The Buzz – Round 19’s burning questions: Who to trade Dusty to? How to navigate COVID crisis?

Round 18 was an eventful round with the most popular SuperCoach selection Dustin Martin sustaining a very nasty season ending injury, plus the GWS-Sydney isolation news caused chaos.

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Former top 300 SuperCoach finisher Ethan Lee

The few positives to take out of the week is Sam Walsh (AF $839k SC $654k MID) is very good at AFL and carried the Blues over the line against their arch-rivals in Collingwood producing a near double ton in SuperCoach.

Various other popular premiums tonned up which provided lots of high scores for coaches. Today we will be discussing the best replacements for Dusty alongside how we should deal with this new COVID problem and finally we turn to some of our members on Facebook to answer some of their burning questions. 

Dustin Martin Replacements

I think the first thing to do is to address the elephant in the room and that is to identify replacements for popular selection Dusty who suffered an injury to his kidney which has seen him ruled out for the rest of the year. Coaches are now scrambling around to trade the superstar and especially in SuperCoach you won’t have many trades left. I’ll go over the best options that are most likely not in your teams at the moment as the likes of Jack Ziebell, Dayne Zorko and Aaron Hall etc are already main stays in your team

Patrick Dangerfield (AF $705k SC $594k M/F)

If you have trades up your sleeve the best option available would-be Dangerfield. Since returning from his ankle injury in Round 13 he has slowly built his game back and has shot back up to his elite level status averaging 111.3 (AF) and 138.3 (SC). He is being injected back into the midfield more as well which is helping his scoring output.

However, this does come at a premium with two trades being likely to be used but Connor West (AF $202k SC $102k MID) looks to be a very good downgrade selection especially with Luke Shuey having some soft tissue concerns which could see him miss some games. West looked good in his debut and will be building on that if you are looking for a nice rookie cash cow with decent job security as well.

Josh Dunkley (AF $811k SC $628k M/F) was going to be in the mix as well however it was discovered he will be required to undergo a 14-day isolation after visiting a Tier 1 site and thus will miss at least this week’s game but should be fine for Round 20

Jordan De Goey (AF $686k SC $490k M/F)

He keeps playing midfield and he keeps finding the ball. He has now had 4 weeks of scoring basically 30+ touches which has resulted in him being the second highest scoring forward in both formats in that period. With the Pies having to add youth to their midfield De Goey seems to be the logical one to stand up and be the leader when others are getting on in age or are injured.

However, trading in De Goey will require some cash in the bank to have and it is definitely not worth burning two trades just to get him in. If you are working with a smaller budget, than Tom Hawkins (AF $556k SC $462k FWD)may be another option to bring in. While as a key forward he will give you some inconsistent results he does have a massive ceiling scoring 120+ 4 times but when defenders get the best of him, he can be held to a measly 60-70 points.

He does have a generous run home with only the Dees in round 23 being the only top 8 team he would have to play. I would have had Rowan Marshall (AF $584k SC $464k F/R) here, but he unfortunately will miss this week due to having to isolate after visiting a Tier 1 site. 

Shai Bolton (AF $584k SC $421k M/F)

This is the classic “who is the next best player from that team” selection and he’s not a terrible option either. Bolton has had a consistent season for the most part scoring between 80-120 points however in that mix you do sprinkle in a 40 or 50 which does lower the average a lot. The loss of Martin should only improve Bolton’s scoring however as he reached his season high of 121 (SC) in his absence in Round 7.

A major benefit of this trade is that Bolton is cheaper than Martin (in SuperCoach at least and they are basically the same price in Fantasy) so if you are strapped for cash and don’t have the trades to facilitate further cash generation, Bolton would be the best option given that they do play a similar role as a midfield/forward hybrid asked to impact the game. Another value selection I like the look of is Tarryn Thomas (AF $600k SC $433k M/F), he is improving every week he spends in the midfield averaging 90.7(SC) in his last 9 when he upped his midfield minutes, but with the return of Ben Cunnington to that midfield mix he will likely be the one likely to give up midfield minutes. But he should still provide a handy 80-100 points per week.

Trey Ruscoe (AF $220k SC $200k FWD)

Before you click off, this is a complete wild card selection, and I don’t expect anyone to select him. But keep an eye on him if you want to stay ahead of the curve. Ruscoe’s first 8 games of AFL level football have seen him used as a general forward and like most Collingwood forwards his scoring was nothing to be amazed at.

However last weekend he spent all of his time playing off halfback (which was where he played all of his junior footy) and thrived in this familiar role scoring 77 (AF) /107 (SC), while this new role change doesn’t necessarily mean he will give you premium-esque scoring it might be a good stepping stone for you to use or even a decent F7 coverage off the bench.

Chris Mayne is a perfect example of how this role change has improved his scoring for the better averaging close to 100 points which is a career high for him. Ruscoe may do the same and will provide some nice late season cash generation when we do not have many rookies to choose from. If you are looking for a calculated risk or want some cash to use elsewhere this is an option to consider. 

Covid Crisis

Unfortunately, last weekend popular selections in Toby Greene (AF $605k SC $449k FWD) and Callum Mills (AF $799k SC $572k DEF) were late outs after visiting a Tier-2 covid affected site and were required to isolate for a 14-day period. This was unfortunate for many coaches who owned either one or both players, as this was the last game of the round which meant that you could not make any adjustments unless you had trades in hand.

I will not get into arguing about the logistics as I know many out there were frustrated that they did not receive the player’s averages however in my opinion this is no different to a player being withdrawn just before the match thus the decision to leave them as a DNP was correct. 

Regardless we now have news that other popular selections like Marshall and Dunkley have visited a tier 1 site, which means they will miss this week but should be available for Round 20 if everything goes perfect.

