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Who should I start with?

Using some very pretty plots, Jordan looks at which premium midfielders you should be starting with.

Hi guys, Jordan here. This is my first dreamteam article, I hope you like it. Feedback is welcome. This article was born out of some analysis I was doing on a couple of the premium players of the competition. The goal is to basically identify the most consistent premos in order to start with them, as these are the guys who are most likely to hold their value as the season goes on and conversely avoid those who are less consistent in order to pick them up at a later stage for cheaper. The study looks at 8 players you might consider to be premiums at year end and would be looking to bring into your team at some point in the season.

All of the stats are based on the last three seasons data so keep this in mind. When you see Dangerfield: mean 105.58 this refers to his 3-year average. The ‘count’ statistic is the number of games played over the three years. std stands for standard deviation and is a measure of the distribution of scores around the mean or average score. The 25%, 50% and 75% are quartiles, which is a statistical concept that divides the data into quarters. The way you interpret this is say for Dangerfield, who has readings of 25% 88, 50% 105, and 75% 120 is that 25% of Dangerfield’s scores over the last 3 years were below 88pts, 50% were below 105pts, and 75% were below 120. Regarding the graphs, the outer, gray violin-type thing is wider when there are more scores around a given value and narrower when there are less. Within a given year, the horizontal difference between points doesn’t mean anything, its just random. Also a lot of the qualitative information is just my opinion so if you don’t agree with it thats ok, just don’t take it as gospel.

Anyway, without further ado…. enjoy!

Patrick Dangerfield

who_dangerPatrick Dangerfield, reigning Brownlow medalist and highest averaging player for 2016. Dangerfield took his game to the next level last year and his dreamteam scores reflected this, raising his average from 106 to 118. He comes into 2017 as the most expensive player costing a whopping $712,000 and could easily end as one of the, if not THE highest averaging player of 2017. The question, however is not is he DT elite, but rather should I start with him?

The good: He’s as durable as they come, playing 65 of 66 home and away games over the last three seasons. Preseason reports have him fit and healthy and he recently got through his first preseason hit-out unscathed. He has the ability to go big consistently, evident by the recording of 8 scores above 125 last year (including a massive 187) and thus is captain worthy.

The bad: Price. He’s the best player in the comp and he’s priced as the best player in the comp. I don’t know about you but I don’t think he’s going to take it to a whole new level and average 10 points higher this year (happy to eat my words) so this means his price is only going one way. As seen above Danger also isn’t afraid of the odd 75pt game which at his average would kickstart a decent price decline. Also lets not forget that he is Geelong’s most important player (sorry Joel), so he will be put on ice in games Geelong are comfortably winning and could even be rested late in the season. His contested ball game also puts him at a higher chance of injury and niggles (low scores and price drops), although it is worth mentioning that getting crunched by the opposition last year basically guaranteed a 140pt+ game.

All said and done Danger is a great pick, but there is a good chance you will be able to pick him up cheaper during the season.

Image result for patrick dangerfield

Tom Rockliff

who_rockliffRoy’s boy and insta-captain lock Tom Rockliff is the true successor to Dane Swan as king of the pigs. We all know how good he is at his best (an average of 135 in 2014 is insane!), but just like Elon Musk’s Space-X rockets he’s either going to Mars or not getting off the launch pad.

The good: Rocky holds the highest 3 season average of all players of 119pts beating out the nearest competition by over 10 points (if you don’t count Brayden Fiorini). On top of that 50% of his scores have been above 125pts and 25% above 145pts. The guy clearly doesn’t have a ceiling in his house and gives you a default captain pick every week. All reports are that he has had a strong preseason and should be good to go round 1.

The bad: He can’t stay on the park. Rocky has recorded by far the lowest game tally of our 8 players at 51 out of 66. The breakdown is 18, 16, 17 for 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively so you can see its not exclusive to one year. In fact Rocky has only managed 1 full season in his career (2012). The standard deviation of his scores is also the highest of our 8 players at 41 pts, partly due to injury affected scores and partly to his monster ceiling. Priced at $704,000, he’s not cheap and this is a fair amount of cash to have sitting on the bench if hes out with soft tissue injuries. Theres also the new coach factor to think about. What is Chris Fagan’s game plan and what does he have in mind for Rocky? Will he be allowed to roam or be made more accountable?

