“It’s just one of those rounds” was something I heard mentioned a few times this weekend. Damn right. Round 3 was a horror for the majority of coaches, and an absolute gift to those who dodged the many bullets fired by the DT Gods this week. Injuries, pending suspensions, role changes, regretful trades, sub vests and hard tags all contributed to one of the most volatile rounds of fantasy football we’ve seen in a while.
I’m seeing a lot of scores in the 2000 range, but have seen plenty in the 1900’s or even lower. But as I alluded to above, many of these scores were affected by ‘acts of God’ – if you managed to avoid the danger players such as Leuenberger, Dempsey, Fyfe and Pendlebury, you easily could have neared 2200 and taken a leap in the overall rankings. Round 3 was essentially a week of luck, and your score was ultimately indicative of whether you had the good kind or the bad kind.
It all started with Pendlebury’s poor total, induced by a great tagging performance from Carrazzo. But not to worry, one bad score rarely shapes a week, right? Then Martin was quiet on Saturday, Magner was rarely seen, and so our Dream Teams took a hit, along with our expectations. Surely, all the week’s bad luck was just about all used up?
Not by a long stretch. Over the next few hours, Goodes manages to get himself reported, Leuenberger pulls up lame early, Fyfe injures his shoulder and is subbed out in the second quarter. Whilst Gary Ablett is a shining light, he is the source of pain for every coach who either didn’t own him or set him as captain. Let’s not even mention Broughton and his insta-role-change after Fyfe’s unfortunate injury. Meanwhile, Stanton and Watson let down their suitors against the lightweight Suns, and Zaharakis is reported as a missing person. Lake pulling a ‘Scarlett’ and putting himself under the scrutiny of the match review vultures was just the cherry on top of a horrid start to Round 3.
Sunday could have been a swift kick to the ribs while down if you confined Bugg (93), Devon Smith (87) or Dylan Shiel (74) to the bench while playing lesser scorers in Kennedy (58) or Greene (54). Birchall’s possible injury and subsequent red-vesting could have been what tipped you over the edge into DT insanity. I just hope you didn’t go with Mackie as your P.O.D…
This was the overwhelming story of the weekend. Bad luck, great tagging, poor outings and heartbreaking injuries, all piled on one another all week long. I guess Round 3 serves as a reminder that nothing is certain in DT and that anything can happen in any given week. As much of a shit-storm this weekend was, if you avoided the epicentre you had a great opportunity to shoot up the rankings.
Anyway, I’m sick of all this doom and gloom. Let’s look at some stats.
I’ve been compiling some DT stats from the first few rounds, and I think after 3 weeks some trends are finally starting to resolve. Here are a few random stats which I found interesting from season 2012 so far.
# Adelaide has the most DT-friendly playing style so far, averaging a combined (with their direct opponent) 3201 DT points per match. This means that even when teams play Adelaide, they still have the opportunity to score big. In fact, Adelaide has actually been outscored by their opponents so far.
# Sydney is still the most painfully restrictive team in DT. Over their 3 matches so far, there has only been a combined 11 tons, from both Sydney and their direct opponent. Stay away from them with your Captain selection.
# Essendon has given up only three tons this year. Amazingly, one of them was Gablett’s 162 this week.
# Carlton has the greatest DT points differential of any team over the first 3 games, totalling 394 more points than their direct opposition each week. That’s almost an extra 18 points per player.
# Collingwood have leaked 5.33 tons per game over the season so far, which is more than both GWS and the Gold Coast, and is second to only Melbourne (7). Is Collingwood’s DT reign over?
Makers and Breakers
If we didn’t already know Gary Ablett was the best AFL player going around, we do know. Nothing can stop him. Not Hocking, not rain, not a bunch of teenagers for teammates. He was best on ground for mine, racking up 45 touches (his 3rd 40+ disposal game in a row) 7 tackles and 2 goals for a huge 162 points. Can I hear you say ‘Perma-Captain’?
Its only fitting that in a unique round like this one, a few unique picks scrape into the Makers section. That’s the definition of Scott Selwood; barely given a thought in the off-season and finding himself in just over 2% of teams . Three weeks in, he’s averaging the fourth-highest points this season at 126.3 per game, which begs the question; at what stage do we start taking a player seriously as a premium? I usually demand a player gives me a month of solid form before I consider adding them to my watchlist, and Scooter is rising rapidly into contention. He scored a career-high 150 points this week, thanks to 31 disposals, 10 marks and 9 tackles.
