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The Third Way

In my first year of Dream Team last year I wasn’t able to field a side until round 7. As such, I was quite confident that I had bugger all chance of winning my public league, let alone crack 2,000 on a regular basis. Well, it turned out I was right on both counts.

In my first year of Dream Team last year I wasn’t able to field a side until round 7. As such, I was quite confident that I had bugger all chance of winning my public league, let alone crack 2,000 on a regular basis. Well, it turned out I was right on both counts.

One point that I took from last season’s failure was that I knew which players in great DT form, but because they were in such great form, most had risen above my budget. Plus, the lack of quality entry-price rookies meant I never had the cash to upgrade those players I chose to the uber-premiums found in all successful teams.

To prevent this debacle repeating in 2011, I immersed myself in all things DT as soon as the final siren had blown after last year’s grand final. Like most others, I’ve read blogs, participated in forums, subscribed to podcasts, strategised and forecast my trading scenarios. Christ, I even paid for the Assistant Coach! With all this information at hand, I was confident that the sky was the limit and I would easily crack 2,000 in Round 1.

Well, the more things change the more they stay the same. I punched out 1990, missing my very first yardstick thanks primarily to Yarran’s uninspiring start, but helped by some very poor premium contributions.

That got me thinking. When I created my team in 2010, I was able to identify those players who were firing but was unable to afford enough to give me competitive scores. Conversely, this year my budget allowed me any number of elite players, but I did not have the comfort of knowing who – preseason form aside – would fire. To me, it was obvious that top-tier DTers were not only master managers who knew precisely who to trade and when, but also prescient in their initial team selections, picking only those premiums and rookies who performed consistently throughout the year.

So I thought. And thought. Having experienced – and not quite succeeded with – both selection extremes in my two years of DT perhaps there was another path to success. To test this theory, I politely asked my partner to create her own team prior to Round 3 lockout. She did – she’s good like that – and with a little help from me, she put together THE THIRD WAY.

THE THIRD WAY is a team filled with only those players who have performed in the first 2 rounds of the season. It combines in-form guns with obese cashcows and a sprinkling of midpricers, sadly waiting for underperforming premiums to take their places after a few handy price drops. No Foleys, no Yarrans and, most importantly, no Everitts. No price drops from anyone but my keepers.

I will track the progress of THE THIRD WAY against MEZZOCULI – my painstakingly crafted yet frustratingly flawed ‘first’ team – for the entire season. Factors such as trading strategies and bye plans will be consistent across both teams, meaning only their respective starting times and compositions differ (although MEZZOCULI will have two fewer trades – I had to welcome Tapscott and Curnow into the family). I might even knock up a fancy spreadsheet if people are interested.

So, what are everyone’s thoughts? Will THE THIRD WAY’s strategy of selecting only ‘proven’ DT performers negate its late start to the season? Will THE THIRD WAY post consistently better scores than MEZZOCULI? Will it end up with a higher net value? Can THE THIRD WAY beat the 13 ‘celebrity’ Dream Teamers head-to-head? And, most importantly, which of your teams will it knock off by the end of the season…?

– Mezzoculo

DT Talk - covering AFL Fantasy and other games since 2007.



  1. Avatar


    April 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    None. You’re 4000+ points behind.

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      April 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      If the team can pick up 250 extra points per game it will catch up by round 18 and then start to overtake.

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        April 9, 2011 at 10:01 am

        It wont, almost can say with confidence can’t over the teams that had these players from the start.

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    DT Tragic

    April 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Did this exact thing in my DT debut last year, second team R2, third team R3 & final team R6 (I have lots of kids)
    Tried different stategies with each one of them and had a bit of fun.
    My R3 team was similar to what you’re taking about and had the best result but it will not get you anywhere near the top because the best teams already have the guns and cash cows.

    My second year is a lot better but my one and only mistake was thinking Swanny could never keep up his scores from last year and thinking I was gonna save some coin!! Doh! He came into my team this week.

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      April 9, 2011 at 12:08 am

      I guess I’m more interested how this team does against ‘my’ team than overall. Its a bit like that craptacular movie ‘Sliding Door’ – you know, that “what if I’d chosen these exact players prior to round 1” moment that every DT coach has? I’ guessing that with the advantage this team has in player selection, it should be able to post a pretty competitive average score (excluding the first few donuts, of course).

      Plus I will get to have a laugh at any of my mates whose teams are overtaken by this one ;)

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    April 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Yes, I tried it too a few years back, but you have to avoid picking players who are performing well due to an easy early draw. I ended up with a couple of duds who peaked in ROund 2, gained a bit of value then got dropped.

