At the turn of the year most people’s thoughts are of what they had to drink and who they were with the night before (and trying not to think of the cricket 🙁 ). Fantasy coaches are also starting to think of the new football season, and the mistakes they will never make again with their AFL Dream Team and Super Coach teams.
1. I will not panic during the 160 minutes of maelstrom.
The worst of all possible outcomes is losing your team completely during the two and a half hours of mayhem that will happen between the Thursday naming of teams before round 1 at 5pm and the bouncedown at 7:40pm of the Carlton vs Richmond game. If this year’s shenanigans are any guide, it’s best not to mess with your team much at all in this period, as the VirtualSports servers are going to be choking under the traffic load. I have been assured that things will be better this year, though I suspect that there is a fair bit of pent up demand for Dream Team given the late start in 2008 and coach numbers are going to explode in ’09, making this 160 minutes even more chaotic than the corresponding 70 minutes in ’08.
2. I will not trade in the first two weeks.
I managed to stay strong on this one this year, though I suppose if you were unlucky enough to have Scott Lucas in your starting squad then you could have been excused for making a forced trade. Winners don’t blow trades early! Have faith in your pre-season picks. Which leads to…
3. I will try not to trade much at all in the first 6-8 weeks.
It was a prescient coach who had Rhys Palmer in his initial squad in 2008, with most picking him up after round 3. Apart from getting Palmer and dealing with the inevitable injuries, though, top-ranked fantasy teams didn’t trade all that often in the first third of the season. Holding off on trading early is possibly the hardest thing to do in fantasy, with even the best amongst us succumbing to temptation when they just can’t stand any more low scores. Make the effort!
4. I will not get discouraged by early low scores.
As was pointed out on BigFooty recently, this year’s Dream Team wining side Convicts, coached by BradFisherman, scored only 1700 in round 1, followed by 2051 and 1776. That 2000+ score would have been very heartening, but the other two numbers might have spooked a lot of coaches into slashing their team in the hopes of securing some more consistent scoring. Relax, some of the best sides start very poorly. Convicts was filled with mid-price improvers, and perhaps more importantly his bench was scoring very well. If you have 27-30 players scoring every week then you’re setting yourself up for a barnstorming second half of the fantasy season.
5. I will not place my trust in underperforming AFL coaches.
I’m not just talking here about Dean Laidley, Fantasy Antichrist. I’m talking here about Michael Malthouse and his lack of finesse in handling Heath Shaw, which I have also blogged about before. I am also talking about Dean Bailey. I don’t trust Bailey, and I didn’t like the story that came out about him giving Chris A. Johnson the cold shoulder. Plenty of coaches will move all in with Jack Grimes and Ricky Petterd this preseason in the hope that they represent value in a position sorely lacking for genuinely dependable value. I have this sinking feeling that Bailey is going to stuff fantasy coaches around by picking the wrong players in his backline. Melbourne will probably lose their first NAB Cup game against Hawthorn, and will most likely get flogged, meaning that we won’t get to see much of their preseason at all, further adding intrigue and subterfuge to the Demons’ planning. I, for one, will be watching reports of their NAB Challenge games with great interest.
How about you, what are your new year’s resolutions? Surely there must be some of you who aren’t too hungover to tell us!