Negative breakevens for round 3

Instead of the regular Boys on the Bubble post this week, since almost everyone’s on the bubble let’s just look at players with a negative breakeven. Breakeven has become a part of AFL fantasy football terminology: it refers to the score that a player must score this week in order for their price in a salary cap competition not to drop. 40 players have negative breakevens in the AFL Dream Team competition this week, meaning that they are the best sideways trade targets if you want to offload an injured or underperforming player on your team. Some of them are worth picking up this week, others not so much. Let’s go through them in a position-by-position breakdown.

Backs
Michael Osborne, $239,200, BE of -49, avg of 107
Bret Thornton, $249,200, BE of -45, avg of 108.5
Jake Edwards, $83,500, BE of -34, avg of 45.5
Alipate Carlile, $139,500, BE of -33, avg of 64.5
Max Hudghton, $150,700, BE of -22, avg of 63
Nathan Carroll, $229,100, BE of -10, avg of 84
Heath Grundy, $122,100, BE of -17, avg of 50.5
Jarryd Roughead, $226,300, BE of -16, avg of 86

Like many of you, I’m suffering from having a poor set of back rookies due in part to the 70 minutes of madness before round 1. The most noticeable thing about this list is that there is only one rookie in it, due in part to pre-season fantasy favourites getting little to no love from AFL coaches: Albert Proud, Darren Pfeiffer and Scott D. Thompson have played only one game and thus don’t qualify yet, and we haven’t even seen David Myers, Eric McKenzie or Lachie Hansen. Nathan J. Brown has a breakeven of 0 but he’s more of an SC prospect than a DT one.

I suppose we can group these eight players into two lots of four. Osborne, Carroll, Roughead and Thornton are in the upper tier of pricing, while the others are closer to rookie prices. People are already starting to ask about Osborne and Thornton, so here’s my opinion: both of these players are flashes in the pan. Thornton has played St Kilda, who provide no pressure on backmen because they all flood into the opposition forward line, and Richmond, who provide no pressure on anyone. His next three opponents are Essendon, Collingwood and Melbourne, so I could see him scoring reasonably well in all three of those games, but after that Carlton’s draw really tightens up. Be happy if you were lucky enough to select him at the start. Don’t expect him to deliver DT tons all year. On Osborne, you have to discount his score against Melbourne since it was such a rout, and the Freo game was pretty open and easy too. I would want to see him with Lewis and Crawford back in the side, I don’t think he can keep it up when the Hawks have their #1 midfield rotation on the park. As for Roughead and Carroll: neither of them are fantasy players. It’s a sad thing, I wouldn’t take any of these options.

So then you have Carlile, Hudghton, Grundy and Edwards. No to the first two, they are key position backmen and they rarely deliver consistent scores. Grundy and Edwards are more interesting to me. I think Grundy has been ignored somewhat in the pre-season, and it’s not often that you find a player that cheap who is named in his team’s first XVIII. He’s more likely to keep his spot than Edwards, and he is scoring more. He’s almost $40,000 more expensive, of course, and it’s a sign of the poor quality of this year’s fantasy backs that we’re even having to make this choice… nevertheless I’d go Grundy over Edwards if I had to make the choice (and I had the cash).

Centres
Jarryn Geary, $83,500, BE of -78, avg of 67.5
Travis Tuck, $138,100, BE of -68, avg of 81.5
Kieran Jack, $91,200, BE of -66, avg of 64
Sam Lonergan, $83,500, BE of -60, avg of 58.5
David Mackay, $83,500, BE of -37, avg of 47
Craig Bird, $83,500, BE of -32, avg of 44.5
Cale Morton, $111,500, BE of -23, avg of 50
Courtenay Dempsey, $133,800, BE of -18, avg of 55
Matt Thomas, $170,500, BE of -12, avg of 64.5
Lindsay Thomas, $197,200, BE of -11, avg of 73.5
Dylan Addison, $172,900, BE of -5, avg of 62
Adam Ramanauskas, $220,600, BE of -4, avg of 78
James Kelly, $333,100, BE of -2, avg of 116
Osborne (as above)

