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Fantasy 101

Trent’s Take: Post-bye Targets

We’re out of the byes and this is when last year’s winner dominated.

Bye bye byes and thank goodness (if like me you got Duncan in and captained Merrett over Mitchell or some equally annoying trade). But another week provides an opportunity to trade and hope. This week we’ll focus on those teams coming off their byes, but because there are so many teams we’ll pick a premium with upside, an undervalue risk and a POD.

There are plenty of good buys from the other teams, like Whitfield, Neale, Haynes, Guthrie, Stewart, Miller, etc and so factor them in with the 8 teams resuming their campaigns.


In a world which can only annoy Warnie, Reilly O’Brien (assuming you have Laird) is the only player you could get in, and he is also a steppingstone to Grundy (if you can’t afford Darcy). Games against Carlton, Brisbane and Essendon and a BE of 65 and priced at 603K sounds mid-price trap. However, his last three are 97,111 and 91 and he looks uninjured.  He could possibly average 90 for the run home.

There really is no mid-price player likely to improve enough to warrant selection as players like Seedsman, Sloane and Walker have already increased in value. The POD is the amazing Ben Keays who is 807K, BE 103 and avg 122 last three.  You could risk him and hope (4 % ownership). As a person who has never seriously considered Keays apart from his rookie Brisbane season, his numbers prove my eyes were blinkered- his lowest score is 91 and he has gone 126, 129, 115 and 122 in his last 4. If that was Clayton Oliver at 807K we’d be jumping on an under-priced premium. The problem is he is full premium, but increasingly as the season continues, you’ll be wanting full premiums because they are bankable.


They have 3 off the hottest trade prospects: Grundy, Crisp and Pendlebury, but we’ll focus on Pendlebury.   He has lost 213 K to be 592 K with a BE of 76. This normally screams an older player who is slowly losing it and will occasionally have a good game, but with the mid-season injury behind him and Collingwood renewing their focus under Harvey we are taking it on trust that Harvey will play Pendlebury through half back and midfield rather than loitering at half forward. A 108 and 98 before the byes gives us at least confidence to plonk him in your forward line.

Pendlebury’s heat map against Melbourne was 59 % def half, but half back not back pocket whilst he had 41 % forward half, but midfield forward.  This compared to R11 against Geelong when he had 24 % defensive half and 76 % forward half and mostly inside forward 50.  He might not get back to the dependlebury of 110, but a 592K forward at 90 plus is a gift.

A roughie is Maynard. It was at this time of year last year that Maynard was released from a purely hard tag and with Quaynor getting some harder tasks- maybe Walters this week, it hopefully releases Maynard once again. The only caveat is Moore’s injury and how that shake up changes the defensive structure.  But at 3 % and a BE of 60 and priced at 616K he is a potential great trade. Others who fill this bucket would be Mayne and Crisp, but for me Crisp is a must.


Brayshaw is the only player averaging over 100, whilst Darcy is averaging 103 from his last 3. Darcy as the better steppingstone option to Grundy than O’Brien because he can play forward. It might be close to too late to get him as he has a BE of 97 at 704K, but his 95 AVG at F5-6 is still appealing and an easy move to R2 in case of an injury. Two sneaky guys who helped me win last year were Acres and Cerra, but both are mids rather than fwd and def. But they both have upside. Acres is cheaper than Tom Green and a BE of 57 after scoring 107 against the Suns. The caveat is he had 5 low scores prior, but he has pedigree as a winger and is an option for those with no cash. At less risk, especially with Pearce back is Luke Ryan.  Priced at 642K and a BE of 75 with Collingwood and Carlton. He is the number 1 target at Fremantle.


The top 6 averaging players at Melbourne all have BE’s above 103. Therefore unless you have the cash to go a week early most of the Melbourne trade targets can wait a week: Oliver (147) Petracca (106) Salem (113) are good buys, but can wait a week if you need the cash- especially Oliver who a lot of non-owners would be wanting to buy because he plays Essendon this week, but he plays De Boer the following week and then the difficult midfield match up of Port Adelaide. In the perfect world you’d be buying Oliver for R18 when he plays Hawthorn and then the Suns. For me, no buys this week for Melbourne


A weird stat for Richmond- Shai Bolton at 675K is the highest priced player at Richmond and they have only 5 players above 600 K and none are solely midfielders. And with their run of easy games, it means get one or two of the following Bolton, Martin, Houli or Short as they will be consistent. For the risk desirous you could take a punt on Prestia when he returns to have a 3-5 game tun of 95, but really it is not worth it.

The value pick is Martin at 612K, but he is in a lot of teams and for me, like a lot of years, Richmond players have limited upside unless you gamble on Short having a run of high marking games. Houli is 670 K with a BE of 79 and 3% ownership and an avg of 93. His form of late is good with scores 127, 78, 91, 98 and 82. In fact his last 3 avg is 99 and this with Short in the team at 106 for the last 3 games, so it is untrue that Houli and Short negatively impact each other. I think there are better options elsewhere but on the raw numbers one of Short or Houli are viable options.

St Kilda

Let’s save some reading time- you either have Jack Steele and/or no other premium St Kilda player, unless you went for Brad Crouch’s value a few weeks back (or you have Byrnes and Highmore). Sadly, nothing else to see at St Kilda until Marshall returns and Higgins, Hill, Ross, Billings show consistency.


Read above and change the names to Mills/Lloyd instead of Steele and Amartey instead of Byrnes. Isaac Heeney is just as likely after the bye to score 100 and average 100 for 4 weeks, but he is on my never again list and as a swan’s fan who wore his heart in his fantasy trade 4 weeks ago- it pains me to say- never again Isaac.

West Coast

They offer real value in the run home as most teams who travel to WA will loose and endure COVID hardship. They travel to Melbourne once (Collingwood) and play 5 games at Optus.  They have a stretch in 3 weeks of North, Adelaide, St Kilda and Collingwood. Time to get eagles in your team, but which ones.

Firstly, the whipping boy Gaff- huge BE of 132 due to his terrible game against Richmond and his last two at Optus have been poor (4 game run of below 99). But he is a genuine fantasy premium and could easily score 110 to finish the season. You could go early or wait until R17 against North.  Watch for when T. Kelly returns as his injury game means he has a BE of 146. Hopefully he returns next week, and we can look at him before their soft run. If I was to gamble on an Eagles mid, it would be Elliot Yeo. Priced at 616K, BE of 105 and now 4th game back and with the rest after the bye. He is priced just above Green, Jordon and maxed out rookies.  His overall TOG % of 67 will surely increase and he has the potential to average near 95-100 for the run home and his ownership is 1%.  Pendles is probably a better option this week, but you could go both.

Upshot: Pendlebury, Ryan, Yeo for one and a cash burner like Foley, or Amartey. Last week was average with Duncan VC and Merrett C, with 1712 and ranked 1701. Good luck everyone!

Trent Sutcliffe, coach of 'aluniesheis', won AFL Fantasy Classic in 2020, one of the most challenging seasons to date.

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