Just a disclaimer – I make no apologies for the length of this article. There is a lot to get through, and I assume if you’re all here, you’re keen for a good read! Enjoy.
Did you survive?
Round 23 and the Preliminary Finals threw in more than a few surprises. Late withdrawals, substitutions and disappointing scores were the flavour of the week. We are starting to see the finals-like intensity most games, and it’s even starting to creep into the more listless games, such as the West Coast vs Brisbane and Essendon vs Port games. As a result, we are seeing the scoring decline with the increased pressure.
If you dodged most of the bad luck this week 2300 was attainable, but overall par was around 2200, which would have had you in the top 15,000 for the round. And of course, the Prelims were all knockout finals, so hopefully you were able to scrape together a win and are still up and running for this week’s Grand Finals!
Just a quick shout-out to Roy and Chook, who did the DT Talk stable proud and won their respective matches in the All-Stars League!
Chook won easily, helped by a unique Nick Riewoldt and a well-oiled forward line and consistency across the board. Maxy was the unlucky victim of Sam Mitchell’s late withdrawal, having no cover, while leaving Lower on his backline bench and fielding a poor effort from Brent Harvey.
Harf (of Harftime SEN fame) has been great all year, but was unlucky to come up against a rampant Roy, who is into yet another Grand Final. Rockliff and Riewoldt were Roy’s uniques who stood up, while Harf was forced to play David Swallow to cover Murphy’s bye.
An all-DT Talk Grand Final? Oooooh Yeaahhh!
Trading in finals is a delicate art. Sometimes trading in the best player is not the best trade – sure, they’ll score the most over a large period of time, but for only one or two matches remaining, it’s a free-for-all. This is where luck comes into it.
As a whole, we Dream Team coaches copped the bad end of the stick with our trades this week. Below is a graphic showing the most popular trade-ins as of lockout.
Not a bad bunch of players… But how did they go?
Excluding the 2nd gamer Tutt, the 10 most traded in players collectively scored, on average, just over 10 points less than their yearly average. Of those players traded in, you would only really be happy with Didak’s continued return to form, and you’d take Cloke’s and Fyfe’s efforts.
The rest were ordinary – let’s hope our research and knowledge pays off with this week’s trades.
There’s Two Types of People
At this stage of the game, you’re one of two coaches. You’re either the coach who’s has a great team, coming up against a weaker opponent, and all you need is for your players to deliver what they have all year – it’s yours to lose.
Or you’re the coach that, when you look player-for-player against this week’s opponent, is a little pessimistic about your chances. You, by no means, are in the favourable position, and you need a few things to go your way.
Let’s call these coaches Captain Vanilla and Captain Courageous.
You just need to hold it together and not choke – so Swan will be your Captain. He shouldn’t be rested or withdrawn due to his visit to Arizona, and he’s a gun, consistent as they get. But you’ve got a trade or two left, who to pick? Who will put up that guaranteed 90? Here’s my top 5:
Note that C.R. stands for Consistency Rating – The lower it is, the more consistent the player this season.
Nat Fyfe C.R = 8.52
The Knyfe is as consistent as they come. He has scored between 90 and 110 in 10 of his last 11 matches – the kid is a robot.
Jack Redden C.R = 9.81
Consistency is what this half of RedRock is all about. He has scored 119, 111, 118, 117 and 113 in his last 5. Notice a pattern?
Marc Murphy C.R = 12.67
He’s been super-consistent all year, why stop now? He hasn’t scored under 86 since Round 3 – that’s a sure thing if there ever was one.
Sam Mitchell C.R = 13.27
Sam has said he’s a certain starter for this week, which means he’s a sure thing for you if you don’t have him! Disappointingly, he ended his 11 game streak of 100+ point games in his last… with a 96. Solid!
Tom Rockliff C.R = 13.55
What’s that? You want consistency with a high ceiling? Rock’s your man! 10 tons on the trot, and still going.
You really need that edge this week… The only way you’ll win is by whipping something special out of the hat. A unique captain is a great start, but you really need to bring in someone who can do that something special. But who?
Gary Ablett C.R = 37.44
He’s the best big-game player in the league. He has a higher ceiling than the Sandilands house, with six 130+ games this year – 2nd most of anyone in the comp!
Drew Petrie C.R = 35.49
The AFL’s best Katy Perry Impersonator has his good and bad days – why not get on and hope he’ll produce that big one? He has 3 scores 51 or lower, but 4 scores of 125 or above.
Steve Johnson C.R = 32.58
The man is incredible when he’s good, but very average when he’s bad. But it’s a big game this week, and no one loves the big stage more – maybe he’ll conjure another 140+ score, which he’s done four times this season
Nathan Van Berlo C.R = 29.93
Ever since Neil Craig went away, Van Berlohousen has come out to play! He’s averaging 125.6 in his last 5, all of them tons! Sneaky of you…
Chris Masten C.R = 37.62
Got barely any moolah left? Consider Mastenbator, who is only $182,100 and coming off a career high 140, meaning he shouldn’t be the sub this week.
