With the majority of coaches out of the running for the car, attention swiftly turned to League matches ahead of the DT finals series. Hopefully you snagged that last-ditch win and improved your ladder position for the knock-out finals. History will again show that those with reliable cover were more than likely the victors in Round 19, with the customary handful of Premiums riding the pine for many coaches out of trades. For those with ‘complete’ teams, addressing these issues went a long way to defining your week:
1. Stanton Cover
Many coaches traded out the premium Bomber, but just as many benched him; either due to lack of trades or the possibility that he’ll return from reported hamstring ‘soreness’ in time for Round 20. The most popular cover was Sam Gibson, who has really excelled in recent weeks, putting up totals of 87, 133 and 108 in his last three. It’s like Stanton was never gone…
Other options: Coniglio had an excellent 105 but is highly unique, Toby Greene busted out a handy 86 points, Clay Smith was serviceable with 75, Baguley would have helped you out with 49 if you could DPP him in there, and Magner was green-vested for 43.
2. Robinson/Franklin Cover
The forward line, as it has been for a few weeks now, was the area most in need of attention. Those with popular DPP Giants in Treloar (96) and Devon Smith (107) had a significant advantage here again, with both in scintillating form. Jamie Elliott is the other guy who many coaches have sitting there for times just like these, and he didn’t disappoint with 84 points.
Other options: Cameron was impressive with 84, the senile Dickson rewarded his coaches with an 81, Adams was red-vested for 51, and Kennedy had just 46 points.
3. Captain Vanilla
With Swan’s and Ablett’s form so strong leading into Round 19, hopefully you didn’t try to be too fancy and go with a smoky skipper. These two would have netted you at least 240 points, while guys like Pendles (92), Rockliff (82), Thompson (80), Mitchell (88), Murphy (94) and Chapman (91) would have been failures in comparison.
Makers and Breakers
What an incredible return to form! Giles has scored his two highest ever totals in 118 and 124 over the last fortnight, not too long after all the coaches who had the trades dumped him without a second thought. This gives a massive boost to all those who prematurely penned him as a keeper R2 and spent their trades elsewhere. Can he keep it up over DT finals though?
Pavlich’s 144 this week marks his tenth score in a row over 80 points, a just return for an exceptionally consistent run of form. His redefined role as a power forward has beckoned an avalanche of goals and, in turn, his DT production has snowballed. Over the past 5 weeks Pavlich has been the 3rd most prolific forward, inferior to only Beams and O’Keefe. It seems the Pav is not quite ‘past it’ just yet.
A fellow Docker in Nat Fyfe is a trade-savers delight. Those who have already squandered their trades, save for an LTI or two, won’t have the logistical power to bring in the underpriced gun. Fyfe had 109 this week to back up his highly effective 89 last week, and should be a serious consideration for anyone with more than 2 trades remaining at his lowly price-tag of $393k.
Courtenay Dempsey doesn’t exactly embody consistency, but at 9.21% ownership league-wide, he certainly epitomises the concept of a ‘point of difference’. This week, his owners would be laughing with his workman-like 113 points in a tight affair on Sunday evening. He’ll probably be back to dishing up 60’s next week, though.
Last week I heralded Treloar for his exceptional production in a time of need, and this week a very similar prospect in Devon Smith gets his fifteen minutes. Like Treloar, Devon was a popular cash-cow culled mid-season (at a then-peak price of almost $300k), but has gone on to produce some heroic scores in recent weeks. Removing Round 16’s effort (where he was the sub), he has scored 92, 100 and 107 in his last three games. Brilliant cover up forward in the recent absences of Martin, Franklin, Robinson and Sidebottom.
With a three-round average of 102 leading in to Round 19, you would have been tempted to play Porplyzia; even if you planned for him to line up as an F8 for the remainder of the season. Of course, with Franklin and Robbo still out, you may have had to play him anyway. Unfortunately, Porps went back to his old ways (which had many store him away in the same bracket as Higgins, Drummond and Grimes prior to this season), scoring just 19 points before being cotton-wooled with a shoulder issue in the second period.
