Do you have a parachute plan?

Have you spent months agonising over your starting squad? Has your team seen hundreds of changes and iterations of it’s structure? As we near round one, the focus must evolve from just the starting squad to what happens in your team post-round one. And for that reason, you need a parachute plan.

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What’s a parachute plan? In essence, it’s the contingency plan for a player in your team. A contingency plan is important for any fantasy football side. It creates an outline of steps and actions to be taken if an unexpected incident or situation arises that impacts your team.

A parachute plan can minimize the impact of unexpected events and ensure your team can operate and stay on track. It can also help reduce the amount of trading & time spent on recovery efforts for your team.

People learnt the importance of a contingency plan twelve months ago if they had Wayne Milera in their starting squad. Wayne was a popular stepping stone in our defence, but after his game in round one, it was clear to the Crows that he wasn’t match fit. As a result, he was forced to do a preseason during the season and was seen again in round 11.

What it meant for fantasy coaches was a significant challenge to team structures. Some went down to a defensive cow, while others chose to use it to make additional correctional trades, place some money on top of Milera, and get in another option like George Hewett, who did ‘pop’ in round one.

The point differed from what they did, but people who succeeded had a plan and enacted it. Have you ever heard of If This Then That? In short, it is an automation tool that enables users to create simple conditional statements that trigger an action in response to a specific event or trigger. Successful coaches have a ‘parachute’ attached to almost every player. They have an ‘IFTT’ approach.

Let’s focus on 2023; what are the players you’ve got on your side with an element of known risk to them? Is it a stepping stone like Jack Bowes? What happens if he doesn’t get named round one? He was excellent in a match simulation, but the Geelong best 22 is tough to crack. Head Coach Chris Scott said recently on SEN that ‘he was super early in the game. He looks like he’s adjusted well to how we like to play.’ But, he said, ‘While we’ll work hard to give them (he was discussing Bowes, Bruhn & Henry) opportunity, as we will for a range of guys who were just outside our 22 at the end of last year, there are still no guarantees.”

So again, I ask, what’s your parachute plan? Having to make a structure and an unplanned adjustment on the Thursday night of round one is not ideal. Have your contingency now, so you’re not left scrambling and making a rushed or rash decision under pressure.

A ‘parachute plan’ isn’t just needed before the season commences, but it’s something that’s required once the year commences. For example, let’s highlight a potential breakout like Chad Warner. What’s your plan if he comes out and delivers back-to-back scores of 90? Your paying for him to be a 100-110 range midfielder that elevates himself to premium status? What’s your parachute plan? The beauty of the plan is that you don’t have to know who he’ll become; rather, it’s about knowing what levers you can pull should a player selection not work out. Those levers could be a trade boost, jumping on another ‘breakout premium candidate’ that’s firing or even a potential structure change. 

So much time and energy is spent on nailing your starting squads, but as important as that is, it’s not the most important player selection you’ll make. Success in this game is about the moves you make in the season that matter. Ask any person that’s won either DreamTeam, SuperCoach or AFLFantasy they’ll all tell you a similar thing that their starting squad could have been better. But when they saw changes that needed to be made, they didn’t hesitate. So the most important moves you make all year are your trades once the season starts. So have a plan and structure, but know what your parachute moves are should what your aim for doesn’t work out.