The Buzz: Who has the ‘easiest’ run home, four PODs to consider & is six Bulldogs forwards too many?

In The Buzz this week, Ethan Lee asks which teams have the ‘easiest’ run home, looks at some PODs to consider and weighs up the merits of having six Western Bulldogs forwards.

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Which teams have the “easiest” run home

This week you won’t see many SuperCoach upgrades if any because we may as well wait until the player has had its bye to get them into your team.

But should we be targeting premiums from a specific team because their run home faces teams that conceded many points against which could be extremely handy if you want to stand out from the pack? Let’s analyse.

Below I’ve got a large table of all the teams and their remaining fixtures and then input in the current average points against their opponents conceded and ranked them below. 

A lot of the bottom teams are the ones that are successful outside of GWS and the Eagles, but it’s interesting to see that the top four teams are essentially those who are complete wildcards to make the finals this season.

However, does this mean you should now load up on Adelaide, Gold Coast and North premos? Probably not, just because they have a slightly softer run doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a better pick currently.

While I do like the look of someone like Rory Laird, Ben Keays or Touk Miller to finish a midfield if you’re missing a Clayton Oliver or Callum Mills would you prefer them instead? It’s a tough question. Looking at the top 10 players in Supercoach or AFL Fantasy for say per position only a small handful of them have this softer run home. 

But does that beg the question of are the current crop of players overperforming then because they’ve had the benefit of this easier draw and are now facing harder teams in the back half of the season? Possibly? I’d need to run more numbers to come up with a reasonable conclusion 

Obviously, my point is to not load up on Tex Walker or Mabior Chol just because they are likely going to face easier opponents but take it into consideration when picking your final premiums. It’s all well and good to go cookie cutter and just pick the players who are already performing this year but keep in the back of your mind the matchups that a player may have and whether there may be an option worth taking a risk on. 

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Points of difference (PODs)

Speaking of picking cookie-cutter players, who are some of the “odder” selections that might get you the jump on your opponents in your cash leagues or in the draft formats at this stage in the year. We all love a good “POD” because we can all claim that we found player x before anyone did and can boast about it.

Generally, I like to define a POD as someone with <5% ownership because at that stage it’s extremely rare to find someone with the same player

Defenders

Mark Blicavs (AF $827k SC $541k D/R)

A defensive POD is something quite unusual, but Blicavs is flying under the radar. While in Rounds 1-3 he was playing down back, he has been utilised all over the ground this year with a venture into the ruck being his latest move and it has reaped rewards with seven tons in the last eight games from a SuperCoach perspective.

What’s better is that even when Rhys Stanley was in the team it didn’t affect his scoring that much as he’s still involved in a lot of around the ground stoppages. Similar playstyle to how Tim English is scoring his points with high disposals and chipping in with ruck contests here and there. The biggest worry with someone like Blicavs is that at any point he could be sent back to full back to lock down on someone which we saw in Rounds 1 to 3 and that destroyed his scoring, but Sam De Koning has emerged in that role since, so it’s very much a hit-and-hope that he stays as a ruckman or wingman for the rest of the year.

Midfielders

Cam Guthrie (AF $802k SC $504k Mid)

I would put Zach Merrett here but I kind of feel like that’s cheating because he’s just come off an injury, so he’s been ignored because of that but someone that has also been ignored the whole year isGuthrie. While in 2022 he’s been a shell of his 2021 form that saw him average a career-high 109.9/113.3. He has finally awoken in the past two weeks scoring his two highest scores for the year which coincided with him getting his hands on the pill more.

The only thing I would say is, that I can’t put my finger on exactly why this change has occurred. Part of this could be due to the absence of Patrick Dangerfield in the team as four of his best five scores have come when Danger was absent from the team this year and this trend was similar last year as to when Danger missed him was lights out in the start of 2021. Does this warrant a selection? Again, going back to Geelong having the fifth easiest run in SC and fourth in AFL Fantasy it could set you up nicely for the rest of the year considering that he won’t be a player that will be tagged. Sneakily they play the Eagles in Round 23 so if you want someone who could go huge for your fantasy grand final that might also come into consideration.  

Rucks

Reilly O’Brien (AF $746k SC $524k RUC)

Not many ruckmen have 28 disposals, seven tackles and 47 hit outs in a game but that’s exactly what O’Brien did, albeit against Blicavs. Remember what I mentioned previously, Adelaide has the easiest run home in terms from a fantasy perspective. His scores this year haven’t been super flash and it came as a slight shock to see him dropped but nevertheless, he looks to have responded to the challenge well and could rocket himself up to challenge Gawn and Witts to be that number one ruckman by seasons end if he keeps this up. 

Forwards

Jed Anderson (AF $698k SC $400k M/F)

Forward “PODs” are very hard to pick from because we have essentially been gifted the top 10 forwards as new DPPs throughout the year, but one name that has slid past people would be Anderson. The Roo was an important cog in the North engine room 2 years back when he averaged a career-high 83.3/104.7 (AF/SC, the AF score is reduced due to 16-minute quarters).

However, he was basically non-existent in 2021 after constant injury and missed a lot of this year with injury/getting vaccinated due to health issues. But now that he’s on the park his last three weeks have seen him get up to speed and he’s almost ready to burst out after having a 28 disposal, 12 tackle effort against the Saints. While the main leader of the Roos midfield, Jy Simpkin was tagged it doesn’t take away from the fact that Anderson did play a great game. Will he continue this trend and what can he average though? Between a 95-105 is probably what you’re expecting from him but with him being this cheap now you could get yourself a fantastic POD outside of the current obvious forward picks. 

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Is six Bulldogs in the forward line too many?

With the newest DPP additions, the Luke Beveridge mid-fwd hybrid factory has come into full effect as there are now six Bulldogs that are available as premium forward line selections. A lot of people have asked though, can we pick all of them? Will they all score well enough to have because as the numbers suggest there is quite a large drop off from the players averaging 100 (Treloar is averaging 100 in Fantasy and 99.2 in SC) and the rest with the next highest being Taranto averaging (93.9). So, I put another table highlighting all the “sub-par” scores for a forward and had a look if they could actually all score well together.

On paper, it seems as if there’s always one or two sub-par scores even if most of them play together because only in Rounds 1,3,4 and 5 are when they all played in the same team, but you’d always have either Treloar or Libba having a sub 80 which is not ideal for a premium.

So, going back to the original question, can they all score together in the same team? If you have English, Dunkley, Bontempelli and Smith. I’d say yes but once you add Treloar and Libba it becomes a bit hazy with their scoring as one is likely to have a sub-70.

Not to mention that with COVID and H&S protocols still rampant it doesn’t take much for the whole Bulldogs team to be wiped out, so it’s very much a buyer beware. But given that guys like English, Dunkley, Bont and Bazlenka are the highest scoring in their position by quite a margin you almost must get on them. 

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