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Holding or Folding Bye Premiums: Can We Really Trust Our Rookies?

The rookies this year have been good. But can they carry us through the byes?

Right now our rookies are good. Really good. So much so that the faithful Guns n’ Rooks strategy appears to be the recipe for success, only two rounds in. Coming into this season, players such as Tom Green, Lachie Whitfield, and Sam Flanders loomed as top options in their respective lines while still providing potential upside. In a regular year, we would have undoubtedly started with all of them, but the perceived threat of the extra bye meant coaches needed more to justify picking these players, as a blue dot on field likely meant either straight-swapping or – god forbid – fielding an extra rookie during their byes.

For some of the other options, fading appears to have been the right decision. Nick Daicos, having already dropped a 60 and still set to face the Maginess tag appears to be an easy trade when his bye comes, but for the premiums such as Green, Whitfield, and Flanders who have performed, the answer isn’t as clear cut. With limited options, we weren’t really tested last week, so how we approach holding or trading this first bunch of bye premiums may have great effects on our teams going forward. While our rookies have been really impressive, one has to ask, can we really trust our rookies on field through the byes?

I’m expecting that in the midfield most coaches are starting Colby McKercher and Ryley Sanders with either Matt Roberts or Jeremy Sharp rotating in the M8 spot. With Tom Green on his bye this week, you’d be more than comfortable fielding either in his place. While straight swapping Green to Bont for instance, would likely provide immediate points, it’s worth considering that Sharp is only averaging 21 points less than Bont this year. Yes, yes, I know it would be incredibly naive to think this lasts more than one more round with Bont set to smack a 120 against West Coast, but that’s what you would’ve expected fantasy’s most expensive player to already be doing, and he’s fallen short of those expectations.

The point here is, there’s merit in thinking you won’t lose as much as you’d expect holding a Tom Green or a Touk Miller this week, as Sharp and Roberts have shown a scoring capability that could potentially get you within 30 points of a premium you’d be otherwise straight-swapping in. Sharp showed his ability to quickly rack up possessions against North Melbourne last week, scoring 25 points in a 4-minute period across the second quarter. Facing an Adelaide group that has been heavily scrutinised for their lack of spread from stoppages, I don’t see why the hard-running wingman wouldn’t be able to register numerous easy +6s to carry him to a solid score. A strong breeze could knock over Richmond at the moment, and Matt Roberts should dominate. They give up the 4th most points to defenders, which has seen strong showings from Houston (94), Newman (107), and Saad (86) in recent weeks, so I expect the Jake Lloyd prodigy to follow suit with an ~85 score. If I were a Green or Miller owner (I’m shamefully not), I’d be backing my rookies and holding this week.

The forward line is more complicated. Flanders is the 4th highest-averaging forward, and will almost certainly finish top 3 come season’s end. Yet, at 844k, that’s a lot of cash to sit on the bench, especially with a noticeable drop-off in scoring from the forward rookies. The question is, who would you trade him to? Tom Powell seems a clear-cut option, but he’s also a relatively simple 100k upgrade from Sexton – who’s move back into the forward line poses serious issues going into the future. Most coaches have Heeney and/or Jackson, and I’d be hesitant trading either in now especially given Heeney’s upcoming bye and the potential threat of Darcy’s return stunting Jackson’s scoring. That really leaves Dayne Zorko, and his hamstrings at this point might as well be made of glass. Any left-field options from there present a real risk of being a trade-in 75 score – which I would be comfortable backing Ollie Dempsey or Harley Reid to get to this week. Dempsey plays the Hawks, who are woeful, and I’m seriously thinking he could reinstate another 3-goal, 90+ point performance. Reid has shown flashes, starting on fire but fading as the game goes on. Against a Dogs outfit that hands out points for free, I think he finds some easier ball this week and breaks 70 for the first time.

I do see value in trading out Whitfield, if you own. Most coaches would be already fielding Howes, so Whitfield’s untimely bye means that a lot of coaches would be playing Toby Pink on field, who really isn’t a threat to crack anyone’s Best 18 anytime soon. Three big injuries to St. Kilda may see Arie Schoenmaker enter the squad after an impressive VFL outing, but it’s a risk and also a pain to trade him in without seeing how he fits into their revamped backline. Whitfield is at peak price at 926k and could easily be downgraded to the form man Wanganeen-Milera to earn yourself 100k. You could go a step further and downgrade him to a D’Ambrosio if you missed him, which given the rapid cash you’d gain with a probably a fairly minimal points difference, it could be a worthwhile move that would allow you to get another player, say Sexton, up to anyone.

In short, I think it’s worthwhile holding most bye premiums this week. Use the cash instead to fix up failed mid-pricers or premiums (looking at you Newcombe), who are tending to drop out of your Best 18 anyway. Of course, there’s a realistic possibility a straight swap would net you substantially more points this week, or that the rookies spud like rookies tend to do, but I think in the long run it’s worth it, and your team structure 6 weeks from now will thank you for it.

Raging Cats fan based in Queensland. Love hate (mostly hate) relationship with fantasy footy. Find me on Twitter: @Paytoss32

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23 days ago

Good advice cheers

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