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Fixture Trading

With the announcement of the new trading rules – for those who missed it, it’s two trades per week, every week – comes new strategy. Sideways trades have been frowned upon in the past, but now they are our friends. Anthony looks at the new rule and how it may change the way we play the game.

swanablettIf you are reading this then chances are you’re a full blown Dream Team addict like myself. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, wear it proudly. We all share that same feeling when the season ends and suddenly it is X amount of days till the new season starts. It doesn’t matter what number X represents, it’s still too damn long!

So it was at this moment, when X seemed like the longest number possible that a friend suggested I try Dream Team for the English Premier League to fill the void. I decided to accept his invitation, live among these different fantasy coaches and study their methods from the inside.

This new experience has done just enough to hold the AFL cravings at bay and at the same time proven to be quite educational.

They began teaching me their ways and I found that we were not so different, until I learnt of their trade system.

In this fantasy game, you are given 1 free trade every week. If you don’t use that trade you can keep it for the next week, however you may only ever hold 2 trades at once, encouraging you to trade every week whether you need to or not as you’ll always get another trade to replace it. This effectively goes against everything we use to believe in AFL Dream Team, where our trades are laced with fear and doubt. (Do I really need this upgrade? What if there’s an injury? What if I run out before finals?)

But what these coaches do is trade players in and out depending on upcoming fixtures. For example, your goalkeeper receives more points when he keeps a clean sheet (has no goals scored on him). So if your keeper is playing a strong team likely to score, you’ll trade him out for a keeper playing against a weak team unlikely to score.

So now armed with this information and the fact that our trading system has now been changed to 2 use them or lose them trades per week I’ve worked out a few examples of how we can adapt this tactic to use in our game.

I’ll start by applying it to this years big question, Ablett or Swan?

Now while this isn’t the only factor to consider, you can now use it to add weight to your pros and cons list. We’re looking at who they play in the first 3 rounds and what their average past scores against these teams are.

Gary Ablett Jnr $642,500

  • St Kilda – 85.3
  • Sydney – 104.8
  • Brisbane – 104
  • Predicted 3 round average of 98

Dane Swan $688,100

  • North Melbourne – 101.3
  • Carlton – 109
  • Hawthorn – 106.7
  • Predicted 3 round average of 105.6

So in this example, Dane Swan would come out on top as the better player to start the season with.

We could also use this tactic to find players we may not have considered before based on their fixtures. I’ve noticed a lot of coaches in the ‘My Team’ section have chosen Marc Murphy who is by all accounts an absolute gun.

Mark Murphy $522,000

  • Richmond – 98.6
  • Collingwood – 95.3
  • Geelong – 100
  • Predicted 3 round average of 97.9

Carlton have a pretty tough start to the season, especially if you compare it to Saint Kilda’s

Leigh Montagna $498,100

  • Gold Coast – 99.6
  • Richmond – 95
  • GWS – 128
  • Predicted 3 round average of 107.53

Nick Dal Santo $471,200

  • Gold Coast – 110.6
  • Richmond – 93.6
  • GWS – 96
  • Predicted 3 round average of 100

Both are slightly cheaper options too.

In this example I’d probably choose one of the Saints boys, then trade them out after the GWS game in time for Murphy vs West Coast, who he averages 104.1 against.

So that’s pretty much the idea. Hope this helps you play the right guns when they’re primed to fire.

For now I must return to the English Premier League wilderness.

As always, hit me up on twitter @AnthonyDSmith86 to continue the conversation. Cheers!

Joining the DT Talk writing team in 2013, Anthony is a West Coast boy (man, we have a lot of Eagles lovers here) and he will bring us plenty of great content again this year. @anthonydsmith86.



  1. Avatar

    Dream on!

    January 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I look at a premo’s past scores against opposition since they became a premo rather than their career average against them. Good stuff though. Other guys like Roo and Hanley have become much more tempting to start with as there will be a few opportunities to sideways trade whilst building a good side.

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    January 14, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Worth a thought or two. Thanks for the article!