All considered it’s a difficult decision. History says you’ll be able to pick him up cheaper during the season, but can you afford not to start with him?

Dan Hannebery

who_hannersOn first appearance Sydney manchild Dan Hannebery doesn’t excel in any of the above statistics in comparison to his competition, recording second least amount of games played and a middle ground standard deviation. Looking a little closer though we see that its all due to his 2014 season which was responsible for all 6 of Dan’s missed games and his 4 worst scores over the last three years.

The good: Disregarding 2014 the guy barely drops below 80 and is consistent as they come playing 44/44 games. He also has a great ceiling regularly scoring above 120 making him a solid captain choice. Theres not much to worry about on the team front as you would imagine Sydney’s game plan and midfield personnel wouldn’t change much from last year and if anything, the departure of Tom Mitchell may increase the amount of ball available for the likes of Hanners, Parker and Kennedy. All reports out of Sydney say that he’s burning up the preseason track after giving up the froffies over the break. At \$655,000 he’s also one of the cheaper options on this list coming in around $50k cheaper than Danger and Rocky.

The bad: Not much really. While he doesn’t have the ceiling of Rocky or 2016’s Danger, his is still high and he can be depended upon to bring home 100pts each week.

If he keeps up his form from the last 2 years it will be hard to get him for much of a discount. One I am definitely considering starting with.

Scott Pendlebury

who_pendlesDT Rolls Royce Scott Pendlebury is as classy and consistent as they come. Priced at $641,000 he’s also as cheap as they come (relatively speaking), coming in as the second cheapest on this list after averaging 106 in 2016. Can the man rebound from what was a disappointing year by his lofty standards or has time (and Buck’s role changes) finally caught up with him?

The good: As consistent as they make’em playing 65 from 66, dropping below 80 twice in the last 3 years, and recording the lowest standard deviation at 18.7pts. I was genuinely surprised to see Pendle take out this category as his 2016 campaign felt inconsistent but i guess it goes to show what a jet he’s been over time. His ceiling is high, recording one or two games around the 150 mark each year making him a viable captain choice.

The bad: At 29 he’s the oldest our list and while Pendlebury will still be more than capable of pumping out triple figures, he’s not getting younger and this could put him at a higher risk of injury. His 2016 campaign was less consistent than 2014 and 2015 where the standard deviation of his scores increased to 21.2 from 15.7 and 19.2 in 14 and 15 respectively. Obviously part of this was due to Bucks throwing him into defence early in the season and you could argue that some was due to the continued emergence of Treloar, Adams, Sidebottom and co. The questions are will this continue and how much of an affect will it have on Pendles scoring. With the Collingwood midfield logjam only increasing over the offseason I can’t see Pendles getting increased midfield time unless someone significant goes down with injury, but I also don’t see his scoring falling off a cliff either.

Personally I would take others on this list ahead of Pendlebury this year however he looks likely to continue to be the picture of consistency into 2017 making it hard for coaches to pick him up for a bargain. Definitely one to consider starting with.

Image result for scott pendlebury adam treloar

Adam Treloar

who_treloarIf Pendles is the Rolls Royce, then my man Treloar is like a sporty electric car. New, well rounded, flashy, but your still not sure it wont spontaneously combust when you take it for a drive. Rest assured Treloar has been a DT gun for years and looks well on his way to continue that into 2017. (I am bias however after picking him up early last year)

The good: Consistency king. 2016 would have been a terrible year for Treloar if he were a roller-coaster, but luckily for us he’s not. He’s a DT player that prints 100s. With the second lowest 3-year standard deviation of our group Treloar recorded a coma-like standard deviation of 16.7pts in 2016. He’s played 63 of the last 66 home and away games and all 22 in his first season at Collingwood. At 23 years of age his best is still ahead of him and he’s seemingly loved by Bucks.

The bad: He doesn’t have a ceiling. He has had 1 score above 140 in the past 3 years. Treloar’s the guy you can count on bringing in 100 to 110 each week. He’s not the guy thats going to clock 180 and win you your head to head.

