Review of Fox Sports AFL Fantasy 2008

Fox Sports have been running a fantasy AFL comp for a year or two now, but this year’s edition which just came out has a few interesting elements in their rule set.

Perhaps the most distinctive rule is that you have to “buy” a coach out of your 110-point salary cap, but the problem with this is that the scoring for coaches is rather pointless: 4 points for a win, -4 for a loss and -2 for each 50m penalty conceded by their team. Actual AFL players score 100 or more, so a position which can score 4 at most is rather silly, especially when they can cost as much as the top-range players. Might as well not have bothered, because everyone who knows what they’re doing is going to buy Dean Bailey and leave him there.

Scoring is a combination of familiar numbers with some of the more exotic stats from Champion Data like contested possessions and clangers, making it more like the Sportal AFLPA system. It’s a shame that all these newer competitions seem to think it’s necessary to have their very own distinctive scoring system, because it makes it impossible for us at FanFooty to provide you, the fans, with live scoring for their competitions. Oh well.

Players are given point values from 1 to 9, in what seems a rather arbitrary pricing system. There is a captain who scores double, but no vice-captain. Interestingly, there is a rule that 50% of “profit” from selling cash cows is taxed away, something which is sorely needed given the generosity of four trades per week. The limitation of your squad to 26 positions, with the four outside your 22 all being emergencies, does tend to restrict your ability to develop cash cows.

As for players who are underpriced, from a cursory look I can see:
Forwards: Paul Chapman 7.5, Brett Deledio 5.5, Ben McGlynn 5.0, Stuart Dew 4.0, James Sellar and Sean Rusling 3.5.
Rucks: Jason Laycock 4.5, Daniel Gilmore 3.0 (possibly the steal of the comp).
Centres: Kane Cornes 7.5 (actually, just about everyone at 7.5 is a bargain!), Scott Thompson 7.0, Tarkyn Lockyer 6.0, Brent Stanton 5.5, Scott Pendlebury 4.5, Bryce Gibbs 4.0.
Backs: Joel Bowden 7.0, Sam Fisher 6.0, Martin Mattner and Heath Shaw 5.5, Josh Drummond 5.0, Adam McPhee 4.5.

The Fox Sports competition goes across not only the home & away season but also all four weeks of the finals, with their private leagues (of which you can have up to five) having their grand finals on the real AFL Grand Final day. They accomplish this by allowing unlimited trades during the finals. This makes for a rather strange but unique dynamic of the finals being fought out by completely different 22s than the ones which reached the finals in those private leagues. I’m not sure it will be warmly received by fantasy coaches, but at least it’s innovative.

Weekly prize is a $250 Harvey Norman gift voucher, third overall gets $250, second overall gets $750 and first overall gets $1500. Fox is smart to open this early, because this year there is going to be a lot of fantasy fatigue about with more than a dozen competitions running this year in various states. Everyone’s jockeying for third position in the market behind DT and SC, and Fox has as good a chance as anyone at capturing that spot.

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