It is always useful to look back at your previous years in Fantasy competitions to learn what you have done well and what you could’ve improved upon. After having personal best seasons across all formats, I’ve chosen to do a recap of my 2022 RDT Season to outline my starting structure and trades through the season, my reasoning behind these decisions, and where I could have improved my decision making.
Defenders – Jack Crisp ($867.8k), Lachie Whitfield ($808.3k), Jayden Short ($796.1k), George Hewett ($545.3k), James Sicily ($473.7k), Wayne Milera ($263.5k), Mitch Hinge ($182.8k), Sam De Koning ($182.8k)
We were stressed for rookie options down back at the start of the 2022 season. The highest scoring sub-300k rookie in round 1 was Patrick McCartin ($254.6k), who I missed starting at the expense of Milera, who I started despite coming off an injury interrupted pre-season due to his perceived upside. Hinge and De Koning, as bench options, were fine picks and served their roles.
Hewett and Sicily were the clear mid-pricers to own for 2022 in Defence. Both increased significantly from their starting price and proved to match it with the Top 6. Both had clear narrative as to why they could improve in price, with Hewett moving clubs for more opportunity and Sicily returning off injury. Finding players like this who can be season keepers at significantly cheaper prices makes a huge difference to getting a good balance in your starting squad.
The premiums I chose to start in Crisp, Whitfield, and Short were a mixed bag. All had a poor round 1 score with them scoring 51, 69, and 68 respectively. However, they all reversed their scoring for the following week and Crisp and Short proved to be premiums up until just after the byes. Whitfield is the only one you could say was a ‘failed’ pick, but he was a common pick (65% owned) and a tough mistake. However, none of the other picks in a similar price bracket performed well, with you having to go all the way down to either Jordan Dawson ($757.3k) or Jack Sinclair ($676.5k) to find anyone you could say was a miss. Dawson was coming off an interrupted pre-season and was popular before this, while Sinclair was a tricky one to see coming given there was no clear role change in pre-season.
Midfielders – Jack Macrae ($988.3k), Josh Kelly ($884.3k), Lachie Neale ($805.5k), Patrick Cripps ($697.1k), Matt Rowell ($471.1k), Jason Horne-Francis ($292.9k), Nick Daicos ($274.9k), Josh Ward ($256.9k), Connor MacDonald ($172.9k), Jake Soligo ($172.9k), Brady Hough ($172.9k)
Macrae came in as the second most expensive midfielder and one of the second most popular premium midfielder, only behind Neale. Both of these players were walk-up picks by the time round 1 and performed as well, if not better, than expected. Neale especially was great value for a player who ended up as a top 8 midfielder. Many might see Kelly as a failed pick, but much of that is hindsight for people who were tossing up between him and Andrew Brayshaw ($888.9k) as their M2. I believe that Kelly was a fine starting pick, especially with his scoring up to round 16, before he had a significant drop in CBA’s.
Cripps and Rowell as mid-pricers were miles apart. Cripps came out of the blocks in phenomenal form and left teams without him scrambling to bring him in. Rowell also had a great Round 1, but followed it up with a poor Round 2, and then regressed to middling scores for a few weeks. He ended up increasing in price by 100k by round 8 but did not perform at the level you would have wanted for a player like him. His performance, however, was offset by his ownership level of 63.7% by Round 2.
Horne-Francis, Daicos, and Ward were all popular starting rookies on field coming into the start of the season and all had ownership above 65%. Not much really needs to be said except pick the obvious rookies because they are obvious for a reason most of the time. MacDonald and Hough were the next most popular midfield rookies, whilst Soligo was a fair way down the list at only 15% ownership. It was a tricky start as, while MacDonald scored well and held his place in the team, both Hough and Soligo scored poorly and were in and out of their respective teams. There weren’t many other options for rookies and so it would be tough to judge this too harshly.
