Early Premium Dream Team mock draft: preparation

2009 will be the first full year of the Premium Dream Team private league product from VirtualSports. Having launched halfway through 2008, Premium DT introduced many Australian fantasy footy fans to the private draft league concept for the first time. The FanFooty blog will carry much PDT-focused content in 2009, and we’ll kick things off with a “mock draft”. First, let’s do some number-crunching.

I’ve already gone through one or two of the tables that should be key to your understanding of private drafting in this post. We’ll start from the start again, though. The first thing to understand is that drafting is mostly about scarcity. In a 10-team league with 22 players in each team, that means 220 players have to start in your league every week from the 710 players on AFL lists… only 352 of which actually pull on a seniors jumper each week. Thus we start with the following table, which is a positional breakdown with how many from each position started in the 2008 home & away season each week on average.

Position/s Starters
Back 89.3
Back/Centre 11.4
Back/Forward 14
Centre 128.3
Centre/Forward 6.9
Forward 71.2
Ruck 27.1
Ruck/Back 0.8
Ruck/Centre 0.3
Ruck/Forward 2.7

For the 20 starting ruck positions we have a solid group of about 30 rucks starting each week, so let’s leave them grouped together. For the 70 open forward positions there are only 71.2 exclusive forwards, which means that the multi-positioned forwards should really be allocated as forwards in PDT to pump their numbers up. This was certainly the case in the PDT league I was in this year, which ended up winning the league prize: players like Daniel Bradshaw and Adam McPhee who had both back and forward eligibility in 2008 were eventually stuffed into PDT forward lines to shore up the numbers, even despite the historically bad year for defender injuries in fantasy. Finally, back/centres should be considered backs since centres are plentiful. Thus, for the purposes of simplifying the list, we get this:

Position/s Starters PDT Slots
Back 100.7 70
Centre 128.3 60
Forward 92.1 70
Ruck 30.9 20

From this we can see that rucks and forwards in particular are very scarce. However, we need to drill down further into each position to see where the quality lies, as we did in the above post. This table uses 2008 Dream Team scores, but only for players who stayed on AFL lists for 2009.

Rucks	Avg	High	Low
1-10	80.8	106.7	73.0
11-20	67.4	72.1	62.8
21-30	57.6	61.3	53.2

Backs	Avg	High	Low
1-10	88.6	98.4	84.3
11-20	79.9	82.1	77.3
21-30	75.7	77.2	74.1
31-40	72.0	73.9	69.9
41-50	67.7	69.8	65.9
51-60	63.1	64.9	61.8
61-70	60.4	61.8	58.6
71-80	56.8	58.2	55.7
81-90	54.8	55.6	53.1

Mids	Avg	High	Low
1-10	102.2	113.0	96.4
11-20	94.1	96.2	93.1
21-30	91.3	92.4	89.9
31-40	88.8	89.9	87.5
41-50	86.4	87.4	85.4
51-60	84.1	85.1	83.1
61-70	81.4	83.1	78.5
71-80	76.7	77.8	74.9

Fwds	Avg	High	Low
1-10	95.6	99.4	91.8
11-20	86.7	91.5	84.0
21-30	80.8	82.9	78.7
31-40	75.5	78.3	72.4
41-50	70.9	72.1	69.1
51-60	67.1	68.7	66.0
61-70	64.6	65.9	62.4
71-80	60.7	62.2	59.3
81-90	57.7	58.9	57.0

Like in the real AFL, there’s a difference between drafting “best available” and “needs-based”. Smart coaches in fantasy drafts come down heavily on the needs side. While it may be tempting to take the three highest-scoring midfielders available in the first three rounds, this is actually pretty dumb for fantasy purposes, as the differences between the top midfielders and the second and third tiers is a lot less pronounced, as can be seen above. Rucks get top priority, and at the top end you’ll probably be looking at backs slightly more than forwards. The issue of captaincy is the fly in the ointment, meaning you’ll probably be looking to pick up at least one top-level midfielder if you haven’t got a 95-100 player in another position by the fourth round.

Of course, the above is predicated on the Premium Dream Team format being the same next year. This is by no means assured, as the rules probably need to be loosened up a fair bit from the current three trades per week to keep the fun in it, instead of scrambling desperately each week to avoid zeroes as injuries and selection woes keep on coming. We’ll know what the true PDT product looks like when it is launched, which should be relatively early in the new year.

Next up in this little series: the first round of a mock draft.

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