The Buzz: Who to prioritise for trade-outs, Grundy replacements & the best picks for upgrade SZN

I want to keep the intro very short and sweet because there’s a lot to discuss, but we have a plethora of outs this week and potentially more with the likes of George Hewett being a potential late out if he doesn’t recover from his corky.


But we certainly do know popular picks such as Brodie Grundy, Tristan Xerri and Jack Hayes are long-term injuries while other rookies are hitting their price ceiling so what do we do with all of them (thank God for the new trade boost in SuperCoach)?

Brodie Grundy replacements

While last week I told everyone to hold onto Brodie Grundy (AF $802k SC $545k RUCK) because the star premiums will bounce back, we did not expect him to have such a serious PCL injury that he sustained in the fourth quarter (and remarkably he managed to score the most SuperCoach points in that period).

But nevertheless, he has now been ruled out after scoring a remarkable 129. Now the obvious choice is to get the number one ruckman in either format which is Tim English (AF $837k SC $573k R/F) however he was ruled out for 2-3 weeks after a mishap last Friday afternoon and thus we have to cross him off the list, so who else can we choose?

The Upgrades

If you have cash in the bank, then Max Gawn (AF $905k SC $658k RUCK) is your best bet, after a slow start scoring two sub-100s he’s gone on to become the number one scoring ruckman between Rounds 3-6 and cement himself as the dominant number one ruckman for both fantasy formats. It’s a no brainer to bring him in, however, it will cost you about $100k extra in both formats to pick him up, so you may have to use two or three trades to bring him in. But who cares if it costs that much to bring in the ruckman who will score the most points from now till the end of the season?

The sideways trades

There are quite a lot of options that are similarly priced to Grundy and provide solid scoring output. Jarrod Witts (AF $654k SC $531k RUCK) has gone to a new level after missing the past season due to an ACL injury and his ability to win plenty of hit-outs to advantage has improved his SuperCoach ceiling significantly as he’s posted three scores of 130+. His floor isn’t too terrible either with his sub-100 scores being 75, 88 and 95 so overall he can push that 110+ mark. Unfortunately for AFL Fantasy players, he’s yet to ton up in that format and the other ruckman around that price are not worth paying for now.

The rookies

If you don’t have Braydon Preuss (AF $536k SC $299k RUCK) or Sam Hayes (AF $258k SC $124k RUCK), then there’s no reason to not get them to replace Grundy. While there were early scares that Preuss may not have that great job security to be the number 1 ruckman he’s come out and made that number one spot is his afterFlynn had a stinker, furthermore last week the Giants showed that they could play both ruckman in tandem and it didn’t affect Preuss’s points.

Looking further ahead Preuss does have a few easy matchups with Carlton and West Coast – whose first-choice rucks have both recently gone down injured long-term – in Round 9 and 10 so there will be major cash and points scoring there for those teams who are missing their primary ruckman.

Similarly, Port’s Hayes has taken the role from Scott Lycett who is missing due to a long-term injury and with Port’s ruck stocks being quite thin already Hayes got a major boost to his job security. He played valiantly against the Blues and dominated the ruck-less Eagles, to set himself up for a major cash generation. While you shouldn’t play him at R2 because he doesn’t have the capability to be scoring 100s like Preuss he can be a very handy R3, and he seems to be providing much better cash generation than other rookies we have around. 

Avoid these lot

Peter Ladhams (AF $650k SC $462k R/F) absolutely torched secondary ruckman in Bailey J Williams and Max Lynch in back-to-back weeks however he won’t be so lucky in his match-ups this week, playing against Oscar McInerney and Jarrod Wittsin back-to-back weeks. He could only muster up a 58/63 against the combination of Xerri and Todd Goldstein so that should give you a rough indication of what his generic scoring will be, don’t be fooled that he has toned up twice in back-to-back weeks with a high score of 164 against the Hawks, he won’t have this lucky matchup again for a while and Tom Hickey is on the road to recovery.

Rowan Marshall (AF $684k SC $473k RUCK) is another player who has played well in the last two weeks, however, with Paddy Ryder in the team, Marshall becomes the secondary ruckman and had his lowest score in that period of time as he was spending more time as a key forward rather than a pure ruckman and thus, he can’t win the footy on the ground which is how he accumulates his points. (As I’m editing this it turns out he’s been ruled out due to injury so another factor as to why not to pick him).

Upgrade SZN

This round a lot of our rookies have reached their maximum price with the likes of Jack Hayes having a season-ending injury and Josh Rachele dropping back-to-back stinkers which means that by trading out both you should be able to upgrade to at least a premium that is under-priced. Today I’ll be discussing some of the options that you could consider from a value perspective but also have a look at the upper echelon and try to find players who may be expensive but are still good value for their price. 


Nick Vlastuin (AF $687k SC $461k DEF) is the first defender I would suggest upgrading, after coming off an injury-interrupted pre-season he has slotted seamlessly into the Richmond back six and has a great role, taking plenty of marks and kick-ins to boost his score. His 155 on the weekend was probably slightly inflated because the ball was in that back 50 for a lot of the time and a lot of Richmond defenders also scored well in that game against the Dees but you could expect a 105+ output from him. 