Rucks – Max Gawn ($925.9k), Brodie Grundy ($907.7k), Jack Hayes ($150.9k)
Neither Grundy nor Gawn came out of the gates flying in Round 1 but Gawn ended up showing his prowess as the season went on. The two that were missed at the start were Tim English ($685k) and Jarrod Witts ($588.9k), though the latter was coming off an ACL and was tricky to justify starting. English broke out as a clear number 1 ruck for the Dogs and is one who quite a few started to great success. Hayes was the clear rookie to start due to him playing round 1, with the only other rookie in consideration being Hugh Dixon ($150.9k) who had some job security concerns.
Forwards – Josh Dunkley ($780.6k), Zac Butters ($649.7k), Isaac Heeney ($649.3k), Stephen Coniglio ($402.5k), Will Brodie ($349.5k), Joshua Rachele ($262.9k), Finn Maginness ($182.8k), Corey Durdin ($182.9k)
Dunkley came in significantly underpriced due to his end to the 2021 season and was heavily selected as a result. His scores showed that he deserved that ownership and teams that didn’t start him struggled. Heeney and Butters were very similar in price and had ownership of 25% and 50% respectively. Heeney started the year better but both performed reasonably. In the end, both were outshined by DPP options that came through during the season. As such, perhaps both were failures, but their damage was offset by ownership and shows that selecting apparent top 6 players who might be outshone later through DPP isn’t a bad idea.
Brodie and Coniglio came in as mid-price options with significant ownership also. Both had narrative for their selection, with Brodie changing clubs and expected to get midfield time given the absence of Fyfe while Coniglio came off an injury interrupted 2021 season. Much like Hewett and Sicily, these were straightforward picks who ended up being season keepers.
Rachele and Maginness were two of the most popular forward rookie selections who were perceived to have solid job security. Durdin was arguably a mistake, but I opted into him over Nic Martin ($150.9k) due to my concerns over his job security. Durdin still provided enough cash generation to justify him as a starting selection.
Overall – A balance of 11 Premium, 6 Mid-Pricers, and 5 Rookies on field for round 1 ended up with a solid squad. Of the 6 Mid-Pricers, 5 of them were successful which helps to boost points on field and cash generation significantly, though it is worth noting that this wont be the case every year. While many of the premiums started performed well, the likes of Whitfield and Grundy clearly underperformed their price point. It is unlikely that all the premiums you pick will perform at your expectations or even at their price point, but if they are able to maintain consistent scoring until you can trade them out, they wont hurt you much, especially if they are highly owned players. Move the players who are underperforming early but have faith in premiums if they have a bad round 1 as they are proven scorers and will likely bounce back. Fix rookies, then mid-pricers, and lastly premiums.
Trades: (Prices Listed as at Round of Trade)
Round 3 – Matt Rowell ($471.1k), Wayne Milera ($263.5k), and Jake Soligo ($172.9k) to Paddy McCartin ($254.6k), Tristan Xerri ($297.4k), and Dylan Stephens ($282.7k).
I had no faith in Rowell after a poor round 2 and needed cash to get the players I wanted to get in. Despite high ownership and a low breakeven, I was comfortable moving Rowell. Milera and Soligo were dropped and not performing and thus they also both departed. McCartin was the defensive rookie I missed and so I corrected to get him, while Xerri was showing that he had plenty of cash to generate. Stephens was also on the bubble and bought in. Overall, these trades were correctional and successful.
Round 4 – Dylan Stephens ($333.6k) to Nick Martin ($150.9k).
Martin had a ridiculously low breakeven and had missed round 2 so was late to the bubble, whilst Stephens had a poor round 3 score and was dropped for round 4. Easy move to make, but arguably a wasted trade from the week before with getting Stephens.
Round 5 – Josh Ward ($362.6) and Mitch Hinge ($327.4k) to Hugh Dixon ($228.3k) and Nathan O’Driscoll ($261.8k).
Despite missing the bubble on O’Driscoll, his huge score in round 4 meant there was plenty of cash to be generated from him, with the same also applying for Dixon. Hinge was dropped after round 4 and did not return until round 8, while Ward had stagnated in price. Overall, these trades were good and provided cash for the first round of upgrades at round 6.
Round 6 – Brodie Grundy ($833.1k), Jason Horne-Francis ($477.4k), and Connor MacDonald ($317.5k) to Brayden Preuss ($255.8k), Callum Mills ($854.5k), Bailey Smith ($887.7k).
