What Do I Do with Josh Dunkley?

Last night news broke that Josh Dunkley will miss the next few weeks with a foot injury. With the club confirming it is at least six weeks the decision to trade has been made for fantasy coaches, the question is who does Dunks become?

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The Double Game Week

Each format chose to handle the postponed Essendon and Melbourne match. As such this section his isn’t relevant for AFLFantasy coaches. However, for DreamTeam and SuperCoach players, the forced trade of Josh Dunkley could help you get a handy upper hand.

Over the weekend both SC and DT announced that as part of the postponement at some point during the season the Essendon and Melbourne game will be incorporated into either it’s own or another exiting round. By osmosis that will mean the Demons and Bombers will, in essence, play two games in one round. This is where those who had (and trade-in) Demons/Don could gain the upper hand in one specific week. While it’s yet to be announced when this will happen if coaches are smart, they can make a change to their team that also helps prepare to maximise points in the round whenever it happens.

The two obvious midfield candidates to replace Dunkley are Clayton Oliver and Zach Merrett. Clarry is currently averaging 113 in SuperCoach and 87 in DreamTeam and has shown over previous years has shown he’s a genuine top 10 performing midfield candidate. For Merrett, an average of 91.7 in DreamTeam and 135 in SuperCoach shows that on his day he’s a premium and a good captaincy option. Even if the doubleheader is still several weeks away, both are around the mark for a top tier premium midfield options, so bringing them in now isn’t limiting your side’s performance in the short term.

Midfielders Jack Viney, Dylan Shiel and Andrew McGrath, would also be fine scoring options during this double game round. However, I wouldn’t advocate for trading them in until some clarity is given for when the game is scheduled.

Through the wonders of DPP trading, Max Gawn and Christian Petracca are clear top-line premiums in their allocated lines and are worthy of being brought into your side regardless of if a double game week was in motion or not.

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The Premium Picks

The exercise all coaches should be undertaking right now is determining who you believe from now will be the top-scoring premiums across all lines. The researched decisions should give you a fair indication on which players to target and who could be the ripe candidates to bring in from now based on a combination of role, price and upcoming fixture.

Let’s start with the obvious candidate, Lachie Neale. He’s the leading points scorer in all fantasy formats of the game and is one of the few premiums across formats that have delivered career-best stats over the opening three rounds of the seasons. For around $50,000 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, you can quickly move Josh Dunkley to a man currently averaging 114. In SuperCoach it’s a little more of a stretch to obtain him. It’ll cost you $137,000 to top up to Neale. However, an average of 164 and a match coming up against the spluttering Adelaide Crows.

Given what opposition has done over recent weeks, it’s not going to be pretty without him. The critical question when paying top money for any premium is ‘does outlaying all this cash on one player (as opposed to multiple) give me the most points on the field? On current trend, it’s looking like Lachie is the dominant premium midfielder in 2020. While I believe there are comparable options in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam at a lower price, in SuperCoach if you don’t have Neale it’s going to be hard to win it all.

Don’t forget, if you’re going for overall rankings you will need something unique at some point in the year? And right now coaches sitting near the top of the ranks already own Neale. Perhaps a move to something ‘less popular’ at the top of the scoring tree might be more required for your rankings goals.

Along with Neale in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam Andrew Gaff appears to be one of the few premium performers still averaging over 100. A season-low of 98 shows that while he might not have hit the ceiling of other premiums this year, his scoring basement is considerably higher than most. It’ll cost you a little bit of your salary cap to put on top of him, but he has multiple years of proving his durability and a high scoring consistency. The additional appeal is his relative low ownership with just 8% in AFLFantasy and 13% in DreamTeam.

Adam Treloar looks set to play his first game of the season against the Giants. That brings with itself an element of risk, given we don’t know how if the shorter quarter help or hinder his scoring. That said, the potential of trading in a historically proven 110 midfielder with crazy low ownership while risky is appealing.

In SuperCoach if you have Lachie Neale your already sitting pretty. The next obvious missing midfield candidate could be Nat Fyfe. An average of 139.7 and a season-low score of 110 make him a prime trade-in option via Dunks. Additionally, if your cash strapped and can’t afford Neale then Fyfe could average comparable against the Suns and Crows over the next two weeks and be $60k cheaper.

If your looking for low ownership but high ceiling candidate, then either of Travis Boak or Steele Sidebottom might just be the perfect fit for you. The former Power skipper is currently sitting fifth in SuperCoach and seventh in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam for total points. While for Sidey he’s ranked third in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and ninth in SuperCoach for total points.

His teammate Jackson Macrae got ‘bevridged’ with a role adjustment in round two. However, last week he was back through the midfield where he belongs. The departure of Dunkley should only even further consolidate his spot as a midfield general and non-owners. Jack’s a proven performer over multiple years and unlike others on the list is someone who in most matches is a good captaincy option starting this Thursday night against the Swans… VC candidate someone 😉

Through the wonders of DPP and with multiple DEF/MID and MID/FWD rookies available you can turn him into almost any premium on another line should no midfielders appeal. Michael Walters, Jake Lloyd, Chad Wingard and even a Todd Goldstein amongst others all could be easily traded in should the DPP links and cash be available to you.

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The Value Picks

The hype player of the week to trade-in is North Melbourne’s Jy Simpkin. The Roos youngster looks to be having his breakout year, an average of 125 in SuperCoach has him currently the #1 forward in the game. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he’s currently fifth for total points. On current trend, he’s looking likely as a top 10 scoring forward by seasons end.

Sydney’s Oliver Florent is having a breakout season that’s quietly going under the radar. An average of 98 in SuperCoach and the lowest score of 95 means he’s well on track for a personal best. A trade from Dunkley to Florent could get you $130,000. While in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he’s averaging 77 and still has plenty of cash to generate. The key with Florent is that he’s a highly unlikely ‘keeper’ in your finished side, meaning the only reason for a value move like this is if you use the cash saved from this immediately to improve another player in your team.

I remain unconvinced he’s a top tier premium defender, but you could do worse than moving Brayden Maynard into your side. Currently ranked second for total points among defenders across all formats and at under $500k in SuperCoach and $621k in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he’d also net some handy cash to make other moves. It feels crazy to do, but yet again this is a crazy year. For example, Dan Butler is a top 10 points scorer in our forward lines. It feels like anything is possible in 2020.

Lastly, Bailey Smith, like many on this list, is having a breakout year. With the departure of Dunkley from the midfield, any concerns coaches might have had about his role should be dismissed. If you think he’s destined to be a top tier forward in 2020, then he certainly pushes towards an obvious inclusion for non-owners.