The Buzz: Trade or hold Zak Butters and/or Tim English, top replacement options, PODs & Round 15 VC/C picks

With nine rounds until the finish line, trades are getting thin in SuperCoach and coaches are being forced into creative solutions in AFL Fantasy with short-term injuries creating some major dilemmas.

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Zak Butters and Tim English dilemma

With the recent news of Zak Butters (AF $614k SC $471k M/F) and Tim English (AF $606k SC $884k R/F) set to miss this week and potentially more, what should we be doing with these two with it becoming crunch time in the fantasy season?

While Butters is arguably at a premium level, English is both one of, if not the top forward and ruckman we have this year albeit for the lengthy injury lay off he had during the mid-part of this season. With trades becoming scarce and other ruckmen falling like flies, should we be moving them on?

Hold

While English is set to only miss 12 days which could be maximum one game, there are no other genuine replacements you would pick over him in the ruck at the very least. There are some forward line choices however you most likely already have the likes of Luke Parker, Will Brodie and any other Bulldog mid/fwd eligible selection.

Butters, on the other hand, came out with good news this week with a minor medial knee sprain which he suffered in the back half of last year and only missed the one match because of it. We could see a similar case here if he can get himself right for next week especially with Port playing the final game of the week. Back to the decision to trade or not though, while they both will miss one or two games (mostly speculation though), from a SC perspective you just need to look at how many trades you have in the bank, and can you afford to trade them or will you be better off to trade around them to further benefit your team.

Butters could most definitely be a viable F7/M9 pick as his scoring is very sporadic and with Port playing quite a few Sunday/late Saturday games it could be perfect for your team. English however if you have him in the ruck could be an issue so I would be holding unless you can’t get sufficient cover for him. Darcy Cameron (AF $775k SC $519k F/R) could be a viable pick if you were looking to move your rookies on however Brodie Grundy is set to return in a few weeks’ time and thus his scoring is very much unknown when he reverts back to back-up ruck.

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Replacements

If you’ve got trades to spare and would rather use them to sideways or downgrade Butters/English, who could you go to?

Isaac Heeney (AF $647k SC $454k FWD)

Heeney has been a massive enigma as his first seven games put him in contention to be the number one forward at the start of the year, but he soon fell off between Rounds 8 and 12 as he failed to put up a ton in SC after scoring five in his first seven, while he went seven weeks without triple figures in AFL Fantasy.

While a lot of people have ignored him, his scores aren’t that terrible as outside of his 53 against the Tigers, he’s mainly scored in the 90s before finally returning to the tons with a 124 against the Power. The big concern with Heeney is that his role can fluctuate from a week-to-week basis as some games he’s got a good 50/50 mid/fwd split but others he’s left out in the forward 50. Another concerning stat is that he hasn’t scored a ton in games that he hasn’t kicked two or more goals in. Those who are trading Butters may have to be realistic with who they can get as the plus side of things is that he does have a seriously high ceiling and with midfield minutes he can rack up lots of contested possessions and tackles, but you must trust John Longmire to let him be free. Again, a proven player and still the sixth highest scoring forward.

Tim Taranto (AF $784k SC $466k M/F)

This one is pending his fitness and selection, but Taranto flew out of the blocks between Rounds 1-4 with three tons and a decent 88 in SC and four straight hundreds in Fantasy. However, the next five games that followed he failed to hit the ton and was ruled out to injury. While he hasn’t played since Round 9, he is very much at a discounted price for someone who plays a very fantasy friendly game with lots of contested possessions, tackles, and the ability to rack up the footy. Sometimes his ball use lets him down which limits his scoring, but the Bull could be back this week in time to replace Butters in your team. Of course, if he isn’t picked, don’t pick him but at the start of the year we all touted him to be one of the top 10 forwards you could rely on. The only other query would be on how much midfield time does he get, and will he displace any of the other Giants mids like Coniglio and Kelly?

Todd Goldstein (AF $635k SC $533k R/F)

Another one eligible as a ruck/fwd, the Goldstein of 2015 is coming back even though North look shocking. Looking at his first six weeks he only scored one ton and that was due to Tristan Xerribeing stuck on the bench for a while due to the blood rule. Every game since Round 7 when Xerri was out with a foot injury, he has gone on to average 111.8 in SC which at this stage is well clear of being the fourth highest averaging ruck man, while he’s averaging 83 in AF across the same stretch. Even with Xerri’s return, Goldy has maintained the number one ruck mantle. My only concern with Goldstein would be age and durability, while history depicts him being one of, if not the most durable ruck man we have, not many 34-year-old players get through the season without being rested for one or two games otherwise they may break down.

