The Buzz: Is trading out premos like Gawn or Steele OK after two rounds? To correct or not to correct?

A lot of coaches experienced huge scores led by Lachie Neale and Andy Brayshaw while popular picks George Hewett, Patrick Cripps, Jack Macrae and Touk Miller went big too.

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Ethan Lee

But this week doesn’t come without its issues. Our ruck situation isn’t any clearer with Max Gawn (AF $855k SC $657k RUCK) underperforming for the second week in a row and plenty of other popular ruckman flopping too.

While a big-name Bomber has gone down, and we might need to consider who steps up in that midfield mix. 

Bomber down

With news that Zach Merrett (AF $935k SC $626k MID) is out for 6-8 weeks, it will be a killer for the few coaches out there who have this premium option. However, not all is lost from this news as his absence will raise the fantasy stocks of some other Bomber players.

Jye Caldwell (AF $539k SC $267k) is the player I would be most interested in. Already attending around 40% of centre bounces in that Essendon midfield he’s still putting out a reasonable output of 80.5/90.5 (AF/SC) but his price in SuperCoach makes him a great value pick if you are unhappy with one of your mid pricers.

Other midfielders to take note of in Merrett’s absence are Andrew McGrath (AF $716k SC $465k MID) who initially was looking at sneaking into extra DPP territory however this may no longer be the case, but he is one to watch.

One player you might think that’s missing is Darcy Parish (AF $886k SC $622k MID) and while I agree the midfield mantle is all his, I worry that they will receive much more defensive attention and, in the past, he hasn’t really handled that too well as seen with some of his scores in the 2nd half of 2021.   

To Correct or Not to Correct

Round 3 is a crucial round for Supercoach (AFL Fantasy players can read along too) players mainly because this is the last chance to correct any rookies or breakout players that you may have missed. Here I want to discuss some of the most traded in and out players in both formats to help you with your trades coming into this week

Most traded-out premiums

Max Gawn (AF $855k SC $658k RUCK)

Yes, I made the argument that Gawn should not be on the trade block in Round 1, however, his performance in Round 2 didn’t exactly do him much justice to take him off this list. However, I am a firm believer that Gawn’s role is still significant as he attended 47 ruck contests this week.

While it was down on the amount, he attended in Round 1, it seems Melbourne is doing this based on a matchup basis and is using young ruckman Luke Jackson as a point of difference in the middle when they can identify a matchup that works well.

@Empr_X did a great summary of Max Gawn’s scoring sources and identified it is just his groundball work that has been reduced in having fewer disposals and fewer tackles a game.

It was also a dirty week for ruckman as most of the popular picks also flopped as well so the argument for people trying to trade Gawn will be, who can you trade him to in order to have the best ruckman for the whole season? 

Verdict: Keep, there are no other stand-out ruckmen to bring in and if you find yourself in the wrong situation you may not be able to trade him in even with the new trade boost.  

Lachie Whitfield (AF $760k SC $503k D/M)

It has been a massive surprise to see Whitfield down on his regular numbers while his work-rate is still there. He’s just accumulating less of the ball and whether that’s because opposition teams are becoming smarter and playing tighter on him or the Giants using his good ball less with the likes of Isaac Cumming and Harry Perryman or even both. This is a very line ball call because he’s still got the same role and when he scored 95+ consistently.

Lachie Whitfield’s relative numbers

We can see that he’s still down on his output (*2020 being played in 16 minute quarters) While his numbers are down, I still feel that this is floor of his scoring and that with GWS playing poorly he should improve from here. But watch closely, remember Leon Cameron is not very friendly to our fantasy teams (remember Josh Kelly from last year) so he could very well see an improvement soon.

Verdict: Keep unless you really have missed some of the expensive rookies and need the cash.

Jack Steele (AF $989k SC $686k MID)

This one annoys me more, yes, he had a bad round 1 and his round 2 performance didn’t exactly wow owners who forked out the big bucks for him. But he’s one of the most proven for our fantasy teams. Owners might forget that he didn’t start 2021 to flash averaging 112.1 in his first 10 games but it was the final 12 games after that which is what made him the second most expensive midfielder in both formats at the start of the year as he averaged 137.5 which is unheard of. While I can understand that people are trying to sell him to fund the likes of Cripps, I don’t see how it is a wise move to sacrifice one player you want to keep for another player who is only a potential keeper at this stage. 

Verdict: Keep him, you’ll regret it when he gets out of 2nd gear and becomes unaffordable again. 