Why I have brought this up is because we need to start to take precautions when it comes to situations like this. COVID is going to become a part of our lives and even in our fantasy games too. So, in order to stay ahead of the curve, we should ensure that we have emergencies on our benches that have the potential to provide cover in case scenarios like this happen again. Of course, there might be scenarios where there’s nothing, we can do like in Round 18 and that’s just bad luck we need to accept. All in all, making sure you field your best team while keeping your emergencies on playing players is all you can do from your end, you’ve just got to hope your players haven’t visited a hot spot. It is unlikely you would ever trade these guys because they are only going to miss 14 days “from when they visited the exposure site” and therefore your player may not even miss 2 games. 

Facebook Questions (all for SuperCoach)

We have gone over to our loyal members on Facebook to gather some questions to answer this week. If I did not get to answer your question, it is more than likely due to it being the same as someone else’s or I’ve covered it in the article already. 

“J. Kelly and S. Darcy are wait and see what happens, right?. What about J. Harmes?” – Jack Holmes

The early news suggests that both Josh Kelly (AF $793k SC $556k M/F) and Sean Darcy (AF $744k SC $710k F/R*) are good to play this week pending they pass fitness tests. Although it would not be a surprise to see either of them take a week off as they have been very much banged up.

Kelly had a recurrence of the rolled ankle he injured a few weeks back, but he did not miss any footy and did not look affected by it too much in the last few weeks. Again, if he passes the fitness test, I can see him play with no concerns. Darcy’s knee injury is a new one, but he is a warrior and has played through many knocks throughout the year already. Even though he is a very injury prone player I would expect him to power through the knock especially with a finals spot on the line.

James Harmes (AF $582k SC $433k D/M*) is an interesting case because he was withdrawn due to an ear infection. So, unless this hasn’t healed and it’s affecting him too much for him to play, there should be no reason he doesn’t slot back into the Melbourne team. Either way all three players if you have them you should hold them regardless, they are at most a one-week rest so just be wary of any late outs and adjust your emergencies as a result. 

“What 2 Fwds would you take at a combined value of $850k or under? (Have Danger, Ziebell, Bailey and Bolton) Martin out and 1 final upgrade?” – Craig Scott

Unfortunately, $850k is an awkward amount to have as you’d have to pick up 2 players who are significantly under-priced. If you have trades to spare for the future rounds, then I do like the look of Ruscoe as some late cash generation, and he provides some handy scoring if the Pies persist on this beneficial role change. Picking him up will allow you to bring in any premium of your choice (Hall, Zorko, De Goey etc) so there is that flexibility but at the same time it is a rookie you will be bringing in who is scoring potentially will fluctuate. 

If these are your final trades to make and you do not have any spare left in the bank, then I do like the combination of Thomas/Matt Kennedy (AF $599k SC $434k M/F) and Bolton. Bolton is very much under-priced thanks to a few quiet games but should benefit from Martin’s absence while both Thomas and Kennedy are both benefiting from more midfield minutes. It is worth noting that both Kennedy and Thomas do not have a high ceiling, but you can expect them to deliver a score between 80 to 105 per week. 

If you are looking towards some high-risk high reward players, then you could look towards some of the key forwards that are available. While you will get that roller coaster type scoring with a mix of 50s and 60s when the forward cannot shake the defender, you will also get some 120+ scores when everything goes their way. Especially in the last 5 games we might be willing to take a risk especially if the player has a good run home. Some of the forwards in this mix might include Jack Darling (AF $438k SC $339k FWD), Jack Riewoldt (AF $501k SC $347k FWD) or even Isaac Heeney (AF $526k SC $380k FWD). All three have shown glimpses of being a top premium but have lacked consistency throughout the season which is why they’re under-priced. 

Overall, there are a plethora of combinations to choose from, it just depends on your remaining trades left and if you are willing to take a risk. 

“4 trades left with 1 rookie still on ground and have to deal with Dusty… Have no money in the bank so do I use two trades to deal with Dusty?” – Joel Coad

The answer to this question purely depends on a few factors, the most important one would be is your team at full premium? The ideal goal will be to remove as many rookies off our field as possible and while some of them are producing premium scores this late in the year withJeremySharp, Lachlan Bramble and Ruscoewe cannot rely on them to be this consistent each week and you know they will drop a 50 when you need them most. So, if you still need upgrade(s) only spend one trade.

The next factor would be, how good is your bench cover? The reason I enquire about this is will you need to use one of these trades to trade a premium that may have a season ending injury or will you be happy to use some of your bench cover at the end of the season? This is where again if you have a Sharp/Bramble/Ruscoe/Bianco sitting on your pine, you can risk using 2 trades given that these rookies have great job security and decent score. Using 2 trades can also open avenues to save cash as you might not spend all your rookie money on an upgrade on Dusty but rather save it for your final upgrade. 

All in all, to answer your question it would be ideal to use only 1 trade because there are some great options around Dusty’s price which I have listed above but using 2 trades isn’t the worst of ideas given that your bench cover has good job security and scoring that your happy to provide cover with given you have a short-term injury. You could bank some cash depending on what rookie you have which will help you for the final upgrade.

Final message for the community

This is mainly to those who use Twitter because that is where I see the most negativity, but over the course of the last year since the COVID period began we have seen such a drastic level of toxicity between members of the community that is very much unnecessary. Sure, it can be frustrating at times when you lose a player or two due to unforeseeable circumstances or the scoring algorithm does not go your way but guess what? It has happened to all of us at some stage in our fantasy career, and do you know the best thing about it? It is just a virtual game!

Your rank or score each week does not reflect who you are as a person but if you start slandering people over the internet because this fantasy game has affected you that much you need to have a good amount of self-reflection before playing anything like this again. 

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