Pearce Hanley bests last week’s effort by one spot in the Breakers with another paltry score; this time just the 35 points. His three 119-point scores in a row ending back in Round 15 is looking more and more like an inexplicable aberration than the work of a premium DTer.
Suckling will always find himself on the brink of DT relevancy if he continues to produce such sinusoidal scoring. We all sang his praises after a 112 last weekend but he’s backed that up with an underwhelming 54. Let’s hope he rids himself of this venomous inconsistency before it sets in, like it has done to players such as Shaw and Broughton before him.
Brian Lake is a poor-game bomb waiting to explode, we all know that. Unfortunately, he went off this week, and not in the good way. He was lucky to get to 43 points in the end, after barely sighting the ball in the first half.
It wasn’t Christensen’s best effort this week. I suggested him as a cheap buy last week, but he certainly didn’t deliver to the level that we’ve come to expect of him. He had 15 possessions and a goal, yet managed just the 39 points. The culprit? Donuts in both the Mark and Tackle categories.
Saving the Best Til Last Next Year
With downgrade-upgrade manoeuvres history for season 2012, what use do we have for rookies in the remainder of the year? None. All they’ll do is render themselves more expensive for next season, and we need all the cheap rookies we can get… Here is a shortlist of players who are on my radar for 2013, and need to avoid game to remain cheapies – we don’t want another Josh Caddy!
We’ve been talking about Docherty even since he was designated DPP status on February 1st, even at his swollen price due to being taken by Brisbane at pick 12. With downgrades basically done for the year, hopefully Docherty is shelved until next season for our purposes. If he dodges a game for the rest of the year, he’ll lose his premium pricing and will fall in line with all the draftees who are yet to play an AFL game – this year it was a price-tag of $104,200.
NEAFL stats are impossible to find, but all reports are that he had a blinding mid-season patch of form after an early-season hip issue. This culminated in his inclusion in the Lions 25-man squad that travelled out West in Round 18, but he didn’t make the final cut. That would indicate that he’s close to a debut, although he didn’t make the best players in his most recent game for the Lions Reserves; hopefully the selection committee cools on his debut prospects.
While we’re stuck on the NEAFL and their lack of stats, let’s check out Tom Mitchell. I thought he was a shoo-in for a debut sometime soon after the MBRs, but it seems that the whispers coming out of Sydney that they wouldn’t play him this year were spot on. It looks like he’s now officially out of the running, injuring his foot so badly that the medical staff believed it could have been a break.
The Father-Son pick had reportedly been playing solid football without ever dominating; never named in the best players in any of his eight games for the Sydney Swans Reserves this season. Hopefully we’ll have a fully fit Mitchell pushing for selection in Round 1 of 2013!
Mature-age rookie Brendan Lee has been dominating in the VFL for Bendigo in the last month and a half, and with the Bombers dropping like flies with soft-tissue injuries, he could get a look-in over the last few weeks of the season. Let’s hope not!
The tough inside mid has been named in the best players for Bendigo on eight occasions from just 12 games this year. A mystery mid-year injury ruled him out for the entire month of May, but he has excelled upon return. With the exception of this weekend’s game against Collingwood Reserves (for which I don’t have stats for yet – apparently he copped a tag though), he’s averaged a huge 127 DT points a game in his last 6 starts! Some very impressive numbers, so why hasn’t he snagged a game yet? He’s still on the rookie list. Let’s hope that the Bombers pull it together and Lee is still a bargain for us fantasy coaches in 2013.
After playing just 5 games over the past two years before seriously injuring his ACL last year, Brad Dick was recruited to the Eagles with a long-term plan in mind. As we stand, he is almost at the end of that far-sighted plan, having played four games in the Reserves and now another four games in the League at the WAFL level for East Fremantle.
His stats don’t exactly shout ‘Pick me!’, but with DT set to reward coaches who prize job security in 2013, Dick could be a great pick-up. If he doesn’t play a game for the rest of the year, we could theoretically get Dick at a rookie price next year! Of course, VS have the discretion to apply a premium to him (like they did for players like Horsely and Frost this season), but surely he won’t be more expensive than this season if he fails to play… He’s provided a modest return in the WAFL so far (averaged 60 over his four senior appearances), but what do you expect from a small forward coming off an ACL?
