The Buzz: R13 Burning Questions – Who are the premium targets & bargain buys

Welcome back to The Buzz for Round 13. This week we rode the first of the byes and it wasn’t even the scores that made the biggest headlines but rather the fixture change for Round 14 that has thrown many plans out the window.

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I’ll be discussing the many methods to approaching this new fixture, the premium trade-in targets for this bye week as well as some bargain buys to look out if you can’t afford to fill out your team with the big guns. 

Round 14 reshuffle

Former top 300 SuperCoach finisher & HB scribe Ethan Lee

If you didn’t know, the Round 14 fixture between West Coast and Richmond was brought forward a week to this round and as a result we will be left with eight teams having the bye in Round 14.

For many coaches this does present a major problem as it will be extremely difficult to field a team of 18, however SuperCoach players have been given 2 extra trades to their overall total as well as the ability to use up to 4 trades this round.

AFL fantasy coaches unfortunately have only been given 1 set of 4 trades to use in Round 14 alone, but essentially, we have 7-8 trades to use (depending on format) to prepare your best 18 players for Round 14, but is this the best strategy to utilise?

I, for one, will always endorse aggressive trading if the end goal is to get as many premiums/keepers onto your field and reduce the number of rookies you play per week. That way, you do not need to rely on the rookie roulette to get your best score each week.

What I mean by this is don’t sideways trade players who will miss Round 14 just because they are missing that week. Trade them for a purpose.

There are probably a lot of coaches with rolling 0s in their team and while it isn’t ideal to have them during this period it’s not worth burning a trade that could be used for a potential upgrade/downgrade. That rolling 0 can also be handy in the long run if you ever need to loophole a vice captain’s score.

To go along with this I’ve seen a few people try and trade out Dayne Zorko (AF $767k SC $604k M/F) and Cam Guthrie (AF $840k SC $609k MID) because they may be missing the next 2 weeks and while this can be detrimental it’s a very high risk high reward way to fix this as the only benefit to do this is to be turning an uber premium and a rookie into 2 undervalued premiums who are set to bounce back.

So, an example would be getting Lachie Whitfield (AF $756k SC $503k D/M) and Aaron Hall (AF $751k SC $502k M/F) for Zorko/Guthrie and a rookie. Again, you are banking that both premiums you bring in are going to continue their uphill trajectory which would make that trade an overall win. 

Another issue coaches face is that 2 of the more popular rookie selections this week in Trent Bianco (AF $249k SC $123k D/M) and Callum Coleman Jones (AF $391k SC $161k R/F)are on the bubble this week but are set to also have the dreaded Round 14 bye, so for many coaches you’re going to have to make a tough decision here about whether you need this extra cash generation or need warm bodies on your field for Round 14.

It is going to be a real balancing act, however the job security of both Bianco and Coleman-Jones are much higher than any other rookie who is close to being on the bubble and their scoring potential is also significantly greater than the next best available rookies.

It’s not the end of the world if you miss both of them but certainly it would have to be a very dire situation with your Round 14 team in order to have that happen. There does not seem to be that many amazing rookies left and with the DPP on both of them they are going to be very hard to ignore. 

Premium Pickups

Now that we have had 6 teams have their bye, we can now pick some premium selections that will play for the rest of the byes period and are potentially going to be considered as a top 10 player for their position.

Defenders

Lachie Whitfield (AF $756k SC $503k D/M)  BE: 102 (AF) / 70 (SC)

A real no-brainer here, Whitfield has been one of the most dominant Fantasy and SuperCoach players given his ability to rack up massive numbers in the last 4 seasons with 100+ averages and a career best year of 113.8 and 111.2 in 2019. Currently he’s coming back from a horrific injury sustained in the pre-season and as a result did have a slow start but is starting to show signs of his old self bagging back-to-back tons before his bye last week.

Now with a breakeven of 102/70 (AF/SC) he is very much ripe for the picking. Poor injury history would make some coaches worried as he has missed 19 games in 5 seasons but in the same time frame, he also has played 2 full seasons of footy so if he does mis games it comes in patches. But certainly, if you get cold feet getting Whitfield in then the likes of Jack Bowes (AF $659k SC $466k DEF) and Dan Houston (AF $568k SC $415k D/M) who are both returning from recent injuries have shown to be capable of breaking into that top 10 defender bracket and are slightly cheaper than Whitfield himself. 

Midfielders

Ollie Wines (AF $771k SC $549K MID)  BE: 103 (AF) / 94 (SC)

I’m trying to stay away from players I’ve talked about in the past as options to pick up. But it’s not like Wines is a bad option to pick. We are all waiting for that super breakout year that was meant to happen after his amazing 2nd year stint, but since then he’s been riddled with injuries that have stalled his progress and has mainly been a 95-100 averaging midfielder, however so far this year he is currently averaging career best numbers.

With Travis Boak drawing the main attention from defensive midfielders Wines’ has flown under the radar and been as consistent as always averaging just a touch over 30 touches, His last 3 weeks have been incredible impressive with 118.6/124.3 average, while I don’t think he’ll keep up this type of scoring he can definitely push that 110 bracket if he keeps this consistency up and at his price that would be a nice value selection as well as a pretty good point of difference for your team. 

