Season 2021

Upgrade Targets After Their Bye | Round 12

One week of the multi bye rounds is over. We now have six teams that have no more scheduled rests for the remainder of the season. Here’s a club by club breakdown of potential upgrade targets who have had their bye round.

Jack Bowes was one of the breakout picks in the backline before his injury. With the Suns ‘kick and mark’ slow ball movement, he’s got the potential average 95+ on the run home.

If you want even great ‘value’ in the backline, then consider Jack Lukosious. Over the year, he’s averaging 87 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 80 in SuperCoach. However, he’s scored 98 & 128 in SC and 123 & 103 in DT/AF in the last two games. If you think his midseason scores of 50-60 are past him, then he’s someone to look at seriously.

At the top end of the scale is the future club captain in waiting, Touk Miller. He’s averaging a monster 117 across the formats, which ranks him second for midfielders in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam (yes, I’m not counting Luke Shuey) behind Mr 100, aka Jackson Macrae. While in SuperCoach for SuperCoach, he has an identical average to Jack Steele and Darcy Parish and is averaging more than Sam Walsh, Zach Merrett and Mitch Duncan. He’s not cheap, but he does have two key things going for him. One, he has a ceiling that is comparable to all other top tier midfielders. Second, he’s unique.

One of the leading upgrade targets across the formats is Lachie Whitfield. Only a preseason injury prevented many coaches from starting with him, and having him on a ‘completed’ side is a fantastic option. Boasting a three round average of 110 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 103 in SuperCoach, the former #1 draft pick, will be a popular move this week.

Staying in the backline, if value is the name of the game, then Nick Haynes needs to be considered. In 2020 he averaged 98 in SuperCoach and 70 (87 adjusted) in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. He was trialled across the wing early in the year, but he’s moved back to his preferred intercept defensive role since returning from injury.

The Giants have a plethora of potentially valuable picks in the midfield. All of Jacob Hopper, Callan Ward and Tom Green are performing well over their seasonal average. Like with any ‘upgrade’ trade, the key question you want to ask yourself, especially in limited trade formats, is, ‘do I want this player in my completed team?’ If the answer is ‘no’, then I’d look elsewhere.

As a long suffering season long Josh Kelly owner, these last five weeks have given me plenty to smile about. Over the last five games, he’s delivered a ton and boasts an average of 119 in SuperCoach and 111.8 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam during that time. He’s still got some value in him, and while I won’t talk anyone down from picking him, it’s important to note that his ceiling isn’t as large this season compared to others. AFLFantasy is the format where he’s of most importance given his awarding of MID/FWD DPP during the year.

Lastly, Tim Taranto is putting together a fine AFLFantasy/DreamTeam season. His average of 115 includes 9 tons and 5 of those are scores of 125+. You’ll be paying top dollar now to get him, but based on his season, he’s one of the most reliable midfielders and, barring injury, looks destined to be a safe top 8 midfielder by years end.

He’s not gone full ‘beast mode’ for the year, but Tom Mitchell is still a viable option given his potential. That said, three of his last five in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam scores have been 124 or more. Similarly, in SuperCoach, he has two scores of 140+. What’s probably most concerning for prospective owners is the scoring basement frequency. Across all formats, he has multiple scores in the ’70s, a range of scores rarely seen for ‘Titch.’ That said, I still think he’s a viable target.

Over the years, Chad Wingard has shown the ability to match it with the best forward premiums across all game formats. In SuperCoach over the last three weeks, he’s scored 92, 92 & 93. Based on a three round average, he’d sit just outside the top 20 forwards. For AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, his three round average of 86 include scores of 83 & 98. To make his move ‘pop’ for coaches, he’ll need to be unleashed into the midfield almost fulltime. It’s in the realms of possibility but not something I’d bank on.

It’s been a while since Jaeger O’Meara has been spoken about amongst coaches in classic versions of the game. I don’t see him averaging 105+ from now to the end of the year, nor is he a ‘serious value’ pick. So for me, I’d encourage you to look elsewhere.

All of Jarman Impey, Blake Hardwick and even Ben McEvoy have all been handy starting squad selections. But I don’t see them being close enough to the top 10 candidates for the remainder of the year—a pass in my eyes.

All eyes will be on the Cats Wednesday night teams sheet. Will Patrick Dangerfield be named? Based on his breakeven, coaches could afford to wait a week or two. But with the race to complete your side and Dangers scoring history, coaches will seriously consider jumping on the former Brownlow medalist. I’m certainly considering it!

Due to his concussion affected round 10 clash against the Suns, Mitch Duncan can probably be held off on as a target given his high breakeven. That said, not many midfielders are averaging 110+ across all formats of the game and have this low an ownership percentage.

Cam Guthrie continues to be a legit top 8 midfielder based on his current performances. You are ‘buying high’ on him, but it could be a masterstroke if his scoring trend continues. Since round two AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he’s delivered just one scored below 100, while SuperCoach had just one score below 98. My main concern about getting behind the pick is that he averages considerably less in 2021 when he plays with Dangerfield. It’s 41 points less in DT/AF and 37 in SC. Truth be told, it’s a small sample size (2 games), but it’s enough for me to look elsewhere.