I talked last week about how favourable the Hawks run home is. Unfortunately, they didn’t make the most of a good opportunity against the Bulldogs, who had nothing to play for.
From the above graph we can see that the fantasy-relevant Hawks were well beneath what we expected from them this week, based on both individual form and their previous encounter. Collectively, that group of 9 Hawks averages 93.6 for the year. In that massive game in Round 10 this season, they averaged a massive 125.0 – so it is reasonable to expect something between those two in Round 23.
Instead, they only averaged 86.1 as a group, and that’s not even counting the donut that Sam Mitchell’s late withdrawal created.
Fingers crossed they’re back to their best next week against the Suns.
Put simply, Tom Rockliff is a machine. He plays in an average team, in average games, but still managed to kick, mark and tackle his way to huge scores like the 151 he notched this week. He averages 28 touches, 5.8 marks and 5 tackles per game this season – the only player to average 25, 5 and 5 respectively this year. He’s also topped the ton in each of his last 10 games, an amazing streak. Absolute jet.
Andrew Swallow continues to put his hand up to be fantasy relevant, and his 142 this round is a good offering to be considered. He’s a popular unique (excuse the contradiction there) because he can belt out these huge scores, although he is prone to the odd 50 as he served up in Round 20.
If Dean Cox is rested this week, look no further than Sydney colossus Shane Mumford, who is having a bright finish to the year. His 146 last week and 135 most recently makes the man an exciting prospect for this week against the Lions. Yes, they have the Berger, but remember Ben McEvoy two weeks ago? Mumford will smash yet another A-grade ruckman in Sydney’s rampant end of year form.
Ladies and Gentleman, Dayne Beams, for your consideration! Mini-Swanny has smashed it since his return from a leg issue, and is averaging 123 in his last four. With a few key Pies tipped to rest this week, Beams surely won’t be one of them and will reap the rewards.
After a lean month, Paul Puopolo came back in style and was invaluable to coaches forced to play him due to Gibbs or Scotland or both missing with the bye. Career-highs in disposals (27) and marks (10) paved the way for his first-ever DT ton, a nice 129.
1. Cyril Rioli 47
2. Matt Suckling 64
3. Isaac Smith 53
4. Andrew Embley 36
5. Jason Gram 35
Is Cyril Rioli closing in on a ‘Never Again’ berth? He can’t seem to keep fit, with a calf issue forcing him out of the game at the final change with only 47 to his name.
I really hope Matt Suckling isn’t one of those players who lets you down in finals. A few years ago it was Heath Shaw, and we all know what his reputation is like in fantasy circles. It would be a shame if Suckling was seen in the same light so early into his career. 64 points this week following 74 a week earlier – hopefully we see more of his earlier work in Round 24.
Isaac Smith is an enigma I’ll never understand. He performs well in poor conditions (90 against Freo in pouring rain), against the grain of a poor performance by his teammates (95 against North), but then something always pops up and gets in the way of a sure thing. This week it was a knock to his left leg early in the game that culled his score to 53.
Andrew Raines is quickly becoming a tagger to be reckoned with. His recent scalps include Pendlebury (94), Ablett (106) and Dangerfield (50), keeping all of them to well below their averages. He added Andrew Embley to that list, who only scored 36 from just 7 disposals. Who will he go to next week? Is he athletic enough to go to Goodes?
It looked like he was on the improve, but Jason Gram was back to his old ways against the Roos on Saturday night. He was considered a solid trade this week, especially as solid DPP cover with Gibbs/Scotland/Judd/Murphy out then Heppell/Watson/Stanton missing in Round 24. He managed just 35, only able to get it to his penetrating left boot twice for the match.
Forget Girl Friends, it’s all about Grand Finals this week. No Essendon guns, so trade or sub them away, and make your team the best it can be for the final round of 2011.
Remember to get rid of Nick Lower too, who is the first player to do a ‘Sylvia’ and a ‘Judd’ in the same week. Surely that’s a good thing you say? Well, it’s not. He will be rubbed out while smashing out a huge score (116) like Sylvia, and he’ll probably miss the first 3 games of 2012, similar to Judd two years back…. Nick Lower, never again.
This week’s biggest game is obviously the rest-fest between the Pies and Cats for the top of the table clash. Will they care about momentum going into the finals or play it safe?
Carlton and St Kilda also looks to be important – I’m predicting not many points out of a tight battle. And of course, Hawks play the Suns on Saturday, so let’s hope there will be a fantasy smorgasboard there!
As always, good luck.
Until Next week.
P.S. There WILL be a Round 24 edition of the Bullets, with a recap of the finals, a few jovial awards to give out, as well as a sneak peek at the makings of Tbetta Than You’s 2012 mob!