Priced at $673,000 he’s one of the more expensive players going around but he’s also going to be “that guy that you want in your team but can’t afford because he never has a bad game” if you don’t start with him. One I will almost certainly start with.

Josh P. Kennedy

JPK is the truth behind the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, a serial slow starter but just how bad is it?

1st half 2014:  111.27  2nd half 2014:  97.56  Difference:  13.72
1st half 2015:  96.82  2nd half 2015:  118.18  Difference:  -21.36
1st half 2016:  101.3  2nd half 2016:  114.45  Difference:  -13.15

who_jpkHmm? So only true for 2 out of 3 years. Nevertheless you can’t deny this scoring differential has been prevalent for the last two years. Looking at his first half averages for 2015 and 2016 this is not exactly what you’d be hoping to receive when shelling out $653,000 for a guy priced at an average of 108.

The good: Durable, playing 63 out of 66 games. Reasonably low standard deviation of 23.2pts. High ceiling, capable of going 130 to 150. Steady environment at the Sydney Swans – JPK should be able to go about things as he has for the last couple of years.

The negative: The aforementioned slow starts to the season. Will be frustrating to hold if he has another. Age, although not a large concern he is one of the older players on this list at 28 and he does play a contested ball game.

Overall one I will definitely be considering later on in the season hopefully after he’s dropped a bit in price.

Jack Steven

who_stevenJack Steven, the bull of the Saints engine room. With the Saints seemingly on the up, is he a premo worth considering starting with?

The good: The Saints are improving. Finishing 18th in 2014, 14th in 2015 and 9th in 2016 the Saints will be a team worth watching in 2017. New additions should bolster their engine room and take some of the pressure off Steven. Steven has a huge ceiling, recording scores around 140 to 160 in 2015 and 2016. Priced at $630,000, Jack is the cheapest player on this list saving you a decent 82k when compared to this list’s most expensive player in Dangerfield. He’s also fairly durable playing 61 of 66 games over the last 3 years.

The bad: Inconsistency. Ranking 3rd worst for standard deviation on this list, Steven is no stranger to scoring in the 60s. As the Saints best midfielder he often attracts the tag and when he does he can have a hard time breaking it. None of the recent additions to the Saints midfield look likely to take the tag from Steven so one can expect this inconsistency to continue into the future.

Steven is a player I am confident of picking up later in the season for a decent discount after he stinks it up with a 60 or two and as a result i wont be starting with him, but it’s a risk as he could have a career best season on the back of a St Kilda push into the top 8.

Image result for jack steven

Lachie Neale

who_nealeLachie Neale had his first true super premo year in 2016 averaging 111.1 from 22 games. With the likes of Fyfe, Mundy, Sandilands, Bennell and Barlow missing from the Fremantle midfield for large parts of 2016 due to injury or role change, Lachie was relied upon heavily by his younger teammates. With the return of many of these players in 2017 will Neale be able to reach the same heights in 2017? More importantly, should I start with him?

The good: The return of the aforementioned players and the continued development of Fremantle’s youth should help Neale’s scoring rather than hinder it. Neale is Fremantle’s best pure midfielder and will likely attend more center bounces than any other Fremantle player in 2017 as Fyfe spends some time up forward, Bennell on the wing and Mundy in def. The return of these players will also reduce pressure on Neale as any tag should go to Fyfe/Bennell. He’s young. Turning 24 this year Neale still has room to grow and his best should still be ahead of him. He has a high ceiling, evident through multiple scores at or above 150. He’s durable, playing 65 of the last 66 games for Freo.

The bad: There’s that old saying, “only 3 things are guaranteed in life, death, taxes, and that Lachie Neale will score a 50”. Well maybe its not that severe but any owner of Neale in the past will be well aware of his tendency to book himself a mid year bye and not show up for a game or two. He has the second worst 3-year standard deviation of our list of players and is worth considering that a decent chunk of Rockliff’s deviation is due to injury effected scores.

Priced at $671,000, he’s one of the more expensive players on this list, and although Neale’s consistency will likely get better with age, he is one I will be avoiding starting with due to the inconsistency in his scores and therefore his price.




