It’s a big statement! That four players will be the difference between success and failure in fantasy football this year. However, it’s true! In each line, I believe there is one player that could be the player that helps you win it all! Who are they and why?
The answer is tied back to Saturday, June 20th. That day the AFL postponed the fixture between Melbourne and Essendon due to one Bomber testing positive to COIVD-19. The result meant that at a later time this season this match would be rescheduled. While there was initial pain for fantasy coaches owning Essendon and Melbourne players, the hope among fantasy coaches was that later in the year they would receive an advantage that would level out for them. Thankfully that time is now!
Last night the AFL announced the details of the next block of AFL rounds, included in it was six teams that will have a bye. In the remaining five rounds to be announced an additional ten teams will have a ‘week’ off. However, two teams will not be having a bye round. This will be Essendon and Melbourne with the AFL deeming the missed round three clash as the necessary ‘rest.’ AFLFantasy announcing that we will have three trades per week for the year. SuperCoach have increased our trade count by four and allowed up three trades per week over rounds 10-11. Additionally, it will be a best 18 scoring format. As yet DreamTeam are yet to make any announcements.
For fantasy coaches, one of the keys to success is using the known data to inform the future as best as you can. And while we don’t know how the formats will handle the season, we do know something. The AFL will be giving teams a rest through a bye, but they will not be Melbourne or Essendon players. Meaning that as we scramble to field a team over the coming weeks, Demons and Bombers players will be available every single week.
That’s why barring injury or club management I believe there is a clear top four players that fantasy coaches will want to have in their side if they are to be successful in 2020Embed from Getty Images
Jordan Ridley | DEFENDER
For many one of the surprising breakout players of the year is Essendon’s, Jordan Ridley. He showed signs last year, but in 2020 he’s gone to premiums levels. In DreamTeam/AFLFantasy he’s one of only 14 defensive eligible players that are averaging over 70. If we were to remove the players from the list who are unavailable due to injury or not being based in an AFL hub, he’s currently 9th for averages for the season and twelfth for a three-round average.
As a reference point for his scoring, that even with an absent game in DreamTeam he’s scored more than Jake Lukosius, Adam Cerra, Hunter Clark and Jordan Dawson all who haven’t missed a game. For total points, he’s ranked 23rd for defenders and is only 160 points behind the top-scoring back in Sam Docherty.
As good as he is as an option in DreamTeam/AFLFantasy, it’s SuperCoach as a format owner really might struggle without him. In SuperCoach, he’s currently third based on averages for defenders has scored four tons and a seasonal low of 92 from last week against the Dogs. Despite missing a match, he’s still ranked 8th for total points and is less than 100 points shy of Docherty as the top-scoring back.
Even just a look at the initial two multiple bye rounds, some coaches could struggle to field a side in the defensive lines. In round 10 coaches will be without Sam Docherty, Luke Ryan, James Sicily and Shannon Hurn. While the following week Jake Lloyd and Nick Haynes are the most popular two premiums who will not play that week. If you throw in the rookie roulette and the likelihood of player management, our backlines could very quickly resemble a Krispy Kreme store.
This is the appeal of Ridley! The fact that a current top tier defender will be available both in the short and long term bye rounds is a huge advantage.Embed from Getty Images
Clayton Oliver | MIDFIELD
You could argue that Dylan Shiel is a valid candidate, and in SuperCoach he is. But in all formats, the only premium that I feel comfortable owning across formats from Demons/Dons is Clayton Oliver. In DreamTeam he’s currently ranked 9th for averages including having two scores over 100. Additionally to his scoring is his scoring basement is high. To date, his lowest score of the year was back in round one against the Eagles where he posted a 74. Last weekends 116 shows that even in a condensed game he can still give big hundreds, and in a shorter season anything over 105 is a monster.
In SuperCoach he’s been highly regarded for years and this season is no exception. What makes Clarry so dynamic to own is that he has a low scoring deviation. The gap between his best (127) and his worst (96) is relatively small. So while he may not yet match it with the Nat Fyfe, Lachie Neale, Jackson Macrae or Adam Treloar types for a ceiling, what he brings is a scoring basement that doesn’t burn you.
An average of 110 is nothing to be fazed by, and while it is 5-10 points off what others inside the top 10 averages are delivering, he has something they don’t. It would help if you guessed it by now… No bye round! No games missed means more chances for a premiums score to help advance your side. Don’t get suckered into the fact that it’s ‘just one week.’ One week in a shorter season is a huge advantage.Embed from Getty Images
Max Gawn | RUCK
Even if he wasn’t free of the forced week off, Max Gawn would still be a high priority target for non-owners. An average of 107 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 153 in SuperCoach is insane scoring from the new Melbourne captain. As good as Brodie Grundy, Tim English, Reilly O’Brien and Todd Goldstein has been, he’s still miles in from of all other options.
In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he’s averaging eight points per game higher than Grundy and a full twenty points ahead of Adelaide ruckman O’Brien. For SuperCoach, he’s third for total points among rucks, and that’s with him playing one game less. While for averages, his dominance is on full display. An average of 153 is nearly 20 points ahead of Goldstein and Grundy. He’s currently the highest-ranking player in the entire game a full 12 points ahead of Lachie Neale.
The fact he’ll be available during the bye rounds that we know means that his owners will have an advantage ahead of those without him regardless of how good the other candidates are.Embed from Getty Images
Christian Petracca | FORWARD
The breakout year for Christian Petracca has arrived! After years of teasing fantasy coaches for years CP5 is now delivering as one of the best forwards premiums in 2020. A move almost exclusively into the midfield has seen him return career-high disposals, rebound 50’s, score involvements and clearances.
In SuperCoach he’s the highest averaging forward (115) and is an essential premium that for non-owners he’s a top priority. His lowest score of the year was 89 against the Cats in round four. His second lowest is 104. In terms of peak scoring, last weekends 160 is seasonal and career-high. Moving him into your team is a defensive trade, but given he’s in only 21% of teams he’s still relatively unique given what he’s delivering.
In DreamTeam he’s also the highest averaging forward candidate with 88 and is one of only four players to average 80+ these include Michael Walters, Hugh Greenwood and one gamer Peter Ladhams. To further highlight his scoring dominance he’s currently ranked fourth on total points has played one less game and is only 49 points behind the top points performer.
In AFLFantasy had Steele Sidebottom not been awarded FWD eligibility a few weeks ago, these numbers would’ve been the same as DreamTeam.
In 2020 we have plenty of strong premium performers in our forward line. Lachie Whitfield has started to deliver as expected. Hugh Greenwood is thriving in a full-time midfield role with Matt Rowell now out injured. Fremantle pair Michael Walters and Andrew Brayshaw are performing as owners have anticipated. What sets Petracca ahead of them is that barring injury or management from the club he won’t miss games for the rest of the year.