The Buzz: McComb, Curtis, Begg, Carroll, which rooks to prioritise & four bargain buys

It was a super week for most coaches in Round 7 with many bumper AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach scores after the likes of Lachie Neale, Max Gawn, Jayden Short and Tom Stewart went nuclear.

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Ethan Lee

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We also saw a lot of new rookie options play their first game this week or are now on the SuperCoach bubble to pick up but in the next two weeks we won’t have enough trades to bring them all in so who should we pick first?

Another week goes by and what bargain byes are popping up? Finally, a quick tip as to how to start managing your bye periods as they’re not too far away. 

Which rookies to prioritise?

While the only rookies on the SuperCoach bubble that are worthwhile picking up would be Paul Curtis (AF $273k SC $118k FWD) or Robbie McComb (AF $265k SC $103k MID), we have a ton of other rookies that played their first game last week so we’ll take a look at those for AFL Fantasy players and those willing to take a gamble in SuperCoach. Unfortunately by the time the one-gamers are on the bubble we can only pick one or two of them to upgrade, so who should we prioritise and which ones can we jump on early. We’ll get tot hat.

On Curtis, he appears to have some job security in a struggling North side. Curtis was drafted with pick 35 in the 2021 AFL Draft and had been hyped a bit in pre-season. Since coming into the side, he has been playing a pressure forward role. His Round 6 and Round 7 scores were 57/58 and 52/58 respectively, having kicked a goal in both games with only three tackles.

McComb has come into the Dogs side upon Lachie Hunter’s absence for personal reasons, playing an unfamiliar wing role, given he’s typically an on-ball/inside type. The 26-year-old Rookie Draft pick-up has scored 53/37 and 83/63 respectively in his two games, with his second score helped by 21 disposals and two goals. His problem has been his disposal efficiency going at 36.4% and a game-low 52.4% against Adelaide and Essendon respectively. It’s arguable his JS is weaker than Curtis’ given the Dogs’ squad strength, but he’s shown a bit to suggest he’ll hold while Hunter is out.

Greg Clark (AF $250k SC $118k MID)
The mature-aged recruit was one of the most hyped-up fantasy prospects at the start of the year after having played a phenomenal WAFL grand final in 2021 which saw him picked up by the Eagles to add more midfield depth. While he missed a lot of footy in the pre-season the big-bodied midfielder did not look out of place on the weekend racking up 24 touches and 6 tackles in a 110-point thrashing to score 110/104 (AF/SC). What’s even more impressive was that he was doing it from a wing/outside midfield role, so he’s yet to showcase his full potential in that regard. If the Eagles are looking to full rebuild he should be getting plenty of midfield minutes and even if he, doesn’t he’s showcased already his ability to win the footy or put on defensive pressure to accumulate great fantasy points. However, at the time of writing, we just got the news that he’s out due to health and safety protocols so undo those trades asap. For those who already have him, just hold he’s still the best rookie we have now. 

Jack Carroll (AF $234k SC $124k MID)
Coming from the same junior footy team as Patrick Cripps, Carroll did not look out of place as well on the weekend kicking a goal with his first kick of the match and managed to find the ball 19 times which included eight marks playing as a general forward with a few outside midfield roles. While the Blues did have a lot of big names out of the team like George Hewett, Will Setterfield and Zac Williams. Carroll is probably one that could stay in the team if he keeps this type of form up. Probably not as great job security in comparison to Clark but if you must early on both that should not be a problem

Aiden Begg (AF $218k SC $124k RUCK)
It was a bit of a surprise to see Collingwood name a secondary ruckman that wasn’t Mason Cox, but he did a very good job on debut scoring 64/81 (AF/SC) while he only actually won two hit-outs, he did his role being a mobile ruckman perfectly. With Brodie Grundy being out for a while and Cox’s form wavering in the twos (although he did play a very good game on the weekend in the reserves), Begg could be a solid choice to bring in if you missed out on Sam Hayes (AF $299k SC $191k RUCK) last week.

Hold off trading

Maurice Rioli Jnr (AF $226k SC $124k M/F) played phenomenal on the weekend with a three-goal, 14 disposal and four-tackle effort that almost saw him ton up. However, he was playing against the worst team in the comp so you can almost definitely give him another week before you jump on him.

Zach Reid (AF $316k SC $174k DEF) is a highly touted defender for the Bombers and scored alright in terms of SuperCoach but does have a worrying injury history and his scoring ceiling isn’t too high, so it’s best to wait a week to watch him again to see if he keeps his spot, similarly with Cooper Hamilton (AF $218k SC $103k DEF) who made his debut this week played a solid game but his job security is still at an all-time low so again see what he delivers in game two before picking him up because GWS rookies are notorious for having horrific job security. 

