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2012 cheat sheet

Bad bye buddy: 2012 Dream Team and Supercoach bye strategy

2012 bye strategy

2012 brings a new system of byes over three rounds, which requires a whole new approach to team structure.

2102 AFL Dream Team and Supercoach bye week strategyNote: I am not going to be blogging regularly in 2012, but this issue necessitates a long explanation.

As many of you would know by now, the AFL has decided in its wisdom to welcome the new 18-team competition with a new way of distributing byes. Instead of stringing them throughout the season as they did last year, now they will be concentrated in three weeks, across round 11, 12 and 13. This is a much more NFL way of doing it. Unfortunately, for fantasy purposes this brings up all sorts of problems in how to deliver a solid fantasy experience.

Dr Dream Team let slip the essentials of the new rules today in a tweet. In short, there will be a return to a squad of 30, the positions reverting to 7-6-2-7 with two bench players per position, with trades left at 24 but three trades allowed in round 11, 12 and 13. For a detailed rundown on the new rule changes for season 2012, go to the Dream Team Talk blog and read their analysis, which is excellent as always. Now, let’s get on with the implications.

For those of you who try to avoid donuts like Cyril avoids tacklers, all hope is not yet lost. It is going to be possible to avoid the dreaded donut in 2012, even with this restrictive trade system and six teams missing each week through the bye period. It can be done in as few as six trades, assuming you get lucky with availability and injury of players in your squad.

The first thing to understand is that you should not have to trade in the week before round 11 to avoid a bye donut. This is the mistake that many noobs will make, especially when they realise with a panic that they haven’t structured their teams correctly. By that time, it’s too late.

Structure – that hated new AFL buzzword – is the key to minimising the necessary trades. The structure you need to aim for going into round 11 is as follows:

Backs: two R11 byes, three/four R12 byes, four/three R13 byes
Mids: two R11 byes, three R12 byes, three R13 byes
Rucks: two R11 byes, one R12 bye, one R13 bye
Forwards: two R11 byes, four/three R12 byes, three/four R13 byes

As you can see, for round 11 you will theoretically be able to get away with no trades in the week preceding, and have a full 22 players to run out on the park, albeit with no emergency cover. Remember: every emergency you enjoy in rounds 11 through 13 in 2012 means a donut elsewhere in your team somewhere during the bye period.

Now, here’s where it gets more complicated. To survive in round 12 and 13 with no donuts, you have to set up three of your positions for players with ruck and forward positional designations. One of these must go in the rucks and have a round 11 bye, and the other two in the forwards with a round 12 bye and a round 13 bye respectively. This is required because otherwise in rounds 12 and 13 you have a “wasted” emergency slot, which would mean two donuts in other positions.

Let’s use an example team that I prepared using the Fanplanner.

12 Monkeys Fanplanner squad in the Dream Team competition coached by m0nty. Salary cap left: $23,400.

Brendon Goddard, Heath Shaw, Brett Deledio, Matt Suckling, Greg Broughton, Brian Lake, Matthew Buntine
Billie Smedts, Jordan Lockyer

Dane Swan, Gary Ablett jnr, Sam Mitchell, Marc Murphy, Michael Barlow, Anthony Morabito
Anthony Miles, Dylan Shiel

Ben McEvoy, Drew Petrie
Jonathan Giles, Orren Stephenson

Lance Franklin, Dayne Beams, Nick Riewoldt, Patrick Ryder, Matthew Kreuzer, Israel Folau, Jason Porplyzia
Tommy Walsh, Ahmed Saad

This team has been set up with a bye structure of 2/4/32/3/32/1/12/3/4 = 8/11/11 (in the format of R11/R12/R13). Note that Petrie is the R11 R/F in the rucks, while Ryder is the R12 R/F and Kreuzer is the R13 R/F in the forwards. So, in round 11, with all eight bench players having R11 byes and no trades required (cross fingers), we have the following team and bench players.

Brendon Goddard, Heath Shaw, Brett Deledio, Matt Suckling, Greg Broughton, Billie Smedts, Jordan Lockyer
Brian Lake, Matthew Buntine

Dane Swan, Gary Ablett jnr, Sam Mitchell, Marc Murphy, Michael Barlow, Anthony Morabito
Anthony Miles, Dylan Shiel

Ben McEvoy, Orren Stephenson
Jonathan Giles, Drew Petrie

Lance Franklin, Dayne Beams, Nick Riewoldt, Patrick Ryder, Matthew Kreuzer, Tommy Walsh, Ahmed Saad
Israel Folau, Jason Porplyzia

All well and good. But what about R12? We have four backs with R12 byes, three midfielders, one ruck and three forwards. Ah, but one of those forwards with a bye is Ryder, so he can be covered by Petrie. The three available trades can be used to cover two of the four backs and one of the three mids, by trading in players with R11 byes. Our R12 team would look a little something like this:

Trades: Smedts => Sierakowski, Lockyer => Adcock, Morabito => Rockliff.