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    January 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Wow. I was thinking of Starting with Stanton, but when you look at his first 3 rounds of the year and averages, it makes for terrible reading:

    Adelaide – 93
    Melbourne – 78
    Fremantle – 89

    Not exactly the 120+ scores I was thinking to kick off the season with a bang.

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      January 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      And Jobe Watson’s is even worse.

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        January 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

        Some of the results that come back are pretty interesting. Like Matthew Pavlich compared to Stevie J and Buddy. We know who the better options are but Pav has a great history against his first 3 opponents!

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      Dream on!

      January 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      I’m starting him in the hope that if he’s fit and slipping under the opposition’s radar then he’ll have some big scores regardless of who he’s playing. We can always just trade him out early on if he’s underperforming. His ability to go on scoring rampages means that many coaches will pick him up at some point during the year and take advantage of it while it lasts.

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    January 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Fixture trading is neccessary in the BPL because points scored can be so varied, as its not counted by possessions but goals, assists, bonus points and clean sheets which can double/triple a players score from a default of 2 (points given for 60+ minutes on the pitch).

    However in DT it’s not the same, a players DT score doesn’t fluctuate as much to the team they are playing against. For key forwards this may work better, but generally it is not necessary.

    I was forced to use 2-3 trades a week from about week 6-13 through injuries and upgrading/downgrading rookies in 2012, so I’m not sure how much freedom we have with sideway trades anyway. I’m a firm believer of sticking with the guys that’ll give you the most points overall.

    Great article, for those dedicated fantasy nuts I guess this is a possible strategy coming in to 2013.

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      January 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      I think your right, in epl scores are easily double tripled etc. but in dream, not so. I think I’ll just continue the way I used to in previous years.

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    January 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Nice analysis Anthony. However I am wary of the process of sideways trading to chase those extra points. I think it could be a nasty trap.

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    January 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    possibly may be better doing this AFTER team is completed? might try making cash on rookies early then trading gun for gun in the later stages when upgrades arnt required anymore i guess.

    but its funny to think about… how much do you actually make from a rookie? 200k is considered a nice cash in.

    you COULD technially make the same in an instance such as this.

    Pendles starts the year with 4 straight 140 scores and looks set to rocket in price
    Watson gets knocked out in the first minute of a game and looks set to plummet in price.

    You own Watson…

    You could maybe guess pendles to go up 100k+ and watson to drop 100k+ in a couple of weeks Would you think of this as making 200k if you make this trade?

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    January 14, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    just another point… ppl going on about the game getting easier with all these trades.

    Maybe its become harder, before… once you traded in your premos you forgot about them. Now you still have to keep an eye on your premos B.E and price all year long, i think its going to be more involved not less. More decisions means more work, More decisions means more things that can go wrong. Could it make the game harder or not?

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      January 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      I agree, there are even more variables now. Its going to be easier to be good, but harder to be great.

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      January 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      It’s clear that fantasy fiddlesticks this year will be more time consuming and there will be a direct correlation between success and hours spent working out sideways trades. There are skills involved with such research but they can be easily learnt and I wouldn’t classify them as hard. I disagree that more decisions mean more things can go wrong…after all, if they do go wrong, you can readily fix them next week or the one after, which is one of the fundamental reasons for the new changes: keeping people involved for longer. To provide the alternative the argument – last year, if you picked rookies that stagnated early (eg Clay Smith, Tory Dickson, Aaron Hall), not only did you fall behind in the cash-generating sweepstakes but you had to decide whether to keep them over the bye period or cop their donuts, if you had Rockliff, Cloke, etc you either had to keep them or use those precious trades to be rid of them, ie. the decisions you made last year had greater ramifications for your eventual success or otherwise. It seems to me that the new game will require more numerous, short-term decisions while the old game required crucial decions every step of the way.

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      January 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      I think Warnie will throw my piece on the new trading system up tomorrow, I agree as always :) Once players we traded out were forgotten, now everyone is in play at all times.

