The Buzz: Trade or hold – the Cripps conundrum & which fallen premiums you need to shortlist

In Round 4, we had probably the most mixed bag of scoring so far this year with injuries, underperforming premos and rookies scattering our teams.

Ethan Lee

Patrick Cripps, a star midfielder for many of our teams, suffered a “minor” hamstring issue but does that warrant a trade?

How soon should we be thinking about upgrades and which value selections should we be targeting for our teams. All of these will be addressed below. 

The Cripps Dilemma

The biggest news to come out of Round 4 was the hamstring injury to Carlton star, Patrick Cripps (AF $803k SC $525k MID).

While the early news is that it is a very minor hamstring strain, they are still generally a 1-2 week injury but Carlton is adamant that he could be right to play this weekend against Port at the most so keep an eye out on team selections (but still if I had him I’d prefer him to be rested than watch him pull up again with a sub-par score). Also there’s a school of thought his scoring output may drop after the injury, given the durability concerns many had on him in pre-season. But does that mean you have to replace him?

The simple answer is no if you want to get to a full premium team quicker. Any sideways trades will automatically stagnate your ability to upgrade your team, sometimes it’s inevitable if a player has a long-term injury but, in this case, I would be in the camp of holding Cripps rather than trading him out. But that would be the boring way to play Fantasy/SuperCoach, so below I’ll list some replacements around his price point you could consider if you were to jump ship and rage trade him out.

Tom Green (AF $767k SC $525k MID)

Besides Cripps, Green is the other midfielder who has shot himself into top 10 midfield contention for the year, while on the weekend he had a poorer game than his first 3 weeks, he has shown the potential we were all seeking last year, and he is taking over the game at times.

The main attraction with Green is that not only is he finding the footy more often, but he’s kicked 2 goals in all but 1 game this year which is an exciting trend as goal kicking midfielders are generally a big tick for our fantasy game. It still isn’t worth trading Cripps given he’s likely maximum a two-week hamstring injury but if you haven’t had to do any rookie corrections so far this year then maybe it could be worth the jump given that Green is likely to also avoid any defensive attention considering the stacked Giants midfield. 

Scott Pendlebury (AF $712k SC $523k MID)

We all expectedPendlesto move to half-back and he’s done that for the first 2 rounds of the season. However, in his last 2 matches with Collingwood’s midfield being depleted due to injury, suspension, and H&S protocols. He’s had to play more midfield minutes.

However, that has resulted in his scoring increased. While for AFL Fantasy players he hasn’t excelled in his new role, for SuperCoach players he’s slowly getting back to his dependlebury best. Next week we will get the first of the DPP changes in and if he’s still averaging 100+ playing a midfield/defence role but with that extra defence status to his name he could be one to jump on early given that a defender averaging around 100 is safe to be a top 10 defender by the end of the year. Since 2008 only once has he averaged less than 100 and that was last year.

Bailey Smith (AF $872k SC $501k MID)

Bazlenka always seems to be that one midfielder that must be forced to play on the wing but this year he has been incorporated in the midfield more with Tom Liberatore and Marcus Bontempelli playing more forward minutes.

This has resulted in career-best numbers so far for Smith who unfortunately lost his consecutive games played after being injured for round 2. While I don’t expect him to carry on averaging 131/113.7 (AF/SC) for the rest of the year, he is flying under the radar but given how hard he covers the ground it wouldn’t surprise me if he could keep up a 110+ average in both formats. Word on the street is that he could be on the cards for a surprise Mid/Fwd DPP next week if he keeps up the same forward minutes, but only the guys at champion data will know for sure. But certainly, a bonus if he gets that role again. 

Jy Simpkin (AF $788k SC $519k MID)

With the likes of Ben Cunnington ruled out for the indefinite future, Simpkin has taken the reigns as the number one midfielder at the Roos with a flurry of young talent backing him up. He plays mostly every minute in the guts as he’s attending at least 90% of CBA’s this year. While his scoring can be a little up and down, he has shown this year that he is a key contributor for the North Melbourne midfield scoring 3 tons in 4 games with the exception being an off day against the Eagles.

While he may only average a maximum around the 110 mark, he’s still great value and has room to improve from here as he’s not someone that will draw defensive attention but rather has the background of being a tagger. Guys like Jack Steele and Cam Guthrie were former defensive-minded midfielders who were unleashed, and they showed how good they could be in recent years and Simpkin could very well provide the same value. He also has a very good durability factory only missing 1 game in the last 5 seasons. 

Fallen Premiums to add to your shortlist

Upgrade season is only around the corner so it’s important to keep an eye on some of the premium selections you want to bring in. Personally, I always try to seek value because there’s no guarantee someone who starts the year on fire will continue that same trend, but with our proven guns we know that they have the potential to come good and thus why seeking fallen premiums may be better than getting the flavour of the month. Furthermore, by jumping on value picks you can get ahead of the pack if you trade a rookie who’s not fully fattened up as at the end of the day, it is all about points generation.


Jake Lloyd (AF $810k SC $559k DEF)

There could be an endless selection of defenders I recommend here because the majority of our premium defenders are currently averaging sub 100. But the biggest name of the lotLloyd will be dropping in price quite a bit in the next few weeks. After missing the first game with health and safety protocols, he’s come out the blocks slowly but that will be exciting in a few weeks’ time when he should bottom out in price. He’s a proven and reliable defender so if you are seeking a premium one to upgrade one of your rookies then Lloyd should firmly be on your radar as he’s been the number 1 defender for a few years now. 

Other defenders who will be value picks: Pick your poison, nearly every premium besides Sam Docherty will be much cheaper than their starting price so pick the one you feel most confident in their role. 


Clayton Oliver (AF $890k SC $639k MID)

You wouldn’t think that after an insane year Oliver would be this attainable this early in the season but if he is then you will most definitely have to jump on. After a subpar performance against Port where most of the Melbourne’s midfield didn’t need to do much to defeat them.

He will be facing GWS which is the only team he doesn’t average over 100 points against as he’s had to face multiple tags from Matt De Boer. While his opponent on the weekend might be different in Lachie Ash, I have no doubt they’ll have the same influence on him, and we could see Oliver as cheap as $700k/$550k (AF/SC) which is insane for one of the premium midfielders of the fantasy game. Try to make room for him as soon as possible if he’s that cheap because we won’t get him this cheap again. 

Other midfield value picks Patrick Dangerfield, Luke Parker, Cam Guthrie, Ollie Wines. 


Don’t bother the ones worth picking up aren’t going to be cheap enough and your mid pricers like Jarrod Witts can be held onto for a while. Sean Darcy would be mentioned here if he were playing more often but it will be a while til he becomes super cheap and by that point, you may keep your mid pricer/rookie ruck in Witts/Preuss. 


Zak Butters (AF $720k SC $452k FWD)

After lighting it up in Rounds 1 and 2, Butters was set to be the next star forward we all wanted but back-to-back weeks of sub-par performances will see him become cheaper than his initial starting price. His role within the team has still been relatively like the outlier being in Round 3 where he saw the least midfield minutes after receiving some friendly fire early on in the match.

Overall, once Butters has an improved score he should bounce back quickly and with Ollie Wines having a big question mark over his health (we wish him all the best), Butters could be thrown further into this midfield role especially considering how poor Port has been in recent times. We have seen this scoring pattern last year in the first 4 weeks before his injury where he will have games where he dominates and others where he is quiet. With the endless number of options in the forward line, however, I don’t think we will need a value forward for a while but he is one to consider if you are upgrading early. 

Other value forward picks: Tom Hawkins

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