AFL Dream Team

Rollercoaster: Round 5, 2008

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This is a new feature on the FanFooty blog. I’ve called it Rollercoaster because it’s going to focus on player prices, following the ups and downs of weekly price variations. 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.

Big Dippers

We’ll start with the biggest of the big dippers so far this year, Brad Johnson. After his stellar round 1, he has put in three shockers in a row. Rodney Eade today confirmed what we could all see out on the field, which is that BJ has not been fit. It started off with groin soreness in round 1, then a knock to the hip didn’t help matters in round 2, and a corked leg made things even worse in subsequent games. What Eade didn’t talk about at the presser was a possible change in Johnson’s role. His owners, myself included, are now getting increasingly worried about the emergence of Josh Hill as a lead-up forward and the effect that Scott Welsh‘s recruitment has had on the inside-50 structure of the Dogs. BJ’s 31-year-old body has had a lot of punishment over the years, and like Scott West he may well be getting eased out of his formerly dominant role.

The problem with Johnson is that if you wanted to do anything about this situation, last week was probably the week to do it. His match-winning round 1 performance was still in his rolling average after round 3 and thus he didn’t drop by much. This week, however, he crashed $40,000 in DT and $71,400 in SC. He is going to play this week, he is a champion so he will play through the injuries, and if you haven’t offloaded him by now then now is not the time to do it.

For those lucky so-and-sos who haven’t got him and are wondering when he will bottom out, I would plan on after round 7 when the Dogs play Sydney.

Cameron Bruce is the equal biggest loser in DT this year with Brett Ebert at a drop of $67,600. Ebert is not a fantasy player but Bruce is, so the fact that Bruce’s breakeven is at a reasonable level of 98 this week after successive 80+ scores suggest that his price has just about bottomed out. The reason his price went down in the first place was that he has been given tagging jobs on the opposition’s best small forward such as Brad and Steve Johnson. His recent improvement in scoring has been because in the Geelong game he added the ability to run forward and hurt his opponent going the other way. It will be interesting to see how Bruce’s role evolves under his new coach, particularly against Carlton where he might be released back into the midfield.

Heath Scotland put in three shocking fantasy performances to start the year, but posted a DT ton on the weekend against the Pies. His price is down $66,600 in DT and $97,500 in SC, with breakevens comparable to his latest number in both comps. However, it must be noted that eight Blues reached the century mark in DT in that game, and I think it’s a mere blip on a gradual withdrawal from serious fantasy consideration. I think his role has changed under Brett Ratten, and with he, Andrew Carrazzo and Bret Thornton all scrapping for stats in that backline there won’t be enough to go around most weeks.

On the positive side, it doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to notice that Aaron Davey has bottomed out. After three poor weeks he turned in a very creditable 77/103 against the Roos and his breakevens are below 70 in both comps. Also, a reminder that Justin Koschitzke‘s round 2 score of 27/24 comes out of his rolling average this week, bringing his breakeven way down.

Loop De Loop

Cameron Stokes is the standout amongst those players whose price may have topped out after weeks of 22/15 and 26/35. He has done well to last this long in Hawthorn’s 22, and this week is most likely the one he will get Box Hilled for a large chunk of the season.

Travis Tuck is another Hawk who looks to have almost leveled out, albeit due to injury – a knock to the knee with no structural damage, 50/50 for this week. Even if he does play, that 20/19 is going to stay in his rolling average for another two weeks, making it difficult for him to earn much by the third week. He’s probably good for another small rise after his next game, however.

After the disappointment of Thornton last week, this week it was the turn of those who had chosen to upgrade to Michael Osborne and Nathan Bock to grind their teeth. Bock had a nightmare trying to keep Lance Franklin quiet, while Osborne was well beaten by Michael Doughty of all people. You’ll just have to grin and bear it if you picked them up, hoping that it was a one-off aberration.

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