The Buzz: Why you don’t chase points, slow starters & the non-obvious rookie correction suggestions

After a long and exhilarating pre-season filled with much uncertainty about our value and rookie selections, we can finally put that to rest and focus on making the correct calls in order to improve our teams.

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Former SuperCoach top 300 finisher Ethan Lee

Many coaches found value in their midfield and forward picks with Patrick Cripps, Pat Lipinski, George Hewett and co all producing huge numbers, but several premium defenders absolutely stunk it up which started on Thursday night when it was announced that Jake Lloyd was not playing and other premiums like Jack Crisp, Jordan Ridley, Daniel Rich, Luke Ryan and Lachie Whitfield all had below par scores.

But for our Round 2 teams, what do we need to focus on in order to maximize cash generation and score the most total points?

Do not chase points

It’s very easy to sideways trade your underperforming premium selections right over to a cheaper option who has looked good in Round 1. Looking at last year’s top Round 1 SuperCoach scores last year, only two of the top 10 scorers in Round 1 last year ended up being considered a top 10 player for their position in supercoach.

This trend was similar in AFL Fantasy with only three players being considered a top 10 player in their respected position. Looking further the only players who ended up being worth selecting were already at a premium price point. 

Slow Starters

Speaking of underperforming premiums, we must not forget those who had a slow start, however, does that warrant us to burn a trade on them?

We should only be trading those whose role has significantly changed from what we initially believed that would play and ideally before they bleed a ton of value. Testing this on some of the underperforming premiums in Round 1, one of the most popular selections across both formats was Max Gawn (AF $892k SC $658k RUCK) could only muster up a 79/92 (AF/SC) against Tim English (AF $692k SC $482k F/R) and the rest of the Dogs’ outfit.

However, rather than focusing on his score, we should check to see if he’s still playing the same role as last year. Gawn last year averaged 55.3 ruck contests per game and still attended 53 ruck contests in Round 1. So, his score wasn’t being affected by the amount of on-ball minutes he gets, but rather he lost a lot of points from giving away free-kicks. As his six frees against lost him 18 AF/18.4 SC points. 

Furthermore, when you’re playing against a strong opposition midfield you’re more likely to have your hit-out stat negated (in SuperCoach’s terms at least) and in the case of Gawn’s Round 1 game 10 of his 34 hit-outs were “sharked” which ultimately meant he didn’t score a point from them

Finally, Gawn is another one who is a slow starter as three of his last four years he’s gone sub-100 in Round 1 but he’s still managed to finish the season with a 120+ average. I’m not expecting any different as his role is still the same now, just got a bit unlucky with his Round 1 matchup.

Another popular selection case study we can look at is Lachie Whitfield (AF $778k SC $502k D/M). While his 69/73 didn’t set the world alight a lot of that came down to the ball being played in the trenches for much of the game which hurt a lot of wingers/outside midfielders who like to have the freedom to create with their ball skills and pace.

This graphic created by @StatosphereAFL showcases the relative ball use and its location and we can see that the Giants and Swans spent most of the time moving the ball through the corridor which benefited the inside midfield brigade whereas Whitfield and Justin McInerney (AF $565k SC $411k D/M), who are the creative midfielders struggled to have impact.

Will that advocate a trade for them if this ball movement is consistent throughout the year? There is potential for that to be the case if these numbers stay consistent, while the role for them is clear if the way the team plays doesn’t benefit the player, then there isn’t much point to having them. One to keep an eye on this week.

Rookie correction trades

While SuperCoach players shouldn’t worry about having to correct their rookie picks (unless you have genuinely missed every rookie that went well), AFL Fantasy players have already seen a shift in their player’s value and thus it is important to adjust to the rookies that will provide the best cash generation.

While it is easy to just look for the lowest break-evens we also must consider the player’s role and job security as there isn’t much point picking a player who may come out of the side in a few games time. Rather than listing the obvious choices because i know many will already have them i want to look at other players who you could bring in especially if you can’t afford to swap one rookie priced player to another.

