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Backopalypse Redux: Another year of fantasy back problems

Fantasy back problems

Col. Kurtz is nothing compared to the nightmare in fantasy defences… again. The horror, the horror!

To all of those who thought devotees of all-premium back lines were playing last year’s game: Ha ha! Now look at the mess we’re all in. Those of you who toyed with stacking your backline but hung with the strategy hardcore, and did not succumb to temptation and put Andrew Raines in as #7 back like I did, are now laughing all the way to the bank. That is, they are laughing if they also avoided the nasty pitfalls like Nathan Bock‘s club suspension for allegedly slapping his girlfriend at a nightclub, or Jordan McMahon‘s Bowden-like dropping, or Heath Shaw‘s suprise round 1 omission, or Adam McPhee‘s suspension this week.

Backopalypse ReduxAs often happens, the feeling among fantasy coaches as to which position contains the strongest rookie class waxes and wanes each week of the preseason, and by the time lockout came around I was detecting a distinct love towards the forwards, a cooling off of love towards the midfielders, and a slightly sunnier disposition to the defenders. As it has turned out, there are four excellent starting midfielders that you would love to have in your squad, starting at least two of them each week so far: Daniel Rich, Mitch Robinson, Andy Otten and now Dayne Beams. In the forwards, Jack Ziebell has been so-so while Mitchell Brown and Taylor Walker haven’t risen above bench fodder, as most of us suspected. In the back line, however, the stocks are surely depleted more than we would have suspected. Michael Hurley got injured, Lachie Henderson and Nathan Grima have been unsighted, Matthew Spangher got dropped, Stephen Hill and Nic Suban have been less than startable, and Greg Broughton has been mouldering in the WAFL (albeit the press is reporting both Broughton and Matt DeBoer as coming in this week). The only truly bright spots in fantasy defences have been Kyle Cheney and Jared Petrenko, both of whom are facing issues with selection in the coming weeks. Cheney has to stave off the return of Matthew Whelan, who was off the Demons injury report this week with his calf problem and will apparently line up in the magoos this weekend, leaving one more week of Cheney action before he has to dodge a selection bullet. In the little bloodnut’s favour is a complication to Paul Wheatley‘s condition, which has graduated from a calf to a quadricep injury that will linger on for at least another six weeks. Petrenko has to contend with the imminent return of Brad Symes, although the injury to Chris Knights may ease the squeeze there a little. Then there’s Alex Rance, who at least nominally is holding Will Thursfield out but could also be replaced by McMahon depending on matchups, especially this week considering the lack of height in the Bulldogs forward line.

What does all this mean? It means that those of you who haven’t got the dosh to upgrade Raines to a Sam Gilbert, Paul Duffield or (cough) Leigh Harding are going to have to burn two trades to change your structure a little. My philosophy on changing your structure is that if the two trades you make in a week to do it solve four problems at once, then it’s okay. I have seen some talking about sacrificing a mid-pricer or keeper who is just performing so-so, like a Jed Adcock. Personally, I have Brent Reilly in my Dream Team, so let’s use him as an example. I haven’t liked the look of his first two games, to be honest. I was expecting him to have a deeper fitness base than what he looks to have developed. He has gone missing for what seems to me like entire quarters – like two DT points in Q4 last week and another two points in Q3 of round 1. The temptation for me is to downgrade Reilly to Andy Otten, and use the cash to upgrade one of my backs to a keeper. I have enough money in DT, after trading Raines to Cheney last week, to now sell Broughton and get Xavier Ellis. Alternately, I could reach all the way to Brendan Goddard or Sam Fisher if I bypass Otten for David Zaharakis or Beams, and leave Broughton and sell Hill. Any of these double-trade options would be solving four problems: Reilly sucking, Otten/Beams not being in my side when he’s an obvious cash cow, Hill/Broughton not being good enough, and my #7 back being a terrible hole in my structure.

The other reason I think that changing your structure in week 2 is not a stupid move is that if you look into the future, it’s going to be a lot better to concentrate your cash cow culling in the centres because there are a bunch of good kids who look at this point to be debuting later in the year. Liam Anthony himself is likely to make his delayed debut somewhere in the month before the split round. Luke Shuey and Tom Swift will probably get their chance somewhere around there too. Sam Blease is still a fair way away, and the Steele Sidebottom buzz has died down for the moment. The talent pool of late debuts in the backs is nowhere near as promising, leading me to think that it may be prudent to plan to keep your back rookies in your squad for the duration, Nathan J. Brown style.

