Buddy’s bottom: Rollercoaster for Round 4, 2009

Those looking to trade Hayden Skipworth this week could do worse than the reigning Coleman Medalist.

Rollercoaster of love

A reminder of the premise of this regular feature: Rollercoaster follows the ups and downs of weekly price variations in salary cap competitions such as AFL Dream Team and Super Coach. I will try to figure out when premium players have bottomed out and rookie players have reached their ceiling, two things which every successful fantasy coach needs to master to lock in the right trades at the right times.

Rollercoaster of love... down!Big Dippers

There are some teams in the AFL that it seems to the impartial observer are so simple to work out that it’s mystifying that more AFL coaches don’t catch on. For years now, the way to stop St Kilda has been to sit on Nick Dal Santo. Lo and behold, NDS has somehow escaped a hard tag in all four games so far this season, leading to four wins for the Saints. Similarly, Brent Harvey has copped a particularly hard tag in his first four games of 2009, with Clint Bartram, Liam Picken and Garry Moss completely sacrificing their own games to stop the little champ, leading to two losses for North and a close win over the otherwise hapless Demons (the Richmond result this week notwithstanding). Against Essendon, it looked like it was more of the same in the first quarter, with Henry Slattery doing the job. There are two questions out of what happened next. First, why did Essendon shift Slattery off Harvey and move Brent Stanton on him to go head to head, allowing Harvey to set up the Kangaroo win? And second, was Harvey always going to have a good day given that he was sitting on 44 DT points at quarter time despite Slattery’s tag, or was it just that Essendon didn’t have a tagger good enough to go with him? When asked about it on Monday night on the On The Grouch (whoops, Couch) program, James Hird couldn’t think of who the Bombers’ tagger would have been, which is an indication of how far Slattery is down the Essendon depth chart for tagging behind Andrew Welsh, Heath Hocking, Sam Lonergan and even Angus Monfries, with Monfries the only one playing in the game. North has Richmond and Collingwood in the next two weeks, so you’d expect Boomer to get players like Daniel Jackson and Marty Clarke, with Port’s Kane Cornes and Geelong full-field press (minus Cameron Ling, admittedly) after that. Personally, I’m bearish on Boomer, because I remember Shannon Grant‘s precipitous drop in his last year and am wary about older Kangaroos. While this is a year that small forwards are looking more likely to fill out the top 7 fantasy scorers, I’m not so sure that Harvey will end up there.

AFL Rd 10 - Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn

I am bullish, however, on a couple of Hawk players. Lance Franklin is still leading the Coleman despite Hawthorn’s early season woes, and he chopped against Eric Mackenzie in the preseason so I expect him to do the same this week. If you can upgrade Hayden Skipworth straight to Buddy with cash you have lying around, I reckon do it this week, because he’s every chance to bust through his breakevens of 119/150. Similarly, Luke Hodge has had some weeks to forget, including this week when he struggled under the tag of Tom Logan and got posterised with a mark of the year contender taken on his shoulders. The Eagles will set up the cluster this week like they did against the Power and Dogs at Subiaco to great effect, but Hodgey owns York Park and he’s more than experienced at handling zones down there – witness last year’s game against the Lions. Then in round 6 he’s got the Blues, who are traditionally his bitches. With breakevens of 126/135 it may be a week too early to buy him right now, but make your plans for next week if you can.

Rollercoaster of love... up!Loop De Loop

Obviously, everyone is wondering what to do about Hayden Skipworth. With averages in the mid-80s, trending down, and breakevens of 64/45, Skippy’s days of earning decent coin every time he hops onto the field might be done, and the profits of $54,000 in DT and $86,600 in SC that you’ve already got might be the best he can do. The other big question here is about Mitch Robinson. With fantasy scores dropping like a stone and breakevens of 50/42, the kid with the mouth faster than his legs is going to have to fight off Chris Yarran for his spot in the Carlton 22 this week even before he’s allowed to face the Bulldogs.

I think Skippy’s more of a worry in DT, and as I said in the Bubble column today, you should be looking at replacing him with a rookie in the next week or two. For SC, it may be worth the wait. Meanwhile, Robinson is a big concern in both comps. Ideally you’d replace him with Hamish Hartlett but that doesn’t reap you much cash at all, and buying Steele Sidebottom wouldn’t be much better for your kitty. If he survives the selection table cut this week, I think you’ll just have to hope for a nice, open game against the Doggies at Docklands with a few cheapies to keep the cash cow milking.

I am already hearing some strange names being thrown up on the forums and comment threads for people who you lot have on the chopping block. Paul Hasleby is one name I’ve heard is dispatches, which seems crazy to me as I reckon the Purple Hase is just warming up. Troy Simmonds and David Hille are causing a lot of angst out there, but you bought them as keepers so I think you have to suck up their slow starts. As for trade-in targets, I think it’s safe to give Nick Riewoldt, Daniel Giansiracusa and Matthew Pavlich another week to drop further, given their still-large breakevens.

How about you lot, who are you eyeing off as your Skippy replacement (if anyone)? Do you think Robbo has hit the rookie wall? Are the Hawk premiums going to bounce back this week in Launceston against the long-traveling Eagles? Is Boomer really back? Tell me in the comments.

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