The multi bye rounds are over. We now have an additional eight teams with no more scheduled rests for the remainder of the season. So here’s a club by club breakdown of potential upgrade targets who have just had their bye round.

Of all the club write-ups, I think the Crows have the least potential ‘relevant picks.’ The move of Rory Laird into the midfield has been inspired, and his scoring has been prolific across the season. Across the formats, he is the #2 ranked defender in averages and by total points. In fact, he’s under 20 points shy of the top spot. If you don’t own him, the damage has been done. The only world I’d advocate for him as a ‘trade in’ target is if you need to minimise his impact against you in rankings or league battle.

Ben Keays has been a star for his owners! In the draft formats of UltimateFooty, his average draft position was 207. With an average of 109 to date, he’d easily make the podium of the top draft day picks of the year. What’s fantasy footy 101? Ask those who traded into Darcy Parish this past round. Sadly they know it well now. Buy low, sell high! I wouldn’t be buying stocks on Keays, he’s been great, but even with his low ownership, it’s not worth paying up for.

You either have Reilly O’Brien at R2 currently, or your planning on trading in Brodie Grundy ASAP. ‘ROB’ was only an option three weeks ago when Brodie went down injured. He isn’t someone I’d advocate for as an upgrade now. His previous 3 game average is an improvement on his season in total. But for the extra $100-$150k across the formats, I’d rather Grundy every day of the week.

It’s not an upgrade, but expect the Crows to give a handful of games to last seasons #11 pick Luke Pedlar. The tough clearance winner possesses explosive speed from traffic. He’s not a basement price midfield cow, but he might be a pulse to end the season.

Two weeks ago, Nick Haynes was an obvious ‘buy low’ premium. From Collingwood, coaches have another ‘obvious’ buy low pick up in the midfield. Scott Pendlebury is coming off the back of a 167 in SuperCoach and is priced at just over $424,000. He had an injury affected role change midseason, but since overcoming that hand injury in the past fortnight, he’s delivered consecutive 100’s. If you need a cheap M7 or M8, then Pendls is your man. He has a decade of averaging over 100 in this format.

He’s arguably even more tempting in AFLFantasy, where he’s recently picked up forward status. With scores of 104 & 98 in his past fortnight and priced at under $600,000, he’s an easy no brainer selection.

We spent plenty of time on our latest podcast discussing the urgency of when to trade into Brodie Grundy. My best encouragement is to go and listen to it. Ultimately the who (you trade out) and how you plan to get him determines whether or not I feel he’s a priority this week or not. Ideally, we’d all want him on our completed side.

Mr Consistency in our backline over the past few seasons has been Jack Crisp. With low scoring deviation, he’s certainly a player that has some appeal to coaches. Personally, I’d look for either someone that is a comparable performer but cheaper. Or someone at a similar price with a greater scoring ceiling.

Due to suspension Jordan DeGoey isn’t available to play for the Pies or our fantasy teams this weekend. But prior to the bye his previous three games we’d started to see the preseason midfield role eventuate. In his last three games in SuperCoach he’s scored 88, 70 & 115 with an average of 91. Not bad for a guy priced less than $100,000 upgrade from Harry Jones.

Similarly, in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam his past three have been 109, 78 & 106 at an average of 97.7. He’s the ultimate definition of ‘buy low’ and while I get he can be frustrating to own, he’s still a high potential value F6 for coaches looking to finalise their team if cash is tight.

At the start of the season, it felt like one of the most obvious premiums we’d want in our forward lines would be Steele Sidebottom. For one reason or another, it’s been a patchy season from Sidey. He’s getting some midfield minutes, but what role does he hold under Robert Harvey? Best to wait a week or two to see before committing.

I’m a big fan of Andrew Brayshaw. I genuinely believe that he’s on the cusp of becoming one of the next big midfielder Uber premiums. He’s in a weird price where he’s not the crazy value of others, but not also the safe 110 of others at a slightly high price point. Still, he should be a consideration as an option.

The scoring of Luke Ryan certainly lends himself more to SuperCoach than other formats, but he’s still got the ability to get on a hot run of form everywhere. In SC, he’s averaging 110 in his past five, including two scores over 125. In just 8% of sides, sometimes paying up for something different is worth it.

The time to trade into Sean Darcy has come and gone. The two opportunities were when Matt Flynn was dropped when Darcy what at his basement. Or a month ago when Brodie Grundy was injured. Not now! Yep, even in AFLFantasy, where he’s an RUC/FWD. I couldn’t pay the $100,000 more to choose him over Pendls.

Clayton Oliver has been one of the best midfield picks of the season. However, I don’t believe he’s worth paying up for. Part of this is linked to the substantial value options we have across the midfield. Many of them covered off in this article. The other is that next week he comes about against the tagging nemesis Matt DeBoer in round 16 and also Mark O’Connor in round 23.

If the value is the name of the game and you’re keen on trading into a Demon, then Christian Petracca is the guy. In SuperCoach last year, he broke out with a 117. Currently, he’s priced 12 points per game off this based on the current season. However, in his past five, he’s averaging 109 and scoring variation between 96-130. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he’s a great financial option too. At his start of the season, a glance highlights his scoring potential, whereby in round six this year, he was averaging 115.8. He’s slowed since then, but it highlights his capacity.

