- The Loophole – Success!
Finally, a loophole that works! Gone are the days where you are forced to choose between a 106 from Gibbs and the salivating option of putting the big C on Swan or Ablett… One year on, Gibbs is that little bit older, wiser and sluttier, posting 147 – which was not only game-high, but topped the dream team scoring for the league in Round 1. He was the main VC option in the first partial lockout of the season, which left many coaches with smiles on their faces and the luxury of not having to make the call on Swan.
Other popular options in Murphy (127) and Judd (97) weren’t very appealing – Murphy for the difficult decision you’d be forced to make, and Judd for the average score. Deledio was never an option with only 74 in a tag-affected performance. Swan finished with 137, so if your Loophole option blew it, you were still a happy camper.
- Tag – You’re It.
The dreaded tag was back in a big way to shake up Dream Teams in the first round of 2011. Round 1 tags are always the hardest to predict – no one tags in the NAB Cup, so you can never be sure who will cop the human glove. This week Deledio, Yarran (21), Didak (67), Griffen (75), and Harvey (57) are a few DT-relevant players who suffered the tag. Many cop them, few handle them. ‘Tag’ will continue to be a dirty word in fantasy circles this year.
The sub-rule has played a bigger role in Round 1 scoring than a lot of coaches predicted or were prepared for. I think everyone was thinking that premiums were ‘off-limits’ but that’s not what we’ve seen so far; Connors (21) started as a sub for Richmond and swapped with Foley (24) in possibly the most devastating sub this round. Djerruka (28) and the Sherminator (20) could have been costly to coaches who took a punt on the mid-priced doggies. Krakouer’s score was also affected as a late-game sub-off, but still finished with a price-fattening 96 points. In saying that, most subs were used to cover injuries in a mostly-successful (see Brisbane’s premature use of the sub only to sustain multiple injuries, decimating their bench) debut for the newest rule in the AFL. I see a common theme – most clubs seem to be following a pattern of waiting for an injury to occur, and in the event it doesn’t, subbing off a player nearing 3 quarter time. The only team to really butcher that blueprint was Sydney, who had Seaby still on the pine starting the last term. It may have cost them 2 premiership points, with a running player surely more effective in the latter stages of a close contest. But more importantly it may have cost some coaches a league win if they elected to go with the underpriced big man, who ended up producing 24 points.
- Young Talent Time
Fantasy coaches were scratching their heads a week out from the season opener wondering which rookies they’d have in their team – but Thursday’s teams proved that beggars can, in fact, be choosers. Buckley or Duigan? Irons or Conca? Atley or Libba? Tapscott or Darling? Many tough choices were the product of a few selection surprises and the mature-age trend, giving some much needed uniqueness to teams. And on the other side of Round 1 coaches would have to be happy with the way the youngsters performed. Curnow was surprisingly the pick of the bunch with 107, with honourable mentions to Pedersen (97) and Lower (98).
- Duds and Studs
My least favourite part of the week is dwelling over the players that let your team down, but I am always buoyed by the juicy trade options still on the market. Here’s my top five for the week:
- Gibbs 147
- Cox 142
- R. Tarrant 106
- Rioli 100
- Stanton 138
Gibbs gets a big tick from me, locking in that huge 294 as (effectively) Captain. Cox was someone who I couldn’t overlook and was rewarded with a big score, albeit against the ruck-less Roos. Robbie Tarrant could have been the difference for those who took a risk on him over Otten. Rioli was one of the only forwards to top the ton this week, and he did so without kicking a goal. Stanton rounds out the five with a characteristically slutty performance. But as good as it was if you had these dream team guns, there is always those nightmare performances – here’s my top five duds:
- J. Selwood 27
- Yarran 21
- Brown 55
- Adcock 53
- Harvey 57
Selwood was the most devastating blow for those who had him this week. He was on 27 before quarter before he was KO’d in an unlucky collision with Ray’s hip (on a side note, if he gets any weeks for that, there’s something wrong with the game). And if, like me, you were tossing up between him and Bartel, you’d be even more sour. Yarran showed promise all pre-season in his new rebound role, which apparently Hardwick noticed and tagged accordingly. He looked disinterested at times, will be interesting to see what other coaches do with him over the next few weeks. Brown was most devastating more because he will be out for weeks rather than playing poorly – in fact he was playing quite well until he got ‘McVeighed’ by McPharlin. Adcock was disappointing not only because of his sub-par score, but because it looks like it could become a regularity. And finally Harvey, who some picked as a handy DPP, playing a quiet role in the narrow loss against the Eagles due to, you guessed it, a tough tag.
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