The Buzz: Ruck roulette, which premo mid should you bring in & Round 15 trade-in targets

A lot of the talk this week has been which premium midfielder should you bring into your team with the likes of Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, Sam Walsh and Josh Kelly being talked up as great picks to finish your midfield off.

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So, what are the pros and cons of each player?

Which midfielder should you be bringing in?

Zach Merrett (AF $790k SC $521k MID)

Of the players in this list, Zerrett provides the greatest value being the cheapest after coming off a stinker of a performance against the Swans in Round 9. Early on, there was a worrying trend that Zerrett was being moved off the ball and more to a wing/half-back floating role when in Rounds 9 and 10 he was out of the midfield mix. However, before the bye, those questions were quarrelled with him attending 63% of CBAs and scoring his highest SC score for the season.

We are primed for a Zerrett to come back to his 115+ average he showed in the past two seasons and with him being $520k you’re going to miss out on a great value bargain if you don’t get on him now.  While the one concern I would have been that if a team locks onto him will he be able to break the tag or does that go to Darcy Parish instead? Either way being 100k cheaper than his starting price for a proven player should be high on your radar. 

Darcy Parish (AF $908k SC $626k MID)

A few weeks back I mentioned that Parish was one of the most consistent midfielders in terms of SuperCoach scoring, and he’s continued that trend by bagging himself two 120+ scores including a season-high 142 in the wet against the Power. You almost can’t go wrong with a pick like this given how consistent he has been this year as he’s only dropped below the ton twice and even then, that was a 97 and 99. He just knows where to find the footy averaging 30+ in all but one game this year.

However, this would be a slightly worrying trend as if a team does lock onto him, he’s very unlikely to hit that disposal target and thus will go under the ton. But whether they decide to tag Zerrett or Parish or if they tag anyone at all is a different question entirely. Certainly, a safe pick if you do choose him.

Sam Walsh (AF $875k SC $630k MID)

After suffering an ankle injury in the pre-season, Walshhas not missed a beat this season as he continues to build on an amazing 2021 season. The past three games have seen him average captain-like totals so he should be high on your radar. Even if Carlton has an uber stacked midfield and that has pushed Walsh to the half-forward line it hasn’t made a huge difference to his scoring.

Now that Cripps has returned to his 2019 form again, you probably won’t see Walsh get shut down by taggers so that is a bonus. Walsh before this season was also ultra-durable having not missed a game until that pre-season injury. If I’m comparing Walsh and Parish though the difference would be minimal.

Josh Kelly (AF $908k SC $620k Mid)

Emotional damage is how I would describe owning Josh Kelly in the past as he’s been a victim of Leon Cameron’s coaching which has seen him scoring like a rollercoaster. This year he’s already had five scores under the ton, however, his floor is quite high with his lowest score being an 81. The Giants’ midfield mix has been varied in the past few weeks, but Kelly seems to have a home at centre bounces which is the first thing to tick off. His last three weeks have been amazing and is set to demolish the Roos this week, so you could very well have a juicy score incoming.

However, why has he caused much trauma to coaches in the past, well his durability is non-existent as he’s only played every game in a season once and that was back in 2016 when he was still growing as a player. In the past four-five seasons where he’s been able to average 110+ he’s missed a chunk of games and so far, he’s yet to miss one, so statistically, there might be one or two games in the back half of the year he gets rested in or has a soft tissue injury and misses. I feel he has the highest ceiling of all those mentioned as only Walsh has come close to his career-high of 117.4. Is it worth taking a risk if you think he can score more than the other three premiums? I definitely like the look of him, but I’ve had a lot of pain with him in the past as well, are you willing to risk that?

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Ruck Roulette

The ruck situation this year has been interesting to watch with most coaches owning one of Max Gawn or Jarrod Witts as their R1 position (very lucky if you own both) but with Witts and Tim English having the bye this week a lot of coaches are sweating that Braydon Preuss gets named to the team especially after Sam Hayes was omitted. So, this brings the question are there any other ruckman outside of these two that are worth bringing in to avoid playing a donut?

