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The Thursday Scramble

The Thursday Scramble: Round 8

A third of the way through the season after this week! Let’s Scramble!!

It was one of those weekends, it either went really great or really crap. There were a couple of things it came down to, who was your C/VC and what rookies you had to have on your field. Sometimes this game comes down to just plain luck but most of the time time it comes down to solid planning, good strategy and then some luck.  Whichever camp you were in this week, there is always a reason to Scramble!!

Is it Trendy?

So we have now seen 7 rounds of footy which means we have 7 rounds of data that we can draw conclusions from. Our players have now also more than likely had a look at differing levels of opponents. So according to Cal’s scale they have probably played some Green teams and some Red teams.  What all this means is that we can now identify whether a player’s great score last week was a one off or was it a trend that we can see continuing. We are also starting to learn about opponents and what they will do (and no doubt Cal will build this into the Scale of Hardness over the coming weeks). One area that we are very interested in trends is that of the Centre Bounce Attendances. Who is in there when there is a ball to be won and tackles to be had. For example we saw Jack Macrae have 62% CBA’s in round 1 but since then he has been between 40% and 55% so this tells us that he doesn’t have the role that we had hoped for. Similarly Bontempelli had his lowest CBA’s in round 1 of 69% and hasn’t dropped below 75% since which is telling us that he is very unlikely to have that full time forward role that we have seen hurt his score in recent years. This is the sort of data that can really influence your trading decisions.

Another way we can look at it is to see if this is a change in circumstance.  Now this season we have heard a lot about how SicDawg is not taking kick ins and that is impacting his scoring. However, if we look back at season 2022 we can see that Sicily didn’t take the most kick ins for the Hawks and in fact Hardwick took 4 the most for the Hawks (73 vs 69) so based on that should we be staying away?  Probably not. The only difference is that in season 2023 so far Hardwick has taken 31 to Sicily’s 18 kick ins.  This is now establishing a new trend that we need to be mindful of.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that just because we are seeing something happen this season don’t just think that it must be the reason for a change in scoring fortunes. Look back at the previous year’s data to check to see how things have been trending over time before branding something as a main cause.

Are you a Follower or a Leader?

Got a question from David Furmark on twitter (@United399) who asks “Do you take into account ownership in the top 100/top 1000 when selecting who to bring in or is it better to select a POD to have a realistic chance to catch up or is it too early to be thinking of that”.  Long question there David but a great one. This is the sort of thing that can have a real influence on what you do with your trading.

When I think about myself, I don’t tend to have a good look at that information before making a trade. I am always just looking for a player that offers value for what they are currently priced at and a player that I think is going to deliver me the most points from that point onwards in the season. However, this doesn’t mean disregarding the ownership stats. Ultimately we are all trying to make our teams better than everyone else’s sides.

Sometimes this does mean that we need to consider what everyone else is doing and that may mean that if someone like a Daicos, Laird or Clarry is tearing it up and having a great season and has a very high ownership, then every round that you don’t have them is going to hurt your score so you are going to want to cover off that by bringing that player in. Conversely if you want to climb your way up the rankings, it isn’t those guys that will do it for you it is the players that they don’t have but you do have that are going to be the ones that get you there.

I know, I know, I have just outlined the obvious parts of the question, but hear me out. My advice on the best strategy here is one that is a bit of a hybrid and it is often what I will try and do. That is, I will look for someone that is popularly owned but not over the top, so they may be in maybe 30% or so of teams but they have been scoring similarly to the more popular players and then this means that when your guy goes big, odds are that they will outscore that player that is super popular. But you want to make sure the guy has a low standard deviation of scoring, this means that the difference between their worst and best isn’t too large so that if they fail it doesn’t hurt you too badly.

The warning is though, you don’t want to have too many of these guys in your side otherwise you will fall behind the pack.  I will often try and get the top 3 or so popular mids that are scoring really well and then maybe my M4 might be one of these guys that is a little different to try and use them to get that bump in score.

As for if it is too early to think about it? Definitely not. If you really want to get in a POD, the earlier you do it the less risky your POD needs to be and the more chance your POD has to work.  If you do it with 15 rounds to go and you are getting an extra 10 points a round from them you will get yourself an extra 150 points on the field. But if you leave it until there are just 10 rounds left you need your POD to outperform by 15 points and if you leave it until there are just 5 rounds left you need them to outperform by 30 points a round.  So early is best!

I hope that has answered your question David, but it is a really interesting area that has lots of answers that can all be correct in any given round.

Mid Price Mid Season Mayhem?

Our old mate John of @SinceUBeenGawn has asked “Given the lack of rookies with good job security are mid pricers the key to cash generation this year?”. It certainly seems like Warnie’s “rookie crisis” is hitting us a bit more than usual this year as it is hard to find guys to downgrade to that are going to give us the cash generation that we need to get our teams up to the big dogs of the competition.

I think that in AF you can certainly take that risk and play a bit of Mid Price Roulette and use them as a stepping stone but just remember what happened that first game after people wanted to bring Chayce Jones in (they were rewarded against Collingwood thankfully). We may need to rely on jumping on and off these guys a bit to get those little bursts of cash rather than holding someone for a long period and getting that sustained cash generation.

In RDT and SC this is a little harder to do with the limited number of trades so you don’t want to be doing it too often in those games as you will be likely to leave yourself short of trades at the back end of the season.

Having said all of that, if you are going to do this you are likely to slow your upgrade cadence down a bit which will ultimately leave you a week or two behind the top teams and no matter how many POD’s you have you may find it hard to catch up. So like all good red wines, use the mid pricers for cash generation in moderation!

A quick shoutout….

Just want to do a quick shoutout to a group of guys in the league called Humble Heroes Season 2023 who I have seen put an incredible amount of work into their league and have a great thing going with a weekly newsletter with scoring stats of their teams by position as well as a rundown of each of the league matchups each week, it is truly incredible and very impressive.   Keep up the good work and I am backing team Filthy to make a big comeback in the second half of the season.

Things to Remember

  • Use the data that you can find on the internet to make informed decisions about your trades. There is plenty out there and it is easy to find.
  • When looking at data have a copy of Cal’s Scale of Hardness handy as it may help you explain some of the outliers in a player’s scoring
  • Sometimes you won’t agree with what the rest of the pack are doing and that is perfectly ok, sometimes going your own way is better than group think.

Have a great weekend of footy everyone. Let’s hope that we can stay injury and suspension free for a while now so that we can work on upgrading our teams rather than just having to side swap around long term injury. And like I said last week, make sure you have half an eye on the byes, they aren’t that far away now and they will come up on us fast!

A passionate Port Adelaide Fan who simply loves footy! That is how I would describe myself. Catch my weekly article "The Thursday Scramble" with all the last minute things to think about for the weekend Follow: @pkd73.

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