The Buzz – Round 23 burning questions: Defensive replacements, VC/C picks, final mailbag

It’s safe to say it was a round to forget with notable big-name defenders ruled out due to injury on Thursday night in Callum Mills and Jake Lloyd and Friday was no better.

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Tom Stewart dropped out with a foot injury and finally to top everything off, popular value selection in Steven May was withdrawn from the team on Sunday afternoon which left many coaches with a donut or two on field.

In this week’s The Buzz we’ll be investigating who are some of the best replacements for our injured defenders, investigate who are the best VC/C options for this week and finally answer some of your questions on Facebook or Twitter.

Defensive Replacements

I’m sure many coaches out there will be looking to replace Stewart and Mills (especially if he doesn’t get up this week). So, I want to look at some of the players you can replace them with and give some obscure suggestions to help get that edge on your opponent in your league grand final. 

The Safe Pick
Jack Crisp (AF $785k SC $586k D/M)
Crisp is just that dependable selection in both formats given his ability to play every game it seems, and this year he’s elevated his game when thrown into the midfield. Unfortunately, this might be the last year we can select him as he may have played too much midfield to be eligible as a defender. Since Collingwood have had their injuries, Crisp has been one player that has been exposed to more midfield time and the result of that has been increased scoring, but it’s not like he’s completely relying on midfield minutes for his elite scoring as there are weeks where he’s playing off halfback for the whole game and he still scores well. 

The Value Selection
Alex Witherden
(AF $616k SC $402k DEF)
But with a matchup against his old mob in Round 23, I’m sure he’ll want to prove a point and if we expect the Eagles to get destroyed again the ball could be in the Eagles backline a lot which could mean lots of possessions for Witherden. He’s also become a designated kickout taker at the eagles sharing the role with McGovern, so he could rack up easy points that way. 

The Wildcard
Liam Baker
(AF $527k SC $454k D/M)
Baker’s role changes every week it seems, as the last few weeks has seen him thrown into the forward line playing as a high-half forward role. His scoring has been very inconsistent due to these role changes he could see another one come his way, but it could be a very positive one in that injuries to Trent Cotchin could open the door for some midfield minutes. He achieved his season high score of 130 against the Giants playing a permanent midfield role and was serviceable with an 89 the next week against the Lions before Prestia and Cotchin returned.

While it is believed that Prestia will be available to play, a midfield spot beckons and depending on the team changes this week for the Tigers, it could be Baker’s for the taking. While we haven’t had many games to see how he goes in that role permanently, he’s shown that his form has spiked up the last few weeks and finding the football is no problem even if he’s playing high half forward. 

Captaincy Picks
Going into your grand finals, your choice of vice-captain/ captain will be critical in getting an edge on your opponent so I want to present you with some picks who i believe will dominate the last week.

Tom Mitchell
Since the bye Mitchell has yet to dip below the 105 in either format and multiple scores of 130+ along that way he makes an easy choice for your VC or C this week. Especially when you consider that they are coming up against a depleted Richmond side who just lost Trent Cotchin this week.

Adding onto the fact that Richmond has a tendency to conceded mammoth points on the run home with the likes of Kelly (141/148), Brayshaw (156/190), Cerra (138/147), Dangerfield (118/165), Adams (131/140) and Miller (141/153) all posting captain like scores in their wins against the Tigers. Since Clarko announced that he was parting ways with the Hawks, they have been in ridiculous form, and this could be another win for them. This can add up for Tom Mitchell to accumulate 50+ disposals given that the Tiger’s don’t tend to tag opposition players. 

Jack Steele
In the last three weeks, he’s scored the most points in AFL Fantasy as well as second most in SuperCoach. He was looking to have a ginormous score on the weekend posting essentially what was a ton in the first half but struggled to continue that momentum in the 2nd half and ended up only just scraping 100 in both formats. But with a slim chance at finals, I believe the Saints will be doing everything they can to win their last game of the year, especially against a team who wants to play finals too.

Freo did employ a tagger in Bailey Banfield on the Eagles mids last week with limited success as Shuey still ended up having a decent performance while Tim Kelly got injured. But Steele is just a different beast and we’ve already seen this year he can score multiple scores 130+, while his record against Freo isn’t amazing he certainly should beat his PB and will firmly be a great captain pick. 

