Daniel’s Dilemma – Bench Cover


Welcome back to Daniel’s Dilemma! Another week, another dilemma and with the round starting on Friday the 13th we shouldn’t have been expecting scores over 2100.

The dilemmas began on a Sunday afternoon with two AFL fantasy stars toppling to late withdrawal: Steve Johnson and Dayne Beams. Without reasonable cover on your bench, you would have been finding yourself in a whole lot of trouble as the evening progressed.

Poor scores and average games concluded what was another round that would have left you sick in the stomach on a Monday morning.

If you’re looking to let off some steam, I strongly suggest reading Matt’s weekend wash up before you indulge into this weeks article.

As the year progresses, it’s important that you have good cover on your bench to prevent yourself from dramatically slipping down the rankings or the league ladder at the expense of your big scorers who are taking a week off.

I will be looking at the best options all over the ground to make sure your team  has adequate back up in all positions coming into the back end of the year.



With every 5 good picks, you will always come across a failure that could inevitably put your fantasy position at risk at this stage of the season. The likes of Bartel, Simpson, McVeigh etc. have been well and truly stars down back for your team and it’s these players that make you want to gloat to your friends on a Monday morning. Though underperforming players such as Grant Birchall ($425,885) can always keep you timid at times throughout the conversation. Even though you may not have the widest variety of players in this position, some good cover in this spot could well be Garrick Ibbotson ($334,369). If you exclude his injury affected 8 against Hawthorn in round 3 he is averaging close to 60 and with Brisbane, West Coast and Melbourne up next he could be a handy acquisition for your team. If you’re not keen on taking the risk, keeping players you had at D6 at the start of the season such as Kade Kolodjashnij ($348,529) and Tom Langdon ($393,733) could prove life saving as these players are well capable on scoring above 70.



As fantasy coaches, this is the position where we felt the most pain. If you had players like Shenton or Hallahan on your bench then you could have lost yourself a good chunk of your overall score with the fact that Johnson and Beams were not playing. Though if you took the risk and cashed in on Anthony Miles ($307,055) the disappointment would have been overshadowed by the sheer determination of the 22 year old Richmond midfielder. Hard at the footy and a pure ball magnet, Miles went on to record 30 disposals, 1 mark and 4 tackles totalling a very respectable 105 against Fremantle. If Miles manages to keep this up, look to cement him into your midfield bench and never have to worry about late withdrawal running your weekend again. For 55k less, you could possibly take a punt on Claye Beams ($255,721) who has been averaging close to 70 points so far this season. He scored 93 against Western Bulldogs in Round 12 but couldn’t keep his momentum going against GWS this weekend scoring only 59. With Fremantle, North Melbourne and Richmond approaching the Lions, Beams could pump out some good scores to keep you interested in the young midfielder.



The Rucks have kept us on our toes this year with some of us coaches expecting big seasons from the likes of Cox, Mumford, Minson, Ryder and so forth. Mumford was in blistering from early in the season, delivering some huge scores to his coaches that forked over a measly $423,000 for a player who has been knocking on the door for averaging 100 so far this season. Dean Cox has been far from impressive for many coaches this season, with owners dumping him with the thought that his inconsistency has proven too much to deal with. Many jumped on in form players such as Jacobs, who has ultimately been a revelation in the Ruck position for the Adelaide Crows. If you want some reliable cover in this position I suggest none other than Stefan Martin ($258,121) who has been brilliant since assuming the responsibility in the middle of the ground for Brisbane, scoring 99 and 100 in both his games thus far. With form like this, he seems unstoppable and should definitely be considered as a replacement for players such as Derickx or Thurlow.



