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AFL Dream Team

What to do with Lucas, Reilly and Rusling?

Long-term injuries to your players in round 1 really suck. Scott Lucas in particular is a hard luck story for the fantasy coaches who bought him, since his injury history is nearly spotless. Sean Rusling has a history of shoulder injuries, and at least Brent Reilly played out the game for a decent score.

Rusling is probably the easiest to replace. Three other forwards returning from major injury showed that they can deliver solid scoring this year: Stuart Dew, Daniel Bradshaw and Nathan Thompson. Assuming you don’t have all three of them already… in which case you probably don’t need my help!… load up on one of these proven performers for around the same or less price than Rusling depending on the competition.

Reilly was reasonably expensive to begin with, so you’ve got a lot of options in the centres to replace him. I like Marc Murphy at just under the same DT price. Chance Bateman would be a distinctive player if you got him. Looking at around the $200,000 mark in DT, Lindsay Thomas, Bachar Houli and Richard Douglas all had good round 1 starts, though I rate Houli higher than the other two. Also, don’t forget Kieran Jack – if he can deliver on the notoriously fantasy-unfriendly SCG this week, he should be a primary trade target for every fantasy coach.

Lucas is where the pain really starts to bite. He’s priced just under the top tier of fantasy forwards, so you probably can’t upgrade him to a Brad Johnson type without making a second trade in week 1 – and you should try to avoid that if possible. Most of the hyped up mid-price forwards failed to fire in week 1. Much of the discussion about a single sideways trade has centred on Matthew Lloyd, but I am always wary about full forwards, especially in DT. I would also be suspicious of Brett Burton‘s DT ton, coming as it did in a high-possession goalfest where the Birdman was gifted a couple of goals. The Crows aren’t likely to get beaten 19 goals to 18 again this season, they’ll no doubt go back to the Wall strategy this week against the Eagles and Burton won’t get nearly as much opportunity. Meanwhile, Ryan O’Keefe seems to be a forgotten man in fantasy this season in most of the teams I’ve seen but after his decent score against the Saints in a terribly crowded lockdown environment I think he deserves serious consideration to be the #1 replacement target for Lucas.

One strategy I would offer up for consideration, especially for Lucas, is to sub in one of your bench rookies this week in place of your LTI player, to give you another week to assess the replacement market. Rioli and Tippett have shown that they can produce decent scores, so you’d only lose 20-40 points in making a decision that could end up costing you hundreds… or making you hundreds!

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