Bench deluxe combo: two bench players from the same AFL team

Scared of the deathly power of zeroes? Load up your benches with teammates to give strategic cover.

One of the most frustrating things in fantasy is finding that your AFL Dream Team or Super Coach squad is going to have to cop a zero or three due to the inflexibility of the trading system, restricting you to two trades per week while injury and AFL selection can rob you of many more players each week. Towards the end of last season the situation got as bad as anyone can remember, particularly in the backs where quality on the low end was very scarce.

A tactic I am going to consider strongly this year is buying two or more cheapie/rookie players from the same side, in the hope that you’ll capture enough of a team’s fringe players that at least one of them will play each week. It may rob you of choices, but it will almost be a requirement for certain structures where you do not want to have to burn trades chasing down zeroes each week. I’ll list the most likely combos I can see.

Daniel Currie and Jesse White. Few fantasy coaches are going to be banking on having to make a trade in their ruck bench this year, and with Peter Everitt retired the second ruck fiddle to Darren Jolly is wide open at the Swans. White and Currie may even both play for stretches of the season, with White being tested as a forward in the preseason. White is cheap enough in SC to make this very tasty – particularly if you are also starting Jolly, who is more of an SC player – but it’s a bit of a stretch in DT at a price of $137,500, which may mean that Currie would be teamed up with rookies Jake Orreal or Mike Pyke, ensuring that you’d set-and-forget about the #4 ruck.

Collingwood Magpies Training Session

Dayne Beams and Steele Sidebottom. Sidebottom has forward eligibility, of course, so he may not often be teamed up with Beams in the centre bench but I think there’s enough competition for forward rookie spots, and strangely not really a whole lot in the centres. You know Mick Malthouse loves playing the kids, and if you want to start some rookies in the centre, as most structures call for, then this is as good a tandem as any from the 2008 AFL draft.

Stephen Hill and Nick Suban. It would be a courageous coach to spend an extra $56,000 in DT and $70,000 in SC over a basement rookie to buy a #8 back. However, I’m considering this duo myself to support the all premium back structure I blogged about at the start of the year. With these two in the back bench, you can have added confidence that you can forget about trading altogether in the always-troublesome defence, where there’s every likelihood that the 2008 backopalypse will happen all over again. If you don’t want to spend all that extra money, there’s also the possibility of the rookies Clancee Pearce and Greg Broughton, who are being given a full airing this weekend in the NAB with two free upgrade spots waiting for them from round 1 if they show enough. Another variation on this would be to buy three of these four and commit to starting at least one of them, as you would have to be pretty unlucky for all three of them to not be picked.

Shaun Hampson and Sam Jacobs. Sure, why not? With Robert Warnock out for an extended period and Cameron Cloke skulking around half forward, Hampson is still barely cheap enough to make this a viable option.

Collingwood Intra-Club Match

Aaron Kite and Jared Petrenko. Toss in Rory Sloane as the dark horse and… you may still not get anyone who plays consistently. I’ve gone right off this situation.

Scott Gumbleton and Jay Neagle. Do you trust this new four pillar policy that Matthew Knights has been going on about? Even if you do, word from Bomber training is that Neagle can’t stay healthy, so I’m going to avoid this combo.

Mitch Thorp and Beau Dowler. This would be a big longshot for mine, even if you throw in Jordan Lisle instead of Dowler. None of these three are guaranteed a game at this point, though as the NAB progresses we may have to return to this choice and look at it with a bit more depth.

Tyrone Vickery and Angus Graham. It is certainly true that Troy Simmonds has had a knee bandage on during the preseason, but I don’t think you can justify this combo unless you’re also buying Simmonds. They talk a lot in American fantasy football about “handcuffs”, so I think when it comes to ruckmen you can consider the likes of Vickery and Graham as handcuffs for Simmonds.

How about you, do you give any credence to the theory of “handcuffing your studs”, or at least trying to give yourself more chance of playing 22 fit blokes every week? Do you think committing to one team’s kids restricts yourself too much to finding value elsewhere? What other combinations can you see that might have some value? Give me some more options in the comments.

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