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      January 14, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      I am inclined to disagree about spending more time because you have more trades. I worked out a whole bunch of trades every week last season, the fun was in deciding whether it was worth pulling the trigger or not.

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    January 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Last 4 game average by fantasy freako and also predicted averages have become a lot more important

    Be interesting if more people sign up for Assistant coach. A lot of good data – averages, projected averages, break evens and projected price increase/decreases

    I like more trade. we all usually end up with the same sides but think this will create some nice points of difference

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      January 14, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      I agree, we ended up with pretty much the same sides last year as once our teams were completed they are done! If anything it will be more varied this year…

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    January 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Leigh Montagna

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      January 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Good Spot mate, cheers

  10. POK


    January 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Great write up!!

    Currently got Hanley, K.Jack and Montagna in my team because of their easy early draw. Only 50/50 chance of them staying in there come RD 1 though.

    If I do pick them I’d hope for them to rise in value and be able to straight swap them to uber premos by RD 4/5. Although they may stay if they can continue premo scores.

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    January 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Essentially my season will go like this.

    1 Get FF Genie (free Ass Coach). Sort by BE or predicted price change.
    2 Spend 10 to 12 weeks trading out my highest BE players to the lowest BE players I don’t have.
    3 Spend the next 10 weeks trading in premos with my tonnes of cash.

    This might change if I am in the top few hundred after 3 or 4 rounds, but I am pretty realistic about the chances of that.

    As for this change making teams more unique, I doubt that will be the case. Cash generation will be much easier, as a result everyone will have the same 6 or 8 top premos in each position rather than the same top 4 and then a couple of PODs in the lower positions. Teams will be finished much earlier and trading for the sake of it means Murphy’s Law all over the place (everyone knows the week you trade someone out is the week they go off)

    I finally got over my trade addiction last year, laughed at all my mates while they burnt theirs and gloated like a bastard when I had trades to burn in the finals while they were falling apart. Needless to say, I had a fantastic year, won all my GF’s (top 600 in Rd 23, only in the top 4000 overall) and am pretty disappointed that they changed the rules. It will be a real lottery this year.

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    January 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Has anyone thought about loading up on heaps of rookies and cash cows early along with a small number of super premo guns and trading their way to an unbeatable team for the last few rounds to get a round win and league win? Much easier to do now with trade rules.

    • Avatar

      Dream on!

      January 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      You’ll lose too many points early on. With a normal starting side, you’ll be able to get a squad of premos quicker than before, so it probably balances things out.

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        January 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

        He won’t be worried about losing points if going for a round win. But I think your right with 44 trades everyone should have super premos on every line by the end of the year.

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    January 15, 2013 at 12:45 am

    I’m hoping this doesn’t become too much of a neccessity. You hear people whinge and moan about loyalty being dead in sport, now i dunno how dead it was in DT, but it’s definitely 6 feet under now.

    The sad thing is unless i get real bad luck this year with injuries (the kind a lot of people had last year with pendles, murph, the ruck, zaka, and a few others) then i’m gonna have at least 15 trades solely for this purpose.

    It’s gonna be nuts having to put THAT much thought into timing and sidewaysing, but that’s what the game is about now. I never had to consider these things in the past. It was relevant for captain choices and 50/50 decisions and not a whole lot else. Now it matters for potentially up to half my trades. Gross.

    Not looking forward to it at all. That’s the worst side effect of this trade extravaganza .Ahh well. I look forward to all the articles you hard working blokes are no doubt going to be pumping out on this very topic over the course of the year. I don’t envy you one bit!

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    January 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

    i guess its only a ‘sideways’ if you are swapping like for like, premo for premo with same prices and b.e’s

    its maybe not really sideways if you go premo to premo but it ends up making you 100k thanks to their respectrive breakevens and such… its just a cash making altenative we didnt have before.

  15. Avatar

    The Seamen

    January 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I was thinking I would trade especially for the first few rounds mainly with my rooks as other have lower bes and cheaper prices so that I make a little bit of extra cash each week

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