Brand new: AFL Fantasy 2014 first look

Things are changing in the Australian fantasy football landscape… and it’s about time!

AFL Fantasy 2014No, it’s not just the return of the FanFooty blog! That is happening as of this blog post. I had a sabbatical for a couple of years but now I’ll be back.

The big early word is that AFL Fantasy – what used to be called AFL Dream Team, but which now has transitioned fully to the new name of AFL Fantasy – is making some significant changes to the competition. Primary among those announced so far are the rookie prices. Not only is the price premium on the top draftees going to be more than doubled, mini-draft rookies are priced even higher, and the minimum price has been lifted so that late national draft picks are priced at the same as rookies.

This means that the tactic last year of preferring mini-draftees for basement price – Jaeger O’Meara and Brad Crouch this year, Jesse Hogan and Jack Martin next year – over the top national draft picks will no longer make sense purely on salary cap considerations. The price premium will still dampen enthusiasm compared to those at basement price, but the comparison becomes more even now. For instance Lachie Whitfield wasn’t all that popular in 2013, being in 46,747 teams as opposed to Crouch being in 50,124 DT squads despite not even being picked for Adelaide in round 1. Of course, Crouch eventually outscored Whitfield by 20 points per game, but Crouch’s lack of games pre-byes meant he was the wrong choice as Whitfield’s price topped out at the right time. Perhaps one to chalk up to picking draftees in developing sides.

Anyway, a hidden consequence of this structural change in prices is that the trend of the best teams being “finished” before the byes will be much harder to attain now, assuming that the price movement mechanism stays roughly similar. It will still be possible if you can manage to find six to ten rookies who outscore their implied price by 30+ and get games every week before the byes. Taking Martin and Hogan out of that equation narrows the window of possibilities, though, because that means they would have to score a lot more than they would have. Hogan’s “implied price” is 49 under the new system, whereas it would have been 25 under the old one. This means he has to score 49s just to break even now, which for a key forward in particular is a lot more difficult than 25s, and he would have to average 24 more points per game in 2014 to get the same price increase as he would have got in 2013.

I will post the Team of AFL Fantasy Teams periodically during the preseason, which is deriven from the FanFooty Fanplanner. At the moment it’s a bit skewed, because we’re in the middle of the teams being announced with positional changes that make many teams illegal. In particular, the popularity of Viv Michie as a forward will mean lots of rearrangement because he’s only a mid.

Team of AFL Fantasy Teams Fanplanner squad in the AFL Fantasy competition coached by m0nty. Salary cap left: $109,100.

Bryce Gibbs, Jarrad McVeigh, Sam Mitchell, Matt Suckling, James Battersby, Matthew Scharenberg
Nathan Bock, Jake Kolodjashnij

Scott Pendlebury, Jobe Watson, Gary Ablett jnr, Dayne Beams, Claye Beams, Jared Polec, Dom Tyson, Jack Martin
James Aish, Matt Crouch

Hamish McIntosh, Aaron Sandilands
Daniel Currie, Liam McBean

Steve Johnson, Tom Rockliff, Dale Thomas, Paul Chapman, Lance Franklin, Alex Fasolo
Jesse Hogan, Shane Kersten

Martin and Hogan are still well represented, though that’s probably a holdover from their earlier cheapness. I’d expect their popularity to plummet, especially Hogan. Personally I don’t like Bock or Kolodjashnij to score well, the former because I think he’s not going to be fit and the latter just because he’s a key back.

There will be a lot more focus in the preseason on basement price rookies. Fantasy coaches are not going to want to miss any of the boats if they’re going, as gaining that extra $100k+ is going to be crucial as to when you attain the 22-gun salute. More on that in future posts, no doubt.

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