The Buzz – R20’s burning questions: Bargain mid replacements, FB mailbag questions

Round 19 gave us a mixed bag of scores as several premiums delivered when required like Jackson Macrae, Clayton Oliver and Rory Laird while Sam Walsh, Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish were well held out of the game thanks to defensive taggers.


Coaches also had several injuries to deal with this week. So I’ll go over what these injuries will mean for other Fantasy related players, who are the bargain buys that you could use to replace them and finally go over some of your questions from Facebook and Twitter. 

Gun mids to miss

Scott Pendlebury and Nat Fyfe went down with season-ending injuries and now we can add Ben Cunnington to that list as well as he will be out indefinitely after having surgery to remove a tumour. While we do send our best wishes to all these players, it does mean that we do need to find replacements for them but not only that we should consider which players are likely to benefit as a result of them being out of the team and whether it’s worth jumping on them if you need a replacement or a point of difference. 

Steele Sidebottom (AF $596k SC $398k M/F)

In the past few seasons Sidebottom has been an extremely consistent option for SuperCoach and AFL Fantasy players as he has gone on to average 100+ points in both formats from 2012 onwards, however it wasn’t until this year we were blessed with him becoming a MID/FWD where his stocks really rose.

Missing Round 1 meant that many coaches did not start him, and he started the year slowly with only one ton in his first 4 games but on ANZAC Day he was thrown directly into the inside midfield mix scoring his best score of 130 (AF)/119 (SC). This was very much a false dawn however and while his scoring has wavered around 95+, his role had changed post bye.

With the emergence of Jordan De Goey and Taylor Adams returning to full fitness, Sidebottom was shifted to a high half-forward position and his scores absolutely plummeted in that period scoring a 33 and a 57. But when Pendles went down Sidebottom was one of the players who assumed these inside midfield minutes again and he ended up scoring his fourth SC ton this season as a result.

He is at a very tasty price for what he can deliver, it’s just whether he gets the desired role, as Brayden Sier could very well be a midfielder who comes straight in to take Pendlebury’s role.  

Andrew Brayshaw (AF $788k SC $530k MID)

He’s arguably been Freo’s best midfielder this year as he’s gone to another level from the Brayshaw breakout we saw last year. There are still some games where he can struggle to shake a defensive tag but for the most part, he is a gun accumulator who can easily find the pill 25+ times a game.

When Fyfe missed Round 3, 13 and 15, Brayshaw was probably the main midfielder to stand up in each of the games. While he isn’t exactly priced cheaply there is a lot of upsides to him with multiple 120+ games this season. Like mentioned before he can struggle to shake the defensive tag which can result in a shocker of a score, but the Dockers only have the Tigers, Lions, Eagles and Saints which only the Saints recently have a dedicated run with role player in their team.

Another benefit is that Freo don’t have a lot of players who rotate through their midfield and while Brayshaw only averages around 58% CBA appearances for the season, those numbers rose when Fyfe was out of the team. 

Tarryn Thomas (AF $642k SC $464k MID/FWD)

Now unfortunately he’s been ruled out of this week due to delayed concussion but his performance on the weekend was superb and he will only rotate more through the midfield with the absence of Cunnington from that mix. Since Round 6 he’s been thrown into the midfield a lot more and this has fast tracked his development into a star player.

He’s flown under the radar as an option in both formats averaging around 90-odd. While I wouldn’t expect him to be kicking 4 goals every week, he will be able to get a lot more of the pill playing in a very in-form North Melbourne team. So while you might not be trading him this week, keep an eye on him on the run home because North are running hot and should continue this form till the end of the season. 

Bargain midfield replacements

If you own any of the midfielders, I mentioned previously and need a replacement then here are some of the bargain selections who are showing great form as of late. 

Cam Guthrie (AF $506k SC $754k MID)

Guthrie has been one of the best midfield selections this year if you started him as he’s gone on to average close to 110 in both formats. He’s been hampered by a shoulder injury suffered in Round 10 which caused him to miss a few games and he was slow to return to form but in his last 3 games he’s averaged 112(AF)/113 (SC).

We feared early on that Dangerand Guthrie wouldn’t be able to co-exist in the same team and score well together as early on when both were in the team neither would score well but it seems as if Geelong have sorted the roles out and both are thriving. He’s pretty much at his cheapest price all season apart from last week so now is the time to pick him up especially given that Geelong are in ripping form.

Bailey Smith (AF $659k SC $498k MID)

After a second year breakout, Smith is finishing the year on fire and that’s thanks to the inside midfield role he is currently being given.

In the first half of the year, he was left out to play on a wing but in the last five games, Bevo has thrown the magnets around and given Bazalenka a lot more midfield minutes and he’s reaped the rewards with 4 tons in 5 games. The Dogs have a very soft run home with the Crows, Dons, Hawks and Power to play so if Smith keeps this role he may very well keep this ridiculous scoring output

Brayden Fiorini (AF $724k SC $416k MID) 

Fiorini is a notable ball magnet but has been left out to dry by Stewart Dew for the whole year, until Round 14 where he was brought on as the sub. After spending another game with the green vest on, he got an opportunity and has played the last 4 games with steady improvement which has reflected his scoring output.

