Every week we the panel discuss some of the burning questions facing the fantasy footy community. Welcome to this week’s round table discussion.

Embed from Getty Images

Realistic expectations for fast starters?

Ben: History our best reference point with this. If you’ve got confidence in a seasonal prediction, please have some reference to past result. As a nominally outside midfielder, it’d be a very rare season indeed for Whitfield to do 115+. Maybe Neale, as an inside bull with more TOG and midfield time is more likely to continue in this vein.

Rids: Less than what they are averaging currently. This, however, does not mean they are not worth grabbing. When it comes to trading it is often all about timing the trade right. I won’t go chasing the guys at peak price but will def plan to get them when I feel the timing is right.

Tim: Every year we see it – guys who start off fast and after three rounds are averaging way over not only last year’s average but their career best average. These guys get traded in en masse early on, and you don’t have to look far to find people saying how they’re sidewaysing a tried and tested premium for this new shiny toy and how their side is now way better. These fast starters rarely keep up that pace for a full season, however some do go on to remain a premium for that year. So what should we realistically expect? If we have a quick look at a few examples, we can get a feel for what to be thinking: Whitfield: His career best year, last year, was 100 avg in DT & also in SC. After three rounds he’s averaging 135 & 127. Is this likely to continue? Of course not! – it’d see him end the season with the highest single season DT average on any player in history, and not a long way off it in SC. Quite obviously this won’t happen. He will have down games, he will attract attention with that sort of impact (and the Whitfield sort of player tends to be more easily tagged than more in and under players) and so on. However, he is in form and the Giants are getting their big guns back in Kelly (last week) and Ward this week, so he does slip down the pecking order for attention a little and is clearly a player on the up. You would expect him to beat last year’s averages, thus making him a 105+ defender in all formats and someone well worth having. Note that this average includes his first three scores though – scores you don’t have if you are trading him in now. So what will he average for the rest of the season on? Fair chance it is around the 100 avg he went at last year from here until Round 23. Still worth having, and with his low BE someone who isn’t getting any cheaper in the near future, but not someone you ‘must have’ by Round 4. Neale: Unlike Whitfield, Neale has had monster seasons in the past and so his early season form isn’t as unusual. While obviously a tag target as well, Zorko has clearly shown that he is easier to shut down in recent times and since he also tends to hit the scoreboard a bit more, Neale should get some protection there. Neale’s also averaging 125 (DT) & 144 (SC) at the moment. Again, I’d suggest he won’t finish the season at those levels, especially not 144 in SC, but he looks every chance to be over 110 in both formats and history tells us that any player who can average 110 in a given year is a top 8 mid. Again though, if he ends the season averaging say 110 DT & 115 SC, that’d mean his averages from R4 to R23 will be 107 & 109 respectively. So again, be realistic when looking at it. Boak: Currently averaging 133 DT & 126 SC, this man has been one of THE forward premium trade in targets spoken about in many mediums over the past fortnight. It might surprise you to learn, then, that Boak’s all-time highest averages are 100 DT & 106 SC. If he were to repeat that (an impressive feat for someone who turns 31 this season, after two years playing more of a forward role), it’d mean his averages from now until the end of the season would be 94 DT & 102 SC. So just think about that – if you expect him to average more than 94 DT or 102 SC from here on, you’re expecting him to have a career high average in every format at the age of 31. I’m not saying he can’t, I’m just playing devil’s advocate to temper expectations a bit. Yes, he’s playing midfield and yes, he’s started like a house on fire but he won’t keep his current averages up. Back in his previous best seasons, he tended to cop the tag as one way of slowing him down. He would have to be a good chance to cop that again at times this year, especially as Port’s kids slow down over the season and teams realise he is Port’s most damaging permanent mid this year. I still think he’s a forward premium this year – obviously he is – and so he’s well worth owning, however just temper expectations a bit.

Embed from Getty Images

Falling targets and what you’re looking for to bring them in?

Ben: These ones seem to become fairly obvious as the season plays out, but every instance differs. Some have started slowly due to a limited preseason, a role change, age or injury. If there were to be a hierarchy for these measures, I would have the least confidence in a slow starter who is well past peak career years (28-30~). Role changes come and go, a big reason for watching as much games as possible. The others are less likely to persist detrimentally.

Rids: Small things that show a change in form or role is just around the corner. Often it might be an injury to a teammate or someone returning to free them up more. If you considered these guys at their starting price then every dollar they have dropped should be seen as value!

Tim: Guys like Buddy and Merrett have had slow starts this year. To people who own them it’s been a conundrum, however to those who don’t own them, they’re thinking ‘trade in target’. The question is, do you trade them in and, if so, when? Clearly you’re looking for them to be fully fit, in the right role and back in form. Role is no issue for the two mentioned, however fitness is. Buddy had surgery to try and correct osteitis pubis over the off season and has come back well underdone & Merrett has had a couple of niggles late in the pre-season himself. So really, I’d wait until you see two good games in a row where they appear to be back to their old selves, then I’d trade them in. That lets you make sure it wasn’t a fluke and their prices will still be around their floor. Giddy up. If they don’t get to that stage, I won’t likely trade them in.

Embed from Getty Images

Are you more willing to take cash cows after a price rise than previously?

Ben: Absolutely. Seasoned coaches will be looking at the rookies and recognising how limited the likely youthful inclusions are. Cash generation is at a premium this time of the year and the most innovative coach will end up taking the chocolates.

Rids: I don’t mind jumping on a guy after their price has already risen. I try not to pay money however to bring them in. Much rather go down to them to free up the dollars to still be creative.

Tim: Less than what they are averaging currently. This however does not mean they are not worth grabbing. When it comes to trading it is often all about timing the trade right. I wont go chasing the guys at peak price but will def plan to get them when I feel the timing is right.