Defenders:

Sam Skinner (AF $190k SC $123k D/F) – BE: 25/23 (AF/SC)

The former Brisbane forward turned defender was a popular choice for many coaches as Port’s key defensive stocks were a little thin. But with news that star defender Aliir Aliir is out for a while with a classic syndesmosis injury, all eyes will be on Skinner to fill that void.

While he won’t set the world alight with his scoring, he doesn’t need to score huge to make cash being bargain based. Furthermore, with his job security being quite high considering Aliir is out and Trent McKenzie is a test with a knee injury he has every opportunity to make that key back position his. Obviously, this is pending that he does get picked this week but this is probably his best chance and considering that our defensive rookies are woeful (until Nick Daicos gets that juicy DPP) he may have to stick on our bench for the mean time especially when Sam De Koning (AF $190k SC $123k D/F) has already been ruled out due to concussion protocol. 

Other options that you may need to consider: Luke Foley (AF $404k SC $244k DEF) (Slightly more expensive than a rookie priced but has a great role in the Eagles team for now), Josh Sinn (AF $268k SC $157k D/M) (Pending selection but with multiple injuries at the Power he may have to come in)

Midfielders:

Jackson Mead (AF $205k SC $124k MID) – BE: 11/-7 (AF/SC)

Another Port player that you might have to consider is Jackson Mead while I’m sure 99% of people were running with JHF, Daicos and Ward in the team. Many passed over Mead after he didn’t set the world alight in the pre-season.

However, his role in the team would probably be safe for the time being considering the potential injuries to Port’s current line-up. He was playing mostly out on a half-forward flank but did get to push into the midfield for a little bit and still ended up with a respectable 44/52 (AF/SC) points. While he has jumped slightly from his initial price, this is the last opportunity to pick him up before he become unreachable when making rookie adjustments.

Other options to consider: None that most players wouldn’t already have.

Rucks:

Brayden Preuss (AF $367k SC $205k RUCK) – BE: 38/48 (AF/SC)

Unfortunately ruck rookies are a bit thin so if you really want one then you may need to cough up extra for Preuss. I’m sure 90% of players already have Jack Hayes ($253k SC $102k R/F) in their team but, of course, if you don’t then definitely jump on him but if you want an extra ruck option then Preuss is one to consider as GWS are a team that can facilitate playing 2 genuine ruckmen as on the weekend guys like Green, Riccardi and Himmelberg were asked to give Flynn a chop-out.

Remembering back to the pre-season, Preuss ended up scoring 85/102 (AF/SC) points before being suspended for slamming Brodie Grundy into the turf, so he has all the ability to score well for a ruckman. It’s just a matter of whether he gets picked this week and how well will he score as a secondary ruckman. 

Other options to consider: good luck finding one unless there’s a surprise debut.

Forwards:

Corey Durdin (AF $216k SC $144k FWD) – BE: 2/-18 (AF/SC)

Again, I’m sure 99% of players will want to bring in Nic Martin (AF $266k SC $102k FWD) in or already own him but another forward rookie that is flying under the radar is Durdin from the Blues. The small forward gave us a glimpse of his potential in the pre-season kicking two goals in just under a half of footy in the pre-season and backed that performance up with a 59/71 (AF/SC) in Round 1 against the Tigers.

But what makes this pick greater than most forward rookies is that he’s someone with much better job security. While his scoring will be limited by being a pressure small forward, if he’s scoring 60s every week from now he will be able to make an extra $100k by Round 8. 

Other options to consider: Like the midfield, the forward rookies are pretty settled for the moment so unless you’re missing Hayes, Martin and co there isn’t many to pick from that show great job security.

Conclusion

Overall, the main takeaways from this week are that you shouldn’t panic and make rage trades from your Round 1 picks. You’ve chosen them for a reason, so you need to make sure that reason still exists for the duration of the season.

Of course, for AFL Fantasy players ensuring you have the best cash generation possible is going to be key but it’s always difficult to get it right in Round 1, SuperCoach players can take it slightly easier as their prices don’t change until the end of Round 3 so you will have a lot more sample size to look at before deciding if a rookie is needed.

So even if you’re missing Martin or Hayes this week there doesn’t need to be any panic as you can wait till next week to pick them up without fear of losing cash generation. 

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