This week of trades was wild. Culling a known premium in Grundy who had been underperforming was a risky move which paid off even more due to his injury just a week later, and going for Preuss on the bubble was a move that many teams made. Both Horne-Francis and MacDonald had near maxed out in price and so moving them was justified. Going for Smith was a defensive move against many other top teams, and was perhaps a mistake over going for other, more known premium options. Mills, however, was a season defining pick. He came into 2022 underdone in the preseason, and prior to round 6 had been building his time on ground and had a great run of games coming up. In round 6, he went 162 and left many other coaches scrambling to grab him. A good lesson from this is preseason targets who then drop in price due to coming in underdone to start the season as they can make great upgrade targets.
Round 7 – Tristan Xerri ($508k), Joshua Rachele ($461.3k), and Jack Hayes ($331.4k) to Ben Hobbs ($220.9k), Clayton Oliver ($867.4k), and Sam Hayes ($182.8k).
Rachele had peaked in price two games after his score of 101, whilst Hayes and Xerri were both injured after Round 6. Moving all three of these players in was an easy decision. Hobbs and Hayes were both on the bubble with cash to make, whilst the price of Oliver was right as he had bottomed out due to a poor game where he had copped attention. He was also coming into a good run of fixtures with Hawthorn, North Melbourne, and the Eagles in his next 4 games. A simple two down, one up trade which paid off well.
Round 8 – Nick Daicos ($615.4k), Hugh Dixon ($344k), and Corey Durdin ($311.6k) to Tom Stewart ($827.7k), Robbie McComb ($150.9k), and Keidean Coleman ($349k).
Moving Daicos, in hindsight, was premature but he had done his job as a rookie and was at a price where a move to a premium was easily made. Both Dixon and Durdin were rookies who had made cash and were easy flips. Both McComb and Coleman were on the bubble and easy to jump onto. Coleman especially had been in my preseason plans before his injury, and when he came back in with reasonable scores, I was comfortable to jump onto him. Having the round 14 bye was also a bonus. Going for Stewart here was probably a mistake when Jack Sinclair was at a price that was 100k less and at a similar average. However, I ended up chasing the points of the previous week which did not end up paying off. Lesson learned, don’t chase the points.
Round 9 – Nathan O’Driscoll ($464.6k) and Brady Hough ($217.9k) to Darcy Cameron ($557.5k) and Greg Clark ($172.9k).
O’Driscoll was injured and Hough was dropped. Aggressive trading with Hough going out but was justifiable to grab Clark who had cash and points to be made. Jumping onto Cameron was another season defining move due to his role change, and the move had to be made now before his price became out of reach. The main takeaway here is to jump on price changes; Cameron had tonned up the previous two weeks and continued to outscore his price point for the rest of the season.
Round 10 – Lachie Whitfield ($747.5k) and Nick Martin ($600.8k) to Sam Docherty ($865.7k) and Jake Soligo ($188.8k).
Whitfield, an underperforming premium, finally departs my team due to injury, while Martin is moved due to him being basically maxed out in price. While he did punish me with a 113 after this trade out, I still think this was the right move due to the uncertainty in rookie scoring. Docherty had had consistent scoring and was only up 20k from his starting price. He was a good unique and I was lacking players on the round 12 bye. Soligo returns to the team after having passed the bubble, but was only up 16k and had plenty of cash to make from here due to his change in role.
Round 11 – Ben Hobbs ($423.1k) and Finn Maginness ($379.8k) to Marcus Bontempelli ($807k) and Sam Butler ($172.9k).
Hobbs hadn’t quite got to his peak price and scored well through the byes, but would have hurt my bye structure to hold. Maginness continued to go up in price also from here, but not by much. Cashing these two in allowed me to get Bontempelli right before he was due to gain DPP and become a clear top 6 forward. Butler provided a heartbeat through the byes and the bench afterwards.
Round 12 – Isaac Heeney ($638.5k) and Sam Hayes ($397.8k) to Mitch Owens ($172.9k) and Tim English ($862.8k).
