It's become a common theme this year that with a new round we have more injury carnage to deal with. Fortunately for myself I have managed to escape these issues (until teams come out) but for many coaches out there this is not the case. In this article I'll cover what to do with Josh Dunkley/Dustin Martin along with some potential options for those lucky coaches who don't have injury issues to deal with.
Josh Dunkley, Dustin Martin or Lachie Neale Replacement
When looking for a replacement option I strongly believe in following the principles in which I have preached in the earlier rounds. Searching for value is essential and especially with limited rookies coming through cash generation needs to be considered even when targeting premium types. The options in which I present are guys who I think have bottomed out in price and look to have upside or have received a role switch of recent and look to be able to bump their scoring output. The options aren't presented in any order and you will need to factor in price along with bye rounds and durability as to who you end up picking as the right option for you.
Steele Sidebottom ($726k MID/FWD BE 97)
Steele having missed the early part of the season after a limited pre-season now looks to be hitting full fitness and getting back to his best. Collingwood have limited midfield options at the moment and therefore while he spent the early rounds playing predominantly forward I think the Pies are to play him predominantly as a midfielder from this point on. Last week we saw Sidey spend 88% at center bounces which is a huge uptick which resulted in a season high of 130 points. Currently down $115k from his starting price and coming in priced at 100, now is the time to get on board if you like him as an option.
Nat Fyfe ($693k MID/FWD BE 91)
Having picked up forward status Fyfe now comes with some added value. While never being a super elite fantasy player he has averaged 105 in the past on multiple occasions and has always been a safe 100's guy. With Cerra out of the side Fyfe looks to be back into the middle where he spent 95% at center bounces last week, the most of any player outside of ruck options. He has a couple of nice match ups coming up and in my opinion will be a top 6 forward. He does have the tendency to miss games which is a slight query but I think the current game along with the longer quarters suit Fyfe and I still don't think we have seen the best of him this year. Dunkley to Fyfe nets you $130k which could be very handy in coming weeks to chase future upgrades.
Dayne Zorko ($729k MID/FWD BE 96)
Lachie Neale out poses the huge question as to who picks up the midfield minutes. It's likely Mathieson comes into the side and takes up a position inside. We could also see McCluggage spend more time in the middle along with Robertson, potentially Bailey and Berry when fit. I still think we will see Zorko spend more time in the middle and while I don't expect anything massive it could be enough to see a slight up tick. He's proven in the past he can be a 110 guy with a huge ceiling and currently priced at 100 he presents as an option. Does have a poor injury history which needs to be considered.
Jack Ziebell ($799k DEF/FWD BE 51)
Ziebell will likely be the most traded in player this week after his super hot start to the year. After his huge 170 last week we've seen Ziebell hit massive ceiling scores of 139, 140 and 170 in his last 4 games. With a breakeven of 51 he's only going to keep climbing so if you like him and want to get on this is your last opportunity. Currently priced at 111 I don't see Ziebell averaging more than this for the remainder of the year. The role he has is a fantasy dream but with the way North are travelling I just don't see how anything he is doing is benefiting them as a footy club. I expect some sort of change and with Hall coming back I expect this to also have some sort of impact on him. Priced at 111 you don't have much wiggle room for any uncertainty and the fact he had a poor run with injury last year and has the round 12 bye, at the price he's one that I personally wouldn't target. If he does continue on his current trajectory you could trade him at the byes at $850-$900k and make some bank/points from this move. Lots of different ways to approach this and different coaches will have different opinions as AFL Fantasy is an opinionated game. I personally wouldn't do it but those that want to go there I have no issue with it either.
Shai Bolton ($598k MID/FWD BE 45)
We saw last year that when Shai is given that inside midfield role he looks capable of averaging 95. It seems he's got that back and as a result he's gone 90, 107 and 122 in his last 3. Comes in priced at 83 and therefore provides 10-15 points upside in my opinion. Could be a great cash grab down from Dunkley which gives you the cash the get another upgrade elsewhere. He's the best "cheap" option in my opinion.
