I Hate Fantasy Footy

‘It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear. When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year. ‘In 1995 the band The Rembrandts sang the song “I’ll Be There for You.” It’s best known as the theme song for the 90’s sitcom FRIENDS, but it could also be adequately used to describe some coaches fantasy footy round one.

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After playing all game formats for over a decade, I can tell you that round one always throws coaches some curveballs. Unfortunately, those curveballs can come as a result of injuries. Just ask Tom Stewart owners. 33% of SuperCoach, 24% of AFLDreamTeam & 14% of AFLFantasy coaches have already earmarked one trade after this premium copped an injury-impacted vest and could not do anything over 20 across the formats.

After a blistering third term, a concussion to Josh Kelly in the last quarter prevented him from pumping out a 120+ score and will also see him miss this week. It might only be a small percentage of coaches, but those who went for the midprice ruckmen of Tristian Xerri are now staring down a restructure with him going down with a potentially long-term ankle injury.

Other curveballs can be when your premiums, for seemingly no reason, deliver some of their worst scores for over 12 months or more. FOMO caused plenty to pay up for Rory Laird, and he delivered one of his worst scores since moving into the midfield. A score in the ’50s was never on the bingo cards for 2023. Josh Dunkley struggled in the second half of the game against Port and Rowan Marshall struggled to Mark the ball.

Finally, the next curveball that determined coaches’ weekends was rookie roulette. It’s a factor always in the opening few rounds when we have the most cash cows on the ground. Some weeks you’ll nail it. Lachie Cowan was flying before a cookie ruined his game, resulting in a red vest; if he plays out the game, he probably goes north of 60 & becomes a phenomenal on-field call. Liam Jones was another injury that impacted the cash cow scores of the week.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom this weekend. Nick Daicos was at his prolific best in defence and thrilled owners that ‘kept the faith’ after fears tagged games, or the second-year blues would hurt him. Of course, that still might happen, but it’s a satisfying feeling being an owner. Popular MID/FWD Tim Taranto gave us a tasty ton on his club debut. As did Jason Horne-Francis, who, especially in SuperCoach, was electric!

Fremantle defenders of Hayden Young, Brennan Cox and Luke Ryan marked their way to some monsters. Alongside the good scoring backs was James Sicily, who has continued to fly under the ownership radar. Jarrod Witts rewarded those who jumped on his friendly matchup, while other rucks Max Gawn and Tim English, weren’t far off the mark.

Tom Green and Luke Davies-Uniacke were popular ‘value’ premiums and certainly scored well above their price point. While some of our midprice guys certainly popped. Will Setterfield, James Worpel and Finn Callgahan all did their job and will make plenty of cash for their owners if they keep scoring like that.

And from a scoring cows perspective, we had some ripper scores. Harry Sheezel, Kade Chandler, Cam Mackenzie, Luke Pedlar, Reuben Ginbey and Jye Menzie did more than enough to reward coaches who placed them on the field.

If you have these players, you probably feel like you’ve won the lotto. Enjoy it! If you’ve got a good cow score on the bench but don’t own them, remember you’ll be saving a trade to get them, and you’ll have (In AFLFantasy anyway) banked the cash generation. If you don’t have them, it’s OK to be annoyed, but now it’s time to move on. Make the corrective trade and move forward. The first few trades we make most seasons are all correctional. Make the trade, shake the dust off your feet and move into the new round. 

One of the most significant factors to success in this game is luck! Of course, you need skill, research, and intuition to put yourself into contention. But ultimately, luck is the ingredient that determines success or failure. And luck is entirely out of your control.

So, as we enter round two, if things roll your way in round one, enjoy it! It’s nice to be on the right side of the lucky dice roll. But be careful how hard you flex on others. Australians love nothing more than to tear down a tall poppy. After all, next week, luck might turn against you. 

If you had a bad week, remember we are just one week into the year, it’s less than 5% of the year. You’ve got time to make amends. The priorities for you this week and next are: 

  • Identify which cash cows you missed and make the corrective trades. Cash generation is king at this time of year. 
  • If you have an injured player that will miss multiple games, trade them out.
  • In your preseason research, don’t overreact and trade a guy out because of one bad game. Round one always has some unique variables in footy. Weird things happen in week one. 

Lastly, as The Rembrandts sang, “I’ll be there for you.” Here at the Coaches Panel, we’ve got you covered for the 2023 season!