Matt Rowell (AF $536k SC $495k MID)  BE: 126 (AF) / 197 (SC)

Another player that is just coming off the byes and is ready for selection (although it is yet to be seen if he is going to be playing AFL this week) is Rowell. The real life Specky Magee has been listed as fit to play this week and we all remember how good he was last year with 3 best on ground performances which was ruined by an injury in Round 5.

High hopes of him leading the Suns to the finals this year were quickly dashed with an injury in the first quarter which destroyed half his year. Even though we are working with very limited numbers I would be backing him in to jump out the gates and show everyone what he’s capable of. If you cannot afford a big name this week then he may be a slightly value selection despite his price being set to drop in the next week or two, that won’t matter if he comes out and scores 120+, you’ll be happy either way. 

Forwards

Charlie Dixon (AF $492k SC $462k FWD)  BE: 53 (AF) / 55 (SC)

The forward line is a bit of a mess SuperCoach wise, while in AFL Fantasy we have a few more options thanks to DPP being updated mid-season. With that being said, there aren’t many options that aren’t already super popular or that I’ve already mentioned in the past with the likes of Ziebell, Hall, Jelly (Josh Kelly) and Hawkins all discussed as good picks so you can go back to previous articles to view my opinions on those players because they haven’t changed.

So instead, my player to watch this week is Dixon. The current All Australian is a decent SuperCoach option given his highly contested mark style of play, unfortunately doesn’t translate well for Fantasy coaches. But recently he’s come back into some very good form with a three-round average of 109.3.

Dixon really is a barometer for Port and this is reflected in his scoring as he averages 92.25 in their wins vs 72 in their losses. Like many key forwards he will be a very up and down player as he will rely on the ball coming down into the forward 50 however if unleashed, he has shown in the past he can pull off some monster scores with 2x 140+ scores last year and a season high of 138 vs Freo before their bye. At $462k you could invest $50-60k more and get that more secure scoring however Port do have a good run home playing only 4 of the top 8 teams in the final 10 games 

Patrick Dangerfield (AF $748k SC $611k FWD)  BE: 142 (AF) / 198 (SC)

Dangerfield deserves a mention as well given it will be his first game back from a syndesmosis injury that has ruled him out for a good chunk of the year. He will be leading a midfield without Cam Guthrie so we could see the old Danger appear on Thursday night at Adelaide Oval. It certainly would be a significant price to pay at $748k/$611k but like Rowell will you care that much if he can deliver you good scores? Probably not, he is very much a proven scorer and history depicts he has been as durable as ever, this is the first year since his debut year where he’s missed more than 3 games of football and he’s had 9 years of 105+ scoring. Good players will score well regardless of what people think. 

Bargain Buys

Finally, I’m going to be looking at some of the players who have lost a lot of cash over the years and figure out if they can be valuable bargain selections because of a new role or a return from injury. With this I’m not considering their bye week, and you can certainly pick them up at any time given how cheap they’ve become.

Scott Pendlebury (AF $586k, SC $382.9k, Mid, Mid/Fwd AF only)  BE: 94 (AF) / 70 (SC)

Formerly known as Dependlebury, for his ever so consistent scoring in the early to mid 2010s in both formats of the fantasy world. He has fallen slightly off the radar with his scoring as other players look to take the mantle of the midfield role. It was also announced that Pendles has been carrying an injury concern throughout the year which along being played on a half forward flank has contributed to sub-par scoring. However, he got shifted to a half-back role last week which suited him a lot more and he got thrown into the middle for half the game. Especially for a team like Collingwood where the ball is going to be in their back half a lot, it may help Pendles with his scoring output.

AFL Fantasy will be rejoicing given his DPP, SC players not so much and you probably will not be selecting him to complete your midfield. But if we start modelling his scoring based on Dyson Heppell who had a similar role change I do not think you’d mind a 95 averaging forward considering it would be the fifth highest at the moment (not accounting for Dunkley who will most likely miss most of the year)

Lachie Neale (AF $729k SC $575k MID) BE: 127 (AF) / 163 (SC)

We all know how good Neale was last year and while he has been carrying a back injury to start the year the ankle injury sustained in Round 6 completely derailed a lot of coaches because the week before it looked like he was back. While the disposal count and Fantasy/SuperCoach numbers do not suggest he’s back to his Brownlow best, he is being thrown into the deep end with the most centre bounce appearances of any Brisbane midfielder by far. Once his scoring starts to match is price put you may want to consider putting him in your team but just watch for now, we know what he is capable of and do not get thrown off by some injury affected games. 

Michael Walters (AF $500k SC $359k M/F) BE: 85 (AF) / 117 (SC)

Sunny was a mainstay in our forward lines in recent times as he got moved into a midfield role which he thrived at, unfortunately for him Freo drafted some very good midfielders and needed some forwards to capitalize on the midfielders’ work. As a result, his scoring has deteriorated in the second half of 2020 and in 2021.

However, with news that Nat Fyfe will be missing a chunk of games, David Mundy not getting any younger (yet still somehow defying father time) and the young midfield brigade needing a leade, Freo may turn to their X-factor that they have used in the past in Walters.

In the last few weeks, he has been involved in the centre bounce rotations a bit with Round 10 being a standout 72% CBA time which turned out to be his highest score of the year of 99/98. If they can incorporate him into that midfield mix with an injury to their star player, I would very much keep a keen eye on him given we know how well he can score given the opportunities.

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