Explore the multifaceted fantasy football potential of Sydney Swans’ midfielder Errol Gulden as we delve into the complexities of his role in a dynamic Sydney lineup and strategize around the team’s early bye week.
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
Errol Gulden, a notable 32nd pick from the 2020 AFL draft by the Sydney Swans, swiftly made his mark in the league. While his journey began with roots in the Swans Academy, it was his 2023 season that truly highlighted his exceptional talent.
In this standout year, Gulden achieved All-Australian honours, finished an impressive fourth in the Brownlow Medal – polling more times than any other player in Sydney Swans’ history – and won the esteemed Bob Skilton Medal, underscoring his significant contribution to the team and his remarkable development as a player.
His 2023 season statistics place him among the elite players in the AFL, a testament to his profound impact on the field. His ranking as first in the league for inside 50s per game is particularly noteworthy. This indicates his ability to drive the ball forward and his crucial role in creating scoring opportunities for his team. Such a statistic reflects a player consistently involved in offensive play and significantly influences the game’s outcome.
Moreover, Gulden’s ranking as second in the league for metres gained is a clear indicator of his dynamic playstyle and his ability to move the ball over large distances, whether by foot or through running. This demonstrates his physical capabilities and strategic understanding of the game, knowing when and how to advance the ball effectively.
His third-place ranking for kicks further cements his status as a key player in the Sydney Swans lineup. It highlights his play involvement and confidence in ball handling and delivery. Being a top-ranked player in kicks also shows his reliability and trustworthiness in possession, a crucial aspect of any influential player’s game.
Additionally, Gulden’s 18th place for uncontested possessions underscores his ability to find space on the field and be a viable option for his teammates. It reflects his game intelligence, movement off the ball, and tactical awareness to position himself advantageously.
In AFLFantasy, Gulden had a remarkable average of 112.5. His consistency was evident with 15 scores over 100, including an impressive nine above 120 and only two below 80 for the entire season. His progression as the season unfolded was notable; he started with an average of 89.1 in the first six games but skyrocketed to an average of 120.7 in the final 17 games. This upward trajectory in scoring indicates his growing influence in games. In terms of overall rankings, he was 5th for total points, scoring more than everyone except Jordan Dawson, Rowan Marshall, Marcus Bontempelli, and Tim English, and he ranked 7th on average.
In SuperCoach, Gulden maintained a similar level of excellence with an average of 111.3. He racked up 15 scores over 100, with eight exceeding 120 and just three scores under 80 throughout the season. Like in AFLFantasy, his scoring improved as the season progressed, averaging 90.6 in the first six games and increasing to 118.5 in the final 17 games. He finished the season ranked 8th for total points and 16th overall by average, being 11th among midfielders.
The question of whether there is still an upside to Gulden’s already elite scoring is a valid one. He is priced at 112 in AFLFantasy and 111 in SuperCoach. However, considering his exceptional performance in the latter part of the 2023 season, there is certainly potential for even higher scores. His pricing, compared to his extraordinary average in the final 17 games, suggests room for growth in his fantasy output, making him an even more valuable asset for fantasy managers looking for top-end scoring potential in their teams. Gulden’s consistency and the ability to improve further makes him a highly sought-after player in fantasy football for the upcoming season.
Errol’s ability to score effectively in various positions across the field is a significant aspect of his game, showing no direct correlation between his Centre Bounce Attendances (CBA) and fluctuations in his scoring. This versatility speaks volumes about his skill in becoming a dangerous player, whether operating from the wing, participating in centre bounces, playing midfield, or even being half-forward. He has demonstrated a capability to score well in all these roles, highlighting his adaptability and threat on the field.
Reflecting on his second season in the AFL, Gulden’s averages were impressive: 19.5 possessions, 4.5 marks, 3.3 tackles, and almost a goal per game. From an AFLFantasy/DreamTeam perspective, he averaged 83, making him the 13th-ranked forward overall. This included three centuries, with a career-best 155 against the GWS Giants, where he recorded 33 disposals, 12 marks, four tackles, and two goals. Additionally, he posted four scores in the 90-99 range and five more above 80. In SuperCoach for 2022, his average of 85 ranked him as the 20th best forward. Across his 22 games, he scored six tons, with three surpassing 120, including high scores of 131 and 130.
