What To Do With James Sicily?

Sunday evening, it was the news a significant portion of the fantasy football community didn’t want to hear. Hawthorn star James Sicily has injured his knee and will likely not be seen for the remainder of the season, if not longer. The Hawks have since confirmed the injury has resulted in an ACL meaning the club will be without their star defender for the remainder of 2020 and most of 2021. Regardless of the fantasy football format, he is now a forced trade.

Let’s take a look at some of the best potential trade targets in SuperCoach, AFLFantasy & DreamTeam for James Sicily.

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Ownership: 26%

It’s easy to say; however, hindsight now says you’ve should have traded him two weeks ago when he was priced over $600,000 as Kane suggested on a recent podcast. However, if your one of the 26% there that still own him is no benefit on thinking about moves you could have made. Now it’s time to look forward as to the best replacement targets.

It’ll cost you cash to get them, but the prominent two premiums defenders that have had their bye are Jake Lloyd and Nic Haynes. The later will be even cheaper in a few weeks due to his 67 last week.

Speaking of players who are bye free don’t discount the season of Callum Mills. He’s currently in 3% of teams, has scored five tons and will still leave you with some much-needed cash over in a trade. Another of the NSW teams is Zac Williams. His previous three scores have been 112, 105 & 111. The injury history in the body is the only concern, but you can still get him cheaper than his starting price. I know Jackson Thurlow has scored well during the last few weeks but in good conscience, I couldn’t advocate trading someone you thought was a top 6-10 ranked defender (in Sicily) to Thurlow.

Other players that won’t be impacted by a future bye round include Jordan Ridley. He’s been one of the best breakout buys of the year. Round 12’s score of 77 was his lowest for the year, beyond that his three lowest scores of the year have been 88, 92 and 94. While the value has well and truly gone, he’s been sublime this year. My only caution is that he’s been playing sore the last few weeks. Fingers crossed he won’t need to be managed soon.

West Coast Eagles pair Shannon Hurn and Brad Sheppard both have shown over the years they can get on hot streaks and score well. Both scored over 95 last round; however, the week prior both failed to score 70. If you choose either player, it appears to be a little bit of a rollercoaster.

The last of the bye free options to consider are Fremantle Docker trio Luke Ryan, Connor Blakely and Adam Cerra. Plenty of coaches will have seen the 162 delivered from Luke Ryan and given less than 6,000 coaches own him (3%) don’t be surprised to see that number more than double this week. What current owners will know is that he’s now scored seven consecutive hundreds with four of those have been 118 or above. Sorry current owners, but your unique premium is about to get alot more popular.

If you want a unique, then Blakely and Cerra both have shown they have the ceiling about them. As long as they keep getting this midfield time, they’ll score well. Will it be enough to average 95+ over the coming month? I’m not sure, but if you like a left-field option, then both are candidates.

This time last week coaches were clamouring over Rory Laird given he’d posted a 185. However, a 77 has seen coaches enthusiasm dampen somewhat. Irrespective of it he’s still a reasonable pick. An average in the high 90’s and a season-low of 72 shows he’s still a decent scoring option. Honestly, I couldn’t trade him in this week knowing that he’d miss the following week with a bye round.

It’s the same for Alex Witherden, in the last four weeks he’s scored 170, 85, 100 and 101. In just 3% of teams and looks to have locked himself back into the Lions back six. Indeed, he’s scoring well, but it’s always filled with risk to trade a player in when you know they’ll miss the following week with a bye. Throw in Brodie Smith in this category too. Scoring well, but not playing round 14.

Finally, regular scoring good options in Brayden Maynard, Caleb Daniel and Tom Stewart are all perfectly capable options which are yet to have a bye. If I were to bring it one this week of the trio, it’d be Stewart, given he comes up against the Crows who are bleeding points in every position. One player I wouldn’t chase is Jayden Short, the Tigers have already confirmed that Bachar Houli will play in round 13. I’d want to see how (if at all) Houli’s return impacts his scoring before committing to that move.

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Ownership: 11%

The freedom of options is endless for AFLFantasy coaches, unlike DreamTeam and SuperCoach players where you still have to navigate a potential round free of scoring. In this format, coaches are awarded the players seasonal average when they are on a bye round. Meaning, no player is off-limits due to team bye structures.