Josh Kelly
This one will firmly depend on which Carlton shows up, if it’s the Blues of last week then i firmly believe that Kelly could repeat his double ton, he scored against the same mob back in 2018. The Blues don’t generally tag anymore but do carry Ed Curnow if that opportunity is required however it’s not like this season, we’ve seen this tag come into fruition. While his form did take a dip after he played on a sprained ankle, the rest he had in Round 21 showed that he didn’t lose any bit of the form he showed with a season high of 148 against the Tigers. With a very much depleted Carlton side, he could be that point of difference captain to pick

Other options I likeLuke Parker had a monster game against North Melbourne on the weekend and with news that Mills and Kennedy may not be available this week against the Suns he could be the one to carry the midfield mantle. Gold Coast did look a bit worse for wear on the weekend as they were torched up by the bombers and with potentially 5th spot up for grabs, it could be set for Parker to unleash however not many coaches will own him, furthermore your standard Miller, Bontempelli, Oliver won’t be bad picks necessarily but those who play against the Cats, Power and Swans will find it challenging given that they conceded the least amount of AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach points this season so while these superstars have shown great consistency in scoring all season it might be the week to avoid the obvious choice. One thing is for sure, owners of Sam Walsh should definitely avoid the captaincy on him as we saw last time, he got the “De Boer ” treatment giving him his lowest score of the year. 

Facebook and Twitter questions

“How does the ‘consistency rating’ work?” – John Keenan
Assuming you’re talking about the “consistency rating” that is available for SuperCoach Gold users, from what I’ve gathered it is calculating the standard deviation of the player’s score from the last 5 games they have played. This might be a bit of a maths lesson, but what this means is that we are finding the variance of scores from the average. For example, Isaac Smith has a very low “consistency rating” of 2.8 where he is averaging 102.0 in his last 5 games, this means that based off his last 5 games he should score somewhere between 99.2 and 104.8. (102,106,99,99,104). Whereas someone like David Mundy has a very high consistency rating (37.5) because his scores have fluctuated a lot recently (134, 74, 126, 45 and 50). 

But is this value any useful? Yes and no. The reason I say yes is only because of Isaac Smith as he’s been overlooked as an option in the back half of the year and this number has shown how consistent he has been lately even when scoring very well. But for the most part those with a low consistency rating don’t tend to have a high ceiling nor average points that would consider them a premium level. Of course there are some exceptions in Jake Lloyd (5.9), Aaron Hall (6.9), Tom Stewart (8.9) and Callum Mills (9.2) who have been superb all year but for the most part those whose consistency rating is <10.0 tend to average below 100 points. 

On the flipside, this stat is also not very useful because superstar players have such a high variance between their high and low scores. However, this is to be expected as Tom Mitchell, Jack Steele and Clayton Oliver all have their rating in the mid 20’s but we don’t really care because they currently are putting out an output of 130+ and the high variance would tell us that they would be able to score between 110 and 150 based off their last 5 games. Consistency rating also doesn’t care for your injured players so Patrick Dangerfield’s rating is currently the highest (55.4) as it takes into account his injury affected 21 but even so taking out he’s similar to the superstar players as his consistency rating would be 33.5 and even though it is that high it means you could see scores as low as 97 but as high as 163, but again you’d take that over someone who’s just scoring exactly 100 points every week. 

Overall, I wouldn’t worry too much about consistency rating, it’s a handy tool to have if you want to compare a player’s 5 game averages, but in general it doesn’t mean too much if it doesn’t include every single game they have played. 

“How do I get more trades?” – Jeremy Entwistle
I wish I knew the answer to this one too, Jeremy. 

“Captain Miller or Lyons” – @nussb9
To be honest I don’t think you can go wrong with either, my decisive factor is Gold Coast are playing a top team whereas Brisbane is playing a very out-of-form team. So, for me, it’s probably easier for Jarryd Lyons to score going downhill rather than Touk Miller having to fight uphill, but we’ve seen the Suns pull off some big upsets before and Miller did deliver in Round 6 this year scoring 146 against the Swans.

Potentially if you can loophole one into the other because once the Suns game finishes you could potentially wait and see if Miller’s score is worth utilising the captain’s loophole on? The Swans of recent don’t tend to give up too many big scores to midfielder’s however, with Jed Anderson the top scoring North Midfielder on the weekend compared to the Eagles who conceded 2×130+ scores to Mundy and Serong.

Overall, I’d back Lyons to score big against a washed-up Eagles mob and with Lions needing to do all they can for a top 4 spot, they will be pushing for big percentage points. While that doesn’t mean Miller is a bad pick the Swans of late don’t tend to give up monster scores in games that they comfortably win. 

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