Mr Consistent, aka Tom Stewart, is always an option in the backline. Across the season in SuperCoach, he’s averaging 105.9, and his scoring range is between 83-152. Similarly, in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he’s averaging 96.6 with a scoring range of 79-114. It’s not a pick that will likely win you the grand prize, but it won’t cost you a game.

If you need a forward, then Geelong has 2 primary considerations depending on the format you play. For SuperCoach, Tom Hawkins has always been a viable option. Despite just scoring one ton in the past four matches, he’s still averaging 106 in his last five. With 6 tons from 11 games and the lowest score of 83 at $513,400, he’s still $50k cheaper than his starting price.

For AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, the consistency of recent MID/FWD recruit Isaac Smith has caught the eyes of some. Since round three, he’s posted the lowest score of 88 and five tons. Positively, his scoring deviation is minimal, but his ceiling is low, with just one score over 108 all year. This means that while he won’t cost you games with a stinker, he’ll unlikely win you any with a monster 130+ game.

Normally North Melbourne is the black hole of fantasy footy, but they have two forward eligible players dominating the game. Aaron Hall is averaging 125 in his last five games in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 111 in SuperCoach. He’s the form forward of the competitions, and even though he has some durability concerns, that scoring ceiling seems to minimize some of that risk.

The other prime Kangaroo others might consider Jack Ziebell. A coach who selected Ziebell in their starting squad has the greatest benefit, but he’s still on coaches radars given the distinct lack of strong premium candidates. His last five weeks have been approximately 10 points per game under his seasonal average across the formats. While I think he’s still a good option, adjust your expectations, especially should Aaron Hall continue to play.

In games without Hall playing, he averages 141 in SuperCoach and 132 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. With Hall, he averages 109 in SuperCoach, 103.8 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. It’s still good, just not insanely good.

It’s probably more of a hail mary type selection, but Tarryn Thomas is starting to show the footy public why he was drafted as a high end draft selection. In his last three games, his lowest SuperCoach score is 94, while in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam in the past fortnight, he’s scored 89 & 92. Given the low threshold of clear top tier premium forwards, he could be a value pick to round out your forward line if your a little cash strapped.

If you play SuperCoach and need a unique midfield candidate, then you could consider Ben Cunnington. He is averaging 120 in his last five, which has included 3 scores over 130. At $549,800, he’s not ‘value’, but with just 3% of the competition owning him, he is unique.

You can’t talk about the pear and fantasy footy and not immediately think of Travis Boak. The former skipper’s renaissance into relevance has continued again in 2021. He’s more impactful in SuperCoach, where his seasonal average of 109 has him certainly in the upper tier of options. It’s a relatively favourable matchup with matches against Gold Coast, Hawthorn & St Kilda in the next 6 weeks. The only minor flag is he’s had just one ton in his past four games, but if you’re looking for a sub $550k midfielder that has the ceiling of 120+, then Travis needs to be considered.

It’ll cost you potentially top dollar, but the form of Ollie Wines cannot be ignored. For SuperCoach, he’s averaging 124 in his past three and 104 for the season. What’s helping Wines be more prominent this year is the gap between his ceiling games is minimising. In his past six games, he’s had three over 130. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he’s averaging 118 in his past three and has had just one score under 100 since round 5. The pondering for coaches is this hot run going to continue? Or is this his annual strong 5-6 week stretch that’s now past us?

I’ll be honest, it feels dirty to mention him, but his past three games means Sam Powell-Pepper needs to be recognised. As a forward eligible option, his past fortnight of scoring has put him on some radars. He’s gone 108 & 93 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam plus his 107 & 130 in SuperCoach. While potentially promising, It’s closer to an aberration based on his recent history than a new normal scoring trend.

Charlie Dixon is SuperCoach only relevant, at $462,400 and with three tons in his last four games, he wouldn’t be the worst F6 for a team. As always, picking key position forwards comes with an element of risk. But given the injury woes we’ve had in the forwards; almost every pick is a risk.

I have 0 interest in Peter Ladhams, yes his scoring is fine but he’s got one more week before Scott Lycett comes back from suspension and takes his spot back.

The final pear player worth highlighting is Dan Houston. He presents some value due to an injury impacted round 10 score. The challenge for coaches will be, is he worth getting in over a Lachie Whitfield type? While he’s unlikely to match the scoring over the next 10 weeks, do the dollars saved getting him to help you make an additional upgrade this week or next to another premium?

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Don’t Forget

While we have three distinct bye rounds, we need to treat them as one giant week. Making ‘quick fix’ moves while might help your ranking or team balance in one specific week may affect your team balance and scoring power long term.

Ultimately, time will be the great revealer about how well your side has navigated the byes and whether the decisions you have made and will make your team better for the whole. For example, in the limited trade formats was holding Grundy the right move or trading him?

Right now, it’s too close to know. If you traded him to Reilly O’Brien or a Jack Steele, you’re probably feeling pretty good about it. But success isn’t based on one week, as it’s the compounding effect and result of the multiple variables and multiple weeks. If anything, rounds 17 & 18 will be a greater time to judge in hindsight the correct decision.