Because of that, players who have had their bye aren’t as structurally important as the other two formats. Jake Lloyd is priced now over $800,000. Still, with three tons in his last five outings, he’s the only defensive premium I could feel ‘safe’ with investing significant amounts of dollars. Beyond him, there are only three other players set to play next round that are averaging over 80. They are Bachar Houli, Alex Witherden and Jackson Thurlow. I’d be nervous about going anywhere near Houli this week given it was back in round five when he last played. Given it’s more than $100,000 to upgrade up to him via Sicily, my encouragement is to save yourself some cash and go elsewhere.

On the topic of $100,000, that’s about the amount Alex Witherden has gone up since breaking back into the Lions side in round 9. Just 7.6% of coaches own him, and 78 is his lowest score in the last month. What might further tempt coaches is that in round 14 when the Lions have a week off, he’ll be awarded his average which is currently sitting just shy of 82. In a year where getting secure defensive premium scores is tricky, it might just be enough to tempt coaches.

If you need a player who could score 80 & make you a little bit of cash, then Jackson Thurlow does come into contention. But he isn’t someone I’d have confidence is scoring well weekly. Over his career, Thurlow has tempted us with his potential but has never fully seen it realised. Maybe it happens for him in 2020. I’m happy for someone else to have that win and steer for clearer waters.

If you want a unique option then Luke McDonald and Bailey Williams in this format are the perfect picks. In the case of Williams, his last five scores are: 71, 75, 79, 80 & 90 making him one of the form defenders of late. Similarly, McDonald’s fantasy resurgence has continued the last fortnight with scores of 123 and 88. Even though his price is starting to get near $700k a matchup against Collingwood who bleed points to opposition defenders might just sway you to spend the extra cash.

The two players you can have confidence in are Tom Stewart and Callum Mills. Both have shown this year, and over seasons past they have a fantasy game, but besides this their scoring deviation this year is much tighter than many of their counterparts. Not far behind would be Luke Ryan who only one score below 83 in his last five including a 102.

If your looking for a player that is capable of a 90+ score then Jordan Ridley, Brodie Smith and Zac Bailey have all shown the potential to deliver scores in this range.

Fingers crossed that tonight AFLFantasy award us a new DPP defender that we can bank an 80+ score from weekly.

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Ownership: 7%

The one line I dislikes the available premium options in 2020 is the backline. The core reason being is weekly we have the smallest deviation of scoring between cash cows and premiums. An example of this is last round where Will Day scored 75 and yet premium players in Tom Stewart, Callum Mills and Luke Ryan all scored within 12 points. This isn’t just a ‘once-off’ but a weekly occurrence where popular cows are regularly scoring within a dozen of the so-called premiums in the line.

Beyond Jake Lloyd, I have zero confidence in any player on any week. He’s the only defender that is scoring well (and by that I mean 80+) most weeks. But if you already own him or don’t have the funds available there are still some options that offer to score some decent consistency. On current form, Bailey Williams (83 in last 3) looks a reasonable unique pick with only 2% of coaches in the competition on board. A 90 against the Crows is a nice scoring boost, but even before that, he had the lowest score of 71 in his previous four outings. Just remember he’ll have the week off in round 15, so plan accordingly.

I like the recent form of Luke Ryan. An average of 85 in his last five weeks including in it a ton. A scoring range many of our backs have struggled to obtain in 2020. On current form his ranked 9th for defenders in the last five weeks. With just 2% of coaches on board, he could be the player for you. Don’t forget he’s bye round free for the rest of the year.

If you have confidence in the recent scoring form of Alex Witherden then normally he’d be the prime target, but he along with Adelaide’s Brodie Smith and Rory Laird will miss round 14 with the bye. All three are currently inside the top 10 for averages in the last three weeks but can your structure afford to trade them in this week only to not aid your team next week? If you’re prepared to carry them through then all three are worthy of consideration all be it, not cheap.

If you need a play that won’t be affected by the multi bye rounds between 14-16, then it’s probably down to either of Callum Mills or Jordan Ridley. Both are averaging mid 70’s for the year and are inside the top 10 for both averages. Two other players who usually are highly consistent to consider but both are still to have a bye are Tom Stewart and Jack Crisp. Last rounds 54 for Crisp was his lowest score in six weeks and only his second under 73 since round six. While for Stewart, he’s averaging 75 in his last five and is coming up against the winless Crows this weekend. If you want a likely immediate scoring bump from a premium defender then his matchup this week should allow it.