First week of finals complete! While there have been more blow-outs in the AFL lately than in Sandilands’ shoe rack, our DT finals match-ups were much closer. Looking around the grounds, about 40 points was a typical margin this week, which means the games are going right down to the wire!
2250 was about par for the week, while 2300 would have placed you in the top 8000 for Round 21.
Tbetta Than You vs Calvinator
This week in the All-Stars league I came up against none other than the Calvinator. I was slightly advantaged from the start, knowing who his Captain would be (obviously) and how many trades he had left (just 1). But he has a team full of uniques, which scared the hell out of me.
Here is the match-up, with only our uniques shown. As you can see, his midfield is highly unique, and Stevie J and Enright against the Crows was very dangerous for me.
In the end, I won 2305 to 2251 in the battle of 6th vs 7th, thanks mostly to Nick Lower. This puts me up against Chook’s Merv Gray Autos in Round 22, who was just pipped by destROY. The winner will then proceed to the Prelim’s to play Nick Maxwell’s stjoesonslaught – big couple of weeks ahead!
The big issue leading into Round 21 was the Rucks. Cox was sore, Zmith was tired, and Petrie had the bye. At one stage it looked like some ruck lines would have consisted of Lobbe and a donut!
Luckily, Cox didn’t pull up too stiff (yeah, I meant that) and Zmith was strangely not given the rest he was touted for. But it still left most of us with a big dilemma – do we play Zmith, or Lobbe, or trade? With the help of hindsight, let’s see who passed and who failed.
Matthew Leuenberger ($338,500) A+
The lucky coaches who had enough money to get to him were rewarded with a massive 140 this week. He was coming off a great month of footy where he hadn’t scored under 90 – a good call, smart call.
Darren Jolly ($295,500) A
How consistent is this guy? He had a last two leading in of 99 and 99 and this week scored…. 99! He was the only classy option beneath 330k, good trade.
Aaron Sandilands ($379,500) B+
Those who kept the Fremantle giant would have been smiling given his reported return and the demise of ruck stocks over the week leading into Round 21. They would still be smiling, given the Docker scored 95 in his first game back.
Ben McEvoy ($359,100) B
The most-traded in ruckman this week was the Big Mac, and for good reason. He has been the in-form ruckman of the competition, averaging almost 104 in his last 9. His 97 on Friday night wasn’t the ton his coaches were looking for, but we have to remember it was against the Pies.
Zac Clarke ($288,600) B
With both Sandi and Griffin injured, the Afro Samurai look-alike had been in some great form, scoring in the nineties three weeks in a row. Most thought that his scoring would decline with Sandi back, but he still managed an 87 in less ruck time. Good result.
Mattew Lobbe (214,900) C+
His 71 isn’t quite acceptable for finals, but it was a great result if you held a trade for the return of Petrie. He couldn’t have done much better against a dominant Hawks.
Shane Mumford ($339,300) D
79 was all the Swans ruckman could manage against the almost-ruckless Richmond. He was going at an average of 101 over his last four, which included much classier outfits than the Tigers.
Zac Smith ($261,600) F
He’s been so good all year, but 34 is unacceptable at the business end of the season. I’ll talk more about him later, but I really hope you didn’t play the youngster.
I have a serious bone to pick with some of our premiums and their attitude over the first week of finals. They just don’t seem to grasp the importance of finals, the consistency, desire and mark-kick combos required… But the worst thing is when they call it a day early! There were a few noticeable fade-outs over the course of Round 21, which is a worrying trend.
Greg Broughton started the game on fire, top scoring with 33 at the quarter and was up there with 55 at half time. He finished on 71. What happened? The back-pocket happened – unfortunately I think he’s back to his old ways.
Jed Adcock was the same, earning a huge 43 to quarter time in the QClash. I didn’t watch the game, so I’m not sure whether the Suns tagged him after that, but he only managed another 31 points for the entire game, to bring him to 74. Which against the Suns, is not good enough.
Then we even had Sam Mitchell, who finished with 128, but had 95 to half-time. A respectable score, but it could have been so much better!
It’s funny how our expectations change as we watch the game unfold. I followed the live scoring for the Hawks-Port clash, and was disgusted to see Birchall on 24 at half-time. Many expletives and possible voodoo doll abuse followed, and I told myself if he got to 70 I’d be happy. But Birch came out and junked it like no other in the 2nd half, ending on an even ton.
This meant I was, unfairly, happier with Birchall’s performance than Mitchell’s. Only in Dream Team, huh?
I think we’ve all noticed that at this stage of the year, it your unique players that make the difference. Whether it’s in a tight finals match-up, or you’re pushing for the SJ, only your points-of-difference will get you there. It doesn’t really matter if Goddard, or Cox, or Gibbs, or Franklin has an off game, because everyone has them. So, by definition, the Breakers will be made up of a few unique players that performed well in Round 21.
