Versus – Round 4

Welcome to the round four instalment of Versus. Today we’ll be looking at two mid-priced options in David Swallow and Alex Neal-Bullen, who are shaping as perfect targets from a host of under-performing mids. Essendon’s Jobe Watson and Carlton’s Marc Murphy are also thrust into the limelight. They have kicked off their respective campaign’s extremely well after opening the year as genuine mid-pricers or fallen premiums, if you like. 

David Swallow ($404,000) V Alex Neal-Bullen ($377,000)

David Swallow was forced to wait until the second round to make his long-awaited return from major injury. And it wasn’t exactly a sweet comeback game with his side slumping to a demoralising defeat at the hands of the Giants. That said, Swallow’s largely undistributed pre-season (apart from the minor round one injury) saw him hit the ground running on a more personal note. He notched up 21 touches (11 contested), 4 marks, 5 tackles and 89 Fantasy points going head-to-head with a star-studded Giants midfield. In the record-breaking win over Hawthorn on Sunday, Swallow played a vital role. In a perhaps underrated midfield containing the likes of Hall, Lyons, Barlow, Ablett and Miller, Swallow was one of the best, racking up a whopping 34 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles and 120 points – not a bad way to kick off the new campaign. Swallow has obvious ability to find the pill but that was just the second time he reached 34 touches. Noticeably, the Suns wrapped the balanced midfielder in cotton wool once the result was beyond doubt – rightly preferring to maintain the health of one of the key players in their lineup who took out the clubs best and fairest in his last full season back in 2014. With enhanced time on ground imminent as he builds up match fitness, one can only expect further improvement. There were talks of Swallow moving to the half-back line during the off-season where his silky skills would help launch counter attacks. However we haven’t seen that come to fruition as of yet. What impact that change in roles imprints on Swallow’s Fantasy game remains to be seen, but for now, he’s going very well in the centre. Pearce Hanley will likely return to the Suns line up in the near future after missing the past two weeks. His addition probably won’t have an influence on Swallow role or output. Swallow is always going to come attached with an element of risk given his injury prone past, but he appears to be over the recent series of setbacks. It’s great to see Swallow back playing footy. He still has potential improvement in him due to the lack of AFL game time over the past seasons. I actually think he’ll be pushing hard towards a 95 average by the end of the year.

Image result for david swallow

Talk about break-out year! Alex Neal-Bullen featured against Will Hoskin-Elliott in the round two edition of Versus with the Demon just edging WHE out in the overall verdict. It was always going to be a tough one to decide between, but it’s still an even playing field two weeks down the track. To quote the first Versus article of the home and away season “Neal-Bullen was taken by the Dee’s with pick 40 of the 2014 National Draft. Throughout his under-18 year, in which he represented South Australia and Glenelg, Neal-Bullen was a consistent performer. An inside-midfielder, Alex proved to be a ball magnet in and under packs but a lack of pace saw him fly under the radar of recruiters despite posting big numbers. Since making the transition into the AFL, Neal-Bullen has spent the majority of his time playing for the Dees VFL affiliate – Casey. Last year he finished equal fifth in the J.J Liston Trophy after averaging 29 touches for the year, underlining his importance to the Scorpions on-ball brigade whilst also spending some time across half forward.” Those statistics, along with his average of 82% TOG and role in a Fantasy-friendly Melbourne 22 suggest to me that Neal-Bullen has serious Fantasy potential. And in the first three weeks of the year, he has lived up to it. He surprised many with 110 in the round one victory over St.Kilda which included 25 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 1 goal and 3 behinds. After his ownership rose 8% during the week with coaches crying out for decent rookie options, he failed to reach the heights of the previous weekend – but remained serviceable with 12 touches and 5 tackles contributing towards 60 points. Melbourne hosted the Cats at the MCG on the weekend in what may turn out to be a critical clash in the grand scheme of things. Despite cracking the three digits in round one, it’s fair to say no one expected ANB to pump out a 28 disposal, 4 mark, 10 tackle, 1 goal and 141 point game. His price has risen $122,000 in three weeks and ownership recently exceeded 15%. Neal-Bullen has a lot going for him. He is playing a very profitable role in the Demons best side, thrives on tackles, has a positive kick:handball ratio, hits the scoreboard, knows how to find it, is currently spending a solid amount of time on ground, has proven he can score very highly against anyone and looks to have well and truly re-enforced his job-security. The MID/FWD DPP also helps. But has the boat sailed? Maybe. A sideways trade from the under-performing O’Meara is just a few clicks away. One of my personal favourites. In a arguable call, I expect Neal-Bullen to start 2018 as a premium midfielder.

Verdict: Jeez this ones tough. As you could probably tell, I am a massive believer in Alex Neal-Bullen. He has enormous Fantasy potential. So much so that I think he’ll be around the premium mark next year. His style and role allow for plenty of points and a BE of -14 will see his price edge close to $500k in a few weeks time. Swallow has made an impressive comeback, but I prefer ANB here.

