Expert Panel: Toughest bye round yet, rookie options, trade targets & who to offload

Round 14 is the last of the bye rounds but it’s a bloody tough one with only 10 players in action, while there’s no obvious rookies to grab and there’s some dilemmas with regards to offloading too.

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So Honeyball decided to assemble another gun Expert Panel for both AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach, to help solve some of those conundrums.

For AFL Fantasy, we’ve got 24-year-old St Kilda fan Noah Bufton, whose Red Snappers are currently ranked 515th and 25-year-old Eagles supporter Keeshan Rawlner, whose Riskit for the Biskit are at 850th, just inside the top 1000.

We’ve also got Road Safety worker Patrick Whitehouse, whose side MilkofJesus are currently 534th. He’s also been inside the top 2000 for the past three years, so he’s got a proven track record.

Speaking of proven track records, 43-year-old George Triantafillou finished third in SuperCoach last year and his team ‘The Phat Side’ are perennial contenders, and are currently 2,246th.

Melbourne-based student Daylon Seakins rounds out our Expert Panel, currently sitting 43rd overall in SuperCoach with his Team Extreme.

HB: How many players will you have on field this round? Is it OK with go with less than 18?

Noah (AF): Pre-trades I have 14 plus Matthew Flynn, Ned Reeves, Cody Weightman and Anthony Scott. I plan on bringing in 3-4 playing players this week (depending on teams) so I should have 20 playing after trades.

Obviously having 18+ is ideal each bye week but if you can’t get to 18 then try not to be discouraged, there’s not much you can do about it anyway, it’s in the selection god’s hands now! Just remember 16-17 good scores beats 18-20 average scores! As long as you’re making your team better this week you should be happy.

Keeshan (AF): I’ll be able to scrape 18, but that’s assuming Lachie Jones and Jacob Koschitzke are named. Sixteen or 17 definitely isn’t the end of the world if the team is solid especially after the bye,  17 great players will often outscore a team of 18 that had to drag in 2 random rookies just for the sake of running 18. A donut always looks horrible on paper, but physically add up what the expected score of 17 will get you compared to the compromise of 18, and you might just be surprised.

Patrick (AF): I’ve got 19/20 players this round. Fourteen premiums and 5 rookies. Depending on what your priorities are; league win or overall ranking, no it’s unacceptable to have less than 18 players playing particularly with 4 trades this week. However given the amount of teams out this week there will be a lot of teams struggling to field a full side.

George (SC): It will have to be OK! The Eagles vs Tigers being moved a week early really stuffed up my bye trade plans. As a result, I’ll be running with 15 on field this week, even after three trades! Not panicking though as I think many teams will likely be 1-4 bodies short. Only make trades that continue to improve your team overall, even if it means being a few short this week.

Daylon (SC): I’m obviously aiming for 18. Three trades takes me to it if teams go in as expected. I believe it will be ok to go in with less than 18. Yes it’s ideal to have a full side but I wouldn’t say it’s worth wrecking your season to save donuts. I suspect there will be plenty that will be with less, it won’t just be yourself in that boat.

HB: Is there a risk/balance to strike given the premiums out this round, in terms of changing too much in your squad? If so, which ‘premos’ are you willing to trade/upgrade?

Daylon (SC): I’d avoid sideways trades if possible. One up and down to get the numbers up first. The likes of Jayden Short or Steven May were probably the first targets for many but after their weekend performances it will make it difficult. Other candidates include Andrew Brayshaw or Isaac Heeney. Just make sure you plan out your trades for the rest of the season and don’t leave yourself short at the end of your full premium team.

George (SC): Absolutely! It’s important to get as many warm bodies on the field as possible, but only if you are improving your team. Unless you have a stash of extra trades hidden somewhere. If so, I want in! I will look at trading Nic Naitanui to a Kyle Langford/Toby Greene type (via Callum Coleman-Jones DPP). This would give me extra cash to help upgrade Caleb Poulter to a mid premo, and bank some cash to bring in another premo ruck e.g. Brodie Grundy in a few weeks’ time.