Adam Treloar ($748k MID BE 86)
Treloar looks back to full fitness and is still value at the price. He's averaged 115 in his last 3 and I expect him to be able to maintain an average close to this for the rest of the season. With Josh Dunkley now out, Treloar is only going to spend the same amount or more time in the middle and in a side like the Bulldogs that rack up plenty of points we could see Treloar have a career best season. The longer the year goes on the more Treloar will adapt to the systems at the Dogs and the better he will get. Priced at 104, if you have the opportunity he's the man to get as a midfield option.
Tom Mitchell ($763k BE 114)
Whilst he's had an underwhelming start to the season we all know what Titch is capable of. Like we saw with Macrae last week I expect Mitchell to go BANG! sometime soon and when that happens you'll want to be on board. Priced at 106, he could easily be 10 points under that and having missed most of the pre-season he looks like he's hitting that patch where he could be about to explode.
Andrew Brayshaw ($694k MID BE 93)
As someone who started with Brayshaw it's been an up and down ride so far. When given the ability to roam free Brayshaw has the ability to accumulate across all stat lines and as a result has averaged 116 in games where he hasn't been tagged. When he does receive attention he's averaged 58.5. With Mundy in such hot form along with Fyfe now being injected back into the middle he has those experience bodies around him to help him out and potentially take some of that attention off him. Priced at 96 I honestly believe Brayshaw can average close to that 110 mark for the remainder of the season (hence why I started with him) and therefore I think he's an option to pick up now if he suits your circumstances.
Darcy Parish ($673k MID BE 48)
Another guy I ran the risk with and started with. Since being injected into the middle full time he's flourished. Whilst you've missed that massive score he has a low BE and priced at 94 should continue to average 100+. There is value here and if you can't afford a guy like Treloar for example he could be an option to ride up until the Bye where you could near sideways him to a more proven type.
I've had plenty of questions about other "uber" premium types such as Petracca, Oliver, Steele etc... As I stated earlier, I prefer to chase the value in the types I've listed above as I think they can produce a similar output but give you more cash in order to maintain flexibility with upgrade possibilities going forward. These types are guys that I'll look more closely at during the byes but until then I'm willing to stay away. The only exception to this rule is if you don't have Gawn or Grundy. If you're still rocking with Flynn at R2 then you'll need to use Dunkley to get to one of these two guys. Let me repeat in caps as this is important, Flynn may get dropped again this week so
IF YOU HAVE FLYNN AT R2 YOU SHOULD BE USING THE CASH FROM DUNKLEY TO GET TO GRUNDY/GAWN. THIS IS A PRIORITY
Which Rookies to Chase
Jy Farrar ($304k FWD BE -8)
When looking at rookies you want someone who looks to have good job security and scoring ability. Farrar ticks both of these boxes. He's shown his scoring ability is strong and in a side like Gold Coast who possess the footy and rack up plenty of points through defence he's in the perfect environment to thrive. Up against Collingwood this week he should have another great game and he should continue to generate plenty of cash. At the price this is the last week to get on board but he's worth paying the $304k for and he's one you can have on the field. If you're looking for a forward he's my #1 option.
Devon Robertson ($313k MID/FWD BE 0)
Devon has shown in both his junior numbers and his limited time at AFL that he has the ability to score. Job security was always an issue with Dev but with Neale now gone his JS will be a lot stronger in my opinion and we may even see him given more opportunity at an inside role. Like Farrar, this is the last week to get on board but there is still plenty of cash left in him and he's also one you could have on the field.
Martin Frederick ($198k DEF BE -5)
Showed a lot of promising signs on debut. Reminded me of Markov in a sense that his ability to push hard into dangerous space looked to be a strong asset of his and as a result brings value to the table not many other Port players have. I think this gives Frederick decent Job security and while Powell-Pepper and Bonner are to come back I think a Miles Bergman will be at risk of getting dropped before Frederick. He has a tougher game this week against the Lions in which looks to be a wet game, therefore his scoring may suffer this week but I think at the price he's a good look and worth the punt if the cash gets you the upgrade you're chasing.
Atu Bosenavulagi ($266k FWD BE -7)
Has a nice role across half back and seems to get involved in the chip mark play. He's shown enough from his two games to suggest he's pretty solid in the North 22 so he gets a tick from a job security stand point. With Aaron Hall to come back this week I expect his scoring to drop off slightly but he should still be able to manage scores of 50-60. He looks to be a good safe option and certainly one to consider.
