Popularity contest: Overhyped players for 2010

The FanFooty databases are throwing up some names over and over again who don’t deserve their popularity among fantasy coaches.

Collingwood Magpies Intra-Club Match

Now that the AFL Dream Team and SuperCoach competitions are open, the popularity of certain players is starting to grate on me. Here’s a look at some of the players who I think don’t merit the attention that fantasy coaches are lavishing on them.

The Band-Aid Brigade

Jarrad Waite, David Hille, Beau Waters, Rhys Palmer, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Ottens, Clinton Young, Austin Wonaeamirri and Robert Murphy are all on modified programs in the pre-season. I don’t like the thought of any of them in my fantasy team. Palmer has already been ruled out for round 1 by his coach. Burgoyne has been quoted on hawthornfc.com.au talking down his early season prospects. Hille struggled in the intra-club during the week from what I heard, notwithstanding the glowing endorsement given to his performance on essendonfc.com.au.

Even if some of these players do manage to make it to the start of the season, I don’t expect them to come out of the gates running like greyhounds. The smart play, I think, is if you want some of these guys – and there are advantages to having the likes of Waite and Ladson for dual-positioning purposes – you can wait until they gain full fitness and return to posting startable scores.

The Celebrities

Sure, Adam Cooney won the Brownlow Medal. Everyone knows who Alan Didak is after his escapades in and out of Heath Shaw‘s car. Sam Mitchell lifted the premiership cup a few years ago. Brett Burton has won a car or two himself from his Birdman leaps. I don’t like how high these four are in the lists of who has been picked in the Fanplanner, however.

Cooney I see as an SC specialist, where he’s #2 most popular for starting midfielders, but he’s also #6 in Dream Team. I can see why, as he’s priced at 90 in DT and 91 in SC, yet after round 9 he came home averaging 100 in DT and SC. Is that supposedly-guaranteed 10 point increase enough to justify him being that popular? My problem with that is that even if he does lift his average back to 100, he’s still not in the top 15 midfielders for average. It’s a safe, solid pick that’s not going to win you any cars. I’d rather search for a Bernie Vince type who is going to rise from 75 to 100, not 90 to 100.

On Didak, my feeling is that he got a bump last year due to trying harder post the suspension, and there’s not a lot of upside there. You can’t argue durability for Dids since he has only managed more than 18 games a season twice in nine years. On Mitchell, his move back into midfield this year will not do good things for his fantasy numbers, as halfback was more lucrative for him in 2009. He has significant downside potential. Finally on Burton, with the rise of Kurt Tippett Burton’s days as a fantasy premium are well and truly gone. There won’t be a Simon Goodwin-style late resurgence of value for the Birdman.

The Bridges Too Far

Daniel Kerr sure is cheap, isn’t he? Paul Medhurst, he won the Anzac Medal a few years ago, what a champ. Sean Rusling, he’s supposed to be the future of Collingwood. There’s a reason these blokes are underpriced. Apart from a historicaly prodigious talent for soft tissue injuries, Kerr has 97.88 points and a 50% loading on his next tribunal offence, so if he so much as sneezes at an opponent he’ll get weeks. I also don’t like talk of Kerr spending time on the forward line as that would further curtail his scoring ability, I think. Medhurst has looked terrible at preseason training, from reports I have read, and Rusling hasn’t fronted for the scratch matches. There are too many question marks over these kinds of players for you to be comfortable starting them. I can possibly see Rusling being used as a bench forward, but if you want a perpetually injured tall who will let you down every time, why not save money and buy Scott Gumbleton?

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