A cheaper alternative to Vlastuin is Luke McDonald (AF $625k SC $403k D/M), who initially was starting as a defensive winger for North he’s having to be pushed back into the halfback line to fill the vacating role left by Aaron Hall and that has seen him improve his scoring output and consistency as he’s able to get more of the ball consistently. The only worrying factor would be he isn’t taking as many kick-outs as the 2020 season where he went ballistic in the second half of the year and potentially this is only a temporary role while Hall is out with this injury but certainly if you are struggling with cash, he provides a lot of value. 

There’s probably no bad expensive option seeing how most defenders over 500k are going to be averaging close to 100, but the pick of the bunch will be James Sicily (AF $717k SC $532k DEF). I initially had my doubts about how much of the ball he would get with so many good rebounding defenders at the Hawks now but playing with these good ball users seems to improve Sicily’s scoring as he’s currently averaging career-best numbers in marks, disposals, and intercepts. While his ceiling isn’t as high as other defenders his floor is much higher so you know what kind of scoring you can get on a week-to-week basis. 


There are a few good value midfielders just north of $500k and the name on most people’s radars would be Patrick Cripps (AF $811k SC $522k MID), after injuring his hamstring during their loss against the suns his price has stagnated but he’s come back and banged out a huge score meaning his price won’t stagnate for long. Take out that injury affected score he’s currently averaging 124/138 (AF/SC) which is quite clearly a top 10 averaging midfielder score for the year. So, it’s very much your last chance to get him. But for those who already have him and are seeking another mid with similar value, Christian Petracca (AF $876k SC $556k MID). While he might be set to drop a bit of coin this week in both formats, he is playing against a Hawthorn this week and statistically, Hawthorn is the team that conceded the most points to Inside midfielders. 

If you do end up having a bit more cash though, Clayton Oliver (AF $881k SC $619k MID) would be your set and forget and this is probably going to be the cheapest he gets. Like I mentioned before Hawthorn conceded the most points to opposing inside midfielders so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Oliver scores back-to-back 150+ scores. 


I’ll skip over rucks because for the most part, you’ll be choosing the replacements I’ve selected for Grundy.


When the first set of DPPs was released I first mentioned that Luke Parker (AF $739k SC $476k M/F) was one to watch because he was set to drop in price after his stinker against the Roos, but in the last two weeks, he’s shown his true form scoring back-to-back tons to essentially become a top 10 scoring forward again. Not counting the likes of Stephen Coniglio and Will Brodie whom most coaches would have he’s the cheapest one in the top 10 and presents great value for a player who has averaged 100+ on a consistent basis in the past few years. 

Jordan De Goey (AF $749k SC $482k M/F) is another value pick. On the weekend he only scored the 76 SuperCoach points but that was held back by 11 clangers so taking that into account he could easily add on an extra 44 points on that Anzac Day game. Certainly, he has that midfield role as he accumulates the ball plenty and can still kick a bag as we saw him almost carry the Pies over the line against the Lions with three last quarter goals.

Isaac Heeney (AF $787k SC $545k FWD) is within contention to be that number one forward by the end of the year, while he might drop in price slightly this week and the next. He has such a high scoring ceiling that means you’ll have to get him into your forward line at some point. Unfortunately, English is still out with that hamstring, but he would be the more ideal premium to bring in as he’s got that DPP status as well. 

Who should you prioritize when trading out players?

A lot of the time trading seems easy as we just have a look at who has the highest BEs and see if they have maxed out in price and do a classic one up and one down, but in a week like this one where a ton of players can be traded out due to a variety of reasons. Who should you prioritize in trading out first?

  1. Long Term Injuries

Guys like Grundy, Hayes and to an extent Xerri are all options who you should be moving on ASAP simply these guys are not going to be playing any time soon. While you could hold onto Xerri as his role is secure and his points scoring is good, four weeks when other rookies are popping up is too long to hold. A consensus is three or more weeks for any player is a trade, an exception to that could be an uber premium that is clearly the best in their position as it will be as difficult to get them back in once you’ve traded them back out.

2. Rookies with High break-evens but low job security

I highlight low job security immensely because at the end of the day you’re going to maximise your score when you have all 22 players playing and not 21 or 20 and a few late outs that need to be covered with unknown rookie scores. This becomes important as in the future we don’t know what rookies will be playing and which won’t so for someone like Josh Rachele (AF $488k SC $290k M/F) who has quite a high BE I would only trade him out if you’ve managed to avoid the injury chaos. But certainly, he’s a warm body you’ll be wanting to hold onto as he’s locked into that starting Crows 22. Similarly, Paddy McCartin (AF $349k SC $268k DEF) is another with a highish BE but great job security and once he’s back from his concussion I fully expect him to slot in at full-back. Those that fit these criteria are few and very far between now so unless you’re still holding onto a Mitch Hinge (AF $440k SC $266k DEF) or Dylan Stephens (AF $518k SC $202k MID) then they too can go if you’ve dodged the LTI carnage. 

3. Rookies who have hit their peak price

Tiers two and three are quite difficult to tell as you essentially have to guestimate the player’s job security within the team. Like I mentioned previously guys like Rachele and McCartin are mainstays in the 22 and if you’ve kept hold of Josh Ward (AF $406k SC $236k MID), he’s only been managed this week so it’s a better sign than if he was being omitted from the team. But if all your rookies have great JS and the only ones left have hit their price then go start culling them. 

4. Underperforming premium

This is the lowest tier as you should still be keeping hold of as many premiums as possible however if you are noticing that he’s had a massive role change that is negatively affecting his scoring then yes absolutely (I am looking at you Leon Cameron). 


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