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PODS

We’re getting into the back-end of the season where you may want to make yourself stand out of the pack and you can do that with players who have super low ownership to help leapfrog your rank or even beat out some of your mates in your league. While it can be a risk not taking the ones who are performing well this year there is no guarantee they keep this up. For me I classify a POD as someone with <5.0% ownership, so those above will not be looked at.

Defenders

Adam Saad (AF $655k SC $525k DEF)

Ever since Zac Williams has gone down with injury Saad has gone on to take up part of his role with 4 tons in a row. While his teammates Sam Docherty and George Hewett are the talk of the town, Saad has been building, taking a greater mantle over the half-back line. On the weekend he had a career high number of intercepts and those who remember only back in 2020 he was close to averaging 100+. For those who are still looking for a defender to bring in he could provide great value considering that Carlton is losing defenders left right and center.

Midfielders

Ollie Wines (AF $784k SC $562k MID)

Generally, if you’re coming off a Brownlow season, your next season won’t be as good as it’s very difficult to back up a Brownlow-esque season and while currently that prophecy has come true that has been because he does have an injury-affected 36/53 (AF/SC) to his name that has pushed down his average to only 96.4/104.8 this season. But if you remember back to last year, Wines was one of the best premiums on the run home last and is set up to continue that same trend with how good Port are playing now.

Forwards

Tom Hawkins (AF $649k SC $460k FWD)

While you’re probably going to be picking up a top forward or one of the ones I listed above, one player that has flown under the radar is Hawkins. While you look at his current average of 90.7 and think ‘meh’, he’s got a very friendly run home and he’s one of the key forwards that can score well regardless of who he plays because he gets up the ground and can take a contested mark. While this year he’s having a worse season in comparison to his 2021 season, he’s a reliable contributor as he generally finishes in the top 10 forwards by season’s end for total points. Considering his high ceiling and that he does play with a top team that should win most of their games. He could very well finish the season on fire. His teammate Jeremy Cameron (AF $683k SC $513k FWD) is also arguably a very nice POD selection as we’ve seen this year, he can take over games with huge tally of goals. Although Hawkins being cheaper provides better value and arguably slightly less risk.

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Round 15 VC and C options

Vice-captain

With Thursday night’s game you might want to consider VC’ing early with the likes of Lachie Neale (AF $945k SC $637k MID) and Clayton Oliver (AF $956k SC $674k MID) set to go head-to-head as the last time they played in the qualifying final both players scored 152 and 165 respectively. Even without Max Gawn in the side, Oliver should still find plenty of the pill. I don’t think you can go wrong with either of them especially with the form they are in. If you don’t fancy them though there’s always any of the Bulldogs midfielders to VC on a Friday night. Hawthorn still concede the most points to inside midfielders and face the team with the most midfielders that can score 120+ in a game, so your likes of Marcus Bontempelli (AF $790k SC $575k M/F), Jack Macrae (AF $914k SC $591k MID) and even Josh Dunkley (AF $882k SC $572k M/F) should all still benefit. If you were patient with someone like Darcy Parish (AF $869k SC $607k MID) or Zach Merrett (AF $774k SC $529k MID) then they do face the bottom-of-the-ladder Eagles although they were better against Geelong and have started getting their best players back.

Captains

While you could go Oliver into any of the Dogs midfielders, another captaincy choice you may consider might be Rory Laird (AF $937k SC $623k MID) who takes on the very underwhelming Roos. You could even consider Jordan Dawson (AF $839k SC D/M) as well or Tex Walker (AF $636k SC $488k D/M) considering how poor form their opposition are/were in. Remember it was only two weeks back when Harry Himmelberg and Stephen Coniglio got off the chain and absolutely blitzed the Roos. Similar things could happen again on Sunday afternoon. Jarrod Witts (AF $724k SC $591k D/M) is another player who while didn’t have a great game against Reilly O’Brien he could have a much easier opponent as Port are fumbling with their rucks this year. I would for sure back Witts against Sam Hayes, Jeremy Finlayson or even if they debut Dante Visentini. Similarly, Touk Miller (AF $882k SC $592k MID) has the potential to be let off the chain.

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