    Players like Warnock, Dawes and Suckling are likely to drop off when they meet stronger sides.

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      April 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm

      That’s right, but I’m hoping to have milked those three midpricers for all they are worth before then. Dawes and Warnock have already passed their break even for the round and will be upgraded before their first bye while Suckling is warming Goddard’s seat. All of the midpricers will have done their job – that’s a pretty good conversion rate!

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    April 9, 2011 at 1:11 am

    I’ve only just entered my team as well, however I’m going for another strategy. That is to be a weekly prize winner. Everyone seems to talk about either winning the car or winning their league, and nobody seems to care about the $500 (or even $2500) you could win from a weekly prize. It’s more than the person finishing the whole comp in 2nd place is going to win (unless they also get a weekly prize along the way)…

    So my team has 10 high performing guns, 23 rookie priced players (that are playing) and $1.8 million in the bank.

    The plan is to upgrade without having to make too many downgrades, by trading out rookies once they’ve increased in price and supplementing the upgrades with cash in the bank, rather than burning extra trades in downgrades.

    Theoretically, I need to only make 12 trades and can supplement each rookie’s price increase with a further $150,000 per player. So if a $100k rookie goes up in value to $250k, then I can use 1 trade only to turn him into a $400k gun. Any rookie that turns into a keeper is obviously a massive bonus, but of course, not all rookies will manage enough of an increase and there are still injuries and byes to worry about – so I can use my other 12 trades for a few downgrades and to get players to cover for byes and the unexpected.

    Hopefully my team will be ready to make a play for the weekly prize from round 14 or 15 onwards. Until that time, I frankly don’t care what my point total is – it’s all about making money to strengthen the team.

    It’s the first time I’m trying this – so let’s see how it goes!!

    • Avatar

      Alex's All Stars

      April 9, 2011 at 6:33 am

      Interesting move, I remember reading that someone else was doing something similar…

      However, the question is about when you’re going to make all of these trades and who to?

      For example, wouldn’t you be more inclined to pick up J Riewoldt and J Selwood in the next couple of rounds when their prices have dropped to the lowest they will be?

      The money you have remaining in the bank is heaps, and is it okay sitting there of would it be better of maturing with a player who’s going to increase in price for you? I’m sure you’ve done a lot of thinking into this but I just thought I’d put my ideas forward.

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        April 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

        I’ll start upgrading as once I can use a rookie+ no more than $150k of the money I have in the bank to get a gun. Obviously, like all other years, I’ll be waiting for my rookies to mature and to grab guns (like Riewoldt and Selwood) when they’re at their lowest price. The difference is that normally, in order to get one 400k player, you’d have to get 2 rookies who are now valued at $250k each and trade both – one to a new $100k rookie and the other to a $400k gun. With my strategy, I won’t need to downgrade with my upgrades, so I save on trades. The other downgrades have essentially all been completed before I entered the comp. Money in the bank is only wasted if I’m trying to get a good score every week from the start – which I’m obviously not.

        Anway, in case you’re interested, this is my team:

        B. Gibbs, C. Enright, B. Deledio, D. Heppell, J. O’Brien, S. Tape, A. Otten, N. Lower, N. Duigan, D. Stanley

        D. Swan, A. Embley, S. Pendelbury, T. Liberatore, S. Savage, D. Harris, E. Curnow, J. Irons, T. McKenzie

        D. Cox, Z. Smith, T. Vickery, B. McCauley

        C. Dawes, R. O’Keefe, S. Johnson, L. Tapscott, A. Krakouer, S. McKernan, B. Matera, J. Darling, C. Richardson, A. Johnson

        • Avatar


          April 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

          Dunno how it works this year – are u in a league with others who got on in round 2? Don’t do it next year because if the comp starts in rd 3 again I don’t like that it makes your league lopsided. anyone who plays you in early rounds will have easy wins + percentage, the later ones go up against an unfairly put together team and suffers. Most of us play for league wins even if we dream that we actually might get it more right than 300 000 others just once and get a car.

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      April 9, 2011 at 6:39 am

      Don’t mind your plan strife. Thinking outside the cave got us ummm, outside of the cave.

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    April 9, 2011 at 1:38 am

    dont like this sort of thing.. you make your team, you make mistakes, and you live with it..