Choosing reliable and consistent Forwards this year has been a near impossible task. Luke Parker and Brent Harvey have been really the only two players that fit under the above categories. Dangerfield, Martin, Dahlhaus and Gray have also been performing admirably bar the odd 80 and if picked have been delivering some great scores throughout the season. Realistically though, you cannot expect these players to play 21 games a year and a late withdrawal is always a possibility every week, especially come finals time. Dangerfield looks like he desperately needs a week off soon and if he keeps up his recent run of form some of us may have to show him the back door to our fantasy teams. In this case, having players like Ambrose and Rohan will not miraculously gift you with scores of 80+ but having someone such as Jeremy McGovern ($206,114) who has been made to wait before staking his claim in the AFL has produced some stellar performances in the last two weeks which has hopefully placed him firmly on your radar.


This week has been a big learning curve and has taught us to make sure that we don’t become lazy in making sure that our whole team is strong across the field. Not having decent cover for each position may result in us coaches scoring poorly if one or two of our star players are out. By picking up these players that I have mentioned, it could the difference from moving up 500 spots in the rankings or finding yourself at the bottom of your league ladder.


Make sure you have read Roy’s Trade Talk for round 14 over on AFL.com.au.


What are you plans for bench cover? Let us know in the comments.


  • Great article Daniel! Still crying about bringing in Stevie J for Watson yet there were other fabulous picks out there such as Libba, Treloar, Godd, Zaha etc.

    • Thanks Benjo! You can consider yourself very unlucky that Stevie was a late withdrawal this week. I’m sure he will bounce back this week against Gold Coast, who are a team that prefers to go head to head in the midfield.

  • Great article thoughts on getting ambrose out for mgoven and walker out for boomer OR should i do derixx to martin and ambrose to mcgoven and hold the faith in walker?….

    • As a key forward, Walker only seems to score well when Adelaide win. His average is 87 in the 3 out of 5 games he has won with he Crows. Though that is an great statistic, Adelaide have Essendon, Port then GWS in the next 3 games which suggests that Walker may find himself struggling to get his hands on the footy for at least 2 of those upcoming games. For this reason, I would suggest option number 1 is your best bet at this point in time. As long as you have 2 suitable rucks playing this week, Martin can wait.

  • Hey Daniel, as you’re a SK fan what do you think about Montagna for the rest of the season? He’s probably gonna be down to about 455k next week and for someone with such a high ceiling it’s pretty tempting to get him in.

    • I wouldn’t if I was you. wait until he starts performing again. I had him in my side and watched him play. I swear he runs away from the ball.

    • I agree, it definitely is tempting and at that price you cant really go wrong. Unfortunately he hasn’t been in good form lately, scoring in the mid 60’s and barely making 100 against Geelong, Port and Collingwood. I would wait and see until he regains his early season form before grabbing him. His BE would be very high as well

  • Great work mate!
    I always try to get DPP players as my bench cover. If i have them over numerous lines it makes swinging them around much easier

    • Thanks Jordan, yeah having DPP is very usual in regards to bench cover. I believe Stefan Martin is a RUCK/FWD so I guess you can take that as an extra incentive to lock him in!

  • Great article Daniel. I have been working on my bench throughout the season, my cover to date is-: Fwd Ambrose & Shenton, Ruck Derickx, Mid Polec & Liam Anthony, Def Jaensch & Ellis. I also have dpp capabilities with Bartel in my mid and Steph martin in fwd. your thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Thanks Reg. It looks like your hard work has come off and im sure your bench reflects your position in the overall rankings or league ladder. You seem to have fairly strong cover throughout the ground, though you might want to offload Ambrose to someone like Mcgovern as i’ve mentioned

  • Anyone wanna guess Calvin’s captains this
    Week. I’ll have a stab
    1. Zac Dawson
    2. Billy brownless
    3. Tim Cahill
    4. Celine Dion
    5. Leyton hewitt

    • Calvin doesn’t choose your captain for you, that’s your job. Personally, I do my research myself and try to find a good unique captain which has worked well so far this year.

