Welcome to the latest edition of the Bullets! Nab 3 was a hard week to define, in many different ways. Firstly, we had the DT equivalent of a bulimic episode over the weekend – multiple games on the Friday Night with a Saturday footy binge left us overwhelmed on a lean Sunday.
Secondly, the teams themselves took varying approaches to the 3rd round of the pre-season comp. St. Kilda, Adelaide, Essendon, North and Brisbane unveiled what appeared to be close to their first-choice outfits, while the Bulldogs, Pies, West Coast, Hawks, Blues and Cats each rested several key players.
Rookie-watching was also much tougher at this stage of the Nab Cup, compounded by the fact that a lot of mid-priced options shone. 29-man squads and a gross excess of sub vests make for difficult DTing. As such, all the scores I quote this week will be accompanied by a TOG% stat, so hopefully good scoring potential isn’t lost in the crowd.
That last point really got me thinking. Over the weekend we all bring up Fanfooty (or some other fantasy stats source) and pore over the DT scores. Over the course of the season this is sufficient – after all, all that really matters is their final score, regardless of how they got there. Unfortunately for us, it’s the Nab Cup, and what we’re really looking for are trends, subtle hints and role changes – the stats sheet just doesn’t cut it, especially when players are forced to spend large chunks of time on the pine.
So instead of waiting until Wednesday for Fantasy Freako’s points/minute stats, I decided to arm myself with Excel and nut out projected scores for all the players who featured in Nab 3. The ‘Projected’ scores aim to represent what each player would have totalled in a full home-and-away match. The scores were scaled to reflect the shorter matches and the TOG of each player was normalised based on the regular season competition average (85.7%). So keep in mind that midfielders generally rotate more often while key defenders and forwards tend to stay out there longer. Anyway, the Excel file is here: Nab 3 – Projected Scoring. Players who had low TOG but still scored readily and promising rookie scores are highlighted in yellow, while players that scored well but had a high TOG or disappointing rookies are in red. Feel free to download it and check it out for yourself.
Here are a few players that I noticed scored well, but due to low TOG, hopefully eluded the casual DTer.
Ben McEvoy – 94 projected
At a glance you’d be a little put off the Big Mac with only 35 to his name, especially against a daunting ruck duo in Cox and Naitanui. Don’t stress though, he was subbed out at half time, which was probably a precaution due to the sweltering heat and a worrying collision with teammate Riewoldt. Still strongly consider.
Sam Kerridge – 112 projected
While his projected score is quite generous (as he’s not likely to regularly earn 86% game time) Kerridge’s 44 from 42% TOG was very pleasing in a week full of disappointment from the rookie camp. He was among a handful of Crows who scored freely once being unleashed after half-time, which included cheapies like Callinan (51 from 47%, 116 projected) and Tom Lynch (70 from 48%, 156 projected). Watch closely to see whether he earns Round 1 selection for his handy Mid/Fwd eligibility.
John McCarthy – 156 projected
McCarthy’s 64 appears so-so, but it looks a whole lot better when you consider he only played 44% game time due to being subbed out at the half. You could do a lot worse than the $251k Mid, but playing for Port might ultimately put you off.
Jesse O’Brien – 203 projected
The highest projected score of the week belonged to Lion midfielder O’Brien who earned 13 possessions and bagged 2 goals after being set free at half-time. He ended up with 74 raw DT points in only 39% game time. I’m not sure whether he’s worth taking a risk, but his ability to score is certainly interesting.
Dom Tyson -119 projected and Adam Tomlinson – 96 projected
The Giant draftees have been quiet this pre-season, but both scored well enough to keep themselves on the rookie radar. Tyson collecting 49 DT points before being subbed out at the half, effectively replaced by Tomlinson (started but was subbed out early in Q1) who earned 11 disposals as a defender for 45. In the absence of Shiel, Treloar and Darley, these guys are bolting into contention despite their premium price-tags.
Ryan Griffen – 173 projected
Griffen (in the absence of Boyd the Accumulator) got off to a scintillating start on Sunday before being subbed out just after the main break. 71DT points from 44% TOG came courtesy of 4 free kicks and a couple of goals (which I consider to be bonus points for a Mid). If you’re looking for a point of difference in your midfield, Griffen is quietly putting his hand up.
After Hawthorn’s game style surprised us last year and became the source for reliable DT value, I’ve been looking for the next fantasy-relevant team trend to break through. The Bulldogs’ new playing style, the Hawthornesque possession-hogging game plan, has been the primary reason for a bunch of Bulldog defenders bolting into contention for our teams. Hargrave, Lake and Howard are all firmly on the watchlist.
As I mentioned earlier, each club took a different stance to Nab 3 and so both the actual results and fantasy results are up for interpretation. What we can plainly see, though, is that Hawthorn is still the stingiest side – they dominated the Dees 1586 to 928! Combine that with the fact that over the pre-season they have outscored their opposition by 42%, and I’m spewing that Hawthorn doesn’t have any reliable rookies pushing for a Round 1 spot. (The Bulldogs, as good as they’ve been, and while they’ve scored more total points, only outscore their direct opponents by 21% in comparison).
Along with the Hawks and Bulldogs, I can see the Tigers and Adelaide becoming much more productive in DT terms, with both registering in the top 4 scoring teams over the weekend. Couple that with a rise up the AFL ladder and we could have a good source for DT points, especially with Ellis, Morris, Conca, Webberley, Derickx, Luke Brown, Kerridge, Sloane, Dangerfield and Porps all being players on the radar that could benefit from a big jump in scoring frequency.
I’m going to channel my inner Monday Mark and propose a few trades that I would be making based on the last couple of weeks’ action.