 

Jobe Watson ($547,000) Marc Murphy ($596,000)

If there was ever a year to grab mid-pricers, this would be the one. But the amount of risk attached with former Bombers skipper Job Watson was too great for most Fantasy coaches, despite his undervalued price tag. Much had been made of Essendon’s returning stars. Would they thrive after the year off? Or would they struggle to readjust back into the environment. Well, after an emotional win over Hawthorn and a gritty victory up at the Gabba, the Bombers failed to adapt to the harsh conditions against Carlton at the ‘G’. But wet weather football generally attracts plenty of tackles and Watson certainly laid his fair share. He also impacted the game with 28 disposals and 3 marks to conclude the Sunday arvo clash with 119 Fantasy points. This backs up his efforts in the opening fortnight of the season where he scored 122 (27 disposals, 7 marks and 8 tackles) against the Hawks and 104 (33 disposals, 8 marks and 1 tackle) against Brisbane – where he went head-to-head with Lions captain Dayne Beams and beat him for overall disposals. It was rumoured during the pre-season that Watson may be squeezed out of a talent stacked midfield home to the likes of Merrett, Parish, Goddard, Heppell and Zaharakis. It seemed a role up forward could better balance the side. But from what we’ve seen so far this year, Watto has been entrenched in the midfield where his seasoned frame, contested ball winning and leadership has proven to be valuable. Jobe looks as fresh as he’s ever been and is pumping out the sort of scores we became used to seeing from him throughout 2012 and 2014 where his season averages topped 100. This week, the Bombers head to the Adelaide Oval to face an up and about Crows outfit. Historically, the Crows have been prone to a down week after the showdown but don’t expect that this year (at least I hope). Led by Rory Sloane and Matt Crouch, the on-ball brigade have far exceeded expectations thus far, with their blistering pace a focal point. Last week, however, Power midfielders Wines (124 points), Ebert (104) and Boak (103) were able to hit triple figures against their cross-town rivals. Despite Essendon facing an uphill battle to secure the four points, I’d expect more of the same from Jobe.

Image result for jobe watson

How did we miss this guy? Currently the number one ranked Fantasy player, Marc Murphy started the year priced at a discounted $482,000. For the best part of his career, Murphy has been one of the prime midfielders in the competition. However looking back through some statistics, he’s only really had one elite season. That came back in 2011 where he averaged 111 Fantasy points. That particular season, along with 2009 and 2012, to date are the only other years he has averaged over 100. He will add another year to that tally this season if he is able to replicate his current form and remain injury free for 2017. But of course, last season was below par for his standards before an ankle injury saw him sidelined for the last half of the year. Murphy has slotted back into the Blues engine room and been a driving force behind a side eager to blood their weatlh of talented youngsters. A midfielder who can win it on the inside but also provide plenty of spread from outside the packs, Carlton’s captain kicked off his season in an inspired 139 Fantasy point showing which included 35 touches, 6 marks and 7 tackles. Although it doesn’t directly translate into added points, his 8 clearances and 6 inside-50’s were well received. Murph hit the scoreboard once and racked up another 30+ disposals in round two – resulting in 125 points. As was mentioned above in Jobe Watson’s piece, the Blues and Bombers battled it out in rather unpleasant conditions on the weekend which meant long direct kicks and tackling pressure were high on the to-do list. A Murphy did just that, laying 10 tackles to go with 23 kicks (also 9 handballs). He kicked two crucial goals including one beauty from the pocket which really ignited his side. A massive 145 Fantasy points was the outcome. These huge scores see him averaging 136 points. Whilst I wouldn’t be expecting that figure to maintain its currency for much longer, there’s no doubt Murphy is thriving off the back of a full, uninterrupted pre-season. His current form alone is enough reason to trade him in but a breakeven of 36 makes him seriously hard to resist. Before you know it, his price will be pushing the $650k+ mark. Murphy is on some sort of roll at the moment which I reckon will see him challenge the heights of 2011.

Verdict: First off, well done if you started with either or both of these guys. Watto and Murph are proving that mid-pricers are not to be written off. Essendon’s midfielders are flourishing at the minute, scoring stacks of points and Watson’s along for the ride. But although he is more expensive, it is getting very hard to ignore Murphy. It has to be him if cash allows.

I hope these two comparisons sorted a burning question out. I understand many have to deal with finding a suitable replacement for the injured Max Gawn, but the lads covered that in great depth on the podcast. If you’ve got another comparison, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to get back to it. On a personal note, my side endured another mediocre week, pumping out 2128. I’m pretty happy with the team though with a couple of rookies really starting to find their straps. Having said that, a ranking boost would be greatly appreciated Fantasy Gods. Good luck for the week ahead and stay tuned next Thursday where Leighroy and I will be back covering another set of hotly debated comparisons.

