The Buzz: Do you really have to trade Tom Stewart? Building a plan to bring in Gawn and Grundy

Tom Stewart’s four-week ban has AFL Fantasy trading him out en masse but do you need to in SuperCoach? And the looming returns of ruck guns Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy has coaches planning ahead…

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Do you really have to get rid of Stewart?

With news that Tom Stewart (AF $815k SC $563k DEF) is out for the next four weeks, coaches have been quick to move him on as it seems like the obvious option to continue to earn points, especially in AFL Fantasy with less limit on trades.

However, you might want to reconsider depending on the rest of your team, especially in SuperCoach if trades are low. If you take out that injury-affected 44/39 he scored against the Dogs, he’s currently averaging 103.7/121.8 (AF/SC) to put that into perspective.

The next highest averaging defenders in SC are James Sicily and George Hewett at 114.6 and 113.9 respectively and there are only seven defenders currently averaging 110+, with Stewart being the only one coming close to the 120+ mark.

While I doubt he’ll score more than if you sideways traded to a player who presumably plays all eight games, even if he averages the 120, you might want to consider trading around him because there are currently five players averaging 120+ at this stage, especially if you have plenty of trades to spare.

With a plethora of rookies still kicking about and scoring decent, you might be better off moving on your defensive rookies (unless they’re bargain-basement price) and getting a value pick to be your D7.

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So, who are some really cheap value picks you could ride on?

If you’re currently struggling with trades left, then it’s probably better to hold off and save your trades because there are still eight weeks of footy that could ruin your fantasy season. Stewart could very well be a fantastic POD if you’re in a head-to-head/cash league and need those crucial finals wins. 

Dayne Zorko (AF $715k SC $431k D/M)

Zorko has been a ticking time bomb throughout the year, after a late injury in the pre-season he miraculously played the first 13 games of the year but was subbed out in a few of them. After another hamstring injury he was ruled out for a few games, but what is the upside to him if he’s always injured. Well between Rounds 7 to 11 when Keidean Coleman had returned from a hamstring injury he was injected back into the midfield/wing/half-forward role with excellent results. Even though he scored a 37 against the Giants he had three tons prior and an 84. If you want a genuine D7, then this is your player to easily loophole as he’s scored seven tons in 14 games, but many injury-affected games have held his price back.

Lachie Whitfield (AF $761k SC $464k M/D)

If you went off the first half of the year, you would be thinking. He must be crazy to suggest a player who didn’t ton up, and you would be partially correct. However, whatever caretaker coach Mark McVeigh has done (let Whitfield roam more I guess) has reaped much better fantasy results as he’s managed to score three tons in a row. So far while there is little data to go off, he could very well be back to his prime where he was projected to be a lock to be a top 10 defender. I know it could look bad that you’ve traded Whitfield only to get him back but someone that has a proven fantasy pedigree and is in form should not be ignored especially at that price. 

Steven May (AF $504k SC $398k DEF)

Before his concussion in Round 11, May was averaging a solid 97 points including 4 tons in his first 5 games. However once Jake Lever returned, he did take a step back in his scoring. But if you look at May’s recent history he has been an up-and-down scorer, but when he’s not having to play genuine lockdown defender his intercepting can let him score at a very high level. He’s also one of the designated kick-out takers for the Dees which pads his stats. Being a key defender, however, he will have games where he’s only scoring 60 odd but at that price that is very much a bargain given you only need 1 trade from a De Koning or McCartin. 

Jake Lloyd (AF $701k SC $464k DEF)

The seagull from the last few years has surprisingly had a massive down trajectory only producing a 93 average which is very much unlike the Lloyd we have seen from previous years. Part of that has been just due to the emergence of Nick Blakey who’s thrived off the half-back line. Still take out that 42 from his scoring in Round 14, Lloyd has scored six tons for an average of 98, which isn’t too bad, but he could be playing himself back into form with a season-high of 148 against the Saints last week. He’s still the number one kick-in taker for the Swans but basically shares that role with Blakey as it’s been 50/50 most weeks. Again at D7, he probably won’t reach those heights of previous years but if you want a bit of scoring security from a proven player he is at a very gettable price with a lot of upsides. 

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Should you make room for returning ruck premiums

This year our ruckmen have been all over the place with everyone seemingly running all sorts of variations in the ruck, but with news that Max Gawn, Brodie Grundy and to an extent Nic Naitanui is set to return from their injuries, should you be looking into them rather than the current ruck/forward line-ups? Let’s take a closer look.

Max Gawn (AF $845k SC $609k RUC)

Take out the injury-affected 67/70 in Round 13 and Gawn would be averaging 99.1/120 which would be number one of all ruckmen in SC. We have seen a slight decline from Gawn this year with periods where he has been less dominant. However, that has come from him getting knocked around, so he hasn’t exactly been his usual self. But there are still signs of the vintage Gawn we know and have had in our R1/2 position for a long time as between Rounds 3 and 7 he went on a huge run, scoring no lower than 101/117 which included two 140+ games in Fantasy and two 160+ games in SC.

He will miss the game in Round 16 against the Crows but has been hinted that he is likely to return against the Cats and if you remember back to last year, he scored huge in games against the Cats. While Luke Jackson maybe benefits from this, the ruck split between them might be much different pre-Gawn injury considering how well he’s playing. For sure you should let Gawn settle in price as he’s coming off a poor score. But if you have the flexibility of moving a ruckman into your forward line, He should be a great target given that he will fall to around $560k in a few weeks’ time.

Brodie Grundy (AF $802k SC $545k RUC)

Ever sinceDarcy Cameron took over the ruck reigns at the Pies, he’s managed to average 105.9/110.8 and earned himself a new three-year contract. This has recently raised concerns over Grundy’s role in the team and whether Cameron deserves to continue to play the primary ruck role. It’s hard to see both ruckmen scoring well if they both play but does Grundy have to play up forward more or will Cameron be sent to the forward line with their “number one” ruckman back. There are definitely a lot of questions to be asked.

If you remember back when Mason Cox was introduced into the side, he initially was taking that ruck role over Cameron until he was subbed out in that same game against Freo. With Cameron’s flexibility don’t be surprised if he’s sent down forward. But realistically what can Grundy score? Well in the small sample size he only had “one poor game” which was a 54/53 against the Lions, otherwise, he’s basically tonned up in every game in SC other than a 96 against the Cats in Round 3. This one is a watch-and-see what role he has because you wouldn’t want to pick him up and see him sit in the forward 50.

Nic Naitanui (AF $620k SC $587k RUC)

It was a complete surprise that Nic Nat basically averaged career-best numbers in 2020 and 2021 and for someone who was very injury prone, managed to only miss one game in that time frame. He’s known for being one of the highest points per minute scorers scoring at 1.4 PPM which was higher than superstars like Macrae, Guthrie and Steele.

Unlike Gawn and Grundy, there is no doubt that Nic Nat will take all of the ruck roles as the Eagles don’t really have anyone else to throw in there, with Bailey Williams and Callum Jamieson stepping in during his absence. While his only three games in the year haven’t reaped a massive reward, he will lose some coin. However, you should still wait and see how he scores but there is a decent bit of upside to him as the Eagles are starting to find a bit of form with everyone returning from injury. Again get a bit more data on him and it might be worth a sideways trade if one of your Jackson or Cameron gets shifted from their ruck role.  

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