On the flip side, there are some players who I wouldn’t want to waste in a double trade like this. I learned the lesson last year with Xavier Ellis and Bryce Gibbs that it is often the right move to stick fat with high-upside players who have middling starts, because those with natural ability (notably both top 3 draft picks, those two) often have excellent second halves, as both those two boys did last year. Travis Boak and Matthew Leuenberger may be two such players from the class of 2006 that it would be dangerous to pull the trigger on, with Chris Masten and Patrick Dangerfield similarly placed from the 2007 draft.

How about you lot, are you lighting a bomb under your structure and blowing it to the shizenhousen, or are you defending the ramparts against the orcish hordes? What are you going to do, or have already done, about Raines? How many trades are you using in the first two weeks, and are you sorry if you held back last week, with more bad news coming down the track this week as predicted? Perhaps most crucially, are you hanging onto the likes of Raines (2 weeks), Brad Ottens (4-6) or Bock (1 to who knows) and leaving yourself open to the 2009 equivalent of the Joel Bowden disaster? Tell me in the comments.



  1. Bomber

    April 9, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Broughton has been dominating in the magoos – just can’t force a way into that awesome/successful side Freo has…

  2. Mitch

    April 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    What a tragedy!!

    I’ve gotta leave for the footy at 5pm tonight and that is when the teams are named…what do I do?

  3. Fudd

    April 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Hey Mitch just give us your email address and password and we will fix it for you!

    mmm im just a wee bit bored……

  4. Superfist

    April 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    @ ‘Cho
    Good reasoning, poor execution. Bartel is far from an inside mid these days. Not saying he won’t dominate.

  5. hmac

    April 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    simple trade this week

    out Crowley
    in Rich

    expected a wee bit more from Crowley but it looks obvious what is role is.

    Nice result here…instead of getting stuck with crowley and watching him drop gradually to $200, i’ll pick up the $50K from rich and you would think he will score better too in future rounds

  6. Brendan Smith

    April 9, 2009 at 5:15 pm


    Out Ottens
    Out Raines

    In Cheney
    In Kozie

    Out Raines
    Out Anthony

    In Cheney
    In Joseph


  7. Mitch

    April 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    @ Fudd sorry mate lol

    @ Brendan Smith there are better choices than Joseph

  8. Roger Ramjet

    April 9, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    This thread should be time capsuled for all the noobs to read next year under the title: How not to trade!

  9. Brendan Smith

    April 9, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    @ Roger

    no point trading rains for anyone who is of the same vale as they are all scoring the same as cheney. (I feal rain will be out for more than2 weeks)

    with anthony out for six i would prefer to burn a trade and have a cash cow than have a cookie on the bench not playing.

    have yo made any outstanding trades? if so what where these pearls of wisdom?

  10. oddsok

    April 9, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    If I trade in Cheney for Hill I pocket ~$60,000 and if Cheney scores 50ish he will rish ~$40,000, which is a net gain of $100,000. I’m just wondering if it is worth the trade. Right now I’m thinking it is, but I’ll wait to see the teams.

  11. Sam

    April 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Hey is Robinson still a worthwhile acquisition?

    I currently have Anthony on the pine (with Beams) and am tossing up whether to wait a week for Zaharakis or pulling the pin now and welcoming in Robo. He is one week ahead of Zaha so should be more juicier at the time of harvest.

    But can Robinson hold is spot when Carrazzo comes back in? Walker’s ongoing injury will help his cause immensly.

  12. Brendan Smith

    April 9, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Robinson has the runs on the board Beams or Zaha could do anything this week…even get injured.

    Robinson is a big SOB i have him and recommend him.

  13. Kendog

    April 9, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    @ Sam – wait to see the teams, Robinson no certainty to maintain his place with Stevens coming in

  14. brad

    April 9, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Out: Hurley
    In: Cheney

    Out: Hentschel
    In: Houlihan

    Should have had houlihan from day dot but went with Geary in the backline instead…picking him up in the forward line now…

  15. tom

    April 9, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    raines out in both DT and SC for Hurn in both. considered ditching nickoski, but think its better to have someone playing rather than the unknown raines on the bench

  16. The Bomber

    April 9, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I balance my team out over the 3 position

    Defenders: (31.6%) 541
    Midfielders: (31.4%) 537
    Rucks: (7.7%) 131
    Forwards: (29.3%) (2 players not playing in my forward line)

    last year i went with a excellent backline and it didnt go so well and this year i believe the prospects are in the forward line

  17. tom

    April 9, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    yes broughton is in!

