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 Herald-Sun Super Coach. 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.
The last time I did this feature I recommended picking up Brad Johnson and was against Jonathan Brown . At the time, Brown was showing signs of the dreaded osteitis pubis, and he did actually miss that week’s AFL match. Since the all star game, however, Browndog has been off the leash, culminating in a huge fantasy ton against the Saints in round 9. With two more Gabba games coming up against sides he should dominate, you’d better get on board before the train leaves the station. Johnson has been serviceable too, so he’s worth relying on once again.
Nick Riewoldt, on the other hand, is much more of a worry. Three sub-70 DT scores in a row is out of character from him, even taking into consideration his injury worries. He’s getting knocked from pillar to post in the press for not tackling, which is a bit silly because he’s there to mark and kick goals… but he’s not doing much of that either. This week he’s got the Demons, and will probably have Colin Garland to deal with, who is fresh off a confidence-boosting performance against Lance Franklin. Melbourne will no doubt drop a bloke in front of Riewoldt like they did with Franklin, so expect Rooey’s scores to again be substandard. The bottom line is that you should wait another week or two if you’re gagging to pick him up.
Tarkyn Lockyer is coming off a 100+ averaging DT year in 2007, but with a shift to the half-forward line has come a big deflation of his fantasy relevance in ’08. 122 against the Cats last Friday was a good sign, but his scoring has become way too inconsistent to bother tracking his rollercoaster ride.
Joel Bowden‘s price is plummeting with every sub-90 score he posts, and but his breakeven is edging ever closer to his scores. This week his DT BE is 108 and in SC it’s 137, with J-Bo not having cracked the ton across five games in 2008. Another week or two and he will have flattened out, I think, making him a hot commodity for those who want to cash in Austin Wonaeamirri, Harry Taylor or Garrick Ibbotson.
Finally, Andrew McLeod has been tagged right out of the game for two weeks in a row, which has destroyed his price and exploded his breakevens. By round 12 when those scores have had the chance to cycle all the way through his price, he should be ready to be the last piece of your backline puzzle. That’s assuming that he bounces back this week, of course!
Loop De Loop
There is no question that Kurt Tippett and Ryan Gamble have topped out, and should be moved on if possible. The only possible counterpoint to that consensus notion is that Tippett has the Bombers this week and the Crows are on the rebound on the national stage of Friday night football, which may mean a goalfest from which Tippett could profit. His BEs are 80/96, so it would be a risk.
Tens of thousands of fantasy coaches have been relying on Troy Simmonds as their second ruck this season, but is it time to upgrade him? The late withdrawal of Jeff White last week with the suspicious-sounding “back soreness” puts a bit of a fly in the ointment insofar as figuring out who the second-best ruckman will be. I daresay most coaches will not want to even look at their rucks at the moment, but it’s worth noting that with Simmonds’ poor round 8 score of 35/37 still cycling through, his price isn’t going to get much higher. The situation is more pressing in SC, where Simmonds is the #13 ruck as opposed to #5 in DT, so if you’re targeting a Jolly, Sandilands, White or Fraser, now is a good time to pull the trigger.
Elsewhere, I’m hearing a lot of talk about how Cyril Rioli, Rhys Palmer and Garrick Ibbotson are keepers, but this seems premature to me at round 9. Even a rookie fantasy gun like Joel Selwood had to be replaced late last year through injury. First-year players usually find some way to drop out of the side from injury or form concerns, because their young bodies just can’t handle the load. It would be folly, in my opinion, to not keep a trade on ice for each of these players to replace them as they inevitably fall away.