Your DT Strategy: is it time for a rethink?

Like thousands of other coaches, I like logging in late on Sunday night to check out how my team pulled up after the weekend’s action of footy. Of course I already know how I did because I spent a large portion of the weekend monitoring the progress of my team. In this regard, I would also like to think I am not alone! However, I do find it interesting checking out my new national ranking, and also the progress of the teams right up the top of the Dream Team world and how their teams are structured.

The number 1 dream team in the land at the moment, quite curiously named ‘Frog a doodle FFW’ coached by Catherine, presents a very differently structured team to most others at the top. Before I talk about the structure of her team, I’ll point out something that most of us already know, or probably think we know. And that is that midfielders are golden in dream team. A premium midfielder can average you 105-125, whereby a premium defender/forward will usually only average you 85-95. So with this in mind, we should all be trading in premium midfielders as fast as we can right? …Wrong. And now, using ‘Frog a Doodle FFW ‘as a template, I’ll tell you why.

Unlike most of the other teams at the top end, who’s midfield already consists of 6 premiums – i.e. Boyd, Swan, Bartel, Watson, Mundy Pendlebury. Froggy’s team (as I’ll refer to it from now on), consists of only 4 midfield premiums: Swan, Boyd, Thompson and Selwood. This was something that I found quite intriguing. Then I looked at Froggy’s defence and forward line of which consisted of 6 premiums in each position. Compare this with teams that have 6 midfield premiums and in those teams your probably looking at 4-5 premium forwards/defenders. Clearly at this point of the season, most people would prefer a team with 6 premo midfielders than 6 premo forwards/backs, but Catherines team dares to be different – and its winning!

A team with a structure like this has a lot of upside. Whilst many dream teamers over the next month or so will be panicking about the potential donuts their likely to cop as a result of a heavy reliance on rookies in their backline and forwardline – a team like Catherine that has set out to strengthen these positions early, is going to have the luxury of picking which 2 premium midfielders should be traded in over the next few weeks.

Apart form the fact it is currently leading, a team like ‘Frog a doodle FFW’ is great because its different. And personally, I find it encouraging when coaches with new ideas/different strategies can pull them off as it gives me hope of one day grabbing hold of the elusive mantle that is DT champion of the world! So what are you thoughts on a strategy for building your own team? Do you prefer to strengthen your midfield first, and leave the historically weaker scoring positions like defense and forward line until last? How many keepers do you currently have in each position on your field?


  • Good article. I think you should always aim for a well rounded team. Yes premium mid-fielders score more but mid rookies score more than other line rookies too. You can’t win with a premium midfield and a rubbish backline! If you minimise the amount of rookies in each line so you can always pick the best ones to play.

  • Also it’s excellent to see Thompson in more teams. He is massively under-rated!

    • +1
      Nearly had him in my midfield as my unique pick but chose Rockliff instead :) probably should have made room for thompson but i can’t complain with Rockliff’s results.

  • warnie is a babe

  • I have 5 premium backs, 4 premium mids ( wil be 5 end of this week ), 2 premium rucks and 5 premium fwds ( about to become 6 )

  • 15 trades

    DEF – 3 prem, 1 keeper
    MID – 5 prem, maybe 1 keeper
    RUC – 1 prem, 2 keepers
    FWD – 6 prem, 2 keepers

    My defense is in tatters! Will hopefully be fixed up in the next 2-3 weeks though.

    • The reply here from Froogo reads as though it was written by a bloke…. And unless she was married to

      Freddo, what woman would call something she created “FROGGO”??

  • Dont know why everyone is worried about Geelong players for DT finals i plan on winning my first final and having the week off when Geelong has the bye ;)

  • I’m very worried in round 20 is as Geelong is playing Gold Coast at Skilled Stadium (Gazza’s first game at Skilled in Suns colours), Chris Scott could rest several senior players in the build-up to the Cats’ finals campaign to ensure full fitness for their qualifying final., plus they have the bye in round 22. Could this be a possibility that could happen?

  • I dont think they will rest them before a bye then they wont have played for 3 weeks doesn’t sound like a good idea to me but im not C.Scott so who knows.

  • Oops yeah sorry rnd 20 mmm maybe hope not

    • Who knows, this could be recipe for disaster in the lead up to the DT Finals, especially if you have no trades remaining!!!!! General Soreness appearing in round 20, just one week before the start of the DT Finals.

  • I was talking to this guy about his dt.

    I noticed he didn’t have Goddard. So i asked him why he decided to trade him out now.

    His response. “I knew Goddard would have a crap season, so i didn’t get him at the very start.”

    Upon further inspection i realised he didn’t have swan, pendlebury, cox or sandilands.

    I was puzzled. And then he said. “should i look at getting mark nicoski in?”

  • To clear up the confusion, doubters and questions RE: The name…

    Frog A Doodle is an in joke/nickname for and with my 4 year old daughter…

    Doodle doesn’t refer to a part of the male anatomy in this instance !!!

    FFW – Unfortunately doesn’t stand for “Football For Women”, I am not that political or part of a feminist movement, it is in actual fact as simple as my 6 year old sons initials..