69 Comments

  • Eddy > Balic and pocket 205k
    Butler as F6

    Or

    Eddy > ANB and pocket 1k
    ANB as F6

  • Tuohy > Newman
    Roughy > ANB

    leaves my backline weak ( only Adams and Docherty as premos ) but gives me $256k for next week.

    thoughts?

  • One of these has to go – Roughy v Nank

    One of these is coming in – Gaff v Murphy

    Thoughts please

  • With Max going to Grundy (not budging on this I’m not sold on Preuss long term) my two options seem to be

    McGrath to Newman

    or

    Nank to Neal-Bullen

    The first is the safer, longer-term option but Neal-Bullen’s ceiling is super tempting, and leaving McGrath on the bench could mean $200k if I downgrade to a new rook next week. Thoughts?

  • dont know whether to kick toby greene or tim taranto, to bring in alex neal-bullen

    • i dont know mate

    • greene leaves me with 300k and taranto leaves me with 70k

      • I have to Greene myself and will be holding on to him, hopefully will average 90+ and can go big on his day. It will also be interesting to see how he goes without Stevie J and may see some midfield time now Griffen is out.
        I believe Taranto will keep getting a game while GWS have injury issues, but won’t make as much cash as ANB. If ANB keeps it up he could remain in your side all year and most of the fantasy experts like the way he goes about it (I haven’t seen any Melbourne games this year)

        • i think its taranto then cheers mate

        • also unsure about wether to play marchbank, newman or hampton on the feild and wondering if i should play nank or preuss

          • I’ve left Marchbank on the pine this week, and had the same decision, though was a tough call!
            I’d have Nank ahead of Preuss slightly, only reason being is he is sole ruck and who knows if goldy will play a bigger role this week? Nank is up against another sole ruck in Martin and won’t be as mobile as him, so that could be a worry

          • In saying that if you have an R4 that isn’t playing you could put the “E” on Pruess and play your non playing ruck if he goes big!

          • Just don’t use Cameron if you have him as he’ll get locked into R2 as of tonight’s game and you’ll be stuck with Preuss E score, good or bad.

          • yeah my non playing ruckman is cameron so… i think ill go with nanks on ground

  • Another great comparison guys-I got lucky and started with both swallow and murphy but now I’m torn between these 3 trades – currently have 333k in the bank…

    1) JOM/ROUGHY -> Roo/ANB (+76k left)
    2) JOM/ROUGHY -> Grundy/ANB via Nank DPP (+114k left)
    3) JOM/ROUGHY-> Oliver/ANB (+206k)

    First 2 potentially get me someone who wouldn’t need to get traded again pending injury, last 1 more bang for buck in terms of $ generation. Thoughts?

  • I have both Watson and Murphy is that bad?

  • Just trying to figure out this double partial lockout thing guys.

    Can I leave Preuss on my bench with the E, with Nank at R2. Then after Friday night if Preussy has scored great, DPP Nank into forward line and make my R2 a non-playing rook?

    The thought process is that if Preuss continues to score alright with Goldy back, then he’d stay permanently at R2, with two (probably not scoring) rooks on the bench. But if he goes full potato straight away I’ll keep him on the bench with Nank at R2.

    Does that work? Cheers.

    • As long as you don’t need to move a player that has already played in the/fri night games then yes it would work.
      I.e. You can’t do it if you need to move Cameron as he’ll be locked,

    • As long as your non playing rook you are looking to put on the field isn’t from Sydney, west coast, north, or bulldogs then yes that will work. Not a bad option

  • Have 2 options to choose at the moment:

    1. Gawn to Grundy. or

    2. Bench Gawn for Preuss this week and do L Parker to M.Murphy and then try and chase Grundy next week?

    I’m leaning to 1, but thought I would put it out there. Already have S.Martin at R2.
    Thanks.

  • i went parker to murphy this week mate i think parker is loosing too much money

  • Trading O’Meara out to a premo,

    do i go to Murphy/Hannbery so i have cash in the bank for next week or do I go to a Rocky/Merrett/Dusty?

  • If you had the choice between Hanners and 25k vs Murphy, who would you take?

  • Hey guys, I’m sorry for the long question but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    What should I do? This is my team

    DEF: Adams, Shaw, Laird, Merchbank, Hampton, Otten, Newman, Hibberd

    MID: Dangergield, Mitchell, Fyfe, Beams, Heppell. O’Meara, Swallow, SPP, Barrett, Pickett

    RUC: Gawn, Nankervis, Preuss, Cameron

    FWD: Macrae, Dahlhaus, Steele, Roughead, WHE, Balic, Miles, Black

    Option 1:

    Gawn -> Spencer (leaves me with 407,000)

    Pickett -> Mundy (too much of a gamble?)

