Round one delivered liquorice all sorts of scoring. The premiums and mid-price players that provided strong scores brought a smile to our face. However, with some premiums failing to deliver on the scoreboard, coaches must ask the question? Should I trade this player out?
In this article, we discuss the strategies for coaches heading into this round and whether you should cut your losses or hold firm and retain a player’s services.Embed from Getty Images
Fantasy Football Trading Dilemma
Every year in the early portions of the season, we face ourselves with a significant dilemma. The dilemma is this, what do I do when my (insert player name) didn’t deliver as expected? Even the most experienced coaches can agonise over the moves they make. Ultimately success in all formats of fantasy footy comes at the trading table. A strong starting squad is undoubtedly helpful, but it’s the trades you make in the season that will define success.
I can empathise with coaches torn over what trades to make. This year more than ever with increased trades available in round two than we’ve had before. Added to this, experienced coaches will know that far too often, we have seen players start slow and then storm home after a quite first month. Conversely, players have started and then maintained a scoring trend well below expected. Luck will ultimately play a critical factor in everything, but good coaches minimise the impact it can have on your season with sound research and a wise decision-making process.
With the decisions we make, we must approach each category of player with a different mindset. For the sake of this article, we’ll classify players into three groups—premiums, midprice and cash cows. Let’s address the easiest of these first, the cash cow.Embed from Getty Images
The sole objective of cash cows/rookies is one thing, generate the cash required to trade in premium scoring players. Simply put, if you have missed good scoring cash cow and find yourself with a sub par option instead, then some of your trade dilemmas are solved. For example, if you do not own Marlion Pickett or Sam Sturt and both are named for this week then one of the first prioritise you must make is to trade them into your side.
Without your basement scoring players increasing in value, you’ll not have even a chance to finish your team with the best scoring candidates. Similarly, if a player isn’t playing, you cannot generate funds from them, of all ‘categories’ of players, the ones that should have the least emotional attachment and the easiest to move on.
As a parent of three children, I can tell you that the phrase I hear most often in life is ‘but why?‘ Just like in fantasy footy, the critical question we need to ask when analysing an underwhelming premiums scores is ‘why‘? The answer to that should well determine the course of action you take.
Has the player’s role changed significantly? Did you miss some worrying trends in their preseason in the hope that perhaps it was just a coach experimenting? Coaches with Jake Lloyd in the backline will have observed his presence more on the wings against the Crows much like late last year. Before his price changes too substantially, is it the right time to move him on? Additionally, can you move him to another topline defender and use the extra cash to fix up another part of your team?
Did an injury occur during the match that forced the coaches hand? The Kangaroos had only one on the bench for large portions of the game. It’s a safe bet that changed some of the plans of both sides. Did this factor into the Dockers mindset when letting Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters over 90% of the game? Possibly!
Did the side they play in just get blown out of the water? Many have considered moving on Josh Dunkley after his poor round one score. A rampant Magpie army destroyed his bulldogs. However, what was the cause of this? Did Dunkley have a role change? The stats suggest that isn’t the case, he attended 17 centre bounces, only Marcus Bontempelli, Taylor Adams and Brodie Grundy attended more in the game. I’d suggest that while his scoring was below par, the role was there and that instead of the Bulldogs midfield just got dominated. Will his unfortunate scoring trends continue? Possibly, but it certainly wasn’t for fear of a role change.
Have the shortened quarters impacted the scoring? Some players thrive on a high time on the ground, while others are more limited in bursts. Have the shortened quarters helped or hindered this premium performer? Has the side they played got an elite tagger?
Ultimately, every score has a why attached to it.Embed from Getty Images
Also known as stepping stones. These are players that aren’t priced (or previously scored like) a premium player. You selected them initially in the hope that they would either turn into one or get you to a fallen premium quickly. For example, in SuperCoach, Tom Lynch the premiership Tiger flew home in 2019, and 8% of coaches now have a relatively easy choice to make. A score of 55 was well below par, and with a breakeven of 92, it’s safe to suggest that even with a blinding score he isn’t the midprice forward flying out of the blocks with a big price bump. At $388,800 a quick trade to Jy Simpkin might be tempting? Coming off a score of 131 and with a breakeven of 14 even with scores around 70 over the next two games, he’d still make you a crisp $50,000.
With the extra trades available to you this week, coaches can afford to be more aggressive with the moves you make. Previously you might have waited a week or two with your stepping stones whereas now you can be more ruthless with the trades.
Just a once-off?
One of the harder dilemmas facing coaches, especially in DreamTeam is do you have enough trades to complete your side and use multiple correctional trades. For example, if you started with Matt Crouch, his 54 was a long way from the 105-110 averaged you’d hoped for. At $767,500 and breakeven of 137, do you have the number of trades required to be as aggressive as say SuperCoach? Twenty-four trades, as opposed to 30, is a big difference. A move from Crouch to Jack Viney would net you $172,000, and while the cash would be handy to use elsewhere, we must consider a few things.
One, what do you believe from now the scoring difference from Viney and Crouch is for the rest of the season? The answer to that will be one of the keys to deciding the trade. Remember, it’s not just a straight Crouch Vs Viney decision. It’s Viney + how you use that salary cap saved vs Crouch.
Finally, how many trades do you forecast it’ll take for you to get a completed side? With only 16 rounds to go, you probably have between 10-12 upgrade trades to make to get to genuine top-end scoring players.Embed from Getty Images
Treat this as my disclaimer before trading. Every side is unique, not just by the combination of players but also because of the coach behind it all. Some coaches are aggressive in the trading mindset by nature and because of this feel comfortable pulling the trigger on certain trades.
For example, some coaches in SuperCoach would feel incredibly comfortable making the trade from Marcus Bontempelli to Jack Viney. Pocket the $183,700 to be able to use on another player trade and then should Viney not be proving to be a 110 midfielder, then move back to a bottomed-out premium (perhaps even back to Bont) in a few weeks time.
If he were your only underperforming premium, then I’d be likely to make that move. Other coaches might be more aligned to backing in the premium they picked and hope that as good as Viney was, it was an outlier and that he’ll go back to a 95-100 midfielder for the year. The key is that it comes down to the needs of the individuals. Every side has unique needs, priorities and focuses. Before making any trades, make sure you’ve done the following:
- An analysis of your team
- Factored in the shortened AFL quarters
- Considered what the increased amount of trades means to your trading approach
- Observed the trends from the games played so far
- Make the moves that are best for your specific team and objectives
- Have fun and hope like anything it goes your way
One thing is for certain, there are multiple ways of getting to your goal for the year. This year it’s true more than ever!