    So essentially the team name is for the benefit of my children, who also picked the logo and colours of my shield…

    I did select my own team and I do run my own team, as I have the last few years. I will concede however that I have had a lot of help in my fledging years from both my husband and my brother – who are both DT tragics…

    Although my brother has shut up shop due to me currenty heading him in our overall ranking cash league..

    Seeking help from siblings/partners on trading decsions and team selection is no differerent to seeking advice help from a website such as this, I wouldn’t have thought…. This site is all about bouncng ideas around and offering advice. The secret is taking the right advice….

    It seems some you boys have a problem with a legitmate girl DT’er having some sucess even if it is only Rd 8. I love footy and by extentsion DT and enjoy all the banter this site offers and like to get involved and try and give as good as I get…..

    Go Frogs !!!

  • I dont have a problem FroggyDoodle good on ya hope you win the car take the kids for a spin.@The Colonel pmsl. Did you agree and put Nicoski in ;)

  • While I think analysing Frog a Doodle’s name and selection process are a nice distraction from the tedium of 9 to 5, there’s certainly not much value in trying to figure out why that team above all others is on top.

    As 114-year-old Hazel McCreeley so elegantly put it when asked why she, of all humans, should have lived to such a ripe old age, she replied: “Dumb luck. Do any of you have even a rudimentary understanding of probability? Extrapolate the bell curve of life expectancy for a quarter of a billion people and see for your goddamn selves.” She then went on to piss in her diaper.

    My point is, someone has to be at number 1 at any given week, so it might as well be Frog a Doodle, Shouldbemydayjob or tkol for all I care. Just don’t go thinking there’s a strategy to it.

    • I saw my team Shouldbemydayjob put in a post so I had to jump in. Agreed…… Its a long season. For me in staying high up in the standings was to basically make sure I always had an emergency in my Back/Mid/Fwd every week and stayed with a fairly safe captain choice.

      But I have had a similar strategy to Catherine as I also only have the 4 guns mids, with a good backline and very good forward line. There probably isn’t any point analysing why teams are 1st week to week, but i will admit after being 1st overall for the last 2 weeks the drop down to 5th actually made me not want to look at my team really until today. DT addiction is a crazy thing.

      But well done Catherine, I’ll be trying to chase you down again this week. Sitting 1st overall is a bloody good feeling.

    • cheers for the feedback but i think your missing the point dude. i wrote the article because at the present time Catherine is in first position and she seems to have in place a strategy that is some what different from several of the other top ranked DT’ers. Thought it might be insightful to lend my understanding of what she might be strategising.

      I’m not sure i can understand your comment ‘just don’t go thinking there’s a strategy to it’. I’m fairly sure anyone who is going to find themselves atop the DT world (apart from maybe after the first or second week) is going to be using an extremely calculated and well thought out strategy because luck is certainly not going to take you to number 1.

      • I appreciate the article but disagree with your conclusion. Let’s say roughly 50,000 teams strategise pre-season… how many different strategies are there to divide into 50,000? It doesn’t really matter if it’s 50 or 5000, the point is that someone has to get their “strategy” right. I’ve been using the same one since my first ever season where I finished in the top 5. It’s never got me closer than about 500 since. This year I’m 10,000th because guys like Broughton, Grimes, Goddard, Connors, etc. haven’t fired. Anyone who reckons they knew Fyfe would outscore Riewoldt and Redden would outscore Ablett at the start of the season are kidding themselves. It’s like playing favourite numbers in Lotto or Keno. Some lucky bugger will win it… no matter how much (or little) everyone tries.

  • So far we’ve had Frog A Doodle accused of not being a woman, not managing her own team, being a mad trader with only 8 trades left, and now of having “dumb luck”. All of these accusations are is likely to be false.

    Firstly, the poster Wardo, coach of shouldbemydayjob, currently ranked fifth overall and was overall leader for 2 weeks, is named “Sarah” on the DreamTeam site. Are you going to take pot shots at her as well.

    Saying DT is all based on luck is like saying the winners of AFL games are lucky – decided by random bounces of an oval ball on an imperfect playing surface.

    Catherine isn’t the weekly round winner, and I don’t think she has been the highest scorer in any round. She is the overall leader after 8 rounds. Her squad has had to negotiate 61 AFL games and 14 byes. Each of these requires several decisions – sometimes risky looking to get an advantage, sometimes playing it safer, sometimes decisions turn out to be great, sometimes they hurt you compared to your rivals.

    Catherine has made better decisions than anyone else to this point – give her some credit. If you actually look at her team there isn’t anything wrong with it, and it can still be significantly improved as the season progresses. That’s a bit scary. Almost all of us aren’t going to catch her unless she hands the reins to her four year old daughter.

    She says the thing she is most worried about is the Round 16 multi-bye – that’s 8 rounds away. If she’s thinking about getting through that 8 rounds ahead I don’t think you can suggest her performance is the result of dumb luck.

    After the first 4 rounds there were 333 points between the leader and position 1,000. But then only another 55 points to position 2,000, and only another 36 points to position 3,000. After 8 rounds the gaps are bigger – 499 points between the leader and position 1,000, then another 93 points to position 2,000, then another 63 points to position 3,000. The better teams / coaches are moving further away from the rest – that’s not luck.

