Monday, 25 February 2013

Team - Post NAB 1

It's been 21 days since my last post, and in that time a lot has changed, as you'd expect. We've had our first actual look at the majority of our players in the abomination that they call the Triseries. I usually take these games with a bucketful of salt, and this season is no different. However, it has been a case of the straw that broke the camel's back for me, with a few players getting shafted after a lukewarm NAB 1 effort.

Here's a summary of the changed tentatively made since last time:

Yarran OUT - Jacobs IN
Yarran didn't actually score that poorly in the triseries (14 per Q), but he just looked... average. Average and disinterested. So he's going to the naughty corner until he improves his attitude. On the flip-side, Jacobs was sensational in his only game (22 per Q), and is priced almost identically to Yarran. He receives a gold star for effort, but is far from locked.

Tom Mitchell OUT - Moloney IN
I'm sick of waiting to see Mitchell play, and to be honest, it's difficult to see how he fits into Sydney's packed midfield division on a regular basis. I've also been fighting against the lure of a midfield mid-pricer in the Ball/Embley/Moloney range, and I've finally caved. Moloney was super impressive in his two triseries appearances (19 per Q) and outplayed the cheaper Embley (11 per Q) in my eyes. So, two birds with one stone.

Hrovat OUT - Viney IN
Haven't seen Hrovat yet, and I have some faint memory of a pre-season niggle for him, so he's out. Viney's job security makes it very hard for me to keep him out of my side, although Toumpas (21 per Q) has similar JS and is making me revisit my rule of avoiding high draft picks (due to elevated price) after his encouraging display on the weekend.

Sandilands OUT - Cox IN
Sandi getting injured in the NAB cup is possibly a massive blessing in disguise. If he had made it through unscathed, then I probably would have picked him, which means I'll probably have had the dilemma of replacing him mid-season rather than now. The guy is simply too large to stay fit, I accept that now. Meanwhile, I realised today that I've started with Dean Cox every single season that I've participated in DreamTeam. Every single year. As a result, he's the only one I now trust to contest the first bounce for Tbetta Than You. McEvoy, Jacobs and Mumford are all solid options, but they all feel second-rate. Forward DPP is a bonus.

Sinclair OUT - Daw IN
With NicNat and Cox out, Sinclair and Lycett had the chance to impress as first reserve two weekends ago. While Sinclair was solid, Lycett (16 per Q) was simply outstanding, and surely has first drop all locked up. Unfortunately, he's a forward only in DT - explain that Champion Data?! As for Daw, he and Currie dominated (14 and 16 per Q, respectively) while the supposed 'Number 1 Ruckman' in Goldstein managed just 5 points (all hitouts) from his only game. Yuck. The race is wide-open at North if Goldstein keeps this shit up.

Cloke OUT - Wright IN
While I hate jumping on hype players, Wright has dominated every game he has partaken in this off-season, so he's pretty bloody hard to ignore. On the other hand, Cloke reminded me a little too much of the disinterested has-been from last year, so I'm giving him a couple of weeks to decide whether he really wants to be apart of Tbetta Than You going forward...

LeCras OUT - Varcoe IN
Let's be honest, LeCras is more of a SuperCoacher. He could be a DTer on a value basis, but that's only if he hits the midfield at some point - and after a knee reco, it ain't gonna be this year, y'all. Besides, I said he was just a place-holder, and it was for Varcoe in the end. 'Black Juddy' looked side-steppingly good in the triseries, and apparently interested in playing good footy, so he's in based on his price. I'm hoping he can average 70+ and be a nice little stepping stone mid-season.

Staker OUT - Rowe IN
Again, a pre-season injury has turned out to be a blessing, with the tissue-paper Staker getting it out of the way before we have to start wasting trades. Top bloke manoeuvre. Rowe was awesome on the weekend (15 per Q), but earns his stripes more for his DPP link with Coxy. I'm screaming out for a decent playing Mid/Fwd or Ruck/Fwd, but until one comes along, Rowe is my Plan B. I honestly don't see how he can get a gig with the majority of Kreuzer/Warnock/Hampson/Casboult/Waite all fit.

Random thoughts time:

1. Broughton looked deplorable on the weekend, so one more bad experience and he could be on his way. I've only granted him mercy because Duffield was just as piss-weak, and I can't be bothered trying to talk myself into someone else.