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      Jam Doughnut

      April 9, 2011 at 2:05 am

      totally agreed. they need to stop this whole late entry rubbish its just for people who dont have the balls to play on a level playing field

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        April 9, 2011 at 4:46 am

        I agree it’s not nearly as fun but as for stopping late entries, that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. It allows people who missed out to get into DT and maybe play properly next season. Get back in your box fuckface

        • Avatar

          Jam Doughnut

          April 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm

          you are THE biggest and most over the top douche bag ive seen on the forum in a long time.

          theres a big difference between starting late to win a prize using an advantage, and starting late because u hadnt played dt before, your stupidity is moronicly ridiculous.

          its an unfair advantage, its cheating, and they shouldnt be eligible for prizes. a couple of mates in leagues did this a year or two ago and boy did we get shitty at them. its just not got good sportsmanship.

          • Avatar


            April 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

            I’m playing this game completely within the rules set out. Sure I’m using them to my advantage, but then so is everyone who upgrades their plaers through “cash cows”. Just because most people play this way doesn’t mean that this is also not using the rules to your advantage.

            And rather than accuse me and your other mates who do this of “cheating” – there is absolutely nothing stopping you from adopting the same (or a similar) strategy.

            So given that I’m playing within the rules set out and that every other player could potentially do the same thing, how exactly is it “cheating”??

          • Avatar

            Jam Doughnut

            April 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

            your whole thought process is ridiculous.

            you are simply borrowing the strategy of starting with a large bank and combining it with picking all your players from those who are performing. it is a massive advantage over everyone else and i find you trying to justify your sick idea that it is somehow fair an insult to everyone else. if the majority didnt think it was a dog act then why wouldnt we all enter our teams late, most people know of the advantage they just choose not to abuse the rules.

            and to say that not many people are going after the weekly prizes is very narrow minded. there has been huge discussion this year about it with the multi team byes since loads of people are loading up with teams that will be killing it during these rounds. this is the year of the weekly prize specific teams.

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            April 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm

            Complain all you like…I’m working completely within the rules and there’s nothing you can do about it.

            Suck it in, chump…

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        April 9, 2011 at 8:16 am

        I’m not a big fan either, you want to make money get a job or play poker.

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          April 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

          I find playing poker and making money to be mutually exclusive.

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      April 9, 2011 at 9:16 am

      I don’t see a problem with it…you’re not competing against them in your league, and if you can’t beat them in overall ranking after a 2 round lead, then you deserve to get beaten.

      Its all about the learning process…sometimes its better to start again rather than persist with a solution which is unworkable. Just don’t make the same mistakes again…for the remainder of this season and then on. People sometimes have short memories how badly they screwed up the previous year…my trading is a perfect example!

      Have fun learning with your new team Mezzo!

      • Avatar


        April 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

        You say some very valid points, which I agree with totally.

        Im focusing on a different point though. If a team is created end of round two, solely with the purpose of winning a round later on in the year and for no other reason than that, then “The third Way” is an unfair edge for them, over regular punters, and means the research undertaken is trumped by a sly move.

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      flying high

      April 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      The obvious rule to include would be that your ineligible to win a weekly prize unless your team was entered in the first week!!! Hopefully we can get them to include this next year

      • Warnie


        April 9, 2011 at 1:38 pm

        Won’t happen. Sponsors want as many people to enter the comp… and they need a chance for some success!

        • Avatar


          April 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm

          If you really want to stop it, then why not get rid of the 3 game rule before the price change? And have price changes after every single score. That would stop any perceived advantage of waiting till round 3 to enter a team.

          But of course nobody’s suggesting this because they want to continue to be able to trade out their mistakes without any penalty and of course don’t want the loop-holes they use to disappear…

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    April 9, 2011 at 2:06 am

    The team you’ve put up has all but 6 of the same players as mine anyway, i just have a few more GC rookies on my bench. Having 1.8 mil in the back would be nice though becuase i’d say we’ll end up making similar trades so as far as going for the weekly win it’s still gunna take some luck because i’m only finishing around 200th and other side have some of your cow that i dont. So I hope your not relying on the cash. ;D

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      April 9, 2011 at 2:09 am

      sorry just checked im 302

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    April 9, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Hey Mezzoculi, nice article. Thought you were pretty unlucky in round 1. You had me covered until Adam Goodes’s (second half) and Brent Harvey stunk it up. :)

    I’m only in my 3rd year myself and it seems what you’ve done isn’t uncommon. I’ve also made an experimental team pre-round 3 full of fat cows and performing premiums. Will be interesting to see if it can come close to any round wins and eventually catch up to my main team in overall rank.