  1. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    After reading this don’t know which one of Rocky and Danger to start with.
    Currently have both but might be to much cash in midfield considering M3 is Treloar.

    • Euman


      February 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      same see my comments below – the highs outweigh the lows – DT Junkie

      • Avatar


        March 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm

        Hey guys, during the pre-season I have noticed that BARLOW (GCS) has been great and am considering not picking either Rocky or Danger and instead going with Barlow/treloar.
        Any thoughts?

  2. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Very interesting write up Jordan, cheers. Has certainly given me cause to reconsider a couple of my midfield picks.

  3. Euman


    February 23, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Great first up article Jordan. You raise some valid points for consideration. At the end of last year talking to my brother we both said ‘in 2017 I am not going to pick the highest priced players first up, but rather the next tier down who scored well toward end of season but their overall average was less so price is less.

    That said as my team has developed over the last 2 months I now have in my starting line up the following premos (none in forward of back)
    – Dangers
    – The Rock
    – Trelor
    – Gawn (yes he is a premo mark my words for 2017)
    and you can probably count Grundy and Titch I guess

    My quandary is do I want to win or do well in the overall so as you rightly point out – can I afford to not start with these guys? Or alternately do I just want to win league games.

    My answer is I want the car, best bragging I can say is I finished 264th in 2015 (I may go back and have a look at that starting team for inspiration).

    So some may say I am mad for starting with the above players, but take the Rock he is v Suns round one he loves them. Lets say by the Rocks standards he has bad game so we will say 110 (which you would expect any of your cheaper options to get anyway)then ok I lose $20k and/or could have got a cheaper player for $60k less and spent cash elsewhere maybe ended up with 10-20 extra points and maybe made $20k. Not ideal but i’m ready. Now the flip side the Rock goes ape-shit pumps out 184, does not drop In price and my not so dear player that I brought (because I had to cause I brought the Rock)e.g. Omera gets 95 so its great result total 279 (compared to my other options say 2 x 110). I would cry if that happened.

    Its about risk and reward, If I fail I go oh well, but if say all 3 of these premos went off round one, say Dangers 130, The Rock 180tr, Trelor 130 im on the moon – the highs out weigh the lows.

    All that said I am gunna go back and have a another look at this as now I have written this I remembered the original plan of not taking the top priced players – lol

    Again great article

    • Avatar


      February 24, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Geez mate tell us your life story. ‘Mark your words’ Gawn will be a premo, really going out on a limb there mate haha…

  4. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I need help on how many top line Mids should we start with, and how many Rookie Mids to start with.

    • Avatar


      February 23, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      i’m going 4 premos (5 if you include beams) 2 mid price (350000 range) 1 basement

  5. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    what do people think jobes gonna average this year?

    • Avatar


      February 23, 2017 at 2:39 pm


      • Avatar


        February 23, 2017 at 5:24 pm


    • FevsBingles


      February 23, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      95 as a forward/mid, 105 as a mid I think, I think he’s still got it in him.

      • Avatar


        February 23, 2017 at 6:58 pm

        I agree with those averages, but I think it’ll come from 17 games

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    February 23, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    the graphs remind me of sex ed, they really do come in all shapes and sizes

    • Avatar


      February 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Yeah, all I could think was ‘genital warts’ the whole time…

  7. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Nice article amigo, always love a bit of analysis chucked in for good measure! If I remember correctly, guy who won 2 or 3 years back basically had an algorithm for picking his team, so there is some science to this.

    You need guys like Pendles in your team to even out the ups and downs of guys like Rocky and Neale. Not sure he’s top 8 though by season’s end.

    Will be starting with Danger and Treloar, then either Rocky or Neale at M3. Barring injury, can’t see how there could be any regrets!

  8. Avatar

    Lachie Neale

    February 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Nice article Jordan. Just wondering what people think about the 3 options below, when it comes to consistency. Personally I’d probably go Option 3.

    Option 1: Player who goes 110, 110
    Option 2: Player who goes 120, 100
    Option 3: Player who goes 150, 70

    • Avatar


      February 23, 2017 at 5:55 pm

      Would it make a difference? the average is going to be the same. Even if you had the C on each option each week it would still yield the same score. I guess if you are lucky enough to predict the ups and downs and change the C then it pays off.