2. I still really want to find a way to get Swanny in, because I get the distinct feeling that he's going to rape me from my opponent's Captain slot every week if I don't. If rape is going down, I'd much rather not be the one getting raped, thank you. Problem is, I can't bear to let go of any of Ablett/Pendlebury/Selwood/Murphy, and I don't have enough coin to upgrade from Moloney. To be continued....

3. Greene, Barlow and Fyfe are three more guys that are cheap, killing pre-season and looking very desirable, but we can't have them all apparently. We definitely need two more MID slots.

4. I can't believe I considered picking up Goldstein a month ago.

5. Karnezis was pretty special in the triseries (23 per Q), playing across half-back and through the middle. I have no idea if he's best 22, but as a $239k forward, he's certainly on the Watchlist. Shame that I already has three forward mid-pricers!

6. Rocky's back! Zorko was impressive also - could he be worth the $487k price tag?

That's all the musings I have this time around. I am, however, pretty sick of this fun-size footy, and can't wait for Nab 2 and some lengthier games. We'll get much more useful data out of those games - check back here for an update afterwards!

As always, feel free to abuse my team on Twitter - @Tbetta9.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Team - 5th Feb

It's been about a month since I last updated my side, and plenty has happened in that time. Most critically, news broke that the AFL Dream Team competition would move to a new Use It or Lose It trading scheme, where you get two trades each week rather than a grand total for the season. I penned my thoughts about how it would change the way we play DT at here; but in terms of picking an initial squad, here's what I'm thinking:

1. We can get risky. In recent years, I've overlooked players like Waters, Grimes, Chapman and Petrie solely because of their perceived injury proneness. In 2013, we can take a chance on these risky guys because we don't have to save the trades that would be used to get us out of any mess they make any more. I'm not suggesting we fill our teams with the Higgins' and Rioli's of the fantasy world, but simply taking a punt on one or two of these players isn't the massive risk it once was, but we still get the same reward.

2. We also have a massive opportunity to land that big break-out fish. Last season, I correctly predicted a Masten break-out (56 avg to 85 avg), but didn't have the balls to trust my instincts. With these new trading rules and the two extra midfield slots, I won't be making that same mistake in 2013. This year, I'm particularly looking at players in the 85-105 avg midfield range who could possible make that step up to Super Premium, much like Watson, Cotchin and Kennedy accomplished last season.

With that in mind, here's the way my squad stands as of February 5th:

Duffield OUT - Heppell IN
I'm still undecided on this D3 slot. I love Duffield, saved my life at the end of the 2012 season with a remarkable finish - but I also really like Heppell and his potential with the lure of more midfield time. They are basically the same price, so it might come down to pre-season; and at the end of the day, Ross Lyon doesn't coach Heppell.

Goodes OUT - Yarran IN

I'm set on taking at least one mid-pricer in each defence and attack this year, and so far Yarran is too under-priced to ignore. If he plays across half-back again, he should average 80 points in a strong season from the Blues. This is nothing against Goodes, and if he suits up in Round 1 he'll probably get a jumper.

Colquhoun OUT - Stevenson IN

One Port player for another. From what I've heard, Colquhoun is only a very distant chance of cracking the team in the foreseeable future; whereas I know his new team-mate Stevenson has the goods to perform at AFL level - it's just unfortunate that he's spent his career at the Eagles until now behind A-grade flankers like Waters, Hurn and Butler in the pecking order.

Beams OUT - Pendlebury IN
Honestly, I've been spooked by the Rockliff Effect. In 2011, Rockliff burst onto the scene with an incredible 112-point average, but drifted massively the very next season with his average plummeting by a whopping 19 points per game. While there's every chance that Beams won't do this after a mammoth effort in 2012 (116 average!), there's always the nagging thought that he's not a guaranteed Super-Premium yet. On the other hand, Pendlebury has averaged over 105 for three years running and is a fantasy treasure. It doesn't hurt that he's also slightly under-priced after a broken leg stunted his output last season.

Cotchin OUT - S. Selwood IN
I love Cotchin, but he's in that awkward niche between Super-Premium and break-out contender that my structure allows for currently. If I choose to add another Premium midfielder at the expense of a rookie then he's definitely in the mix, but until then I'm following my gut and rolling with Scooter. My thoughts on Scott are well documented at DT Talk here, and a combination of potential, fitness and man-love has him in my side as that break-out contender.

