Bloody oath! How good was it to have footy back. Although stressful with the rolling lockout it was nice to sit back watch some footy and count stats again. With the freedom of having unlimited trades gone, I almost feel more free in not having to flick players around and get the right mix. For the most part my hard work this pre-season payed off and whilst I dodged a couple of bullets in Dangerfield and Rowell I also got a lot of calls correct which has allowed me to get off to a good start. For those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook you would be aware that I managed to score 2049 this week which puts me ranked 159 overall. With no forced trades (yet) I couldn't have asked for a better position to be in early.
Top Scorers For the Round
1) Andrew McGrath ($766k MID) 141
2) Dom Sheed ($706k MID) 138
3) Jackson Macrae ($874k MID) 135
4) Jack Bowes ($643k DEF) 135
5) Dustin Martin ($737k MID/FWD) 131
6 Bailey Smith ($691k MID) 131
7) Shannon Hurn ($648k DEF) 129
8) Jaidyn Stephenson ($512k FWD) 128
9) Callum Mills ($723k DEF) 121
10) Rory Laird ($775k MID/DEF) 119
Biggest Disappointments for the Round
1) Matt Rowell ($536k MID) Obviously the biggest disappointment not just for fantasy coaches but fans of the games. You never want to see this sort of thing happen to anyone but especially a bloke who is no doubt to be a future star of the game with so much upside. Unfortunately for coaches who own him, he'll be out for a few weeks at least so he's a must trade.
2) Patrick Dangerfield ($776k MID/FWD) Paddy's score wasn't the disappointment (Scored 96) but the fact he elected to bump and knocked a player out cold means he'll be spending a bare minimum couple weeks on the sidelines. Frustrating trade for those who own him as he will inevitably be a top forward that you'll be bringing back in at some stage.
3) Andrew Gaff ($806k MID) Must have shagged one of his team mates Mrs because they avoided him like the plague all game. A game which was open and kick mark oriented led to Gaff who would usually relish these conditions finishing with a measly 70 points. He did receive minor attention from Touk Miller but that's no excuse for his lack lustre performance only managing the 16 disposals. If you're an owner you have to hold strong, he will bounce back.
4) Max Gawn ($912k RUC) If you followed my pre-season articles and videos you would be one of the coaches blessed to not own Max Gawn. With all signs pointing to a regression in ruck points along with indicators that Max himself would regress, I wasn't surprised to see Max score what he did despite being up against a rookie ruck opponent in Lloyd Meek. If you have Max he'll continue to drop but I think you just have to back him in and hope he can score respectably going forward. He'll be a top 2 ruck come years end but rucks in general look to be over valued based on how the game is being played.
5) Jordan De Goey ($593k FWD) Unfortunately for Jordan's sake he wasn't afforded any fantasy favours due to his teams performance. The role was okay and while he didn't spend extended minutes in the midfield he played enough there to indicate he can see an uptick in scoring this year. The issue was the Bulldogs ravaged the pies all game and lead the disposal count by 150. Limited opportunity in the middle and limited opportunity when going forward is why De Goey scored what he did. I expect De Goey to bounce back this week against Carlton so if you have him and you have other worries (Danger and Rowell) I wouldn't be too concerned. With a lack of goal scoring options and Steele Sidebottom to come back maybe De Goey is just a fake wish version of Dusty. He doesn't look to make any coin for a couple weeks now so if you're one of the coaches in a luxury position with not many forced trades or you don't need to bring in "must have" rooks, then I can get around trading De Goey to someone you may have missed like a Caldwell.
After pushing it heavily in the pre-season those who listened would have been stoked to have Flynn's score of 99 on their field. The interesting thing about this was that this ended up being the top ruck score of the round. The fact that no rucks managed to score 100+ indicates to me that this is not just coincidence but a trend we can expect going forward. Flynn was able to score well but it was also the only game this round that experienced super poor weather. This lead to a more contested style of footy and more down the line contests which favoured the big man. I think the best rucks this year will be the ones who can adapt and play another position really well. For me a player like Rowan Marshall would be perfect once he returns. We saw Tim English put together a great game due to his ability to excel as a forward. If you are a Gawn or Grundy owner you backed them from the start as set and forget. You don't want to be wasting trades on premium players like these guys and there aren't many options I would consider trading them to. Just hold and hope they adapt sooner rather than later. Melbourne/Collingwood know how valuable these guys are and will find ways in their structure to get them more involved where possible.
The Calls I Got Right and Wrong Round 1
1) Not spending up in my ruck department. Going with Flynn/Witts not only ended up bagging me more points but allowed me to spend up elsewhere on guys who I thought had higher scoring potential (Merrett/Macrae).