Patrick (AF): This week is difficult to navigate with premiums such as Patrick Dangerfield and Mitch Duncan coming off poor games that have a high breakeven. A lot of these premiums are two-three weeks away from bottoming out in price. This week does presents a good opportunity to move on under-performing premiums. I’m looking forward to moving Jack Billings out of my side who has been underwhelming. Andrew Gaff and Isaac Heeney are others that I would considering moving on.

Keeshan (AF): I normally try not to trade out premiums, especially around now. Unless you had a flawless start and can spend the rest of the season sideways trading because you have a full squad already, you need to keep generating cash to get to the best 22. The only premiums I’d feel ok trading are the more unique high risk/high reward players I tried picking up on an aggressive approach, like Billings, Hugh McCluggage, and Heeney. They won’t be in my final 22, so trading on their bye is the best opportunity to get rid of them.

Noah (AF): Your priority should be getting rookies out of your team and fielding at least 18 if you can! In saying that if there’s not many rookies available this week then trading an underperforming premium or mid-pricer isn’t the worst idea.

I’m usually a fan of not trading your premiums. In saying that, I’m thinking of trading Clayton Oliver this week… It’s a risky move for sure. I’m not trusting any rookies to be named this week so despite it being a sideways trade it means I won’t have to rely on a rookie being named. Thursday night there may be carnage, just prepare for it as best as you can.

HB for SuperCoaches only: Will you use all four trades available this round?

George (SC): I’ll likely use three. The fourth trade would be a luxury, and I don’t have that luxury!

Daylon (SC): Currently, if teams go in as expected, I’ll have 18 after three trades. If there’s a viable option I may opt for the fourth, but I’m avoiding it if possible.

HB: Who are the main trade targets this round?

Noah (AF): I think with the potential of not many rookies this week it presents a great opportunity to grab some under-priced players! On my list of targets this week are Dan Houston, Lachie Hunter and Kyle Langford who all provide great cheaper options. If you need a rookie Jai Newcombe is obviously the first on the list, after that there might not be much.

Patrick (AF): Newcombe is a must have. I want to have a number of PODs (points of difference) in my team that have a high ceiling and have low ownership in the top 25 ranked teams. Touk Miller, Darcy Parish and Marcus Bontempelli are all good options however are highly priced. Other PODs in the midfield I like are Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons, Brandon Ellis, Ollie Wines and Travis Boak. Players with high ownership worth targeting are Zac Merrett, Sam Walsh, Tom Mitchell, Josh Kelly, Lachie Whitfield and Sam Docherty. If you’re chasing value, Nick Haynes and Houston should definitely be considered.

Keeshan (AF): Huge fan of Houston right now, so dirt cheap for what he can produce, and is a lot safer in my opinion to similarly priced value picks like Haynes and Hunter. I think there are some great unique picks like Wines, Ben Keays, and Touk, who will be huge the rest of the season. Hopefully I’ll have two of the three by next week!

Daylon (SC): Despite not being on the bubble, Newcombe should be just about the number one downgrade target. If Reeves comes in, he could be an option but questions could be asked about his role if both Ben McEvoy and Jon Ceglar play. An argument could be made over Max Holmes but job security is dicey at best.

There are an unfortunate number of prime targets next week, not many ‘bottom out’ options this round. If you didn’t grab Josh Kelly or Lachie Whitfield, they’re still great value if you’re game. On a budget, some POD options include Boak, Langford, Houston, or Bailey Dale.

George (SC): I think players who have had their bye: at the top end Jackson Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli, Parish or Aaron Hall if you’ve got the cash. But there are some value picks like Mitchell, Boak, Kelly, Merrett, Langford, Greene, Houston and Caleb Daniel. But these also come with risks! There’s really only one decent rookie this round, being ‘Duke’ Newcombe.

HB: Which rooks are primed for trading out? On this, how about Tom Highmore given his last game score means he has more money to make, but now has the bye, hold or trade?