These are the 4 guys I would be looking at this week. There are other options such as Thilthorpe, Bergman, Sweet, McCreery etc... I just haven't included them as I don't think they are as good as the options I have outlined above.
Other rookies to note include Finlay Macrae and Jay Rantall. Buckley doesn't seem to have a clue at the moment and therefore has played these guys out of position. As a result they haven't been given the opportunity to perform and their roles haven't been favorable to produce great fantasy scores. Shaky job security means I wouldn't be looking at these guys if you don't own them.
It looks like Richmond are going to finally blood Riley Collier-Dawkins ($170k MID) this week. He looks a decent type but Richmond have never been a side to give their young guys much of a chance in the past and therefore I wouldn't be jumping on board straight away. Last week I took the chance with Rantall as all signs pointed to him being a great rookie selection but he didn't receive the role I thought he would and therefore resulted in a dud pick. I think from this point forward I'm willing to give these guys a look first to see if their role is favorable before jumping on first.
Others Options to Consider
I've tailored this article mainly to midfielders and forwards as that's where most people are shopping this week. For those that aren't stuck with forced trades and are considering a defensive upgrade these are the guys I like. While there are options such as Laird, Mills, Docherty etc... these aren't the guys I would be looking at now. Take Mills for example, he comes in priced at 104 and is highly owned amongst the top coaches. As a result you're not gaining any edge by selecting him as he has limited upside price wise and you're not going to make ground on the top sides as they already have him. These are the guys I think provide good value or a uniqueness about them.
Jake Lloyd ($763k DEF BE 105)
Similar price to Mills, Lloyd is now priced 8 points below his starting price and is quite unique amongst the top sides. He presents more upside and has shown in past years to have a monster ceiling. For these reasons I would look to bring him in ahead of a Mills type.
Dan Houston ($666k DEF BE 95)
Houston has shown he's able to score well in multiple positions. This is a huge tick as if his role is to change between defence and midfield he's shown he can still maintain that 100+ scoring which gives him stability. Excluding his injury affected score of 32 he's averaging 102.8 this season. He's currently priced at 92 so there is 10 points of upside here, he's bordering a top 6 defender spot and therefore he's one I would look at heavily. He does have a round 12 bye which is something to take note of as a potential negative but if he fits your structure jump on board.
Dyson Heppell ($628k MID/DEF BE 46)
Durability is the only query here. We've seen in the past what Heppell is capable of and after his big score last week he looks to make some cash over the next few weeks. Ridley back this week will probably hinder him and while he may not be a top 6 defender he will continue to be a 90+ guy who you can potentially sideways to a proven top 6 guy during the bye. I don't hate this play.
Luke Ryan ($623k DEF BE 81)
Since given more freedom Ryan has looked to get back to his best. I was pretty bullish on Ryan last week but with the injury to Brennan Cox we may see Ryan return to a more defensive role this week. As a result he could see a dip in output and therefore I would tread carefully despite the value he presents at his price.
Christian Salem ($703k DEF BE 65)
No one has him so he presents as a great unique option. Having posted 3 scores over 110 and a huge 141 last week there aren't many defenders who have this type of ceiling. He plays in a strong side and he's the number 1 coming out of the back half. He's expensive but I can't see him dropping off so he could be a great point of difference.
Guys to Keep an Eye on
These are some potential options who I do like but are still 1-2 weeks away from being ripe for picking. I've also included a couple guys I think could be in for a role switch and therefore see an uptick in scoring.
Lachie Hunter ($678k MID/FWD BE 122)
Jordon Ridley ($700k DEF BE 141)
Caleb Daniel ($592k DEF BE 139)
Josh Daicos ($509k MID/FWD BE 76)
Bailey Smith ($640k MID BE 125)
Hugh McCluggage ($753k MID BE 83)
As always, cheers for reading guys. Remember to trade smart and don't get greedy. Plan for the future are trade accordingly and you will achieve success over the long haul. Now is the time you should be starting to consider bye rounds and therefore it's a factor you should be considering when weighing up your options this week. Good luck to everyone this round and until next time... Keep climbing up the ranks!