Brent Stanton has come a long way since Booinggate, to become once of Essendon’s most consistent performers. In fact, in DT terms, he hasn’t scored under 93 in his last 9 matches. He’s coming off some red-hot immediate form as well – he’s ticking 140 over his last 3. A great unique midfield pick, especially as a replacement for the injured Watson mid-way through the year.
Cyril Rioli has teased a lot of coaches this year, so it’s great to see some return for the faith. Soft-tissue injuries and the odd stinker was a perfect reason to offload the Hawthorn speedster, especially when Clarkson flagged the possibility of restricting his midfield time. But when you’re playing the competition’s worst team, that doesn’t really matter… Cyril went out and smashed the game apart; kicking a career-high 6 goals and 12 tackles from only 16 possessions. An exciting unique option at his bargain price of $331,400, especially given the Hawks’ run home.
I touched on the Lion giant earlier, so I won’t say too much, except that having Leuenberger in your side this week would have gained you at least 40 points on your opponent. A Maker if there ever was one.
Was there ever any doubt that Michael Barlow would return like he has? The (DT) messiah took a little longer than 3 days to do it, but so what? Not including the game he was sub, he hasn’t scored below 98, while averaging 105.2 over those 5 games – coming off a snapped leg! Imagine what he could do after a full-preseason next year… He had 32 disposals and a goal for his 117 this week – if you need that point-of-difference in your mids this week for a Bartel or a Selwood, you could do a lot worse than the Messiah at 385k.
It’s exciting when your players know to peak at the right time, which is exactly what Nathan Bock is doing. He has posted 4 tons this year, and 3 of them have occurred in the last 3 weeks! The reason for his peak in scoring is his increase in exposure – he has averaged 7 more disposals and 2 marks over the last 3 weeks. This culminated in his 27 touches and 9 marks opposed to Clark in the QClash at the weekend. He must be a serious consideration for a straight trade with Heppell before his bye.
1. Nick Lower 11
2. Zac Smith 34
3. Heath Scotland 67
4. Travis Cloke 66
5. Stefan Martin 62
Honestly, finding five DT-relevant players to fill up the Breakers this week was difficult. Almost every premium this week exceeded 70, which you can argue is a below-average game, but not a week-killer. Anyway, let’s check them out.
While it was hard to find 5 this week, it certainly wasn’t hard to pencil in top spot. Nick Lower has been in reasonable form over his first year for the Dockers, going at 77 per game for the year, and averaging 90 in his last four leading into Saturday’s match against the Blues. His biggest criticism in fantasy circles has been his inconsistency, and his 11 points in Round 21 did nothing to quell the talk. He was subbed off at 3Q time, with just 4 touches to his name. Bench or trade – you can’t be all Katy Perry in the finals.
I noticed that fantasy mogul m0nty has created a new fanfooty icon this week – a little brick wall, which is awarded to a rookie who battled hard all year but seems to have ‘hit the wall’. Get it? That was obviously created with Zac Smith in mind, who makes back-to-back appearances in the Breakers. He was ear-marked for a rest by coach Bluey McKenna, but was interestingly left in the side for the QClash, which I’m sure he now regrets. The youngster had only 8 touches and 15 hitouts for his 34 points – I’d be very surprised if he isn’t rested this week.
Heath Scotland scored 67 this week, which means he went from a career-high (148) last week to a season-low this week. He was in the top 12 traded-in players this week, despite his Round 23 bye, which makes him a big Breaker for some. He was well-held by stopper Ryan Crowley, especially in the first quarter, where he earned an incredible -1.
Travis Cloke has had worse games, but he’s also had much better. St. Kilda are a lock-down team, with a benchmark backline, so it wasn’t surprising. He still marked well, but the Saints completely cut-off his supply – his 7 kicks is the lowest all season. Expect a much better game against the Brisbane Lions.
He was averaging 89 after Round 18’s clash with the Hawks, but Stefan Martin hasn’t topped 66 points in a game since. We were all suspect about whether the pinch-hitting ruckman would return to the land of mediocre with Jamar’s return, but it wasn’t the case – it’s been Melbourne’s terrible form that has crippled his scoring of late. When your team’s average losing margin over the last three games is 103 points, it’s very hard to achieve that in Dream Team. The Dees have 3 easy games on the run home in Richmond, Gold Coast and Port, so don’t panic if you have him.
Semi-finals are upon us now. It’s all make or break from here on in, so get your best outfit on the park! The most popular trades this week will concern Geelong players, but don’t be too hasty, give it a think. Popular emergencies Mzungu (105) and Isaac Smith (115) have had a couple of great weeks and are scoring better than most our premiums – consider playing them and saving a trade.
Looking at next week’s games, there should be a lot more close affairs. Carlton play Hawthorn on Friday night in a battle of the possession-hoggers. Expect the scoring to come from the winning team in that one. Collingwood against Brisbane spells trouble for Lions players, but means the Pies should have a(nother) day out. The other interesting clash is Sydney vs St. Kilda – both are lockdown, defensive units, so don’t expect too many points out of that game.
As usual, good luck!
Until next week.
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