Viney OUT Wines, T. Mitchell IN
I have about 8 or 9 midfield rookies that I need to fit into 5 or 6 slots, so the exact line-up is changing more often than Greg Broughton's role at Freo. At the moment, I've cooled on Viney because of his moderate disposal statistics and the fact that he's much better suited to SuperCoach, despite him probably lining up Round 1.

Goldstein OUT - Sandilands IN

A combination of Goldstein's highly punchable face (thanks Virtual Sports for the new head shots on the site) and the ability to take a risk with the extra trades has pushed me towards Sandi. Every year I pick him because I know what he can do without sore pinky toes, and he's shown that in games he's played fit. Maybe this will be the year that he plays all 22 games? If not, plenty of options to trade him to.

Rowe, Grundy OUT - Sinclair, Currie IN

I've gone for a more mature-aged ruck line at this stage. Grundy has to compete with Witts for a game when the opportunity comes along, while I can't see Rowe getting a game unless injury strikes one or two of Kreuzer, Warnock and Hampson. Sinclair is a Ruck/Fwd DPP and could sneak a game while NicNat is out, and Currie is beast who could pip Daw for a spot in North's side.

Thomas, Cox OUT - LeCras IN
Daisy is looking comfortable in a moon-boot at this stage, so he's out of my plans and becomes an upgrade option later in the year. I'm still considering Cox, but not committing yet given his massive price-tag... LeCras is probably the least safe player in my side at the moment - I'm looking for another mid-pricer because I'm not liking any of the Premium options in the forward line so far. He's under-priced, but not by enough to make him a lock by any standards. Honestly, I'll probably go crawling back to Coxy if he gives me enough confidence in the Nab.

Lee OUT - Macaffer IN
I have it on good authority that Macaffer is smashing this pre-season and is starting 21 if he keeps this up. That's easily enough to displace Tom Lee, who looks too much like a Morton for my liking anyway.

Additionally, here's a couple of random thoughts I'm having at the moment:

1. I'm having a heap of trouble with my midfield at the moment. So much quality, so little space... I'm set on having at least 4 Premium players and 5 rookies, which leaves the last spot up for grabs. It could be another Super-Premium, Under-priced Premium, Mid-Pricer (like Moloney), or even another rook given the quality of midfield rookies versus other lines. I'm nowhere near set on this yet, and it's costing me sleep.

2. Swan or no Swan?! And what will that mean for Ablett, who' sitting pretty at M1? My brain is close to bursting with all the mental tennis going on inside it. He's super expensive, but he's also having his best pre-season ever (allegedly), and seriously, no-one wants to be the guy that loses every week because Dane Swan was your opponent's Captain. Shit.

3. I still want to take another risky midfielder, but not sure if I have the space and/or sack to do it. Fyfe, Mundy, Greene and even Barlow make legitimate selection arguments at their respective prices.

4. What on earth will I do if Leuenberger isn't fit for Round 1, as foreshadowed in the media this past week? Changes my whole structure... Also, how long does it take to get over an injury you did in Round 3 last year, anyway? Jeez.

5. Still no Buddy, but I'm warming to the idea of selecting him given my hatred of the other forward Premium options out there. And that's even taking into account his Cloke-like contract delay.

6. I still have $375k in my bank, which suits me just fine. I'd be happy with the structure of this squad if Round 1 was tomorrow, so to have so much cash left over is encouraging. If someone steps up in the NAB Cup, as we know they will, then at least I have the capital to swing them in without making wholesale changes to my side or structure. It's kind of the price of sanity, really.

So that's the changes since a month ago - looking like a completely new team! NAB Cup will be a huge litmus test into these guys, and I can tell you that many won't survive if they don't give a good showing in the pre-season competition.

Feel free to abuse my team on Twitter - @Tbetta9.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Team - 5th Jan

It's a new year, but my team is pretty much the same collection of blokes I had sitting there two weeks ago. Nothing too drastic has happened in the AFL world (short of Harley Bennell getting arrested), and until the NAB Cup rolls along, I don't imagine too much will change. However, I have warmed to and cooled significantly on some players, based on further analysis and discussions with budding DT coaches.