From the earliest stages of his AFL career, Gulden has consistently shown the ability to score with both frequency and a high ceiling. As he enters another season, it’s compelling to argue that we are only beginning to witness the emergence of what could be a phenomenal AFL career. For fantasy football teams, Gulden is not just a current asset but a potential long-term uber-premium player whose capabilities and versatility make him an invaluable addition to any fantasy lineup.Embed from Getty Images
The composition of the Sydney Swans midfield for the upcoming season presents an intriguing puzzle for fantasy football managers, especially when considering the selection of Errol Gulden. The potential introduction of three new players – Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, and James Jordan – adds complexity to an already strong midfield. Each player brings a unique dynamic, which could significantly influence team strategies and individual roles.
Adams and Jordan, in particular, will be interesting to watch as they integrate into a midfield ensemble that includes stalwarts like Luke Parker, Chad Warner, and James Rowbottom. This integration will be crucial in determining the balance and function of the midfield unit. Furthermore, the return of Callum Mills from injury and the potential contributions from Angus Sheldrick, who showed promising glimpses last year, further cloud the picture of the Swans’ midfield composition.
Amidst this mix, the role of Gulden becomes a key point of speculation. Given the depth and talent in the Sydney midfield, it’s challenging to predict precisely how much time Gulden will spend inside the contests versus on the outside. While the current suspicion leans towards Gulden playing more of an outside role, the fluid nature of team dynamics means this could change as the season progresses.
For fantasy coaches, understanding Gulden’s role within this complex midfield structure is critical. It will impact his scoring potential and determine his value and when and where we target owning him. As the preseason unfolds and the season gets underway, close attention to the Sydney Swans’ midfield deployment and Gulden’s specific role will be essential in making informed decisions about his selection in fantasy teams. This uncertainty adds an element of risk and potential reward for those who can accurately anticipate Gulden’s role and capitalize on his unique skill set.
The early bye for the Sydney Swans in Round 5, coinciding with Collingwood, adds another layer of strategic consideration for fantasy managers considering Errol Gulden. Sydney’s participation in the opening round means they have one of their byes earlier in the season, a factor that must be weighed carefully in fantasy planning. While the best 18 rule during bye weeks allows for some flexibility in starting players who will be missing games, the decision to include Gulden needs careful deliberation, particularly in comparison with other available options.
This is further complicated by popular fantasy choices such as Nick Daicos, Taylor Adams, James Jordan, and Brodie Grundy, who will also miss the same bye week. Selecting multiple players from these teams increases the risk profile, potentially necessitating the fielding of more cash cows whose scores count in your best 18. This scenario could lead to lower overall scores for that round, impacting your season-long performance.
Consequently, fantasy coaches need to make tough decisions. One approach is to prioritize and rank players, opting to fade starting some of them to avoid a concentration of players missing in the same bye round. Alternatively, managers might plan for early trades to minimize the number of players who are unavailable during that crucial Round 5 bye. Both strategies aim to reduce the risk of having too many premium players missing simultaneously, which can harm maintaining a strong position in fantasy leagues.
While there is certainly a scenario where starting Errol Gulden in your fantasy team could be advantageous, it’s important to recognize the impact this decision can have on the composition of your starting squad and overall strategy. Gulden’s potential as a high scorer in the Sydney Swans midfield is clear, yet the early bye and the need to balance your team with players from different clubs and bye rounds complicate this choice.
My approach leans towards opting not to start with him but rather to keep a close eye on his performance and role in the team to trade him in later in the year. This strategy allows flexibility in managing the early bye-round challenges while capitalizing on Gulden’s potential as a high-scoring fantasy asset as the season progresses.Embed from Getty Images
In the context of AFLFantasy drafts, Errol Gulden is positioned as a definitive M1 option. His impressive scoring ability, marked by consistently high scores and the capacity to hit significant peaks, makes him a top-tier choice for any fantasy midfield.
His versatility and knack for scoring from various positions on the field, along with his proven track record, solidify his status as a primary midfield pick. Gulden’s consistently delivering high scores and his potential for further improvement positions him as a highly valuable asset in AFLFantasy, warranting early draft selection.
In SuperCoach, Gulden’s draft range is slightly more varied, falling between an M1 and M2. This variance largely depends on individual draft strategies and how managers prioritize securing players from lines other than midfield. While Gulden’s scoring prowess makes him an attractive early pick as an M1, some managers might opt to secure him as an M2, focusing their initial picks on strengthening other areas of their team.
His SuperCoach average and ability to post high scores make him a strong candidate for either position, with the final decision resting on how each manager balances their team composition and addresses their specific needs in the draft.
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