With Duffield copping a hit to the ribs in Round 2, I was highly sceptical that he would play this weekend, let alone play a damaging role. In the midst of a difficult year for backmen, Duffman top-scored with 117 against the Lions on Saturday. He even had a small cash increase and is now priced at $350k – he should now be considered, as it’s clear that its Duffield that Lyon wants to free up in the backline at Fremantle.
Midfield mid-pricers. High risk, but high reward. Brad Ebert has definitely repaid his suitors so far this year, averaging 111.3 and enjoying a $54,200 first-up price rise! He started slowly on the weekend, but finished on 123, courtesy of numerous +6 combos and some scoreboard impact with 2 goals. Can he keep it up? Maybe, maybe not – but it doesn’t really matter. He has a BE of 27 this week, and he should continue to make enough cash to get within striking range of a real top-flight midfield Premo if he drops off.
I could be a little bias here, but Conca is my final induction into the Round 3 Makers. Many jumped off after he was named as the starting sub in the Round 1 partial lockout, but those who kept the faith were rewarded with a huge 134 in a seriously difficult week. Yes, it was against the Dees, but it looks like he has the motor and hunger for the ball to remain a solid scorer for the duration of the year. Not bad for his $274k starting quota.
No matter which way you slice it, the injured players were the biggest team-killers this week. Leuenberger rebounded from a quiet Round 1 last week, but looked to aggravate a suspected achilles injury in the first quarter against Fremantle. He was promptly subbed for a paltry 7. He has now plummeted in value by $53k, which is great news for those looking for a ruck upgrade after the MBRs. Not so great for owners who now need to consider trading him out.
Broughton to Dempsey is the front-runner for ‘Backfiring Trade of the Year’. It looked like a great value pick plus cash-grab, but unfortunately the luckless rebounder was out of the action early with a hamstring strain. 10 points is exactly 99 points less than what Broughton scored this week.
Pendlebury has built himself a reputation as being a highly consistent, big-game player. But he couldn’t put it together in the Pies’ big clash against arch rival Carlton, tagged to a miserly 62. He’ll bounce back with a big score in Round 4, but given he was a popular captain choice this week, he finds himself in the Breakers for what will probably be the only time this year.
Coaches expected more than 47 from Zaharakis against a side like the Gold Coast this week. He wasn’t terrible, he was just hardly sighted. Despite a promising start of 100 and 91, he has dropped $15k in the first price change, and the 47 will stick in his three-week moving average for long enough to lower his price over the next few weeks. Keep him in mind for a cheeky upgrade, as he’s likely to dip beneath $390k sometime over the next month.
Get Goldstein out. McIntosh is the star and Goldy is the forgotten man this year, and their scoring reflects that. He totalled 33 tap-outs this week but only managed 5 disposals, taking him to 53 DT points. It’s time to consider trading him out – with a BE of 154 this week, he’s shedding dollars fast. Ryder, Jacobs and McEvoy are all available for a straight trade, but they won’t be for long.
No way. You picked Goodes knowing that he famously starts off the season slowly then goes bang – don’t torture yourself by missing out on that after you have already endured his ‘bad’ scores. He’s still scored 3 straight 80’s, which is by no means a bad return.
I think he can, and will. I’m not sure why I have faith in him so implicitly; maybe it’s because I know that the form he showed in the pre-season wasn’t a fluke. He’ll free up soon and remind us why we all locked him in from day dot.
That honour goes to Melbourne, who leaks 1841.3 DT points to their direct opponents on average. This is slightly ahead of fellow cellar-dwellers in the Suns (1743.7) and Giants (1758). This is not surprising given they also have the largest average losing margins, but it proves that any team who confronts them has an opportunity to feast on a DT buffet.
The first plague has hit us, and it’s only Round 3. In some ways, it’s a blessing, because we have the benefit of three weeks of data and we can still jump on a performer on the way up, before their price has inflated too much, of course.
The big issue is what to do with the likes of Fyfe, Dempsey and Leuenberger. With reversible trades, we now have the luxury of being able to assume the worst and plan possible trades early in the week. For the purposes of this Bullet, let’s assume that each player is out for a month minimum, and we need to trade them out.
