AFL Fantasy Expert Panel: How to handle the bye rounds & which R12 bye players to target next week?

The bye rounds are here with six games per round and AFL Fantasy granting coaches three trades per round and counting only your best 18 on field for Rounds 12, 13 and 14. It’s different but a chance to get ahead.


So Honeyball has called on a team of experts with a proven track record in AFL Fantasy to help provide some advice on how to handle the bye rounds and nominate some players to target next week.

Our Expert Panelists are;

– Nick Millar @time_millar; 2020 Fantasy fifth-placer,

– Max Phillips @MaxiPhillips; currently ranked 344th in AFL Fantasy and finished 80th in 2022 AFLW Fantasy,

– Stephen Faiello @FaielloStephen, currently ranked 737rd in AFL Fantasy and finished 250th last year,

– Taylor Hood @TaylorRHood1, finished 93rd in 2021 and 500th in 2020 in AFL Fantasy,

– Tom Russell @Tomrussell0, currently ranked 77th in AFL Fantasy,

– Harley Scotland @Harlos_, currently ranked 379th in AFL Fantasy.

HB: Thanks everyone for contributing your advice for our readers. Firstly, can you offer one tip for handling the bye rounds?

Max Phillips: The byes are a period where good coaches can make big strides up the rankings while others around them falter or play too conservatively. Make good use of the extra trade each round and remember to always aim to improve your team overall rather than simply trading sideways to dodge bye round donuts. Look for a POD or two along the way and you can really kickstart the second half of your Fantasy season.

Stephen Faiello: It’s best to be heavier in bye players towards the back end which allows you to trade players in Rounds 13 or 14 to those coming off their bye. You’ve probably heard or seen of 8 – 10 – 12, meaning 8 have their bye in Round 12 etc. One thing to note is to be aware of any deadwood rookies you may have, like a Sam Skinner and sort that out when you have a chance. Lastly, while 8 – 10 – 12 is ideal, don’t go wreaking havoc on your team attempting to achieve this structure. Going into Round d 12 my structure is 11 – 11 – 8 and am confident I can get through the byes by trading one or two out from Round 12 and then Round 13, whilst still aiming to improve my team.

Nick Millar: Despite popular theory, don’t sweat it if you have too many players on one bye. I mean sure it’s great to have it all planned out and have fancy swisho numbers. But crushing one round and being crap at another is the same as being average in both. The numbers all even out in the end.

Taylor Hood: Its bloody hard to plan for the byes so well done on making it this far! My key advice is to not just get a player because they have had their bye. Look ahead over the next three weeks of trades and make sure you identify players that you would be happy with for the rest of the year. There are a heap of under-priced gems out there to snag.

Tom Russell: Although not the most important tip, making sure you have a good VC and C option for each of the bye rounds. Targeting players playing against the Eagles, North, Suns, and Hawks are all good options. I’m personally looking at Laird/Keays this week, with Eagles and Suns in their next two. Also, making sure you avoid sideways trading premiums to achieve this, because otherwise your team will not be improving. Get the rookies off the field first, then look to offload your underperforming premiums.

Harley Scotland: You should definitely be looking to finish your team of all premos on field. If you’re at the top end of the rankings you should be looking to get in those top level promos that other top teams have, if you have them in your side a low score won’t hurt you and a big score means you won’t fall further behind.


HB: Beauty, secondly given the point made about trading in players after their bye, can you nominate a player or two to target who’ve got the Round 12 bye to bring in for Round 13?

Tom Russell: Ollie Wines – Coming off an average of 112 last year, and being the number one mid at Port, he has massive upside only being priced at 100. He is someone who can go 110-115 for the second half of the year with Richmond, Suns, and Giants in 3 of his next 5 games.

Priced at only 98, Zach Merrett’s ball-winning ability makes him very attractive. He hits all stat lines, and with only 2% ownership, makes him a great POD. I like Merrett over Wines based on his history averaging 110 and 116 in his last two years.

Harley Scotland: Tim Taranto has the potential to be a top six forward, but you want to see how he goes after his Round 11 bye with a new coach. He should still be fairly under-priced by that point too. Tom Mitchell/Zach Merrett – Both mids have the capability to score really well, both are under-priced at the moment and both just saw a Round 11 increase in CBAs. Titch, of course, doesn’t have the bye til Round 14.

Taylor Hood: I am a big believer in Lachie Whitfield and what I think he can produce for the remainder of the year. Lachie is currently priced at 92 and in the right position (c’mon Spike!) he can be a 110 guy for the rest of the year. I think the last few weeks would have done him a world of good, so don’t be surprised to see him back to his best post-bye.

Zach Merrett is a fantasy gun that just hasn’t flicked the switch yet. His early season injury and overall Bomber performance has hampered his output to date. Definitely a risker move but he is currently priced at 98 which is massive unders for a guy that can go 115+ for the rest of the season.

Max Phillips: Zach Merrett has had an indifferent and injury-affected season so far but is unquestionable value having shed $135k and currently sitting at under 2% ownership. If Merrett and Essendon can get back somewhere near their best footy – particularly with matchups against West Coast, North Melbourne and Gold Coast still to come – expect ‘Zerrett’ to cash in.

It will be no surprise to see St Kilda’s Mitch Owens, at $266k, as one of the game’s most traded-in players heading into Round 13. The 18-year-old excelled with 95 points from 10 CBAs against North Melbourne, relishing the increased opportunity as Saints skipper Jack Steele recuperates on the sidelines. Owens looks the perfect downgrade with a BE of -8 to free up cash and negotiate the remaining byes.

Stephen Faiello: Coming off the Round 12 bye there are a few that tickle my fancy. Ollie Wines is my number one target, as well as Sam Docherty if a defender is needed. For those that traded George Hewett, this would be a perfect time to bring him back as well.

Nick Millar: The Giants are ripe for the picking, new coach, the right roles and some cushy match ups coming up (North at Marvel), so Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio and maybe Isaac Cumming.

Not Braydon Preuss. Cut Preuss, right now. Stop reading and cut him. Thank me later.

For the Round 13 bye, the obvious choice is Dogs, especially the forwards, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Dunkley, Bailey Smith, even Tim English. I’m also big of Cam Guthrie as a little something different (obviously no PODs for PODs sake, what is this amateur hour?).

HB: Awesome, thanks all!


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