Since the last iteration, I've made the following changes:

Naitanui OUT - Goldstein IN
This is kind of a change to temper my expectations a little. I was dead-set keen on waltzing into 2013 with a NicNat-Berger ruck combo, but an off-season groin operation has me thinking twice. Positive reports of a timely recovery may just be to appease the dreadlock-mad Eagle fans, so I'm pulling out now before I get too attached and face crippling depression later. Note that I've switched Cox into the forward line to keep that DPP link, but I've noticed that he's now effectively my most expensive forward, which is causing me to think twice about the 31 year old... But for now, he's in, especially if NicNat isn't.

Goldstein no longer has to compete for time in the middle now that McIntosh has left for greener pastures and able swingman Cam Pederson has followed suit. Unless Petrie remodels himself as a ruck-first rather than a pinch-hitter or Majak Daw remodels himself as an actual AFL footballer, Goldy will soak up a lot of fertile minutes. Definitely under-priced at an average of 79.

Growden OUT - Byrnes IN

The lack of forward rookies is killing me, so I've decided to change it up a little structurally and swap a rook for a mid-pricer. Despite repeated spruiks on Twitter, I just don't buy that Growden will play enough games, or score enough points when he does play, to justify selection. In saying that, he's probably still my/our best option, which is the problem. Getting rid of him does leave me a Mid/Fwd rookie short, and I really hope that one of the other available DPPs steps up big time over the off-season.

I've decided to bring in Byrnes at this stage. I'm not completely convinced yet, and as usual, NAB Cup efforts will go along way to convincing me either way. I'm a huge fan of the ex-Cat, having successfully predicted his break-out season in 2009 (19 games at 85.3 avg) - a coach and player don't go through such an emotional experience without some sort of lasting bond... Anyway, he's priced at a 44.5 average, and I can't see him not blitzing that, even if he plays more up forward than through the middle. 

So yeah, that's it. Like I said, not a lot going on - but that hasn't stopped me thinking about possibilities. Here's an random bunch of mental notes I'm digitising for future reference:

  1. I'm basically all-in on Goddard/Gibbs/Broughton already, which means that I'm only looking for one more Premo, or possibly a mid-pricer instead. I guess it's nice to have one line semi-set (rookies will work themselves out in the very distant future), but sometimes it feels a little suffocating, having locked in two-thirds of your Defenders already.
  2. Duffield is currently my chosen 4th Premo, but I am in no way committed to him; despite how handsomely he rewarded me after I traded him in late last season. I love the look of Hamish Hartlett (Def/Mid for $421k) but I'm worried it's too risky a pick given his constant hamstring issues. And is it just me, or is Chris Yarran ridiculously cheap, priced at 60.4? Yep, he was substituted in 4 games last season due to turf toe - no wonder he's underpriced. Hmm.
  3. I'm getting cold feet with Beams. I love him, massive DT slut (the best kind), but how much can he really improve on his incredible 2012 (116.4 avg)? Especially if Collingwood's reign of terror is on the decline? On the flip side, teammate Scott Pendlebury is marginally underpriced due to dealing with a fractured leg over the second half of the season, which complicates things for me. I'll come back to this one.
  4. Still can't believe Cox is currently my most expensive forward. Something about it seems so... taboo. I'm extremely nervous about picking someone who's 31 and if we're being logical, on the decline. NAB Cup will either steel me or scare me off.
  5. Why don't I have Buddy?!
  6. I wonder if Brent Macaffer is a shout for a regular spot this season? At just $132k in a rookie-light forward line is tempting, especially when he averaged 76 in 2010.
  7. Scott Selwood is seriously seducing me. $504k sounds expensive, but that represents an average of just 97.7. He averaged 114.7 in the first 6 games last season, and I'm convinced that a lack of pre-season (he spent the off-season having back surgery then later walking laps, basically) caused him to burn out early. He went back to a tagging role in the 2nd half of last year, lowering his output to 90 a game. Apparently he's dominating pre-season so far, and I fully believe that he'll be utilised purely as an attacking mid as long as he's healthy. Somebody stop me...
So that's where the team lies as of January 5th. I doubt it will change too much over the next month, with many of my current players selected pending NAB Cup form. Until then, I'll probably explore DPP options, to make sure every available link is on my watchlist heading into the pre-season comp.

Feel free to abuse my side on Twitter - @Tbetta9.