Most Traded-In Players

Patrick Cripps (AF $749k SC $455k MID)

I think we have all missed this version of Patrick Cripps who was able to rip it out of the middle and somehow get a handball while having three players attached to him. But Cripps is well and truly back to his 2018/19 best as shown in the graphic below where he was able to accumulate the ball and cover the ground very effectively. One thing he’s added to his game is the ability to be involved in score involvements and that has majorly boosted his scoring output.

Credit: afl.com.au

However with that being said a lot of people are trading him in for premiums like Steele, Gawn and Tom Mitchell. That’s where I’m not too keen on as these guys are your proven uber premiums and will most definitely bounce back as seen in years go by. So, I would only be happy to trade him in for a mid pricer that hasn’t been giving you the results like Serong or some underperforming rookies like Ward and even Berry. 

Verdict: Trade him if it is upgrading a mid pricer or a rookie that is underperforming. 

Isaac Heeney (AF $712k SC $455k FWD)

An average of 23 disposals and 4 goals a game is genuinely Brownlow level form and that’s what Heeney is delivering so far this season in his first 2 games. In the past few years, he’s threatened to break out with these types of performances once in a blue moon however, injuries prevented his limitless potential from being fulfilled.

This year he has been involved in more of the centre bounces which has improved his disposal, tackle and doubled the number of goals he kicks each week. Like Cripps you can make the argument that he is overperforming and that we haven’t seen his true numbers. Furthermore, it is difficult to structure Heeney into your team being a forward-only, those in the scenario with Dusty Martin could make this move as he’s out indefinitely. Given the insane value we have up forward I would ride that cash generation instead of bringing in an overperforming forward.

Verdict: Pass unless one of your premium forwards is Dusty or Tarryn Thomas

Jake Bowey (AF $420k SC $266k DEF)

One of the most highly touted youngsters from the 2020 draft didn’t get his chance to shine late in 2021 and he made most of this newfound opportunity by being a key distributor from the Dees backline. While he only averaged a measly 54/61 in his first season there were already some key signs of him being a fantasy-relevant player taking a few kickouts here and there.

Last week he absolutely tore it up against the Suns picking up 34 disposals and nine marks, however, what was even more impressive was his 18 contested possessions and 16 intercepts which contributed to the 151 he scored in SC.

The question is, was this just a flash in the pan or can he legitimately keep this similar output even when key figures like Jake Lever, Michael Hibberd and Christian Salem come back into the team. Utilising the salary predictor, he needs to genuinely average around 80 points to be worth this trade as a 75 average will only make a quick $100k in the short run and arguably someone like Mitch Hinge or Sam Skinner will be better cash cows as they will make the same amount of cash in over a slightly longer period of time.

Jake Bowey’s projected price if he averages 75. Credit tooserious.net

Verdict: While it might look good on paper to shift Whitfield to Bowey, he needs to average at least 75 to be worthwhile of this trade and that is a score he’s only scored twice (in his SC career). Plus the inclusions of Lever, Hibberd and Salem should only take away from his point-scoring potential. I’d be wary of his scoring and would prefer to correct rookies first than gambling on someone at his price. Guys like Noah Answorth and Luke Foley could also contribute similar numbers and are cheaper. 

George Hewett (AF $583k SC $399k D/M)

Hewett is currently thriving in his permanent midfield role averaging career-best numbers of 88/124 (AF/SC). But does that warrant a trade? For me this is a similar situation to Cripps, while he probably is overperforming at this stage in terms of his numbers, he still can very well be a keeper for the rest of the season, and this is as cheap as he’ll probably be. For a defender, you only really need to be averaging around 95 to be a top 10 defender and he is surpassing that. One thing that owners may be concerned about is that the Blues haven’t fielded their strongest midfield missing Sam Walsh in Round 1 and Adam Cerra in Round 2, so this week will be a real test to see what his actual scoring potential is.

Verdict: Try to bring him in if it’s not at the sacrifice of another keeper.

Final Words

Overall, this is the week mainly for SuperCoach players to finalise their rookie corrections. AFL Fantasy players will also need to ensure that they have the necessary rookies as the likes of Nic Martin and Kaine Baldwin could jump back into the team so it’s key to bring them in before their price rise.

While it is always tempting to trade out your underperforming premiums remember why you’ve selected them and realise that trading them out will only hurt you in the long run. We want to be removing as many rookie scores as possible off our field not going sideways and wasting trades. There would have been hundreds of coaches who traded out Jack Crisp (AF $811k SC $571k D/M) or Jayden Short (AF $779k SC $535k DEF) in Round 1 and then he shows his true potential the week after so back in your premiums and remember why you’ve picked them.

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