The query is does he stay in the team long enough to continue racking up the pill or will he get dropped again? We saw in 2019 he is capable of scoring 100+ scores on the regular but he constantly falls out of favour in that Suns team which is mainly down to his below par ball use. He is the cheapest of all the options I’ve listed but does possess the most risk as he’s most likely to find his way out of the team. 

Facebook and Twitter Questions

“For leagues in AFL Fantasy please rank: Mills, Laird, Zorko, Dunkley as can get 2 only:” Phil Sanders

The clear-cut top two would most definitely be Mills and Laird and that is because Dunkley has just come back from a long-term shoulder problem and will likely be eased back into the team so don’t expect him to average like his first six games. Zorko had the benefit of playing in a team which had some midfielders out of the team, so he benefited in that sense but with Lachie Neale and now Jarrod Berry back in the side, he has seen less midfield minutes. So, I would back Laird and Mills as their midfield roles are very much permanent, even with Matt Crouch potentially returning soon I can’t see that displacing Laird’s role too much as he’s shown he’s Adelaide’s best midfielder at the moment. 

“Best forwards for the run home? Is Dunkley an option or better to go for Heeney, Sidebottom, McDonald?” Lucas Medew

Certainly, Dunkley is a very safe option to go with as he is a proven player with a good role. However, he is priced at a premium so it would cost a lot to bring him in. It’s probably not worth bringing him in especially at his current price, considering your other options that you listed it does seem that you don’t have a lot of funds to bring in a top premium player. Sidebottom is one I would consider especially given the injury to Pendlebury may free him up to play more inside midfield rather than high half forward.

Heeney is an interesting one as his form has wavered all season long, but he probably has the softest run home and benefits when buddy is playing in the team. Tom McDonald like most key forwards, scores like a roller coaster and with Melbourne’s form being of a similar shape I probably would avoid. 

For me the best forward considering price and scoring potential would have to be Rowan Marshall (AF $584k SC $464k F/R). Since coming back from injury he’s scored 68,100, 85 and 127. While he isn’t necessarily a number one ruckman at the Saints, being the backup isn’t the worst as he’s got the ability to hit the scoreboard as well as being that mobile ruckman. He’s only coming off a COVID isolation this time rather than an injury, so I expect him to come out firing unlike his games in Round 4 and 15 where he had a slow start. 

If you don’t fancy Marshall, then Jordan De Goey (AF $716k SC $502k M/F) is another option to consider. The increased midfield minutes has seen his scoring rise and we always talk about it each week. With Pendles out he still should retain his midfield minutes or potentially might take on a larger share depending on who Collingwood chooses to bring in. Again, a safe selection in my eyes but one who’s more expensive.

“Should I start Sam Reid or Zak Butters on my SuperCoach Draft team?” @Shrekhead4

Unfortunately I would have to back in Sam Reid at this stage, Butters has just come back from long-term injury and he’s been forced out of the midfield mix. While Port do have quite a favourable final few matches, he is playing a different role to what he was playing at the start of the year. Reid will be a solid 80 average forward with the odd big score when he kicks a bag.

With both Buddy and Heeney in that forward line it’s likely that Reid can score well just because he will be attracting the 3rd best forward as well as getting some ruck minutes which should give him a few touches here and there. He’s also been used as a swingman late in the quarter so the safe bet would definitely be to start Reid but if Butters gets back that mid/forward role he had at the start of the year then my answer would change but till then start Reid on your field. 

“I have 3 trades left finished 2/18 in my league. I am looking at just one trade this first week of finals. Any advice much appreciated Q.1 I have Bramble as bench cover but want to trade out Taranto for either Cam Guthrie or Whitfield thru dpp. Q.2 I don’t have Danger, should I burn 2 trades for him and bring in M.Parker dpp for M8 etc?” Stephen Young

If your team is at full premium then you could certainly use one trade to “rage” trade Taranto to a value selection in Guthrie, Whitfield or any other players you can afford. On the weekend Taranto had spent pretty much the whole game forward which was quite weird given but with Toby Greene returning to the team maybe he returns to the midfield as he doesn’t need to be a marking target up forward. Even when Taranto plays midfield he isn’t a massive scorer in supercoach because his ball use is deplorable at times which causes his score to be limited even when he’s getting 30+ touches a week. So I don’t necessarily mind a single trade from Taranto to whatever midfielder you desire. 

In terms of bringing in Dangerfield, by burning 2 of your 3 remaining trades, you do get a nice rookie selection who will make a nice F7 option but you are relying on only having 1 long term injury for the rest of the season. This seems like a massive gamble so while Danger is in ripping form right now, you will need to weigh up whether you are willing to risk having only 1 injury trade in the final 3 games of the season. 

In my opinion I would be trying to keep as many trades up my sleeve as possible because you’ll never know what sort of injuries you’ll end up with. We all remember the late out for the Giants, Swans game which caused a lot of drama so potentially having trades may be useful in a similar type of scenario. While it’s all well and good to have another potential captain selection in your team it is at the cost of multiple trades which may come back to bite you if you get unlucky. 

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