Duck For Cover
What an interesting round of Dream Team. It all started mid-week with the news that Goddard would miss the next two weeks through suspension. Pendlebury’s continued absence then hit the headlines, followed by furious rumours that Buddy would miss with hamstring tightness. Dustin Martin delivered the exclamation point with the revelation that he was sleeping through the next fortnight.
This was superseded by the most influential post-lockout drama that I can remember for a long time. Waters (knee) was a late withdrawal despite little suggestion that he would miss, and Stevie J was held back by motherly Geelong officials. Not to mention that Franklin actually ended up playing to everyone’s surprise, nor that Malceski somehow found a way to get a game.
What a seriously bizarre week – and we haven’t even got to the scoring yet. With the exceptional of Calvin’s Number 2 option Boyd (132), all our Captain options took a break; none of Swan, Ablett, Watson, Stanton, Selwood, Rockliff, Redden, Mitchell, Beams or Sidebottom scored more than 106 points. So with carnage in defence and a lacklustre effort from our premiums, it largely came down to the quality of your backline cover, if any. How did you fare?
Malceski owners should be thanking their lucky stars after being thrown a Hail Mary with the out-of-favour sweeper included at the death. That’s 102 points that many wouldn’t have even bothered to hope for! Wilkes owners were also the big winners this week, with the former Eagle getting to 92 in a surprise routing of the Bombers. Shaw, Ellis and Smedts weren’t far behind, all earning respectable scores in the 70’s. Morris and Bugg both earn pass marks, providing coaches with 60-odd points more than a donut, which is nothing to sneeze at with some serious bottlenecking towards the top of the rankings. Unfortunately, many of us were left picking up the pieces having been tricked into picking Spurr or being unlucky enough to get Darley or Bootsma in a week off.
It’s weeks like these which really set apart the coaches that value job security over those that chase the quick buck. It’s something that will really start to shine through in the run home, where trades are scarce and teams are resting their stars… You’ve been warned.
Makers and Breakers
The longer the season goes on, the better Dean Cox gets. Since Round 5, he’s pushed his average up from 88 a game to a shade over 102, punctuated by a game-saving 148 against the Kangaroos on Saturday. Coxy started the year slowly by his standards, but he’s gradually becoming more comfortable as a key forward (he’s kicked multiple goals in 5 of his last 7 games) and that has allowed him to total large scores with both +12 combos and more than 20 hit-outs a game as a ruckman.
Next up we have a couple of fallen premiums posting huge scores in Round 15. Adam Goodes scored 137 this week and has bottomed-out at $369k, while Priddis notched 141 a month after his market value dipped at $389k. Both will serve as a handy F7 or M6 respectively, and reminds us of the value of snapping up an injury-influenced fallen premium.
Shane Tuck might not have reached the same heights as some of his fellow charges in Round 15, but here in the Bullets we give a lot of respect to sustained form. He doesn’t stand out and he certainly isn’t the most skilled player in the game, but he always manages to find a way to influence the contest. Stuck’s one of those guys who feed on team success, and is invariably lifted up by those around him – having Cotchin, Deledio, Martin and Grigg around him full time is really paying dividends to his DT coaches. He’s averaged 120.5 points a game since Round 10, second only to Swanny. Good company.
Everyone has him (I can’t imagine how suicidal I’d feel if I missed this train…), but that doesn’t make the feats of Dayne Zorko any less impressive. I mention him every week, so here are the pure stats without any poetic license exaggerating his worth; He’s now the 6th highest averaging forward (which includes his subbed 26), he’s more expensive at $425,700 than Dangerfield, Martin, Goodes and Fyfe, and he’s averaging 117.3 in his last 4 games – 4th in the competition. Absolute gun.
With Pendlebury stranded on the sidelines for yet another week, many coaches were forced to call in their M7 to active duty. I just hope it wasn’t Magner who got the promotion for you… The Magnet had his poles reversed and repelled the ball for a few quarters before the Neeld threw in the towel, leaving him frozen on 13 points. If you kept him, I hope it wasn’t for reliable cover.
With Brogan out, Giles was supposed to wax out a 70+ as the dominant ruckman, no problem. Instead, he was taught a lesson by two back-up ruckmen essentially, and earned just the 48 points; almost half of which came from hit-outs alone. With the 2nd ruck slot fast becoming a point of difference between many complete teams, Giles’ form will be thrust under the microscope even further in the run home.
Greg Broughton must be highly rated at Fremantle internally, because they seem to covet his versatility. He has yet again been thrust into a new role, and yes, it’s one that doesn’t do his DT potential justice. He’s been playing the defensive forward role for a few weeks now, which may have something to do with De Boer’s maturation as a midfielder. Either way, it’s killing his DT output, notching 57, 75 and now 59 in this newfound position.
If he keeps this going, Treloar’s going to forge a reputation as one of those inconsistent types. He’s averaging 71.9 this season, which is by no means terrible in a team that is, but he’s cancelled out some solid totals with scores like 21 and this week’s 39.
