The Buzz: R8 burning questions – Bargain buys, handling the byes & your mailbag questions

Hello coaches, welcome back to The Buzz where I answer some of the toughest questions that might come across coaches minds across the week and give you my thoughts on the best ways to tackle these problems.

Ethan Lee is a former top 300 SuperCoach finisher

Bargain Buys

We are at a stage where the likes of Errol Gulden, James Rowe, Chad Warner and many other rookies are hitting their peak price or are getting tired and may benefit from a week’s rest.

This gives us an opportunity to bring in some premium selections, however some of our rookies haven’t made enough cash so we may not be able to afford some of the top dogs and may need to work with a smaller budget, but who presents this value?


Steven May (AF $547k SC $408k DEF), BE: 62(AF)/5 (SC)

Unfortunately for AF readers, May is more of a SuperCoach option than Fantasy. May ended the year on fire in 2020 with an average of 111.2 (SC) in his last 7 games and was touted to be a nice point of difference within the top 10 defenders in SuperCoach at the start of the year.

However due to an injury sustained in Round 4 his price absolutely crashed and is now priced at 408k. Initially thought to be a 4–6-week facial bone injury, May made the miraculous recovery and returned after just a week on the sidelines. Since then, he was able to pump out a 91 and 145 respectively and has become a target for a lot of players.

There are some questions marks however, the injury to Adam Tomlinson which will rule him for the season might see May play a bit more of a lock down defender which may hurt his scoring. But it was hinted that Harrison Petty will help fill that void, so it may slightly help May’s scoring for the most part. In general key defenders will always have up and down scoring, this was shown last year where he managed to score 5 sub 70 scores to go along with 9 tons. He still however does present brilliant value so I still will advocate him as an upgrade target however it does not necessarily hurt to wait and see the effect of Petty moving down back.  

Caleb Daniel (AF $575k SC $412k SC DEF), BE: 94 (AF)/51 (SC)

Danielproved last year that his 2019 season was no fluke and so far, has still managed to pull off 2 tons alongside solid scoring with a couple high 80s along the way. His score against the Lions caused his price to plummet and coaches were quick to jump off the reigning B&F winner when he was suspended in that same game. However, since then, he had a quiet first week back only putting up a score of 55 (AF)/78(SC) but showed his real class the next round scoring 112 (AF)/117(SC) racking up the ball a ton and using it well.

This puts him in the conversation of a fallen premium to pick him up this week. He is a proven scorer averaging (88.63 AF-Scaled to 20 minutes) and 101.5 (SC) last year so we know the role is there, the questions surrounding him would be, will he get enough of the ball to generate the premium scores or do the Dogs have enough co-stars in their backline that might take away some points from him?

Once again like May, he still presents excellent value and does take away a rookie’s score on field which is what we are aiming to do.


Travis Boak (AF $721k SC $555k MID), BE: 110 (AF)/104 (SC)

Boak was going to be one of my recommendations to replace LachieNeale last week, however he was ruled out with a quad injury. The early word is that he is fit and ready to go this week and is priced cheap for his current output.

After blasting out the gates with a 160 (SC)/109 (AF) and 120 (SC)/96 (AF), he cooled off a bit with a low score of 84 (SC)/90 (AF) in Round 4 and as a result had a small price dip. Port will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing performance against the Lions and they have got a pretty good run in their next 4 with the likes of Adelaide, Bulldogs, Collingwood and Freo in their way.

He is also very durable only missing 5 games in the last 9 years, a player to consider for your Supercoach team. Unfortunately, his AF number’s aren’t as good, so I won’t recommend him for that format

Josh Kelly (AF $674k SC $508k MID/FWD*), BE: 89 (AF)/ 105 (SC)

*M/F in AFL Fantasy only

Luckily for AFL Fantasy the services of Kellycan be utilized as both a midfielder and a forward, after being played out of position for the first 6 rounds and averaging 90.8(SC)/85.5 (AF) he returned to a more familiar wing role with a few opportunities in the centre of the park scoring 129 (SC)/121(AF).

We have seen in the past if he is played as a midfielder (yes I’m looking at you Leon Cameron) he can rack up tons of the pill and that reflects the multiple years of 110+ average in both AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach. The slight downside is Kelly does tend to carry around a few soft tissue niggles, which results in him missing 2-3 week stints multiple times a year. I would tread water carefully with Kelly in supercoach, however given his DPP status in Fantasy he seems to be an excellent option.