Lachie Neale OUT – Clay Smith IN
As a Monday Mark I’m not even waiting to find out whether Neale’s injury is serious and I’m trading him out for AFL-ready Bulldog Clay Smith. Clay had 76 points in 70% TOG for a projected 116 DT points, and he’s rapidly firming to take out a spot in the Bulldogs best 22. I’ve said it before, but I loved him in pre-draft research and I’m loving him even more now. If you can spare the extra $10k, this is a no-brainer.
James Magner OUT – Anthony Miles IN
Again, for the purposes of this article I’m just going to assume that Magnet’s out for Round 1 – and I’m going to bring in another legitimate ball-magnet in Miles. We all know the story of how Miles dominated the NEAFL, but now he’s finally delivered a big score on the big stage (99 from 82% TOG for a projected 129). Job security is the only issue here, because he’s got the sluttiness part down.
Sam Rowe OUT – Jarrad Redden IN
If you’ve still got Rowe, it’s time to get him out. Like Carlton, he had another poor showing on Saturday with only 24 from 95% game time. Pair that with his 3 points from Nab 2, and it’s bye to Sam and hello to new rucking sensation Redden! The big guy proved that his awesome Nab 2 performance wasn’t a fluke with 82 from 69% TOG and a projected 127. To strengthen his case, Renouf played 27% of the match but was still only projected for 40 DT points. Could Redden have the number 1 ruck spot at Port come Round 1?
Beams/Zaharakis/Robinson OUT – Sidebottom/Martin/Dangerfield IN
With the wealth of DPP’s available in our forward lines, it’s important to pick the right ones. Beams is injured and in doubt for Round 1, Zaharakis was lukewarm on Friday (34 from 61%, projected 60) and Robinson tweaked his back last week.
On the flipside, Sidebottom top-scored for the Pies with 87 (from 82% TOG for a projected total of 113) in an all-round weak effort from Collingwood. Martin absolutely destroyed the Cats and was projected 144 after being subbed out in the final quarter. Dangerfield threatens a break-out with his 2nd-straight pleasing performance with a projected 99 against last year’s Grand Finalists.
Conca OUT – Lake IN
Conca is still suspended and Lake is getting big scores, so Monday Mark is going to save $20k here.Obviously. Lake showed us a little Harris with 73 in 73% game time for a projected 107, racking up plenty of uncontested possession. I have huge reservations on his durability, but you have to risk it for the biscuit as they say. Or risk a loser for the FJ Cruiser… Something like that anyway.
You and I both… I didn’t pay much attention to his first game due to brief exposure, but he played 94% game time on the weekend for only 54 DT points. In his defence, Collingwood were woeful, but he’s certainly not putting a lock on it for me. He’s survived for another week in my team, but only because of his low price and the lack of rookie options in defence.
I swear I’ve seen that noggin around somewhere before… Anyway, it’s been mostly rookies feeling the wrath of my banhammer lately. Treloar and Shiel are the obvious ones, as well as Walsh and Smedts, who haven’t shown me enough to this point. Recent dilemmas include; the identity of my M3 (still unknown) and whether or not I’ll risk it with Sandi after his calf (more like cow) tear.
Mate, you know how to get me worked up don’t you! Masten is the absolute bane of my existence. Ever since I wrote the Deck Of DT article about him, he has done everything he can to try and get himself into my team. I don’t know whether I could risk my whole DT season on such a ridiculous haircut, but it might be a different story for someone else.
Prejudice aside, and looking purely at the numbers, he’s been fantastic. Not only is scoring is right up there (96 from 75% TOG for a projected 137) but he’s actually decided to start hitting targets. Regularly. And my initial concerns about his Job Security seem boyish given that he’s arguably been in the Eagles top 3 performers this pre-season…
Firstly, great display picture Stitchy! Really mixing it up there… Curtly Hampton. Hmmm. After scoring 23 in one of the tri-series matches, he backed it up with 50 from 87% TOG for a projected 62 at the weekend. I’ve never looked at him too seriously, as I have Devon Smith and a fit Treloar ahead of him from the Giants. Even other DPP options like Kerridge, Couch (JS?) and Pfeiffer are better options for mine.
Full Dress Rehearsal
If common sense prevails we should see close to each clubs’ best sides run out for Nab 4 -especially those of West Coast and Adelaide who will play off for prize money and the title of nothing. Aside from inside information, it’s the best opportunity we have to gain a better idea of team’s make-up, and most importantly, the job security of our rookies. If there’s ever a week you put in that extra time for your DT, it’s this weekend.
I’ve also had a few questions regarding the logistics of the partial lockout. For those who don’t know, GWS and Sydney play their Derby/Showdown/Clash as a standalone, a week prior to every other game in Round 1. Yes, there will be a partial lockout during that week, with only Sydney and GWS locked. Every other player is fully manoeuvrable, and subject to unlimited trading. There will also be a second partial lockout between the Carlton-Richmond game on Thursday night and the Hawks-Cats clash on the Friday night.
Some points to take out of this:
# We have to decide on our Giants and Swans before we know any of the other teams. How many is too many? Or not enough? Stay tuned to DTTALK over the coming fortnight for more strategy there.
# We will know the full Richmond, Carlton, Hawthorn and Collingwood sides, including subs, prior to their respective lockouts.
# We won’t know the final squads for the Sunday teams until the death, right before full lockout is in effect. This means we won’t know for sure who’s playing for West Coast, Bulldogs, Port and St. Kilda prior to the secondary lockout. This makes the selection of Koby Stevens, Clay Smith, Wingard, Pfeiffer, Saad, Milera and Ledger even riskier.
Twitter me: @tbetta9