Brendon Goddard, Brett Deledio, Matt Suckling, Brian Lake, Matthew Buntine, Jed Adcock, Will Sierakowski
Heath Shaw, Greg Broughton

Gary Ablett jnr, Sam Mitchell, Marc Murphy, Tom Rockliff, Anthony Miles, Dylan Shiel
Dane Swan, Michael Barlow

Ben McEvoy, Jonathan Giles
Patrick Ryder, Orren Stephenson

Lance Franklin, Nick Riewoldt, Drew Petrie, Matthew Kreuzer, Israel Folau, Jason Porplyzia, Ahmed Saad
Dayne Beams, Tommy Walsh

I’m going with a rather unlikely best case scenario that you can make two upgrades versus one downgrade, but you get the idea. Now we come to R13. We have three backs with R13 byes, three mids, one ruck and four forwards. Again, one of those forwards is Kreuzer with R/F eligibility, so we can cover him with Petrie. Thus we have a R13 that goes like this:

Trades: Suckling => Grimes, Mitchell => Pendlebury, Saad => Dell’Olio.

Heath Shaw, Greg Broughton, Jack Grimes, Brian Lake, Matthew Buntine, Jed Adcock, Will Sierakowski
Brendon Goddard, Brett Deledio

Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury, Michael Barlow, Tom Rockliff, Anthony Miles, Dylan Shiel
Gary Ablett jnr, Marc Murphy

Orren Stephenson, Jonathan Giles
Matthew Kreuzer, Ben McEvoy

Dayne Beams, Drew Petrie, Patrick Ryder, Israel Folau, Jason Porplyzia, Tommy Walsh, Cory Dell’Olio
Lance Franklin, Nick Riewoldt

Thus it can be shown that it is theoretically possible to get away with as little as six trades to avoid a donut, and maybe half or more of those can be legitimate team-building trades as opposed to “wasted” sideways trades.

As to whether it is worth it to structure your side so harshly just to avoid donuts, that’s a whole other question. Best left to the comments, actually. So, will you be following this strategy, or do you not care so much about donuts? Do you think you can get a better overall ranking by bypassing the need to have three R/F players and eating the donuts? Is the winner of DT/SC going to follow this technique or not? This will be a hot button issue in the fantasy offseason, so let me know your thoughts in the comments.



  1. Hevvie

    December 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Haha…bad bye buddy 🙂

  2. breakonthr

    December 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    i have a headache….

  3. smithy3

    December 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Are they sticking with 16 team leagues? the obverse thing to do if they are would be to have round one as a bye play league games from 2-10 3 byes 11’12’13 league games 14-19 and finals 20-23 that way everyone plays each other once same as it’s always been

  4. rebird

    December 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    i agree with smithy3, leave rounds 11,12 and 13 to those chasing overall.

  5. Roygbiv

    December 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Will start with 1 R/F and hopefully upgrade 2 rooks to R/F players.
    Too much value to clog up team with 3 R/F’s imho.

  6. DuhWinning

    December 16, 2011 at 12:13 am

    This is so stupid.
    way to complicated they should have used their brains a little more because seriously, there is no way you wont have donuts in those rounds without cover.
    This is going to turn a lot of people off I reckon.

  7. jarod

    December 16, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Thank you m0nty. This is the single best and most useful blog post written this fantasy pre-season.

    I for one like the byes and the additional strategy element that is introduced to the game as a result.

    This year more than ever, fantasy coaches will need to plan their trades well in advance so that they hit Round 11 with the optimum team structure (as defined above).

    Virtual Sports should have left the squad size at 33 however to allow us to better avoid a donut. Those additional interchange spots would have been invaluable.

  8. Bilby

    December 17, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Great work as usual Monty! Looking forward to your pre-season analysis work.

    Personally, at this stage I think I’ll be looking at two donuts in rounds 12 & 13, if I’m lucky. Not a fan of the R/F’s, with Cox, Goldstein, McEvoy, Leuenberger and HMac all still in my sights. I’m not a fan of Kreuzer or Ryder for next year.

  9. DuhWinning

    December 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Another thing is Sideways trading to avoid donuts? Thats just going to create donuts in the non bye rounds. Good write up but if you follow it to a tee you will have that many duds and wasted trades (ie Mitchell to Pendles???) you will pay for it anyway.
    there must be a better way!?!

    Not trading for Rd 11 is gold though quite obvious but like you say M0nty the noobs and impatient will totally fluff it!

