Self-raising Pav: Rollercoaster for Round 5, 2009

Some of the best premium fantasy forwards in the game are at a temptingly low price point this week.

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.

Rollercoaster of love

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

I’ll be honest: I got lucky last week by talking down Brent Harvey. I also had a win with Luke Hodge, who looks like he’s back to full fitness and able to break the forward tags that are still troubling the likes of Lindsay Gilbee and Andrew McLeod. Buy Hodgey if you can.

Everyone will be looking at Lance Franklin again this week, because they know he’s got Essendon in a couple of weeks and he normally kickstarts his mid-season run with a bag against them. But what of this week against Carlton? Last year in round 22 he got Paul Bower as an opponent and kicked his 100th goal of the season, in a game that I’m not sure a decent form line can be taken from. The previous year he missed the 100-point belting the Hawks dished out to the Blues, so I’m left with a few question marks as to how he’ll go. Will he match up on Bower, Michael Jamison or Jarrad Waite? I daresay Waite will be used forward again, at least to start with, so to me the issue is whether you think Buddy is going to choose this week to explode like we all know he’s going to at some point, or whether he’s going to do it against Adam McPhee the week after. Better to be safe than sorry on this one, I think, and buy him early.

AFL 1st Preliminary Final - Sydney Swans v FremantleMatthew Pavlich cracked the ton in both competitions for the first time this season in the win over Sydney. Is it a case of when Pav fires, Freo fires, or the other way round? If you have enough money to upgrade Hayden Skipworth to Pav this week, keep in mind this corollary: in 16 Derbies, Pav has scored a DT ton in only one, and that was in 2002. Admittedly scores of 88 and 96 last year weren’t too bad, but if you think he’s about to explode into a string of “hunjis” then tone down your expectations a little.

If you can’t reach Franklin or Pavlich, a lot of coaches are looking at Daniel Giansiracusa. Much conjecture surrounds what exactly has been wrong with him, with even Bulldog supporters not having a sniff of an injury. From reading the Footscray boards, it seems to be a coaching issue, with Rodney Eade allegedly punishing Gia for not working hard enough in the Eagles game by benching him for long periods – though I hardly think Giansiracusa was the only one who had a down day on that particular Sunday afternoon. More worrying is the thought that maybe the rise of Shaun Higgins as a forward rotating into the midfield has starved Gia of some oxygen in that attacking 50. I would like to see Gia crack the ton and be given his customary 90% TOG again, rather than the 70%s he has been getting in 2009, before buying him in either competition as a genuine top 7 prospect. Football boots on Rebel Sport Catalogue.

Rollercoaster of love... up!Loop De Loop

The DT Talk boys introduced a new phrase into the fantasy footy lexicon this week: the “red zone”, familiar to those of us who use the excellent FFGenie program to check breakevens. FFGenie colours a breakeven red if it is higher than a player’s average for the year. That often indicates that a play has hit the top of the rollercoaster, though you would have found Ryan Houlihan in the red zone last week and he blew past his breakeven with a hugely junky fourth quarter against the Bulldogs this week, scoring a slutty 58 DT points to take his total to 124. Houlihan was only in the red zone due to an encounter with the DT cash cow killer team in Sydney, and the same was true this week with Paul Hasleby. A combination of Brett Kirk and a tweak in a calf muscle confined Purple Haze to a solitary handball by half time. Thankfully for his tens of thousands of owners, Paul Roos decided to lift the tag at half time and use Kirk elsewhere, allowing Hasleby to score 55 DT points in the second half and almost rescue his season. Unfortunately, missing half a game leaves his breakeven at 100 in DT and 118 in SC, which is 25 points into the red zone. Will Hase be a Holuihan type who can drag himself out of the red zone? Happily, his recent record in Derbies is quite good, with two tons in 2007 and an average of just on 100 from his last four against the West Coast. The long-term concern has to be about Hase getting the tag every week in the wake of Rhys Palmer‘s ACL injury, unfortunately, so I would not blame fantasy coaches who want to take the modest profit on Hasleby and run.

Another bunch of fantasy favourites whose prices are about to go into stall are Taylor Walker, Patrick Dangerfield and Jared Petrenko, all of whom suffered from Neil Craig’s obsession with denying good rookies the time on ground they rightfully deserve to repay the faith shown in them by fantasy coaches. Walker sat out almost the entire third quarter, while Petrenko’s DT score was almost left in the negatives until some late Q4 cheapies, and Dangerfield is being left behind in the TOG rankings as well. Walker’s red zone breakevens of 50/55 are higher than all but one of his five scores so far in either competition. Port’s record against tall key forwards, as you can research using the Breakdown pages, is pretty good, with only Franklin and Riewoldt getting away from them so far. Stay at home full forwards in particular score poorly, as witnessed by the scores of Matthew Lloyd, Jarryd Roughead and Brad Miller. Yes, I’m afraid this week is the top of the rollercoaster for young TW. Craig’s knock on Dangerfield in the pre-season was over his fitness, and he may decide to rest him just to prove the point. As for Petrenko, he’ll be lucky not to be replaced by Brad Symes this week so the decision may be made for you. It’s the Craig way!

I’m sure I would have named at least one player up there that you either have in your side or are eying off this week, so tell me where I’ve gone wrong. What’s up with Gia? When is Buddy going to go off? Have the Crowbot rookies run out of juice? Can Hase maintain the rage? Tell me in the comments.

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