Cooper Stephens (AF $190k SC $123k MID) finally makes his debut this week, but there’s no reason to jump on him early especially when his job security will be shaky at Geelong to begin with. Wait and see what his role is and how he scores in Max Holmes’ injury absence and with Joel Selwood being rested, before bringing him in. 

Avoids

Luke Strnadica (AF $248k SC $103k RUCK) is another rookie on the bubble after having to play both a primary and supportive ruck role, however, he’s out this week due to illness (not Covid related as first reported) but he’s reportedly not travelled with the team this week and won’t be playing on the weekend similarly teammate Greg Clark (AF $250k SC $118k MID) is another one to be ruled out due to H&S protocol. 

Plenty liked what Ollie Dempsey (AF $209k SC $103K FWD) delivered in a similar role when he played North, but he had a reality check when they played against quality opposition in Freo and has since been dropped.

Toby Bedford (AF $241k SC $124k MID) is one that is on the bubble but has been the sub for all but one match this season, so don’t pick him. Jackson Hately (AF $456k SC $189k MID) is another that has played two but is averaging 30 points so his scoring output is not worth picking up. Finally Jackson Callow (AF $190k SC $124k FWD), who made his debut last week playing, unfortunately has an unfriendly fantasy role in that he’s the backup ruckman/key forward so his scoring ceiling will be very low. 

Bargain Buys

Darcy Cameron (AF $487k SC $331k FWD)
Last week was the first week we saw Cameron take the primary ruck role. In the past when Grundy was hurt Collingwood preferred to use Max Lynch as their primary ruckman so we haven’t had a true indication of what he could do. But going up against Jarrod Witts and scoring a 115 is no easy feat and with games against Richmond, Bulldogs and Carlton in 3 of his next 4 games, he could be on his way to being a top premium forward if he can continue this scoring output. I would need to see more from his ability as a ruckman to be convinced to pick him as he still benefited from kicking two goals in that match. 

Dylan Moore (AF $746k SC $495k FWD)
Moore has completely flown under everyone’s radar this season posing three tons and a low score of 88 in SuperCoach. Last week he was used further up the ground in a true high half-forward role, and he excelled picking up a career-high 33 disposals and 11 marks. While it is unknown if he’ll keep up this type of scoring in the long run one thing is for sure is that he is well in contention for a top six forward. So, if you haven’t got the funds to get a Parker/Heeney, Moore is a fantastic alternative. 

Dayne Zorko (AF $742k SC $517k D/M)
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be touching Zorko because his half-back role would be interfered with when Keidean Coleman came back, and it did as Zorko saw less of the footy. But ultimately that meant that Zorko moved back into more familiar territory playing a mix of high half-forward, some midfield and even a bit of half-back as well as he managed to score his fourth ton of the year in both formats. While it was exciting to see him play off half-back as he was used quite often, his best fantasy output came when he played in the midfield with some time up forward, so if he keeps that role up then it is one to pick up, especially when he’s defence eligible. Although keep in mind he has been carrying a knock all pre-season and it has flared up in the first few weeks of the year. 

Hugh McCluggage (AF $781k SC $553k MID)
McCluggage is the biggest winner from all the midfielders Brisbane has added into their midfield mix recent with his last three weeks seeing him being the second most used option at their centre bounces behind Lachie Neale in most weeks. This is reflective of his scoring as he’s posted three of his best four games scoring 129, 113 and 108 in that period but even when he doesn’t, he can still score well posting 116 and 103 with lows of 68 and 80 between Rounds 1 to 4. These extra midfield minutes should continue a week-to-week basis and with a game against the Eagles this week he could genuinely score 200+. While his ceiling may be limited because he plays with so many other elite midfielders, he’s only going to get better, and he’s got a very well-established role in the Lions.

Check your byes

It is scary to think that the bye rounds are only five weeks away, so it is very important to see what your bye structures are currently like and trade around these to avoid a lot of pain in one of these weeks. While every time at the start of the year I don’t recommend building your team around the bye periods, your next few upgrades do matter as you don’t want to be playing less than 18 players in a week nor do you want to have to force yourself to trade out rookies who aren’t fattened up enough just to field a full team. 

If you already own Supercoach Gold/Fantasy Coach, the byes are already shown for you neatly, but don’t stress if you don’t. Just whip up an excel spreadsheet or make a table and list out who’s playing in each week and work out. Do I have more than 4-5 players missing from one position (aside from ruckman) because if you do, you might have to adjust one or two of your upgrade targets? 

An example of how Supercoach displays your bye, this way is great, so you can track how many players you’re missing in each bye week. 

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