DEMPSEY ($246,800 DEF)
After two solid weeks before his 10, Dempsey has managed to basically hold his price. Unfortunately, all others in his price range haven’t. This is a tough trade – all the worthwhile underpriced players have shot up, and it just seems plain wrong to snap up a Marty Clarke ($186,800) or Tomas Bugg ($176,000) if you missed them the first time around. Hargrave, Drummond, Geary and Suban are others in the $260-$290k range, but they still require some extra coin. Ultimately, I would probably free up some cash then go for a Beau Waters (avg 90, $356,400) type – someone still underpriced, but producing premo-like scores.
LEUENBERGER ($405,200 RUC)
His $50,000 price drop was harsh, and it leaves us a fair bit away from a solid premium like Sandilands, Cox or Mumford (all $450k plus). You can either find enough cash to take a chance on Ryder or Jacobs at around $420k, or you can jump on an improver like H-Mac (89 avg, $308,600) or Kreuzer (87 avg, $344,700) if you think they can maintain their production. If it was me, I’d want to get him to a keeper if possible; and with Adelaide’s fixture, Jacobs should be good value.
FYFE ($450,000 FWD/MID)
Fyfe, the elephant in the Trading Wizard lobby. I’m not going to speculate on how long he’ll be out for here, we’ll find out soon enough after the club has seen some scans. Anyway, the way I see it, we have a few different options thanks to his lofty price and DPP magic.
1. The Safe Option.
Trade him to a similar proposition, such as Mitch Robinson ($459,800). Robbo is similarly priced, also DPP eligible (so won’t change your structure), and is playing for the most in-form team in the Blues. Basically, just a solid option like-for-like option that won’t spoil your structure or (hopefully) force you to make a double trade.
2. The Midfield Switcheroo Option
If you have Devon Smith/Tom Couch/Adam Kennedy etc. languishing on your midfield bench, you can swing a sneaky DPP trade and effectively get rid of Fyfe for a midfielder. This option is particularly tempting for those who have gone with a 4-gun-or-less midfield structure. You’ll lose the midfield link, but you’ll also be able to get a consistent return from a mid as opposed to another volatile forward. Jack Ziebell ($384,900) is a great option here, who we know is underpriced already after a strong run home last year. It doesn’t hurt that he’s just belted out a 139 this week, either. Scott Selwood ($468,800) is another sneaky option if you have the leftover moolah, but Mick Barlow is my recommended option here. He may have bottomed out at $399,400 with a BE of 91 next week, and there’s no doubt that he can score like a premium when unvested. Plus, you pocket $50k in change.
3. The Risk It for the Biscuit Option.
These are the guys that the Monday Traders like to switch right in, after just a week or two of big scores. The perfect example is Brendan Whitecross ($412,000), who has averaged a massive 111.7 so far this season. This is a huge jump from previous years’ output, and it has me worried. In saying that, I’ve watched each of Hawthorn’s games, and he looks like he’s worked his way into the chipping rotation down back. Chad Cornes (101 avg, $363,900) and Kurt Tippett (96 avg, $372,600) are two other risky options who could continue on their great form, or recede back into the mid-range scorers we have seen from them the last couple of years.
The bandaid trades will be a big focus of this week, as we all try to recover from a testing Round 3. Continue to monitor the scores of players vying for your watchlist, and prepare yourself for a big edition of the Bullets – Round 4 is usually when I reassess which players deserve to be on the trade-dar. Also expect to see an updated Hate List – I try to give myself a month before I decide to condemn players to the pits of DT hell.
As always, keep the matchups in mind. The Bulldogs, Lions and Crows have the good fortune of coming up against the three minnows this in Round 4, so expect better scoring from those teams. Otherwise, do what you normally do. Monitor the breakevens with Aki’s Dream Team Stock Market, follow your cashcows with Chook’s Rooks, contemplate your Captains with Calvin and discuss with Dunny your pre-lockout manoeuvres.
After a tough week, let’s finish off with my favourite AFL Meme of the week.
As always, good luck!
PS. Another great effort by the DT TALK Tbetta League – now ranked 39th overall! Keep up the great work fellas.
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