Expert Panel: Dusty & Jelly dilemma, premo & rookie targets, VC/C options

Dustin Martin and Josh Kelly’s injuries have thrown a spanner in the works for coaches, although last round’s COVID chaos arguably overshadowed that, but is the latter something you can plan for?

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And with fixtures being so fluid each round, how do you pick a VC/C?

There’s plenty of dilemmas, particularly in SuperCoach with limited trades, so Honeyball has assembled another Expert Panel to tackle the conundrums.

We’ve got former HB writer Damon Braoudakis, who is currently ranked 468th, along with Collingwood fan Ben Cunningham, who is inside the Fantasy top 1000 at 921st.

From a SuperCoach perspective, we’ve also spoken to Geelong fan Zac Rockett, who is currently ranked 172nd, and Dylan Bolch, coach of DIM SCRIM, who is ranked 803rd.

HB: Are you a Dusty and/or Josh Kelly owner? What will you do & why?

Dylan (SC): I’ve got both unfortunately. I am probably going to hold Jelly and field Lachie Bramble at M8 and hope Jelly only misses a week or two at most. Dusty is out for the year so he is a definite trade. I will put the E on Jack Ginnivan for the Friday night game. If he does well, I will use his score and look at getting Josh Dunkley or Rowan Marshall in next week, if he flops, it will be Tom Hawkins, Bailey Dale or Nick Hind this week.

Zac (SC): I own Dusty and Jelly. Dusty is out for the season so is a must trade regardless of trades left. Josh Kelly will hopefully get up but for me it’s a hold regardless. I would only be trading if you have 4-5+ trades left and no other issues/no cover.

Best forward options to bring in for Dusty are any of Dangerfield, Hall, Ziebell or Zorko. Players I like if on a budget (>$500k) are De Goey with his new midfield role or Tom Hawkins who looks as good as ever with a good run home.

Ben (AF): Since my article earlier in the season (where I’d managed to dodge bullets majority of coaches were hit with) Sly Bacon has seen their fair share of carnage. This week was no exception, with both Dusty (confirmed out) and Kelly (probable) giving me headaches.

Due to the nature of Dusty’s injury (confirmed out for the remainder of the season), trading him out takes priority over trading Kelly. Having contingency plans in place is crucial when player/s in your side are under an injury cloud, this will save you the stress of rushing your trades once team lineups are announced.

I’ll be heading into Round 19 with two trade scenarios, they are as follows; L. Jones to West (via DPP), Martin up to Dangerfield, or Kelly to Dangerfield and Martin to Kennedy.

I traded Whitfield out last week knowing very well that he’d likely be recalled one week later, and I’ll do the exact same with Kelly this week should he fail to get up. If Kelly is your sole injury concern, I’d look to trade him to an uber-premium of a similar calibre (Zorko for example), rather than a value option (Kennedy for example). At this stage of the season, it’s all about getting in top players in their line.

HB: If you owned Dusty, what would you do & why?

Damon (AF): Luckily, I’m not a Dusty owner but I’d say the biggest problem for his owners is not necessarily the trade itself, but the drop in value this week that came with that 51. It’s certainly a trade, and at $583k I would be avoiding the temptation to reach for Zorko if you don’t own him. Concentrate on pumping the cash into the midfield which I’ll touch on a little later on.

Will Zorko’s scoring hurt you? Probably, but there are so many options between $600k-$700k that I think the value can’t be missed. I like Matt Kennedy ($599k) or if you want to spend a little more, De Goey, Pendlebury and Dangerfield are all still decent value. It’s also worth looking if you can switch Nick Hind or Aaron Hall forward to go for Jake Lloyd, at $676k that is incredible value.

Ben (AF): I’ll jump on again on this to nominate some options. Ideally, coaches will want to trade in any of the top 6-8 players players in the forward line (ranked by what you predict they will average in the remaining five rounds). By doing this you mitigate the risk of getting stuck with players like Haynes, Houston and Co. who all looked like value options at the time of selection.

My predicted top 8 averaging forwards (available) for the run home are as follows;

Hall, Zorko, De Goey, Dangerfield, Ziebell, Kennedy, Pendlebury, Stringer

In my opinion De Goey, Kennedy, Stringer, Pendlebury and Dangerfield all still offer value. If Kelly does in fact miss this week, and your budget is sub $705K, then I believe these names to be your best options.