Heeney had been poor for the previous few weeks and had the bye coming the week after, while Hayes was on his bye and didn’t play again after this point. Owens was the rookie on the bubble but unfortunately got concussed during round 13. English was the popular ruck to own and was returning from injury. Hard to say that bringing him in was the wrong call, but it certainly wasn’t a great move. The concussion from Preuss was unforeseeable and he wasn’t quite the same on return but bringing English in here was the defensive move against other highly ranked coaches.
Round 13 – Bailey Smith ($862.9k), Paddy McCartin ($463.2k), Greg Clark ($391k), and Robbie McComb ($376.6k) to Brynn Teakle ($150.9k), Sam Walsh ($879.6k), Zach Merrett ($763.9k), and Jacob Wehr ($182.8k).
Smith had been Suspended, whilst the others were all on the bye and had maxed out in price. Teakle had come in during the Mid-Season Draft and managed half a game before getting injured. DPP and price were also a high consideration at this point. Wehr was on the bubble and was one of the only playing cheap defender rookies left for the year and provided bye coverage. Merrett, at his price, was a great buy. He had a stunning run to end the year. Walsh was an unfortunate pick due to lack of options off the round 12 bye. Sinclair was perhaps the one to bring in here instead and was one I was considering instead.
Round 14 – Max Gawn ($852.2k), Keidean Coleman ($545.1k), and Sam De Koning ($446.2k) to Massimo D’Ambrosio ($150.9k), Rory Laird ($924.6k), and Luke Parker ($825k).
Gawn was injured and expected to miss a large chunk of games. Coleman had his bye and was nearing his peak in price, though managed to score well (although inconsistently) after this point. De Koning was the last cow that I started that I moved on. D’Ambrosio was the last remaining cow worth buying. Laird was about to come into an easy run of games, facing North Melbourne twice and the Eagles on his run home. At his price, many were wanting to buy him off his bye. Lastly, Parker was a safe forward to finish out the line with and was also at a good price. These trades rounded out my byes with a solid team.
Round 15 – Zac Butters ($612.7k) to Sean Darcy ($722.6k).
The last upgrade I had to make was to get in a Ruckman to complement Cameron as English was missing from concussion and Preuss from Suspension. This was probably a mistake which came about from weeks earlier; the decision to hold Preuss through the byes was a mistake and not trading him here compounded the issue. The lesson here is to not be stubborn when players are dropped and move them on if they aren’t in the team and have made enough cash. Of note is that Marshall would have been a great pickup here, however he had come off two poor scores in the weeks prior.
Round 16 – Tom Stewart ($787.2k) and Brayden Preuss ($615k) to Mitch Duncan ($744k) and Aaron Hall ($732.7k).
The final nail in the coffin. Stewart getting suspended and Preuss missing again meant a move had to be made to cover both of these players. Finding a pair of players that fit my budget was tricky, and I ended up on Duncan and Hall. Duncan had a changed role to being back off HB while Hall had returned from injury and was bottomed out in price. In the end, this was a terrible mistake. Whilst Duncan proved to be a good selection, Hall was injured on 12 this week and didn’t look like returning for a few weeks. The final lesson here is don’t bring in injury prone players, and especially don’t bring in two of them in the same week.
Round 17 – Aaron Hall ($692.1k) and Jake Soligo ($474k) to Jordan Dawson ($886.5k) and Declan Mountford ($150.9k)
Hall had to be moved on due to his injury, and Soligo was the last bit of cash I had left on the bench. Dawson was the best available defender as I could not afford Sinclair, while Mountford was bought in due to his price, DPP flexibility, and being a loop option for the last few rounds.
Lots of cash generation allowed for me to end the year with 24 premiums and able to cover two outs for the final round. This ended up with me funnily enough having three premiums on my midfield bench, although one was looped on. The lessons learned through the season, whilst in a format not many play, are applicable to all formats of fantasy and I believe the way I played Dream Team was similar to the way I played AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach in 2022. I hope that you are able to gain some insight from this and feel free to reach out if you have any questions or ever feel like a chat about Fantasty