Jack Darling (AF $566k SC $466k FWD), BE: 53 (AF)/69 (SC)

This one is an odd one, but currently Darling is currently going through a strong vein of form having a three-round average of 112.3 (SC)/96 (AF) and that has seen his price jump in both SuperCoach and AFL Fantasy. With West Coast having a very soft run into the byes playing the likes of the Hawks, Crows, Giants, Bombers and Blues it seems he may carry exceptional value to be a top forward in a terrible year for that position.

The obvious downside is that you will always have the key forward rollercoaster scoring, but he is capable of being a consistent scorer as seen in his 2018 season where he would have averaged 96.95(SC)/85.8 (AF) if not for 2 injury hit games and we all saw how TexWalker started the season when he had a soft run, will this be the same case?

How to tackle the bye periods

For many AFL Fantasy/SuperCoach players the byes can be a very scary prospect especially if you do not fully understand how they work and how to best utilize them. The first thing you need to know is that your best 18 scores on the field in that week will count to your overall score. So, the most important thing would be to ensure that you have 18 players playing in each set week.

Now don’t go messing up your current plans just because you noticed that you are 1 or 2 short in one of those weeks. Remember we still have 3-4 weeks leading up to the byes and it is very likely we will be jumping on and off some rookie selections, hopefully nabbing a few premium selections and fixing any injury concerns. I would not be worrying too much about bye structures at this stage at least. As we come closer to the byes, I’d say that you can justify some trade selections because of bye structures. But at this stage keep on track with trying to upgrade your rookies into premium’s.

One way to assist bye tracking is to whip up an excel spreadsheet and make a list of players who have byes in each week. That way you can keep track of what positions might be slightly lean for the byes and what you might focus on approaching them.


Mailbag Questions

This is a bit of a new segment where I try and assist you with some dilemma’s you may have. We put out a tweet on Monday night @HoneyballAFL and got a few questions, hopefully this becomes a weekly segment.

Do you bring in May even if he affects your Rd 14 bye structure? Also how many trades should you have at the bye round stage and after? @MattM_78

May presents a ridiculous amount of value in SuperCoach as mentioned above (not so much in AFL Fantasy) being price at $408k and averaging 103.2 in non-injury affected games in 2021 as well as 111.2 in his last 7 games of 2020. I would not be worrying too much about bye structure unless all of your premium defenders are going to be missing that week. Remember it is best 18 in those weeks and you will have some rookies being able to cover any potential donuts you may have in those positions.

With regards to how many trades you should have by this point, there is no “correct amount” that you should have. If you trade aggressively and have less rookies to upgrade post bye then its justified, but if you were more conservative because you wanted to maximize cash generation then that can also be reasonable as you can now afford some more uber premiums.

Is Daniel a good option to bring in as a sideways trade/stepping stone for someone like Jiath or Cox? @itsvJLW

It is something you can play around with, however given Changkuoth Jiath's(AF $513k SC $421k DEF) scoring potential of 4 scores above 95 he maybe handy to keep around for longer as he will hold his value nicely as well as have great job security. Remember the Hawks got destroyed on the weekend so that may explain his newest low score. But on the other hand, if you feel that Daniel can get back to a his very best or more then it might be worth the hit to get a potential top 10 defender by years end at such a low cost.

Owners of Nik Cox (AF $418k SC $287k DEF/FWD) would be happy that he has filled the void of rookie defenders that have slowly disappeared since the start of the season. Essendon are willing to put games into their kids, so he’s got phenomenal job security as well as shown he does have scoring potential reaching scores of 93 and 97 in R3 and R4. But, given his breakeven already close to his current average it is not a bad idea to move him on. I would consider what other rookies you currently have on field you have that can provide cover and see if their job security will hold especially coming through to the byes, nevertheless I will always condone trading out rookies for a premium selection.

“For AFL Fantasy, RCD or Byrnes as the downgrade rookie? RCD job security probably there now Cotchin is hurt” @Timothy_J13

Riley Collier Dawkins (AF $193k SC $123k MID) did impress with 14 possessions (11 contested) and 5 tackles. He looks to fill in for the injuries to Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia as shown by his 68% CBA numbers which was the top midfielder for Richmond last week. Compare that to Ryan Byrnes ($200k AF $123k SC MID) who also impressed in a big win having 18 touches and 9 marks. However as mentioned in the question, RCD’s job security seems to be in a better spot. As well the Saints have Luke Dunstan averaging ridiculous numbers in the VFL, so it can be only a matter of time before he comes back in to that spot. I would wait for teams to drop (please bring back Thursday night teams!) to see who gets picked and then choose from their but my gut says RCD over Byrnes just because of job security reasons.

Leave a Reply