    Option 2

    Gawn -> random 150,000 ruck rookie (but who)

    Miles -> N. Riewoldt

    Option 3

    Gawn -> random 150,000 ruck rookie

    Pickett -> Z. Merrett

    Option 4:

    Gawn -> random 150k ruck rookie

    Pickett -> Marc Murphy

    Option 5:

    Gawn -> 150k ruck rookie

    Pickett -> Rockliff

  • haha all picks are fine. I can see 110+ scores almost every week from all three so it’s really up to you mate..

    although for next GW I probably prefer Rocky just because Murphy might get some attention from Barlow

  • Wondering if this will work?
    Thinking of trading Nank out and playing Preuss as R2. Am i able to wait unitl after North Melbournes game friday night before i make the decsion? Worst case i play Pruess on the bench BUT chuck the E on him and if Pruess drops a 100 ill just downgrade Nank to a 150k ruck and upgrade a premo else where in my team???

  • Who needs to go – O’Meara or Roughead?

    • O’Meara atm based on worse form, but there is the possibility that he could find form at any stage. But at this point, JOM in my opinion.

    • O’Meara – you get in a MID, which rakes in more points and accumulates value faster than a FWD (for trading out Roughy)

      Also, O’Meara is not playing a fantasy friendly game at the moment. 30 handballs/6 kicks for 89 points output is not easily changeable within a week to 20 kicks + 16 handballs – that game style will take longer to remedy.

      Meanwhile Roughy is currently getting you marginally better scores without kicking big bags, yet as a FWD he could easily boot 4-5 goals in a game, and suddenly get a 120+ score. That sort of game would ‘reset’ his break-even down to keep him as a cash cow for a few weeks longer.

  • Hi guys, am about 10k short of being able to get JOM or roughead up to an uber premium without selling off one of my good cash cows that will still make me money, which I’m not yet prepared to do, so what are your thoughts on these trades?:

    Eddy > Balic, Stewart > Williamson (gives me 93k to then downgrade taranto next week and go to an uber premo)

    OR

    Stewart > Williamson, JOM > Swallow/ANB (gives me not as much cash)

    Any thoughts would be awesome thanks!!

    • If you can’t get to a premium in your weekly trading, double downgrade.

      Getting out two under-performing cash generators (like JOM as you suggest), and generating cash allows you to get in the premiums in subsequent weeks on a easier budget – assuming that your cash generation is at a higher rate than the rises in values of the premiums you wanted in that time.

  • Anyone ballsy enoguh to start Preuss ahead of Nankervis?

    • I have

      I don’t think its ballsy. Nank is going up against Stef who should kill him.
      Preuss is against a nobody. The only risk is if goldy plays a bigger ruck role.

      • Agreed.

        And if you have Gawn, don’t make your trades before Friday. Put an E on Preussy on the bench, and see what happens.

  • Thoughts on this trade in my draft league?

    I get rid of heppell, macrae, shiel and billings
    I recieve Gaff Touk Miller and matt wright?
    This would mean that I would have to field brad crouch or sam gibson due to losing an extra mid.

    Anyone’s thoughts would be appreciated. Thank You!

  • You talked about the players I’m hotly debating, mate, but in the wrong combination! The choice I have to make is between Murphy and ANB. I can get either of them (Murph in my midfield for O’Meara or ANB in the forwardline for Taranto), and based on the BEs it looks like I’ll only be able to get one …

    So, who do you reckon?

  • mmmm damn slow internet.

  • Here’s a doosey for you fine gentlemen.

    Do I bring in JAYDEN HUNT and pocket 53K (whilst putting The Hybrid (Preuss) in Ruck while Ryder sits for a week before I downgrade him to a rookie) OR….

    Do I bring in Christian Salem and only pocket $3K (but still have thr Ryder downgrade cash coming in next week)?

    My first trade was David Swallow for JO’M. Low BE’s, 80+ scores almost guarenteed, Preussy giving Goldy a clinic in how to ruck, can’t see Goldy getting another look in, he’s been ordinary for over a year now. By the bye rounds I plan to have over $1M to inject into my team. SALEM has 6% ownership whilst HUNT has 3%. And I notice SALEM is named on the bench this week while HUNT is in the back pocket. But I still feel SALEM has more consistency. Although HUNT has more room to make money (HUNT has 79 between his BE and AVG, SALEM has 65 between his BE and his AVG).

    Does anyone have a suggestion or recommend someone else if you think it would be better. By the way, I’m very rich, money is not an option but I want most if not all my players making money and posting scores that represent their ppsition (DEF: 80+ MID: 100+ FWD 90+ RUCK: 95+).

    Cheers lads!!

  • Which two players will make me the most money:
    Parsons/Balic/Burton/SPP
    Going for cash generation here