George (SC): If you haven’t already turfed them, Chad Warner, James Rowe, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Lachie McNeil all should be gone.  Then you have James Jordon, Ryan Byrnes and Caleb Poulter. They probably still have a little more cash to make but can be traded this week to improve your team given they all have the bye. Highmore is an interesting one. I held him so luckily got his 111 last week. If you need the cash then trade, otherwise I think he is a hold as he looks like he is on the cusp of cementing his spot in the Saints backline and has a lot more cash to make – and he’ll see plenty of action in the Saints backline!

Daylon (SC): There aren’t a lot that are ‘primed’ really, more just out of necessity. Jordon and Poulter are on their way out of my side, even though they’re scoring quite fine. If you’ve got Nathan Murphy he’ll have to go. Sam Berry and Rowe are ready to go too. Highmore is such a tricky one, if I still had him I’d hold. Even if it means fielding just 17. He can make another $75k comfortably from here, and surely he gets a few games after that performance.

Keeshan (AF): At this point, any rookie getting to a breakeven around 50 or above can go if I can get them to a premo. Byrnes, Poulter, Jordon, Warner, Rowe, Jones…happy for any of them to go. I found it hard to get rid of Highmore earlier because he just wasn’t worth enough to really do anything with, so I was lucky enough to be kissed and get the 110, but if you can avoid donuts he can stay, no way he will be dropped after the bye.

Noah (AF): It’s time to thank some loyal servants for their scores and wish them luck (and potentially see them in your side in a few years’ time!). Jordon, Rowe, Byrnes, Poulter and Lachlan Sholl are all on this list. I’d be prioritising red dots or rookies with the bye this week being traded compared to blokes like Chris Burgess who might not score huge but at least is playing.

Highmore is an interesting one, if you have the other blokes on my list I’d be trading them before Highmore as he still does have cash to make! In saying that, there’s nothing wrong with trading him out a week or 2 early, especially with his bye this week. It all depends on your team structure.

Patrick (AF): Jordon, Rowe, Warner, Byrnes and Poulter can all be moved on. Highmore is a hold for me.

HB: With sides getting close to ‘full premo’, what’s the key for the final stretch of rounds?

Noah (AF): I think finding value will be key in the final few rounds! There’s plenty of good under-priced players out there that will score well and improve your team. If not, then bring in people you think will be a top 10 in their position for the rest of the year.

Improving your side each week and trying to get rookies off the field is key this time of the year. Don’t be afraid to trade a player out a week or two early if it gets you the man you want (credit to Aidan for this philosophy). Whatever you do, make sure you back your gut, you’ve done all this hard work so far, trust yourself to make the right calls from here on and have fun.

Patrick (AF): Know your team strengths. Highlight which premiums with high ownership that you are confident in taking on for the remainder of the year. You need to plan your trade targets in the coming weeks and your cash generation strategy. You should also be planning to bring in Grundy in the Round 16 given his low ownership (4%) in the top 25 ranked teams. Knowing when to play a straight bat and when to differ from the pack is key. My advice is to come out swinging and take calculated risks. YOLO!

Keeshan (AF): Not to step on a certain pirate’s toes, but keep an eye on the fixtures, in particular final rounds. Don’t let it be the reason you chase a player, but it can be a great tie breaker, especially if you’re playing for league instead of rank. For example, I’m struggling to split Keays and Wines, but Keays plays North at home in the final round, whereas Wines plays the Dogs…could be the difference between a hat and a heart attack!

Daylon (SC): I definitely recommend planning out your trades. See how many trades you’ll have after full premium, ideally two or more. Also, it will be important to know where to take cheaper or budget options. Although we’d love to have Bont, Parish, Oliver and all but it’s just not realistic. Keep an eye out for value.

George (SC): Probably depends if you’re playing for rank or league, but the key for me is when completing your team to jump on the premos who you think will be top 6-8 scorers for their positions between now and Round 23. However this might not be possible so value picks might just have to do. And if possible, try to keep at least 3-4 trades spare after full premo for injuries, or upgrading under-performing premos (what a luxury!).

HB: Lads, outstanding advice throughout, thanks so much and good luck this season!

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