So, what do you think? Are there any hidden gems dominations at a lower level that you’d rather not get a gig this year so they can line up cheaper next season? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
At this stage of the year, when our DT ship springs a leak, we patch it up rather than buy a new one. We don’t have the materials or the finances to go all out and snap up the top-of-the-Wazza model, so it’s worth being realistic when it comes to fixing up a damaged DT prospect. Here are a few sinking ships, complete with the lifeboat you should consider jumping on:
Brent Stanton (hamstring) – $407,000 → Marc Murphy – $408,600
If Stanton’s hamstring soreness evolves into something more sinister and culminates into another missed week or two, you might decide to cut him loose; especially if you are heading into a must-win final this week. Thanks to an extended run of shaky form, Stanton has dropped almost $200k off his peak price, meaning you have limited options. Luckily, Murphy is still in the neighbourhood thanks to his own price-drop. He’s averaged 99.25 since his return, and that’s a figure that should rise when players like Judd and Robinson return to the midfield and take some of the attention away from him.
Jason Porplyzia (shoulder) – $373,700 → Nat Fyfe – $392,900
If you have a spare $20k lying around, then this trade is a no-brainer. Adelaide have come out and said that Porplyzia should be right to go this week and it was just a precaution (read: blah blah blah…), but I put as much stock in those empty words as I do in Porps’ shoulders. Ironically, the trade target is also someone who has had serious shoulder issues of his own. Thankfully, Fyfe’s surgery was a complete success and his scores on return (99 avg over two games) reflect that. Get on the Knyfe before it’s too late!
Brian Lake (ordinariness) – $327,800 → Paul Duffield – $325,900
Let’s be honest here; Lake is no Premium. And he’s certainly not the guy I’d want to hang my hat on in a close finals match-up. I mean, three of his last four scores have been sub-70. If you’ve finally allowed yourself the luxury of fixing up the D7 slot, then you could do much worse than Duffield. Yes, he’s a walking headache sometimes, but he’s also a gun at the best of times – and for Freo at the moment, it’s certainly the best of times. Duffman has scored 87, 88 and 87 in his past three, which indicates that Lyon has finally pegged down a role from him in the backline.
Note: If you’re against Duffield for obvious reasons, Sam Fisher at $312,900 with a three-round avg of 85 is another solid option.
Round 20/Burst Fire
With the DT Finals dominating the fantasy agenda for next month, how and when you use your ‘x’ amount of trades is a prospect unique to each coach. As such, there are no hard-and-fast rules to trading in the next few weeks – so evaluate your situation carefully and stay tuned to DT Talk over the remainder of the season for more in-depth League-specific trading theory. I’ll just say this though – I’d be very nervous leading into a Round 23 DT Grand Final without the wiggle-room of at least one trade. Of course, if you can’t get into that GF without using that trade previously, then don’t hold back!
Anyway, let’s finish of Round 19’s Bullets with some random tidbits crossing my mind this week.
- Hamish Hartlett is looking great guns for Defender eligibility next season. He’s played mostly down back this season, and that’s exactly where he resumed on the weekend, scoring 86 before being subbed out early in the fourth. His durability is an ongoing issue of course, but I’d be very tempted to pick him in 2013 is he were available in defence.
- And just like that, Pavlich is leading the Coleman Medal. It’s an amazing effort really, considering that Pav had just 11 goals in his first 9 games. Since then, he’s tallied a huge 44 goals at an average of 4.9 majors per game.
- We now have a 9-horse race for the finals – unless one starts to gallop, that is. Fremantle, Essendon and North will likely fight it out for the last two spots, so expect those teams to go all out over the next four rounds – no general soreness here!
- No team has won the AFL Grand Final from outside the Top 4 since the AFL adopted the new Finals system in 2000. Can this be the year? And more importantly, can you win your DT premiership from outside the Top 4?
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