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      April 9, 2011 at 8:19 am

      You’re only allowed one team, to stop people doing this. You meant to say your relative/friend has an experimental team.

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      April 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

      Ha, Harvey did burn me in Round 1! He won’t be doing that again…

  8. Avatar

    Alex's All Stars

    April 9, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Hey Mezzoculo, great article mate.

    Sounds like your missus has a great team, it’ll be interesting to see how she makes her trades ;-)

    I think focusing on just one side is much easier though. It’s nice to see that your midfield players you have named are all the same that I have playing this week in my midfield – spewing about Krakouer and Murphy… I made the mistake of getting sucked into all the forums and playing Krakouer over Curnow too… 52 reasons to be hating that move!

    Personally I wouldn’t have picked Otten, I would have had Heppell in the Defence to replace Otten and Bewick in the midfield on the bench to replace Heppell’s move to defence.

    I did that with my team and it’s working well. Ok DPP moves seem to be the big fad at the moment, but if you’ve got the right rookies covering you on the bench you don’t need to worry about DPP’s. It’s worked so far, I’m currently sitting at 118th on overall ranks but after a few poor choices already I’m sure to be pushed back along the rankings quite a bit at the end of this week…

    Good luck with it!

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      April 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

      Cheers Alex.

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    April 9, 2011 at 9:11 am

    “THE THIRD WAY is a team filled with only those players who have performed in the first 2 rounds of the season.”

    So how did Boyd and Franklin get in?

    • Avatar


      April 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

      Very true, Virgil!

      I figured that they’ll both end up in the teams by season’s end (like Goddard) but are expected to rip it up this weekend (unlike Goddard).

  10. Avatar


    April 9, 2011 at 10:09 am

    No Goddard. No Sandilands.


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      April 9, 2011 at 10:10 am

      Or shall i say, WILL FAIL

  11. Avatar


    April 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Do you happen to be a Bon Jovi suppourter Mozu?

    “The More Things Change” ?

  12. Avatar


    April 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the comments, folks.

    Just to be clear, I am not abandoning Mezzoculi – I’m actually quite happy with it and it will remain ‘my’ team for the season. Also, The Third Way wasn’t created to ‘win’ anything – well unless you count hoping to finish with a higher overall ranking than a few loudmouthed mates of mine who have been playing Dream Team for six or so years.

    In a nutshell, The Third Way is basically MY (girlfriend’s) optimal starting team. Everything I’ve read indicates that initial team selection is one of the most critical aspects of DT (trading being another). Nailing the best starting team puts you ahead of the pack from the start – you score better, have more money in the bank (thanks to your cashcows) and need to burn fewer trades to pick up the ‘right’ guns.

    The Third Way basically removes all those variables associated with initial team selection. By measuring it’s progress against Mezzoculi, I can test how critical initial team selection is (for me). If The Third Way finishes with a higher average score than Mezzoculi then initial team selection is THE critical aspect of MY Dream Team strategy (even moreso if Third Way places higher in overall ranking). However, if Mezzoculi ends the season with a higher round average then initial team selection wasn’t the deciding factor in MY Dream Team strategy – indicating my trading and bench options were more important. This will all help me when I create my team for 2012.

    Anyhoo, thanks again for the feedback everyone!

  13. Avatar


    April 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I tried to make a team with the idea of it being a “Guns’n’rookies, Crit team”.

    The Crit (short for critical hit… a term used in videos games when your avatar hits your opponent fro a massive hit) is doing well…

    The idea of the Crit team is like when the Aussie cricket team where at their recent peak…ie when Warnie, Gilly, and Hayden, etc played…Unlike pre, and post these guys the Aussies didnt have to rely on one or two players to perform each week, and players could have a down week because someon else would pick up the slack….

    Basically if you could choose between 2 players. Both averaging 100, 1 that scores range from 50 to 150, the other 95 to 105..I chose the 50 to 150..The hope being that as long as half the premiums score at their best the other half can be spuds that week..

    There is the chance they could all spud at the same time…but also a chance they all Crit in the same week…

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    April 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    How do you get those green ticks to appear next to the names? Did you put them in manually?

    I am seeing bandaids in my Team screen for injured players, but not the green ticks? It would be useful to scan across the ticks to make sure I don’t have any doughnuts, such as when a player has a bye.

    • Avatar


      April 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      They are new and automatic once teams are released (Thursday? or Friday)

      • Avatar


        April 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm

        Thanks – I’ll check it out this week.

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