Unfortunately, with the way things turned out this week, Waters has earned a spot in the Breakers despite not playing – which is precisely why he gets it. With Goddard already ruled out for two weeks, and most teams restricted by a Bootsma/Spurr/Darley type at D9, there was no room for error in defence. Cheers for the Beaunut mate.
I’d Tap That
I’ve had a surprising amount of Tweets concerning the ruck department this week. The general theme seems to be who to bring in as your second ruckman. Obviously Cox and Maric are the go-to guys, but with many of us short on cash and trades, what cheaper options do we have? Here’s my two cents worth.
Guys who fall into this category would be my first stop. Ben McEvoy ($390k) has had 113 and 91 since the Saints bye, making him a great value pick if he can continue that output, and I think he will. Sam Jacobs ($378k) is another who’s getting a fair bit of attention, and so he should. He’s averaged 96 over the last month as the Crows sole ruckman – no more Jenkins has helped. With the Crows soft draw, he’s an excellent option for the run home.
Griffin ($372k) is also in some great form, averaging 92 since Sandi went down. Unfortunately, the time to get him was two weeks ago when he was $30k cheaper and Sandilands’ return was just a dot on the horizon. Both the guys above are much safer picks at a similar price.
Not quite Super-Premos
These are the guys you’d snap up if you wanted the best available, but was $60k short of the elite guys. Despite a poor showing against the Eagles on the weekend, Goldstein ($417k) is a sure thing, especially with McIntosh confirmed to return as a key forward rather than the lead ruckman. Ryder ($417k) hasn’t scored below 80 since Round 6, making him a quality choice even if he’s unlikely to improve on his current average.
Jarryd Roughead ($440k) is your man if you want a unique flavour. He’s flown under the radar so far (possibly due to being a forward DPP?), and all of a sudden he’s the 3rd most expensive ruckman, boasting an average of 108 over the last month. Still, all things considered, I’d be leaning more towards McEvoy and Jacobs on a pure value basis.
Cheap as Chips
Got no cash left, but want to jump off sinking ships like Giles? Well, too bad. He’s now dropped to $314k thanks to some poor recent form, and everyone beneath him is, well, beneath him. Although… If you have a set and want to take a huge risk, Kreuzer ($325k) and Warnock ($304k) could benefit from Hampson’s season-ending knee injury. Just a thought.
Mumford ($362k) and Hille ($365k) have both produced some decent scores over the last few weeks, but I’d caution against picking them. Mumford is still visibly dealing with back issues, which are notoriously degenerative and prone to flaring up. Hille has had a poor history with injury himself in his past four seasons, and the last thing you want to do is trade him in only to see him go down.
Here in the Bullets. we’ve talked a fair bit about how the fantasy landscape will change next season with the absence of an expansion club supplying us with double the rookie stocks. But ‘Guns & Rookies’ was a winning formula before the Suns and Giants joined the competition, you say? That’s true, but there wasn’t a sub rule then, either. These days, rookies take the brunt of the vesting, crippling their cash generation when once upon a time they may have fattened up just enough to send them to the market.
So with a more mid-price mindset required for the 2013 and beyond, it’s probably time to take a good look at the sorts of players we’ll be auditioning for next season. We already recognised the value in players like Maric, Lake, Hargrave, Ebert, Dangerfield, Porplyzia, Hayes, Barlow and Waters, so I’ll take a look at those who snuck under the radar for one reason or another. To be eligible to for this list a player must have had a starting price of at least $250k and display a current ownership of less than 5% competition wide.
Shane Tuck – $350,200 start (↑149,300) – 104.1 avg (↑33.3)
I mentioned Tuck in the Makers obviously, so I won’t go into too much detail here. In fact, he was the inspiration for this Bullet. With Stuck, not only have you snagged a player for roughly 30% off, you’ve bagged a keeper.
Giveaway: Emerging midfield.
Kieren Jack – $387,400 start (↑79,200) – 96.8 avg (↑18.5)
Jack was a bit of a sneaky pick because he actually had a breakout year already, increasing his average by almost 30 points back in 2010. But if you remember, he had that restrictive ankle injury which caused him to miss 6 games and struggle through many others the year after. In hindsight, we really should have targeted him as a likely improver. He would have been a fantastic stepping stone to a fallen premium like Priddis, Gibbs or Redden over the journey, if not a M6 keeper.
Giveaway: Injury-affected 2011.
David Armitage – $335,400 start – (↑103,900) – 90.3 avg (↑22.9)
After finally becoming part of St. Kilda’s best 22 on a consistent basis last year, Armitage has finally taken the next step and blossomed into a blue-chip midfielder. While many at St. Kilda are regressing in terms of fantasy value (I’m talking about Dal Santo, Montagna, Goddard, Fisher, etc.), Armitage is coming into his own. Why? Like Scott Selwood this year and Kane Cornes before him, he’s managed to develop a potent attacking game while tagging one of the opposition better midfielders.
Giveaway: Natural development.