  10. m0nty

    December 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Given that you have 18 trades in the other 20 trade periods, DuhWinning, it shouldn’t be that hard to avoid donuts even after spending six trades in R12/13. I suppose if you can eat a donut from not trading in a rookie who only scores 50-70, you can hope to make it up later in the season. Is a trade worth 70 points? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. It’s a fair point to say that you can hope to win that trade-off, though.

  11. stew42

    December 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Just note that Round 11 is a good time to offload cash cows…

  12. m0nty

    December 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Hmm, so given that Petrie, Kreuzer and Ryder have all had their forward eligibility removed for 2012, this strategy is nigh on impossible… 🙁

  13. m0nty

    December 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Correction: Petrie had his ruck eligibility removed, but the same effect for fantasy. That leaves Scott Lycett as the only R/F with a round 11 bye. Boo to that.

  14. LeuyLonger

    December 24, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Very difficult way of doing things this year with the bye, it will be interesting to see how people will avoid the dreaded doughnuts this year. I’m looking at the bye rounds from a league prospective and have come up with the following simple strategy.

    TEAM NAME: LeuyLongerCombo
    DEF: H. Shaw, B. Deledio, G. Broughton, D. Heppell, B. Lake, M. Buntine, M. Clarke (B. Ellis, J. Lockyer)
    MID: D. Swan, J. Bartel, J. Selwood, D. Mundy, S. Docherty, T. Mitchell (D. Shiel, D. Zorko)
    RUC: A. Sandilands, S. Mumford (J. Giles, O. Stephenson)
    FWD: S. Johnson, D. Zaharakis, D. Martin, S. Sidebottom, S. Gumbleton, J. Winderlich, A. Saad (B. Smedts, T. Walsh)
    CASH LEFT: $16,400
    Byes: 2/5/2 – 3/5/0 – 1/3/0 – 0/7/2 = 6/20/4 (in the format of R11/R12/R13)

    My team will follow Monty with trying to avoid any trades for round 11.

    Come round 12 I’ve simply loaded up on Collingwood, Geelong, Essendon, Fremantle, Sydney and Melbourne players (haven’t included any Melbourne players in sample team) This is a round that I would have taken a big hit anyways with the likes of Swan, Selwood, Bartel, Sandi, Johnson, Sidebottom, Zakha missing. So I’ve decided to take a dive!!!

    I think the advantage of not having to make any trades throughout the byes and potentially saving anywhere from 4-6 trades on your league rivals will outweigh one extra win.

  15. rustyc

    December 27, 2011 at 10:35 am

    The simple strategy is to incorporate upgrades into rounds 12-13 so you are not burning extra trades. Rookies that have the round 13 bye are gold.

    Forget about the DPP ruck approach, it won’t fly.

  16. Footyrulz

    January 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm


    My brain just exploded

  17. Footyrulz

    January 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Looks good at first but there is one problem.
    Petrie, ryder and kruever are all just rucks.
    So that doesnt work. Are there any other ways?

  18. anthak

    January 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Has anyone come up with an alternative to having to rely on Scott Lycett?

  19. Richo1969

    January 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Although a very interesting article, to select ur team based on the byes is an incorrect decision.Before the Rd11 bye we have 10 rounds of supercoach, 20-25 points per week over 10 weeks adds up.

    Pick the players u want and the byes will deal with themselves!!!

  20. StuL

    January 7, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    This is ridiculous. Why don’t DT & SC just make the byes coincide with the AFL byes, prob solved!

  21. NeedsaFUIC

    January 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    This is getting confusing

  22. NeedsaFUIC

    January 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Not quite getting this structure

    Backs: two R11 byes, three/four R12 byes, four/three R13 byes
    Mids: two R11 byes, three R12 byes, three R13 byes
    Rucks: two R11 byes, one R12 bye, one R13 bye
    Forwards: two R11 byes, four/three R12 byes, three/four R13 byes

  23. sandworm

    January 12, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    structure for byes 7/8/15
    2/2/5 def -only 2 will fit on bench
    2/2/4 mid –
    three trades plus dpp trade rules will cover
    plenty of time for cash cows to fatten
    And avoid sun burn from last year(GWS 2012)
    gives time and space for calamities esp with dpps
    the 2 players from rnd 11/12 must be keepers and the 1 ruck per 11/12 as well
    best of luck to all in 2012

    NB…coaches will give players an exra game off either side of byes imo
    this stategy also gives wriggle room for such shenanigans

  24. MayhemFC

    January 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    correct me if im wrong…. but is sandworm gona have 12 potential donuts? or am i just reading his explanation incorrectly?

  25. c4v3m4n

    February 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Yeah m0nty,

    You might want to revise this article since the player positions are now official. :S

  26. aceballa

    February 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    yeah, prices you used are way off, there is no way to fit them all into the salary cap.

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