HB: If you owned Josh Kelly (and assume he misses this round), what would you do & why?

Damon (AF): The word is that Josh Kelly is expected to play this week, and with that talk coming out, it has to be a hold, worst case he misses one week. It’s hard to recommend trading at all, but if you really feel like it is needed, I’d be targeting the forwards I mentioned in the previous answer.

It would then give you the small cash grab to potentially turn a Dan Houston or Nick Haynes into a proper premium. Again though, it is a very tough call with Kelly, I traded him out today and my team just didn’t look nearly as good, I think regardless of the outcome on Thursday night teams, I’m holding.

HB: Does the COVID chaos impact your Fantasy/SuperCoach planning at all & why?

Dylan (SC): Maybe it makes me a little bit more conservative with my diminishing trades. COVID has become a bit like whack-a-mole at the moment in terms of exposure sites and what not, so you can’t even predict which players and teams it will affect.

It’s worth noting it appears as though GWS and Sydney will play most games away from home now given the current situation in NSW. This might affect the scoring of some players and given the hubs affect players differently, I’ll probably steer clear of bringing in players from these sides bar maybe Callum Mills who has been class this season.

Zac (SC): Personally I’m out of trades so there’s nothing I can do about the COVID situation ruling players out. I don’t think there’s much that can be done unless you can predict the future. However, if you have trades in hand and want to push up the ranks there is an opportunity to be aggressive and trade players who miss games whilst others hold. Lastly, look to make trades as late as possible in case new information arises mid round.

Damon (AF): I could easily say here, only pick players that look like they have no social life, but in all honesty the luck element of Fantasy this year has never been higher. I guess you could justify picking players from South Australia, Western Australia or Queensland as they seem less likely to be put into isolation, but would I be picking a player over another purely because of that? I don’t think so. What you can control is though is the bench cover. I’m never a fan of ‘burning’ a bench spot at any point in the season but I understand some do it, if you needed a reason this season not to do it, there you go.

Ben (AF): Typically at this stage of the season (especially with the rolling lockout), coaches will begin to throw bench positions in rounds where basement priced rookies are scarce (in order to maximise $$$ on-field). Up until the events that transpired on the weekend, this was an approach I was taking, with just 3/8 of my bench players suiting up. I was lucky enough to avoid a donut last week, but other coaches weren’t so fortunate. I’d recommend having at least one bench player in each line (excluding RUCK) with JS and scoring potential, in case Covid-related late outs continue to occur. I’ll be paying up for West this week, even though it means I’ll be forced to go Dangerfield over Mayne (my preferred premium option).

Those of you who have followed my movements this season know that I’m typically an aggressive coach, but in the last 5 rounds of the season I’ll be playing it conservative regarding my in-round moves. I won’t be loopholing players, despite the temptation to maximise points on-field, with the exception of the (VC) loophole. Coaches need all the bench cover they can get until these COVID outbursts are under control.

Unless bonus trades are awarded to coaches as compensation in the coming rounds (which is looking unlikely as it stands), I’d recommend moving on unavailable on-field players immediately, as holding them makes life difficult if you’re then hit with further omissions the following week/s.

Now this next philosophy might come as a surprise to some coaches, as typically coaches that plan ahead reap the rewards in Fantasy, but live in the now! With so many unknowns surrounding the final 5 rounds, planning too far ahead will only leave you frustrated when you aren’t able to execute your plan. Map out what players are on your chopping block, what players are on your watchlist and go from there. Keep an open mind (something that I struggle with myself), stay disciplined in your philosophies, and don’t be afraid to spend up for players that you deem to be top averaging players (in their respective lines) in the run home. Don’t be afraid to chase a POD option either, they can separate you from the crowd. 

HB: Any players (premos or rooks) you’re targeting for the run home & why?

Damon (AF): I mentioned earlier that the value is in the midfield. All year I have chased players I have believed to be under-priced, Harmes, De Goey, Hall, Scrimshaw, Pendlebury, and dare I say it, even Adam Cerra but I think the game is a little past that at this point in the year. For what it’s worth, I don’t think you can justify the price of Touk Miller or Jack Steele now. But that’s not to say there aren’t great picks.