With no Brodie Grundy for the past three games, chances are you already have Max Gawn. If not, you’re probably not in contention in either your leagues or overall rankings. That said, In my view, Gawn is clearly the top ruck for the rest of 2021 and is someone you’ll want to have.

Christian Salem isn’t a value pick. He’s not a ceiling pick. But it is a unique pick that’s on the safer side. He’s not for me, given the value we have and the ceiling guys we have. But he’s solid if you keen.

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The Tigers have a brilliant fixture run home for non Dustin Martin that might be enough of a reason to sway you to bring him into your side finally. Beyond his opening two rounds, he hasn’t hurt those who opted against him. Personally, given his high ownership, I’d encourage you to continue to go against him and look to another option, potentially even a teammate of his.

Heading into the final nine rounds of the season, coaches want to trade into premiums that can be a top-tier option. Bachar Houli has a proven history of going on hot runs of 110+. His upcoming opposition is as friendly as any other defender, so the only cause for concern is his poor durability over recent years. But on scoring potential, he’s as good as any.

If the injury history of Houli concerns you, then his teammate Jayden Short is certainly a comparable option. A seasonal average of 96 in SuperCoach & 92 in DreamTeam/Fantasy have him ranked in the upper tiers of defensive premiums.

The Tiger I personally like the most is Shai Bolton. He’s damaging through the midfield and inside forward 50. He’s still relatively unique, considering his multiple week injury layoff just over a month ago. In SuperCoach, he’s priced at an average of 97 but is averaging 109 in his past five. In fact, since round four, his lowest score is 96. Not bad for a player under $525k.

In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he’s performing equally as strong in our forward line. Since round four, he’s scored 4 tons (including 122) and has a low of 85. Not a bad run of 8 games, if you ask me. Shai offers four key ingredients that should be appealing to prospective owners. Scoring ceiling, low variable deviation, relatively low ownership and still some value for money. If he’s not on your watchlist, at the very least, your playing the game wrong.

Quite simply, Jack Steele is worth every cent. He’s a VC/C option every single week!

Brad Crouch is more of an AFLFantasy/DreamTeam selection and still offers some value. Two seasons ago at the Crows, he showed his ability to be a season, long 110 performer. In his last five games, he’s averaging 110, and in his previous three, he’s going at 123. He’s one of a handful of Saints that have been relevant fantasy prospects for us this year. Personally, as good an option as he is, I’d wait a week and grab Neale.

It’s starting to get late in the season for Rowan Marshall to be an option for you. Sadly injuries have damaged his season for fantasy coaches and the Saints. Even if he does play this week, many coaches are only one or two forward spots away at max. With options like Patrick Dangerfield, Toby Greene and even Shai Bolton all within range of him, you can’t pick him. The best thing about him is his DPP, but with some rookie RUC/FWD options getting games, its value has taken a marginal dip.

The move of Callum Mills into the midfield has seen him become a topline defensive premium for the year. And given how good he’s performing, his ownership numbers are scarily low in some formats. For example, he’s coming off the back of eight consecutive SuperCoach tons, and he has dropped under 90 in just one game all season in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam.

He’ll give you a great points return, but the real question beneath this especially for DreamTeam and SuperCoach players is this. What’s the value of a trade? Based on the amount you have remaining and current ‘completion level’ of your side will ultimately have an impact on whether he’s worth paying up for.

Jake Lloyd has been good without being great. Which, if we are honest, is a reflection of how amazing he has been over the past few seasons. An average of 108 in SuperCoach & 98 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam is nothing to sneeze at. So if you can afford to trade him in, you’ll be rewarded. But personally, if you’ve got that far, you might as well go all the way and grab Mills.

I’m aware that the title of this article is ‘upgrade targets.’ But Joel Amarety’s important enough to sides to need to be discussed in this article. His value is twofold. Firstly, a downgrade to him should generate the cash you need to make another upgrade. Second, his RUC/FWD positional creates great flexibility, especially if you own Callum Coleman-Jones or target Rowan Marshall as a final forward spot upgrade.

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Finding value to finish off our sides can be challenging, but West Coast champion Shannon Hurn is genuinely an option. Barring his injury affected round four clash against St Kilda (scored 6), he’s been delivering strong premium scores. Removing this early in game injury from his scoring, he’d be averaging 106 in SuperCoach and 100 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. To go with his dependable scoring, Hurn is incredibly unique. He’s in 2% or under of sides across the formats.

A picture of consistency over the past few seasons has been wingman Andrew Gaff. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he’s historically been a 105-110 midfielder and a 100-105 in SuperCoach. This year he’s currently averaging about 10-12 points per game beneath that.

The midfield of West Coast has been smashed with injuries, with all of Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly and Luke Shuey all missing multiple games. With all either back or returning over the coming days, we should see Gaff recommence getting that silver service on the outside of the packs. With some luck, he could be the perfect ‘buy low’ candidate to complete your midfield.

While Gaff represents value, Elliot Yeo, for me, is the pick of the Eagles mids. Across the formats, he’s a proven historical performer of 105. Yeo has been building his fitness base after a long time out of the game. However, after match winning final quarter against Richmond, I’ve seen enough to suggest he’ll be able to get back somewhere near his best.