      Personally i hate seeing a 70 from a premo so would probably go with option 2.

    • Avatar


      February 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      For the three scenarios you’ve mentioned I think there’s a player that sums each up

      Pendles is your 110 most weeks man

      Hanners your 120 one week, 100 the next

      Parker can go 150 and then a 70

      I think out of the options I’d go 3 as a 150 is more likely to win you a match up as opposed to a 110. However 70 could lose a game too

    • Avatar


      February 23, 2017 at 7:09 pm

      Here’s some rough calculations:

      Option 1 (2 keepers) : 110C + 110 = 330 x 22 rnds = 7260
      Option 2 (2 keepers) : 120C +100 = 340 x 22 rnds = 7480
      Option 3: (1 keeper + 1 rookie) : 150C + 70 = 370 x 8 + ((150 x 2) + 120) x 14) = 8840

    • Avatar

      Lachie Neale

      February 23, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      It really doesn’t make any difference to your score. Just whether you’d prefer a guy like Pendles or a guy like Neale. More so wondering whether you want a guy who could give you anything, or a guy who you know will give you the same solid result week in week out.

      I prefer the option 3 type players due to their go big or go home kind of nature. Most of the time, your match-up will come down to how they perform.

      • Avatar


        February 23, 2017 at 8:48 pm


    • Nick


      February 23, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      I think this article is pointing out that you can’t start with everyone you want, so who should you start with? The answer is you should start with the players with the lowest standard deviation, as their price won’t fluctuate as much. They price of the player who goes 150 then 70 will go up and down, and you’ll be able to pick them up after a down week for a lower price. The players who go 110 every week won’t vary in price as much.

      • Avatar

        Lachie Neale

        February 23, 2017 at 8:10 pm

        I was more wondering whether people preferred consistency or volatility.
        Housing Market vs Stock Market

        • Avatar


          February 23, 2017 at 9:35 pm

          No one goes broke owning property. Buy and hold is the one thing we’re bad at as DTers too… watch how many guys look to ditch an under-performing premo after 2 bad runs.

          • Avatar

            Lachie Neale

            February 23, 2017 at 10:27 pm

            Sideways trading never leads to disaster #alternative facts


    • Avatar


      February 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Agreed, option 3 for me, C on 150 ftw

  9. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Great article.
    My starting 4 premos before and after reading this article will stay as:
    Danger, Rocky, Treloar and Neale

  10. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Draft league anyone welcome the draft is tomorrow .. code W2KC9YJT

  11. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Great article and analysis.
    Talking about bubbles,

    Dangerfield’s bubble is getting bigger. Shaping up as a must have.
    Rockliff’s is getting thinner.
    Hannebery is getting more consistent.
    Treloar is getting bigger and more consistent.
    Pendlebury is getting more inconsistent.
    Kennedy just gets it done.
    Jack Steven is becoming more inconsistent.
    Lachie Neal is becoming more consistent.

  12. Avatar


    February 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Great read Jordan, cheers

  13. Nick


    February 24, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Cracking article Jordan! Unfortunately it’s given me more to chew on! I thought I had at least Rocky & Danger locked in…

    Now no one in my team is safe!

  14. Avatar


    February 24, 2017 at 10:29 am

    W2KC9YJ2 draft in 30 min unless not enough numbers will extend by an hour

  15. Avatar


    February 24, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Amazing article. The graphs are awesome.

  16. Avatar

    Terence Keitel

    February 26, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Why are there 2 teams in round 9 bye’s and not in Rd 12 like all other years?

  17. Avatar


    February 28, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    good article. why all the vagina pictures though ?

  18. Avatar


    April 4, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Couple rounds into the season and I think back that this is probably the best article that I read – I applied this to all my team choices, avoided players with big standard deviation and picked players I was confident would be top 6.

    It reminded me when Shaw, Jack Steven et al were having great pre-seasons, that I would probably be able to pick them up for cheap after they had a blip, so I locked in Trealor, Danger & Laird.

    It’s allowed me to concentrate entirely on rookies and cash generation. Cheers

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