF 45/SC 58
The injury to Dusty should open up more midfield opportunities to Bolton. He has shown he is ready to take the next step and that has translated well with his scoring recording a three-round average of 106.3 in both formats. My only concern would be what his role would be once all the Tigers are fit and how will that affect his scoring afterwards. His scoring better reflects the SuperCoach model of the game rather than AFL Fantasy’s, however at sub $600k (AF) it could be worth a punt to use that cash to turn another rookie into a premium selection.

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