We can take Dempsey out due to his hamstring injury, and leave Thomas to the forwards since he qualifies there too. That injury to Dempsey is a shame, because everyone’s looking for this year’s Matt Priddis, who at this stage last year was priced at $175,500, and I was ready to anoint Courtenay as the new prince. Sadly, there may not be a Priddis this year… unless maybe it’s Tuck. I was on board with Tuck, Geary and Bird in this pre-season and also Jack in Super Coach, as many of you were, so you won’t get any argument from me about whether those four are the real deal. Now that Paul Roos has had a look at Bird in the midfield he should keep him there – Bird smashed former Rising Star Danyle Pearce on Sunday. Jack should also keep his place after throwing his body in Bloods-style and concussing himself twice. Tuck top scored for the Hawks in a dominant performance, while Geary has survived fantasy killers Sydney and capitalised on Carlton to be the most-sought-after fantasy rookie centre. As for the other rookie-priced midfielders, Lonergan really fell away in Round 2, while Mackay and Morton are only producing bench-worthy scores at best. Thomas and Addison are racking up some decent numbers at a price band that not many fantasy coaches would have considered, and probably would not have room for now. Kelly is a blip who will fall back when Steve Johnson hits form, while I would not recommend Ramanauskas based on his round 2 score.

Rucks
Michael Gardiner, $145,500, BE of -23, avg of 61.5
Cameron Cloke, $227,300, BE of -16, avg of 86.5
Trent West, $83,500, BE of -16, avg of 36.5
Troy Simmonds, $236,700, BE of -11, avg of 87

We all knew Simmonds was going to be better than his price suggested, and he’s exceeded even those expectations with some damn good scores. If he keeps this up he’s a consideration to be a keeper. Cloke is the big surprise here, although you’d have to worry that Matthew Kreuzer and Cain Ackland will cut into his production once they suit up.

Forwards
Josh Hill, $103,400, BE of -107, avg of 89
Cameron Stokes, $72,600, BE of -90, avg of 70
Ryan Gamble, $83,500, BE of -81, avg of 69
Cyril Rioli, $83,500, BE of -79, avg of 68
Stuart Dew, $162,800, BE of -58, avg of 85
Matt Campbell, $170,700, BE of -45, avg of 81
Leigh Harding, $151,500, BE of -29, avg of 66.5
Kurt Tippett, $83,500, BE of -27, avg of 42
Paul Medhurst, $240,700, BE of -16, avg of 91
Colin Garland, $91,200, BE of -16, avg of 39
Paul Stewart, $83,500, BE of -14, avg of 35.5
Jason Porplyzia, $256,200, BE of -9, avg of 92.5
Jay Schulz, $191,800, BE of -4, avg of 68
Bernie Vince, $168,700, BE of -2, avg of 59
Nathan Thompson, $178,400, BE of -1, avg of 62
Thomas, Grundy and Roughead (as above)

Hill is the obvious standout here, especially for those of us who took a chance on Dew (no no, that’s just a bit of grit in my eye, I’m not crying really… :'( ). He’s safe as a downgrade target from a disappointing mid-pricer. Very few of you would have missed out on at least two of Rioli, Tippett, Hill and Gamble already. Stokes has some very tasty numbers, although I still worry about how many games the Hawks will actually give him considering his youth and body shape, it’s not a very endurance-loaded frame he’s got there I would have thought. Garland and Stewart have dropped away and aren’t worth considering at this stage.

Of the mid-priced forwards, Porplyzia is the choice for obvious reasons, mostly having to do with injuries to Chris Knights and Brent Reilly forcing the hand of Crows coach Neil Craig who would otherwise be very stingy with TOG for his younger players. Expect Porps to drop off once those players return, by which time he should have made a tidy profit for you. Thomas, Campbell and Harding have had some soft opponents in the first two rounds and that won’t continue. Medhurst and to a lesser extent Schulz are the classic rollercoaster players for fantasy, and a big dipper is never far away so I wouldn’t pay a ticket for the ride. Vince and Thompson have been disappointing, especially this week when both couldn’t capitalise on their teams dominating forward entries – I wouldn’t jump off just yet because they are going to earn money, but I’d consider benching them based on matchups, e.g. Vince in R4 at Aurora vs Hawthorn and Thompson in R5 vs Collingwood where young Brown is a solid matchup for him.

Next week we’ll be back to the normal BOTB format. Happy trading!

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