Monday afternoon, the bad news hit. Touk Miller will miss significant amounts of the 2023 season scans that revealed a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. The result is a forced trade for owners, but which player comes into their side? First, let’s take a look at some of the best prospects.Embed from Getty Images
The Trade In was a Good Play
If you didn’t believe that luck was a significant factor in success in fantasy footy, this weekend of scoring is the ultimate reminder. Many indicators highlighted the fact that Touk Miller was a strong upgrade target. While not posting multiple monster scores, he’d shown plenty of moments that his scoring power was still present. He’d reached close to his basement price and had a fixture of matchups against North Melbourne, Richmond, Melbourne & West Coast. These are four of the better matchups for midfielders to score in.
Sadly for owners, an injury happened. But be encouraged. You read the narrative correctly. You created a plan and executed it. You saw a strong play; sadly, it was just bad luck in an injury that meant the plan had failed. It’s important to note because sometimes, when your trading plans fail, you can believe you, as the coach, screwed up. However, in this instance, it’s not a coaches error. Saying so would be using hindsight. The reality is, It’s just bad luck.
Now, you can shake the dust off, pick yourself up and use this moment to work in the net positive for you. Injuries create opportunities, so get up and enjoy the opportunities. As you’ll see, you’ve got a bounty to choose from about what you should do with Touk.
In 2023 Touk Miller has yet to hit his historical dominance, but that was the attraction. Over the past few seasons, he’s shown the potential to score with the competition’s elite. Landing Touk was also seen as adding another weekly VC/C to your arsenal. It’s why his injury creates the opportunity to trade up with some of the best scorers in the game.
Across the formats, Rory Laird is approximately $30,000-$40,000 more than Touk. The premium Crow midfielder has had some rollercoaster moments in 2023. But he’s coming off a 118 & 120 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. In SuperCoach, he hasn’t dropped under 97 in his last five and is averaging 123 over that stretch of games. He’s $70k cheaper than round one, and Touk offers an easy ticket to someone you’ll want to own sooner than later.
Clayton Oliver is the highest-priced player in AFLFantasy, and second for DreamTeam and SuperCoach. His start to the season has been amazing, and while he’s gone up in AFLFantasy & DreamTeam, he’s still $30k cheaper than his starting price in SuperCoach. Over the next month, Melbourne has the Kangaroos, Suns, Hawks & Port. It’s not a ‘value’ play, but that’s not the point. If you’ve hated watching him play the past six weeks, this presents a ticket to get your hands on him finally.
The highest-scoring player of the season across all formats is Tim English. He’s also gone up over $100k in all formats making him one of the most expensive players. But it’s with good reason. He has yet to drop his scoring all year under 130 in SuperCoach or beneath 110 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. It might not be an easy play for non-owners to obtain him. The reason being neither Sean Darcy nor Rowan Marshall is worth moving on. Unless you own Brodie Grundy or Jarrod Witts as much as you’d love him I’m not sure moving Miller – English will be the best play for you despite his scoring dominance.A player rarely hits premium territories in their second season.
Nat Fyfe, Clayton Oliver & Jackson Macrae are just some of the limited few who’ve not just avoided the second-year blues but become a genuine premium. However, Nick Daicos hasn’t just placed himself as a genuine premium; you could argue that he’s now scoring strongly enough to be a consideration as a VC/C most weeks. His average of 122 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 135 in SuperCoach is elite. While the laws of probability suggest this isn’t maintainable for the season, much like Oliver above, he’s probably created a high sense of frustration watching him as a non-owner. Yes, you’re paying top price for him, but sometimes you need to bite the bullet.
The Bye Rounds
One of the major attractions was trading into Touk for how this would assist your team through the multip bye rounds. In round thirteen, it’s just Gold Coast and Geelong missing. The upside is further heightened in SuperCoach & DreamTeam, where it’s a ‘best 18’ in these formats. Getting 18+ players in this round should be basic, but the Suns and Cats players like Miller would allow you greater consistency and structure for the byes. If this was (or in hindsight now is) of aid to you, the good news is we’ve got multiple options from both sides to help maintain the same bye-round structural narrative.
Last week on our podcast, fellow panellist Rids threw out Noah Anderson’s name as someone who could match Touk in AFLFantasy & DreamTeam. After failing to ton up in the opening three rounds, he’s returned to form with three in a row. If you believe he is the open stepping up with the absence of Miller, then it’s certainly a potential option.
It feels like now or never for Tom Stewart. His injury-impacted score from round one is no longer impacting his price, which means; as a result, the trend is he’ll head back towards his premium price tag. On his day, he’s got the best ceiling of all defenders available to us. With a run of games at GMHBA coming up, he’s still a play, given that I’m confident he’s a topline defender across the formats.
It’s more of a SuperCoach play, but there’s certainly some merit in the other formats. Patrick Dangerfield is coming off the back of four consecutive tons. Unfortunately, he’s not the beast he was in the late 2010s. He’s one of only ten players averaging over 120 in the past three weeks. To boot, he’s in only 3% of teams.
None of these guys I like as a trade for Touk, but what they could be is alternate upgrades you consider to ensure you have the same theory of having some play through rounds 12, 14 & 15 available to you.
Sam Walsh has wasted no time reminding the fantasy football community of his scoring pedigree. A 102 & 131 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam + 104 & 130 in SuperCoach has him scoring as well as any other premium. Due to such limited time playing, he’s owned by 3% or less of teams across all formats. If he can be 110 midfielder by average from now til seasons end, then he’s certainly a consideration for you.
Flying under the radar this season is Christian Petracca. The former Norm Smith medalist is having a solid 2023 season. Averaging 105 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam consists of four tons and nothing under 90. In these formats, he’s owned by less than 10%. While for SuperCoach, his average of 105 is built of two scores of 97, and he’s currently on a run of four consecutive tons. He’s got the same great matchups as Oliver, and he’s right in the mix for DPP MID/FWD coming into the byes.
The only thing that’s interrupted Zac Merrett‘s season was his suspension. Beyond that, he’s been flying along beautifully under the radar. He’s averaging 107 and has shown for multiple years that he can go with the best premium midfielders. With ownership of 4%, he’s someone to consider seriously.
This might be my favourite of all the options. I’m known for my admiration of Josh Kelly as a fantasy prospect, but this isn’t just confirmation bias. He’s shown this year that his 110+ scoring is right within his capacity, and he’s done this on numerous occasions. He’s already got two scores of 139 or higher in SuperCoach and two above 125 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. Throw in the fact that he’s owned by fewer than 5% in AFLFantasy & DreamTeam, and it’s an open play. It may be the one I make.