Chris Masten – $278,500 start – (↑117,300) – 88.1 avg (↑31.8)
Masten’s season goes to show what fitness and exposure can do for a young footballer. The much-maligned Eagle has struggled through a series of injury in recent years, and found himself on the fringe when finally fit. He showed what he was capable towards the end of 2011 with scores of 140 and 115 playing exclusively through the midfield. Still, many weren’t convinced. He’s since gone on to become a regular in the side, rotating between the half-forward flank and engine room. Most importantly, he’s shot up $117,300 since the start of the year, making him another perfect candidate for a sideways trade to a fallen Premo.
Giveaway: Discounted price due to regular vesting, as well as strong late-2011 form.
Mitchell Golby – $265,200 start – (↑73,000) – 73.7 avg (↑20.1)
Golby hasn’t been so much a ‘break-out’ as he has been a ‘break-in’ this year. It’s only his second season after notching 8 games in 2011, so just being able to solidify a spot in the starting 21 was always going to result in a jump in scoring. While consistency isn’t his strong suit, he’s definitely succeeded as a mid-pricer; he increased his price to above $350k at one stage, putting him in striking distance of someone like Carrazzo after his price plummet.
Giveaway: Strong job security in his second season.
Harley Bennell – $332,500 start – (↑56,400) – 83.6 avg (↑16.4)
With Lewis Jetta (who didn’t qualify for this list, but has shot up $167k so far this season), Harley Bennell has initiated a resurgence of the indigenous wingman. He had a slow start, but as he’s developed this season his scoring has increased, even resulting in a tag over the past month or so. There’s no doubt that these types of players (Stephen Hill and Daniel Wells are also in this category) are extremely damaging, but they’re now starting to get the sort of stats that make them DT relevant, too. He still qualifies as a keeper at F7 with his recent form.
Giveaway: Natural development.
Will Minson – $365,500 start – (↑7,500) – 86.2 avg (↑12.3)
While Maric has easily been the ruck pick of the season, and McIntosh was successful before his knee injuries, Minson has been sneakily impressive in his own right. While he hasn’t quite exploded price-rise (thanks to inflation, but I digress), he has managed to push his average into premium territory. With Hudson finally out of the picture, Minson was left as the sole ruckman at the Bulldogs. Given we’ll be without a Zac Smith/Giles equivalent next season, taking a punt on a ruck improver could be the way to go.
Giveaway: Sole ruckman.
Is there anyone you think I’ve missed? Who was your Mid-price success story? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
# Unless you were living under a rock, you may have noticed Sam Jacobs broke an AFL Record with 60 hitouts in the Showdown. To clarify, Gary Dempsey recorded totals of 58 & 63 hitouts in 1982, back in the VFL days. Either way, it’s a fantastic effort for the Big Sauce, especially as he hadn’t topped 50 hit-outs before now.
# Thanks to a disgustingly weak effort from Sharrod Wellingham (who earned a three game suspension), Kade Simpson’s game streak has come to an end at 158 games, which is just incredible. He also averaged at least 80 DT points a game in each of the seasons he played 22 games in (2006-present), which just goes to show how good a servant he has been over the journey. This begs the question – who’s the new Durability King? That would be Brett Deledio, who has played 107 on the trot, followed by Swallow (80), Josh P. Kennedy (71) and J. Roo (71).
# I’m hearing whispers that Waters could miss another game or two with that knee injury. Beau is probably the last person to pull out of a contest, which means that he could have a significant injury concern here. Not good for us, especially with Goddard out for Round 16 as well.
# The Kangaroos continued their fading ways against the Eagles on Saturday. In a worrying trend, in the four games that were decided by less than 4 goals since mid-May, the Roos have averaged 14 points less than their opposition in the 4th quarter. They ended up losing two of those matches, despite leading by at least 2 goals in each contest.
In a perfect world, you would be heading into the finals with 4 trades. This leaves you a trade a week for LTIs and tactical purposes, and will give you the advantage when your guns are inevitably rested. I’ve been a lot more aggressive with my trading this year than I planned though, so I’ll likely hit Round 20 with 2 or 3 in the bank at this stage.
Definitely. Not sure about trading a Premo out for him though, but if you have your F7 slot free to upgrade, then Goodes is a great pick-up. As I said earlier, he’s now bottomed-out at $369k, and we all know what does in the 2nd half of the season.
If you held him through his month off, you have to keep him. 30 points is probably what we’ve come to expect from a sub these days, and given he’s had a few weeks off, you probably should have considered him a chance to arrive in green. Duffield’s priced at much less than he’s worth, which means that trading him out is a loss any way you look at it. Hold, and hope he comes good.
Well, that’s it from me this week. The main points to take out of this week is the importance of cover, the influence of a good second ruckman, and the reality that there are plenty of mid-price diamonds in the rough, we just have to look a little closer in the future!
The MRP panel has had a day out, so make sure you track Shuey, Wellingham, Bartel, Cameron, Paine or Hocking if you have them as uniques. As always, look out for the teams playing the Dees, Suns and Giants to post big fantasy scores. Other than that, stay glued to DT Talk for everything you need to know to prepare for Round 16 and beyond – the boys have you covered!
Tweet me at @Tbetta9 for all things fantasy.