The AFL Fixture for the 2022 season is out. Although all 23 rounds have been announced in matchups, it’s only the opening nine rounds that we know dates and times. Here are some of the big takeaways from the fixture and what it means for SuperCoach, AFLFantasy & DreamTeam players.
Upon first glance, the fixture might feel like an irrelevant piece of the puzzle of the preseason planning, but that’s a faulty thought process. The fixture is a core factor in squad selection both in starting teams and upgrades. Fixture alongside price and position become three of the fundamental elements to be across in planning your 2022 season. If you haven’t seen the fixture you can see it in full here.Embed from Getty Images
Prime Time Games
The early fixture games still maintain a high value, with all formats confirming a rolling lockout in use. While only the opening nine rounds of the year are known, it still provides coaches with some premium layers to consider. The first five rounds of the season all feature Thursday night games, while the opening round boasts the only Wednesday evening fixture to date.
One of the big fixture winners is the Western Bulldogs, and for fantasy coaches, it’s worth noting that they play six of their first nine matches on or before the Friday evening games. Meaning players like Jackson Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Dunkley, plus new MID/FWD DPP Adam Treloar are legitimate VC only early in most rounds. The following best teams with games worth considering completed by Friday night are Port Adelaide (three) and Collingwood (three). Carlton plays back-to-back Thursday night games to open the season but is relegated to Saturday & Sunday games for the coming seven weeks.
Equally as important as the first games of the round are those who play the final matchup. For instance, clubs with a high volume of games can hold some value with a DNP option to enable loopholes. West Coast Eagles hold down three of these matchups. While Fremantle and Carlton both have two each.Become a Patron!
Multi Bye Rounds
The dreaded MBR’s are back for the 2022 season. Like last year they’ll feature again in rounds 12, 13 and 14. Each round we’ll be down six teams. Across the formats, a ‘best 18’ scoring and increased trades per week that has been awarded over the years will continue.
Here’s a visual look at the breakdown of which clubs will be missing.
The early bye round could catch coaches with some early pain if they aren’t paying attention to team structure. The forward line could be a source of pain, with Dustin Martin, Tim Taranto, Zak Butters and Stephen Coniglio likely to be popular names this season. The ruck line shouldn’t be too impacted with Scott Lycett, Toby Nankervis and Rowan Marshall likely all draft relevant. Braydon Press should be on every coach’s radar, and while not a disaster to have him rested this week, ideally, he’d have been someone to upgrade mid or pre byes.
Teams and players on the first bye round are often targeted for upgrades during the MBR’s, and thankfully for coaches entering into round 13, we’ll have some strong options. Beyond the forwards already mentioned, you could also consider Jake Stringer, Shai Bolton, Toby Greene and even Connor Rozee. Lachie Whitfield could be the top defender by seasons end and is always someone to consider. Jordan Ridley, Jayden Short, Isaac Cumming and possibly even Zac Williams are all no scrubs and would be options to consider here.
Ultimate the midfield premiums will gain the most attention. If you don’t start with Sam Walsh, you’ll certainly consider him an upgrade at some stage of the season. Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish lead the Essendon midfield brigade of options. Evergreen Travis Boak is always an option at the right price, while Josh Kelly reminded fantasy owners of his pedigree averaging north of 110 from round 7 onwards last year. Lastly, Jack Steele has put two monster seasons together, and if you opt against him in your starting squad, this might be your last chance to snag him. If he ends 2022 the way he ended 2021, you’ll want to be on the right side of owning him.
One line you won’t have too many issues with options missing is the rucks. Beyond Reilly O’Brien and Nic Naitanui, there’s nothing to worry about. I know the value of Jarrod Witts might tempt some, but rucks coming off the back on an ACL scare me, so unless he’s stupid value in classic, I’ll want no part of owning him.
Defensively we’ve got some names missing, but it’s not a full-blown disaster. Jake Lloyd, Caleb Daniel, Bailey Dale, Tom Stewart, Jordan Dawson and potentially Shannon Hurn will be unavailable. However, all can be top 10 defenders by the close of next year, so keep a keen eye on your balance. The forwards of Josh Dunkley, Mitch Duncan and Adam Treloar are the clear leading candidates to be top of the forward class for the season. If they’ve had good seasons by this point, you’ve either already got them, or they are too expensive and unattainable. If they’ve had poor seasons, then maybe they’ll be worth a low buy option in the hope of a late-season form turnaround.
Jackson Macrae is the clear standout premium midfielder, but future Suns skipper Touk Miller is right behind him. Suppose they replicate recent form but will be worthy of consideration here. However, this MBR batch of midfielders is crucial beyond just these two. We’ve got some strong candidates who can all go 110+ and will likely be unique. That’s uber helpful as potential upgrade targets when needing to create some squad separation in the back half of the season. Callum Mills, Luke Parker, Andrew Gaff, Tim Kelly, Rory Laird, Patrick Dangerfield and Cam Guthrie all know how to deliver the fantasy tons.
Matt Rowell probably deserves his own space here. Is he just a stepping stone midfielder? Does he breakout and deliver on his clear fantasy potential? Do you start him and upgrade at this point? Is he strong enough to hold as an M8 for the year? It’ll be fascinating what he delivers in 2022.Become a Patron!
Over the years, it’s been near impossible to get a premium ruck line sorted without having a disaster round to navigate. Unfortunately, that trend looks set to continue with Brodie Grundy, Max Gawn, and Sean Darcy all unavailable this week. So you’ll either be looking to a Reilly O’Brien, Rowan Marshall or your cash cow r3 to get you through with a scoring option in this line, or you’re copping a donut from the rucks.
It’ll be of no surprise, but when you see the club listed, we’ve got some of the best fantasy midfielders missing from this weekend of games. Tom Mitchell, Clayton Oliver, Lachie Neale, Christian Petracca, Jarryd Lyons, Andy Brayshaw, Taylor Adams and even smokie Jy Simpkin could all be top tier midfielders in 2022. Thankfully for salary cap coaches, we’ve got arguably the three best job security cash cow midfielders all in this MBR. Josh Ward, Jason Horne-Francis and Nick Daicos should all get plenty of game time next year. While you might be able to sell them off at a higher price point in the season, holding one or two of them until this weekend could be a valuable strategy.
This week of MBR’s shouldn’t create too many hassles for forward lines. Even with Chad Wingard, Steele Sidebottom, and Tarryn Thomas as MID/FWD’s, I don’t see their ownership being super high pre bye. If anything, they are run home targets to trade into.
If anything, it might be the backline that feels a little stretched for some coaches. Aaron Hall, Christian Salem, Jack Crisp, Luke Ryan, Harris Andrews, Jack Ziebell, Daniel Rich, Steven May, and James Sicily have all been top-tier defenders.