2) Rookie Selection. While I didn't have guys like Rowe and Jordon on the field the important thing is that I have them. My rookie selection was pretty spot on bar maybe 1 or 2 and therefore I'm in a good position where I don't need to use trades chasing these cash cows early.
3) Spending up in defence. While I missed out on Laird and copped and average score from Stewart I'm still happy with my thought process in spending up in defence as I think the points will be consistent here especially early. Round highlight for me was Oleg Markov and to those who listened and got on board I'm sure you're stoked with the reward.
Not So Great Calls
I took a little bit of a risk and went with some super unique options which didn't pay off. The first being Tom Atkins from Geelong. His role is okay but his will to find space wasn't there so I don't think his scoring will be great. His team didn't have much opportunity to control the ball which meant he couldn't get much on the outside. His scoring can certainly improve when Geelong play better footy but at such unique ownership (1.5%) and the fact he's not going to make much coin now early he'll be one I look to move on early.
The second guy I wasn't impressed with was Darcy Parish. I was super bullish on him to improve massively this season bumping his average to around the 100 mark. His role in the AAMI indicated that he would play the midfield clock needed to do this and so I took the risk. Unfortunately, it looks like Shiel who I thought would spend more time forward actually played decent minutes inside. Along with Merrett, McGrath, Caldwell and Devon Smith getting some rotation, it looks as though Parish is going to be playing a similar role to last season which almost rules out the improvement I was seeking. One I'm willing to give another crack but if his role is going to be consistent he's one I'm willing to move on sooner rather than later.
A couple of other guys who let me down this round include Jordan Clark and Jordan De Goey. Both these guys struggled largely due to the fact that their teams were well beaten for majority of the game and weren't afforded much opportunity. Clark at the price I'm willing to give another go as he obviously thrives on outside ball and in a game where Adelaide's pressure was through the roof there wasn't much of this to go round. De Goey on the other hand did manage to play midfield minutes albeit not as much as I would have liked to see. He spent the 3rd quarter playing forward as Collingwood looked for a scoring outlet. Unfortunately, Collingwood don't have many goal scoring options so this is always going to be a threat to De Goey getting the midfield time. Collingwood should get more opportunity this week against the Blues and he should bounce back but if you're in a luxury position getting rid of him isn't a move I hate.
My Takeaways and Opinion on the Round
Very much what I saw in the AAMI series correlated to what I saw in round 1 which enabled me to select some super picks and get off to a great start. The ball movement and the speed of the game is key this year. Less contested footy and lower tackle numbers means your real in and under types may struggle to reach their heights of the past. On the flip side players who look to utilise open space and have super running ability look to have upside. A combination of both especially for midfielders looks ideal to producing bigger scores and hence why I think Merrett/Macrae will be the top scorers this season.
The trend of the running half back types scoring well continued with guys like Short, Daniel, Markov, Crisp etc... all scoring 90+. This will continue as the game leans more toward an open kick mark style than a contested style. As always centre bounce attendances (CBA's) looked to be key and without dissecting the numbers as of yet from the eye it looked that players with Higher CBA's were still able to score more points per minute. When comparing your inside and outside mids, I think you have to back the guy getting time on the inside. We saw with Geelong on the weekend, they got pumped with pressure all game and therefore weren't given much opportunity to move the ball on the outside. This resulted in wingers like Clark to score poorly. Inside midfielders like in previous years will continue to be more consistent. You just need to consider how good their outside game is also and their spread from stoppage. A team that looks to have nailed this balance in their game plan is the Western Bulldogs and therefore they should be a team that scores heavily this year.
My Early Trade Moves
It is very important to use your trades wisely at the start of the year. Cash generation should be priority and therefore if you don't have rookies such as Jordon, Gulden, Rowe, they should be a priority this week. Your early trades can be used to jump on guys you may have missed round 1 or guys you liked but needed to see more from. The trades above are just a rough guide to what I'm looking at but there are a lot of things that could happen between now and next weekend that could change that.
With plenty to dissect, I'll be going through some numbers and posting an article later in the week going over which guys I think you need to watch out for along with trade targets and moves to consider this week. I hope everyone got off to the start they wanted and for those who have Rowell/Danger or both, there is no need to worry. A lot of people have those guys so you're not disadvantaged too much. The AFL season is long and cruel and I'm sure there will be plenty more carnage. As long as your fundamentals are in place you should be set for a strong season. Once again cheers for giving up your time to read my articles. For daily news and insights follow me on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with real time news and content.