      Don’t forget Calvin has heaps of readers so it’s unreasonable to expect him to go with “gut feels” like we can, he can only base his choices on stats and recent form

  • Great Article.
    Who would you rather field this week out of Shenton and Ambrose?

  • The general. I’m only joking mate. All in good fun. I always choose my own captain. I’ve welded ablett all year so far.

  • Great work Daniel, I’m definitely considering some of those as bench backup.

    Who would you pick in the fwd line in RDT out of McGovern and Stefan Martin?

  • Big question is would you play Martin at F6 for a few weeks?

    It would allow me to go Tex > McGovern who is an ideal F7 and make 140k which is gold at this stage of the game. My fwd line is
    Harvey, Parker, Danger, Martin, Gray, Tex (S Martin, Cameron).

  • Why are people trading out ambrose… He still has coin to make

    • because you make $70k trading down to mcgovern, who is set to make more coin than ambrose and score just as well or better (much better so far). sometimes you have to cash in early when better opportunities come along.

  • General what bout brownless. 6 points a bevvy lol. Easy 120+. First year I’ve had ablett as set and forget captain. If u work it out over the year. U end up in front. Many ppl steer clear of him certain teams and weeks and he has been a somewhat unique pick a couple of weeks. Last 2 weeks he has scored me 528 points. Many ppl have had beams, rocky etc… As captains and haven’t even got close to that. I don’t chase
    Captain points. Just what gaz gives me. Legend.

    • It’s an interesting debate. I think at the end of the year I might compare how I go with a different pick every week as opposed to if I went Ablett captain every week. Set and forget does take out a lot of stress though. Probably depends if you’re a bit of an opportunist

    • same here – since i was burnt bad in 2012 trying to pick a weekly captain from swan, gazza and stevie J (chasing and then missing out on plenty of 140s, 150s, and 160s) I decided to go gazza as perma-captain last year, and again this year (not including byes and loopholes occasionally – cotchin rd 5 138, beams rd6 136), and have zero regrets.

  • Thoughts on bringing in Hurn for Birch or Jaensch?

    • Yer I’m the same. I did take cotchins and 138 as loophole. But Gazza the rest. You take the good with the bad. Hassle free and loving it. Zero regrets to.

  • Question, does anyone actually have 250-300k to spend on a player who is going to sit on the pine? I sure as he’ll sont

    • In an ideal world everyone SHOULD have players like that sitting on the pine as cover but unfortunately it is rare that the fantasy gods allow it.

  • Yer its interesting. My vice has been pendlebury all year until I got Goddard. Now its Goddard. He will smoke the year. Consistent solid scorer. I see it as abletts low is 78 and generally whacks well 100. I mean sat u had to see it to believe. He was tagged by 4 players rotating on him. Tackled his way to a score til half time. Then when those 4 got tired chasing him around he used disposals to score. Unbelievable human being.

  • Hi there I’m in a bit of a Dilemma myself as my Midfield has Ablett, Pendles, Swan, Beams, Barlow. M Murphy, Cotchin, Tyson, K Mitchell and Polec. I want to Trade one of these guys out but then my Forwards have to be fixes as I am going to Trade out R’wolt and Billings and I’ll be bring in Franklin and McGovern then next week I can bring in 2 decent Mids such as Griffen and Rockliff as I will have the money.

  • Cheers for that mate :) what do you reckon of Higgins on the bench as cover? Now under 400k so not a huge reason to getting rid, and good versatility and good scoring potential

  • In a bit of a quandary. Trade or keep
    Joel Selwood. What’s up with him ATM he seems disinterested at times. Is he playing injured? Seems to be spending time FWD.

  • Good article!

    My team is pretty solid so I had planned on starting to build my bench cover. Got Martin in at R3 last week so now concentrating on the other lines.

    Thinking Ambrose > McGovern (F7) and Hallahan > Wingard (M9).

    Do you think Miles is a better option than Wingard? I have Shenton on the mid bench to provide dpp link.