Clayton Oliver, Cam Guthrie, Taylor Adams and Lachie Neale are very gettable now if you are looking to move on an underperforming premium. Overall, the way the season is panning out, I think the sooner you can have eight midfielders all above $700k, you’ll see your rank and score benefit quickly.

Ben (AF): As of R17 I’ve had all rookies off-field (not that you’d know it the way some of my ‘value’ picks are scoring), so I’m effectively targeting the top players in each line by throwing cash on top of underperforming players.

Premiums I’ll be targeting in the run home include; Mills, Whitfield, Mayne, Macrae, Gawn, Zorko, Dunkley.

Rookies I’ll be targeting in the next 2 rounds include; West (top priority), Durham.

Zac (SC): If I had trades remaining I’d look to be targeting Dangerfield and Dunkley (after he returns from his isolation). Dangerfield looks to be getting back to his best and will be looking to ramp it up before finals. Dunkley is a favourite of mine and perfect for SuperCoach and represents a potential POD.

Dylan (SC): Callum Mills or Luke Ryan in defence are my main targets premo wise. I still have to fix my D6 position so that is my number one priority. Darcy Parish and Touk Miller are two guys I don’t own but would be two who I would look at should injury strike in the midfield. Sam Durham and Connor West are the two rookies on my radar as downgrades. I really like that they are both $102k, which means I can maximise my cash in other places.

HB: Who’s the top VC/C options this round & why, with current fixture in mind?

Zac (SC): Brodie Grundy on Friday night is a reliable VC option regardless of opponent but Port Adelaide don’t have a dominant ruckman.

Sam Walsh is in incredible form and has North this week. Dayne Zorko has an incredible record against the Suns so is a good POD VC option. But my pick has to be Jack Steele who has gone 130+ in his last 4 (140+ past 3) and faces a West Coast side who are struggling. Lock for VC or C.

Dylan (SC): Brodie Grundy plays early in the round against Scott Lycett and scored 138 against Port Adelaide earlier in the year. In his past three prior to that verse Port he averaged over 130.

Marcus Bontempelli is a big-game player and I expect him to fire in the clash against Melbourne. His last four against Melbourne has yielded an average of 120+. In my opinion, he is the best player in the league and should be leading the Brownlow, so he’s worth considering.

Jack Steele is arguably the most in form player in the competition over the last five weeks. He hasn’t dropped under 91 all season and his last seven scores have been 126+. Scored 150 vs the Eagles earlier in the year so that makes him another option as well.

Damon (AF): The constant fixture changes are hard to keep up with but one benefit out of this round’s changes is that North Melbourne face Carlton at Marvel Stadium to kick off Saturday afternoon.

I stress weekly over my captaincy picks and think of every little thing that can go wrong, therefore I will never put the C on Aaron Hall given his injury history and dependence on others to give him the ball, but a chance to VC this weekend is a fantastic gift from the AFL fixturing gods. I fully expect Essendon v GWS to be a stat fest, so I like the look of Tim Taranto who is due a big score, as well as Zac Merrett given that Matt De Boer will miss the game due to his mandatory isolation period.

Ben (AF): After having a significant blunder with my loophole a few weeks back (long story short I couldn’t take Wines’ 151 and ended up giving up 80+ points), I’ve been selecting my loophole player from the Thu/Fri matches. Since there’s no Thursday night match this round it’s feasible to roll with a (VC) in the first match on Saturday in my opinion.

My top (VC) options for this weekend include; Wines (or any port midfielder of note for that matter), Walsh, Hall, Grundy

My top (C) options for this weekend include; Steele, Mitchell, Walsh (assuming you place the (VC) on somebody that plays Thursday night), Hall, Lyons

For reference, I’ll be going Wines into Walsh, and hopefully putting my feet up for the rest of the weekend knowing I’ve got 250+ points in the bag.

If anybody has any further questions going forward, you can find me at @SlyBaconFantasy on Twitter, and may the fantasy gods be kind to you for the rest of the season.

HB: Great insights all, thanks so much and good luck for the final sprint!

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