    If anyone thinks it’s all down to luck they should try to find an autofill team in the top 200,000. Lotto can be won by a QuickPik or randomly selected entry, DreamTeam can’t.

    Finally you will find Goddard in Catherine’s team. That hasn’t made her come 10,000th.

    • I’ll catch and overtake her!!! (bloody hope so) hehe, and I reckon it’s awesome a female is showing EVERYBODY up so far.

    • I’m not accusing Frog a Doodle of anything or taking pot shots at anyone… simply stating whichever DT is first at any given stage of the season is there by virtue of luck rather than strategy.

      Some winners of some AFL games are lucky… just ask Paul Chapman who said as much about Geelong the other night. Ask Stephen Hill who was run down in R1 against Brisbane, failed to get boot on ball and instead of having a free paid against him, play continued and Freo kicked the winning goal. Luck plays an enormous part in determining the outcome of most games… even more so for a game of chance (i.e. DT).

      Catherine’s decisions haven’t necessarily been better than anyone else’s. Though I’ll concede they’ve certainly been luckier. Someone almost certainly will catch her this season, and I promise you the teams that do will have good fortune to thank. How can anyone behind a computer make any decision that will impact a game of football? She can’t move Knights into the centre bounces if he’s sitting idle in a forward pocket or on the bench. She can’t decide who gets subbed and who gets injured. She doesn’t know whether someone’s form will drop off or pick up. She can guess, but ultimately that’s all it is. All those things are just sheer chance.

      The chances of winning lotto (assuming you’re after 6 correct numbers of a possible 45) are one in 8.1 million. There are 250,000 or so DTs, a small fraction of which would be auto fills. If there were 8.1 million auto fill DTs, I assure you the chances are at least one would be up there. If one was leading after 8 rounds, would you think auto fill was a winning strategy?

      Maybe ‘dumb luck’ is too harsh… how about ‘educated luck’. Happy?

      • “Luck plays an enormous part in determining the outcome of most games”

        So players that have dedicated their lives to AFL, put in thousands of hours of training- in all facets from nutrition to basic kicking and hand balling would all come to the conclusion that pure luck will determine their teams overall performance? I think not. From the CEO and their respective football department that recruit,manage and sustain a club to the coaches that develop a game plan (weather good or bad) expect luck to produce a premiership. I don’t think Collingwood or Geelong would say “luck” is where they are today- hard work, uncompromising football and champion players is more like it.

        • “Most games” as opposed to “most AFL games”. Probably needed further clarification… sorry for the misunderstanding. We cool?

      • If this game is all luck and no skill or strategy why do you bother playing mate ?? If it is all luck why do we all bother and spend so much time making decsions and weighing up the pros and cons of every decsion.

        I think you are taking a very simplistic view saying DT is all luck… Obviosuly there is a certain amount of luck involved…. Like anyhitng the harder you work or in this case the more you study and weigh up your trading, initial team slection and STRATEGY then the LUCKIER you will get…

        Of course all the coaches near the top need their share of luck, but they also need to have a strategy and the nerve to stick to their guns and follow through and not make knee jerk decisions as a rsult of nay bad luck they encounter…

        So yes DT has an element of luck and you can make a perfectly legitmate trade such as Watson last week as unupgrade and he pops a string and you can consider yourslef unlucky..

        I would be surprsed that whoever wins this thing this year won’t have had their shre of bad luck at stages, but their skill and strategy has enabled them to overcome any bad luck they have.. eg the didn’t waste trades sideways, cash cows in too early, so therefore they had trades to cover LTI’s and bad luck so they can stay near the top, their intitial team selection allowed for a few injuries by having good rookie depth in the mids etc etc…

        DT like most games has an element of luck but also plenty of skill and strategy….. My personal opinion is that hte skill and strategy elemetn is improvong more and more each year as a result of sites such as DT talk.

        In terms of your comments RE: actual games of AFL football and “Luck plays an enormous part in determining the outcome of most games” well that is just BS and one of the most ill informed short sighted comments I have read on this site ever !!!

        • Why do I bother playing? For a bit of fun. Thanks for asking.

          The article was about the strategy of the current leading team, not about the strategy from here to the finish line (which is the main theme of your reply).

          DT is not ALL luck… winning the thing is though. Anyone can play, which is the beauty of it. I don’t want to stop anyone from poring over stats and forking out cash for data and all that, simply express my opinion that despite all that, if you don’t have luck on your side you won’t win. Even with the best strategy the universe has ever seen.

          For what it’s worth I also value (bits of) the info posted on this site. People willing to share their stories, their luck (good or bad) and strategies is a good distraction from mundane reads on the AFL website, for example. But if you think a sound strategy is a sure route to the prize… think again. Lady luck will decide the victor every time.

  • ‘Catherine’s decisions haven’t necessarily been better than anyone else’s’.

    dude, she is number 1 in the world of DT so far. her decisions HAVE been better than EVERYONE elses.

  • yeah shh now magpie28, you fail.