  18. AdamG03

    April 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    At the moment i have Broughton and Suban on the field. Hill emergency.
    Raines sittin on the pine accumulating dust lol

    If i do Raines to Cheney or Petrenko, theyre goin in for Suban and Suban made EMG.

    Do i make the trade of Raines to Cheney or Petrenko? Or do i not make any trade?

  19. dylan

    April 9, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    AdamGo3, i think you should do the trade. Its going to give u around a extra 100k and who knows if Richmond might decide to put Raines in the VFL first to get a bit of confidence up on the knee. Not sure who you would pick out of Cheney or Petrenko though. Cheney might have some people fighting for his spot next week if he has another shocker while atm Petrenko has got himself a spot in the side for a bit longer with Knights injured for a little bit i believe.

    Ok now i have a question. Should i trade Anthony to Robinson then downgrade Reilly to Danger? I believe i can make a fair bit of cash from both while Reilly is just getting me rather average scores. I could then put on Otten for where Reilly was and have Danger and Robinson on the bench making me money. Also with doing this downgrade it gives me about 150k to then next week upgrade hill and only have 1 rookie in my backline starting which i feel a bit safer with. How does this sound? Too risky/waste of a trade?

  20. AdamG03

    April 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks for the advice, yeh i talked myself into Petrenko over Cheney because i was never intending to keep Raines at all. Even if both Cheney and Petrenko are dropped. Lets say other guys get fit, Cheney is waiting behind Wonaemirri, Whelan, Daniel Bell (Not even counting Wheatley 6 wks, Garland indefinite) whilst Petrenko has less competition and can play fwd as well as back.

    Anthony to Robinson, although a sideways trade will net u cash, but im keeping Anthony, he will get a run when fit. Or id look at Beams and Zaharakis next week. I have Robinson already.

    Reilly to Danger is ok if u believe Danger would get a game. Andy Otten is a better pick IMO.

  21. dylan

    April 9, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Yeah i think Danger will get a fair few games with how he looked last week. Got Otten and am thinking of starting him on field. Rather risky but since i downgraded raines last week i will have 250k in the back which i will then be able to either upgrade hill or wait a few weeks then hopefully upgrade a rookie to a premium mid.

  22. Raf

    April 9, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Dumped Raines and Butler for Harding and Robinson, and wishing I did it last week.

    I was considering holding Raines, but I also have Bock.

    Next week’s decision will be whether I should switch Anthony for one of Zaharakis/Beams, I guess.

    I’m not interested in a switch of Hill for Cheney unless Cheney surprises me and has another big game this week. I don’t think he’s going to make too much before he’s dropped, personally. Hill will sit there, playing or not, increasing in value or not, until I can afford to upgrade him with the cash from someone like Taylor Walker.

  23. hmac

    April 9, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    now duffield gets dropped and head plays
    duff only averaged 85 in two games

    yeah awesome harves…tool bag

  24. dub's$men

    April 9, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    does anyone else think that 2009 has thrown up a great selection of midfield rookies.. i don’t think too many (4) rookies in your midfield is such a bad thing this year..

    make 4 trades and turn two of them into guns and still have a couple of scoring rookies on the bench..

    (beams, zaharakis, anthony???, rich, ottens, robinson)

  25. stop....hammertime

    April 10, 2009 at 1:43 am

    no always had Rich but now can move him on the field instead of on the bench.
    My Midfield is Ablett,Selwood,Judd,T.Tuck,C.Morton,Rich
    EMG- Beams & Zaka.

  26. fryzie

    April 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Heath Shaw reported for contact with an umpire, Scotland dropped. Backline woes continue.

  27. Frogtrotter

    April 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Dumped Raines week 1 as i thought this risk was too high for the rest of the season for cheney, and malceski (had a great game last week and still only 59 points) for cough Harding.

    I hate chasing point scorers after theve alreay performed but the $ upside was too good to ignore.

    My concerns know are the fact ive got petrenko, cheney, hill, broughton and geary as my bottom 5 – very thin.

