AFL depth charts: worthwhile?

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Those of you fantasy nuts out there who are interested in American sports are well into the fantasy giridron season, with the NFL into week 6, with baseball just finishing up and basketball about to start again. One of the features that is a staple of fantasy analysis in the States is the team depth chart, and I’m wondering if something like that would be useful for Australian fantasy coaches.

The depth chart – an example at Rotoworld here – is a list of players for each real team sorted by position, and then sorted again by likelihood of playing in the next game. In baseball and basketball the positions are set which makes it pretty simple (i.e. the top player plays if fit), whereas in gridiron the amount of running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers etc change for each play so the depth chart is a guide only. One thing you’ll note in that Rotoworld chart is that players can qualify for multiple lists depending on their role.

In Australian football it would probably be silly, in these tactically advanced times, to rank each of the 18 onfield positions. Taking a bit of a leaf from the Champion Data positional designations, I think it would be more prudent to look at the following (with usual distribution in an AFL team in brackets):

  • Key defenders (3)
  • Small defenders (3)
  • Key forwards (3)
  • Small forwards (3)
  • Inside midfielders (4)
  • Outside midfielders (4)
  • Rucks (2)
  • Taggers (n/a… taken from other positions)

Alright, let’s use that as a template and see what we can come up with using a real AFL team. Why not my Hawks! 😀

Key defenders
Trent Croad
Campbell Brown
Stephen Gilham
Thomas Murphy
Zac Dawson
Hugh Sandilands
Small defenders
Luke Hodge
Brent Guerra
Grant Birchall
Xavier Ellis
Matt Suckling
Key forwards
Lance Franklin
Jarryd Roughead
Jarryd Morton
Tim Boyle
Mitch Thorp
Beau Dowler
Small forwards
Mark Williams
Cyril Rioli
Michael Osborne
Stuart Dew
Cameron Stokes
Inside midfielders
Sam Mitchell
Brad Sewell
Jordan Lewis
Tim Clarke
Josh P. Kennedy
Ben McGlynn
Beau Muston
Garry Moss
Outside midfielders
Chance Bateman
Clinton Young
Shane Crawford
Rick Ladson
Travis Tuck
Brendan Whitecross
Alex Grima
Robert Campbell
Brent Renouf
Simon Taylor
Max Bailey
Luke McEntee
Tim Walsh
Brad Sewell
Michael Osborne
Rick Ladson
Chance Bateman
Xavier Ellis

No doubt this is a fun thing to do, and the comments will contain arguments over certain players’ eligibility and ranking, but is this table really worthwhile for a fantasy coach? In some ways it’s just self-evident. However, I reckon it might be valuable in figuring out who each rookie and draftee has to fight out for a spot in his team’s 22. What do you think?

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