Sean Darcy (AF $737k SC $578k RUCK) 

Darcy had his breakout year in 2021 after he averaged a career high 118 and this tempted many coaches to start him but after an injury affected pre-season, he has been slow out the blocks missing three games in the first seven and only scoring over the ton twice. We have seen glimpses of his monster potential with every time he’s toned up he’s gone 120+ this year at least, but without that consistency like he had in 2021 can he be a top ruckman once again? When Freo’s backup ruckman Lloyd Meek plays it has affected his scoring but I wouldn’t expect both to be in the team especially with Matt Taberner to come back into the team. He has a very soft run in the next three, playing against Hawthorn, Carlton and Port who do have a lot of ruck issues this year so Darcy could be set for a very good month in terms of scoring. But can he challenge the likes of Gawn and Witts, I’m not sure especially with his injury record. 

Toby Nankervis (AF $763k SC $557k RUCK)

Nankervis has had a very good last month with an average of 125.7 being the third highest of all ruckmen in their last three matches. There hasn’t really been a specific role change because he attends the same amount of ruck contests, he’s been able to lift his game and put himself in the conversation to being a top ruckman as well. Even with Ivan Soldo back in the team it seems that it hasn’t affected his scoring at all and now that he’s already had his bye as well, he becomes probably the best ruckman to trade in if you’re looking for a Preuss replacement. The only concern that I would have with him is that he’s never averaged more than 100+ in the past few years so this nice run may only be temporary and may let you down in the back half of the season as the hit on him is that he can tire out. 

Any ruck/forward player

If you’re thinking of getting Darcy Cameron (AF $748k SC $504k R/F), Todd Goldstein (AF $611k SC $523k R/F) or Tim English (AF $878k SC $609k R/F) (even though he has the bye this week), just get them as a forward not a ruckman, getting 100+ averaging forwards is arguably harder than ruckman, so we want to be loading up on ruckman where possible. 

Round 15 trade-in targets

Above I mentioned some of the best trade-in targets for this week but you can always add to your shortlist for next week as we do have a lot of tasty players that will have their bye this week and be ready to be picked up next week with guys like Sam De Koning, Patty McCartin and Nick Daicos hitting their price ceiling

Defenders

Tom Stewart (AF $870k SC $606k DEF)

Yes, I know he did have an injury affected game last week but he is only projected to fall to around $550k in SC after his Round 14 game and that should not be any problem given that he’s likely going to finish as the number one ranked defender even with this injury-affected 39 in his scoring. His stats are actually very similar to last year, just that he’s been able to intercept the ball more often and thus is elevating his scoring from a 107.6 to now a 110+.

Even if you’re paying $605k next week for him he could very well hit his extremely high breakeven as he’s shown he can have a high ceiling of 170+. But he’s also a generally consistent scorer tonning up in eight of his 11 games in SC with his low scores coming because of this concussion. Given that he won’t miss the Round 14 clash as the concussion protocol carries over the byes you should look to get him to finish your team. 

Midfielders
Touk Miller (AF $888k SC $576k MID)

I think most coaches were preparing themselves to get a very cheap Millerafter he had a stinker of a performance against the Dogs two weeks back, but he immediately showed his prowess by demolishing the Roos with a phenomenal performance where he just won every ball from the contest. After that he’s now got an extremely low break-even so this is likely the cheapest, he will get, most definitely jump on for the rest of the season as mentioned in my post last year.

The Suns have the second easiest fixture in terms of a fantasy perspective and thus we could be expecting multiple 130+ scores from him. He will be extremely handy come Round 23 when you have your cash league grand finals because he does play North again that week. Teams will really need to tag him if he’s to score a sub 100 as seen by the Giants in Round 3 but since then he’s been roaming free. Pick him up once the lockout for the bye finishes. 

Forwards

Literally any Bulldog forward eligible player (outside of Bailey Smith of course)

It was too difficult to just name one player because of the top 10 forwards the Bulldogs have six with Adam Treloar averaging 97.8 in SC, rounding out the top 10 and then at 11 it drops off to a 93.9 average. So really if you need a forward there’s no bad choices here as for the most part Tim English, Josh Dunkley, Marcus Bontempelli, Bailey Smith, Tom Liberatore and Treloar are going to score well.

Last week I analysed that it could be an issue having every Dogs forward as there’s one or two that will let you down but as long as you’re not loading up on every one of them you’re still getting a top 10 forward for the most part. Goldstein almost made this however I am worried that Xerri takes back the primary ruck role if they want to rest Goldstein and that can hamper his scoring. 

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