  28. zman

    April 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    scotland tore his hammy bad, out for at least 4 weeks! carlton keeping it under wraps!

  29. quelt

    April 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I upgraded hill to houlihan, decided to keep raines on the bench for now.

    i don’t think hill has showed enough to warrant keeping him, early call i know but i reckon petrenko and cheney are the way to go. raines will come back, and did look good until his injury.

  30. aza03

    April 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    judging by some of these posts, i fared well in the backopalypse…

    I had raines at the start but traded him out for drummond, as i had some spare cash remaining. I honestly think drummond will do well this year as he is moving more freely than he has in the past and is not underdone like last year.

    i already had houlihan and cheney and petrenko on the bench, so ive only had to make one trade in the backline. pretty lucky compared to some people…

    i agree with what quelt said though. raines was looking the goods before his injury, and could be a nice downgrade target during the year.

  31. aza03

    April 10, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    where did u hear that zman?

    thats big new if its true…

  32. zman

    April 10, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    i have good sources at carlton. scotland being dropped out of the blue is a little suss. hammy tear!

  33. benno

    April 11, 2009 at 2:51 am

    must be comedy festival in melbourne and this bloke fudd is very funny.

    @charlie – agreed. not much point doing sideways trades unless you have trades to burn and genuine form slump. much as i’d like gibbs i will keep bartel cause i picked him for the year, not for two weeks. but if a 300k player isn’t performing and an 84k rookie is, i say do the trade, get the point and cash in before the prices rise.
    going the other way, i burned some cash and stephen hill, got x ellis, now should be set for a while.

  34. Jacko

    April 13, 2009 at 11:14 am

    sorry benno but ellis got injured on sunday didnt he?

  35. haha

    April 13, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    zman ur a tool. check ur carlton sources.

  36. duckboy

    April 14, 2009 at 5:33 am

    anyone know what happened to bachar houli?
    I can’t find any info that he is injured

  37. tomma

    April 14, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Houli has been playing in the 2’s. Had a good game on the weekend, just now gotta squeeze into bomber’s starting 22.

  38. The O

    April 15, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I need some feedback:

    1. Is swapping two young backs (petrenko/cheney/hill) for raines or grimes a good move. Grimes and raines are decent and i can use the money to upgrade later.

    2. Is it worth swapping bock for gram or anyone else for that matter.

    3. Should i get waite when jamison comes back as waite is having to do a job each week. THX

  39. Bob

    April 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    can any tell me how much richo and didak are worth in dreamteam because im at work and they’ve blocked the dreamteam site

  40. Bob

    April 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    @ The O
    I reckon keep bock coz he could be back this week and he pulls big numbers. wait until raines has played 2 games and trade one of ur young backs. i dont know about waite tho

  41. Porps_is_HOT_loz

    April 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    @ The O

    1. I dont get why you would do that? Do you mean downgrade Raines/Grimes to a youngster :S If that is the case, keep Raines, I have been asking the same question and people suggest to keep him unless Tigers dont have him in there best 22.

    2. I have Bock aswell and i’m tempted to trade him unless he is named this week. It might be a waste of a trade to trade a premium/keeper if you have good backup on the bench.

    3. Umm.. get Waite only if you wanna, but I didnt see the game last week so dunno if his possie has changed with Jamo gone, but if it has, consider waiting.

    Everyone, do you think I should downgrade Otten to Zacca? It is pretty stupid but Zacca was always one of my favourites in the under 18 championships and he has huge potential and I personally think he will stay in the bombers 22 unless he gets injured. This cash will also help me later throughout the year.
    Ooooooooor I can downgrade Otten next week to a first gamer?

    Omg.. that was a long comment :S 😛

  42. bozzy_lad

    April 15, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    porps: yer good move to get rid of otten asap……….his price wont increase much and zaka is going up this week so get him b4 its too late.





  43. Professor

    April 15, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Porps – I wouldn’t trade for Zaharakis, as he may be dropped this week. He didn’t have a great game last week & the ins for Essendon could be Mcveigh, Mcphee, Houli, Lonergan & Lovett-Murray.

  44. Professor

    April 15, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Sorry did you mean Dawson ??

  45. Professor

    April 15, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Anyone give the pies a chance against Brisbane ?? Considering that Shaw & Maxwell are out. Although Brisbane should win, the pies always play well away from home.

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