#10: You haven’t got Chad Cornes. Chad is the #1 fantasy back, averaging 101.5 in DT last year. The only other back to average more than 90 in 2007 was Joel Bowden. It is mandatory for a good AFL fantasy team to pick Chadwick, a.k.a. Studley, a.k.a. The Chad. Don’t leave home without him.
#9: You’re starting a rookie ruck in your 22. Yes, it’s easy to see that Matthew Kreuzer is a quality player. Sure, Shaun Hampson looks like he’ll do alright this year. Fine, have Matthew Leuenberger in your 30. Just don’t put any of those boys in your 22. Young ruckmen take a long time to develop. Even Josh Fraser, first picked in the 1999 draft, had a debut season in 2000 that was not fantasy-22-worthy. Keep them on your bench and start Troy Simmonds as your #2 ruck at the very least.
#8: You’ve picked injured and/or sore players. Obviously you shouldn’t have any of the seven players who have already blown out their knees this season, but I’m talking here about players who are probably going to represent some good value at some stage during the season, but not from round 1. These players are on the dreaded “modified program” due to very poor fitness levels from an interrupted preseason, and many of them won’t even play in round 1. This includes Daniel Bradshaw, Sam Butler, Mark Coughlan, Nathan Thompson, Brendon Goddard, Trent Hentschel, Scott Gumbleton, Matthew Lloyd and Danny Jacobs. Warren Tredrea is also on the fringes of this group, preseason media hype notwithstanding. –EDIT– Oh, and I forgot the biggest name on this list: Chris Judd.
#7: You’ve picked a full-time full back. There was a time when Matthew Scarlett was fantasy-relevant, but no more.
#6: You haven’t picked Nick Stevens. 133 in the NAB Cup not enough for you? Come on, he should be an absolute lock. As I said in this week’s Coaches Box, opposition coaches are going to let him rack up cheap outside possessions until the cows come home because his hurt factor is very minimal. Should give you 22 games of sterling service.
#5: You’ve got more than two premium-priced centres. Your centres should be filled with rookies and the odd mid-price improver. Sure, it looks fabulous to have the entire Geelong engine room in your team from round 1, but salary cap fantasy is all about improvement, and there’s not a lot of improvement left in Jimmy, Joel and Gazza. Two of them maybe, but you have to leave room for plenty of cash cows, even in your 22. Which leads me to…
#4: No rookies in your 22. Don’t play it safe! I learned this lesson the hard way. It’s not actually a “risk” to start rookies in your 22, it’s mandatory. You are selling your team short if you don’t. Picking the right rookies is vital, obviously, but the rewards are far greater than picking a bunch of third-year players priced at $150k-$200k who will deliver the same scores at best.
#3: You’ve picked 2007′s fantasy young guns instead of thinking about 2008. No, it’s not a winning move to pick up Joel Selwood this year. Sure, he’s going to score well, but you’d be paying top dollar for his services and that money could be better spent elsewhere. Pick the rookie who is going to be this year’s Joel Selwood. The same goes for Jake King, Ricky Petterd, Andrejs Everitt, Clinton Young, Alwyn Davey, Tim Boyle and David Rodan.
#2: You haven’t aimed for the top. It’s no good having 10 players in your squad who, at best, will improve from averages of 75 last year to 80 this year. You have to pick players capable of cracking the ton every week. It’s worth spending the extra money to get Joel Bowden rather than Jason Gram, Scott Lucas rather than Robert Murphy. Bowden and Lucas are the players who can deliver consistent 100+ games, whereas Gram and Murphy just can’t get there often enough. That sort of penny-pinching will only pinch points away from your team in the long term.
#1: You just posted your entire squad to BigFooty.