AFL Dream Team Smokies
“The difference between a good team and a great team can be just one or two players.” Our friend in WA, tbetta, looks at some ‘smokies’ who are on his radar for 2011. Read on to see who might have a ‘breakout’ year and discuss your own in the comments.
It’s been awesome receiving emails from switched on DT coaches who are keen to have a bit of a say. tbetta sends us this one about some ‘smokies’ who he has on his radar.
The difference between a good team and a great team can be just one or two players. Consider 2010. Any team without Barlow or Podsiadly or both was significantly disadvantaged, either by not selecting them at all, or having to use a trade to bring them in. Same goes for Beau Waters – a discount-priced backman who scored as a premium. The question is, who will be the Barlows and Waters of 2011, and how can we predict who they will be?
A popular technique is to look at DT like the stock market. Traders make a profit by buying stock that will increase in price, and often selling this stock. Same thing applies with fantasy. If you know a player has a high chance of increasing in price, or is currently undervalued, then these are the players that you should be buying. It all comes down to making your team as valuable as possible, for the least possible cost.
So if you have knowledge that a player has been playing below his ability and therefore is underpriced, then buy. If you see a discounted player that you are certain will score well, then buy. Simple.
But who are these players in 2010?
We already know about players like Saint Nick, who is undervalued due to an injury affected year. Andy Otten, whose situation has serious similarities to Waters, is heavily discounted after not appearing at all in 2010. Adcock, Harris, Knights, Morton, all fall under these categories. But that’s the problem, everyone knows this. Between the improved Stats Centre, DT Talk, Fanplanner and The Prospectus, none of these players slip through the cracks. And that is why every great team this year will have Mzungu. And Krakouer. And… You get the point.
But lately the question I’ve really been asking myself is, what’s the difference between a great team and an epic team?
It’s your unique picks. The players you have, but no one else does. If one of your ‘Smokies’ has a break-out year, that’s one advantage you have gained over every other fantasy coach. Which brings me to the point – who could have that breakout year for you? Which players can take you one step closer to that car? Here are a few players that I feel can have a break-out year, and my reasoning for thinking so.
David Zaharakis ESS
There has been a bit of coverage about him, but if you pick him, he’ll still be reasonably unique due to his pricetag. He is awkwardly priced at $295,500 being a mid-pricer without a discount. According to reports, he has bulked up and improved his tank, which can only be helpful to his scores. His real value comes in his new midfield role, as Hird singled out in a press-conference, which should boost his scores even further than the 71.1 average he posted last year. And the exciting thing is, he fits the heralded Third-Year Rule perfectly, and is on the brink of a break-out season if the hype is to be believed.
Trent Dennis-Lane SYD
I’m a bit angry that there was a huge report about this guy because I’ve been keen on him since the beginning of last year when he shone in an intra-club match. He was on track for a round 1 debut until he injured his knee, but still ended up playing 8 games at the end of last season at a clip of 61.1 per game. Modest returns, but that’s to be expected from a forward-line rookie coming off an injury. In buoying news, he has put on a few kilos onto his slight frame while not missing a session all pre-season, and rewarded himself with 7 goals in the intra-club this year. I’m still excited this season after seeing his price ($228,000 after a small discount) because he didn’t reach his potential at all last year. His last two games of 92 and 81 showed he was starting to get there, and should resume in round 1 where he left off. Could be a good mid-priced option in a thin forward line, will be watching his nab cup closely.
Luke Shuey WCE
Shuey has been burning up the training track this off-season, and is set to play to his potential in hopefully what will be his first full AFL season. A bad luck story so far both on and off the field so far, he broke a finger in pre-season, but this shouldn’t affect his season according to the eagles’ fitness staff. His dream team value is increased due to his discounted price of $280,300 at an average of 75 over 6 games last season. This is one guy the eagles expect to start firing as soon as he’s healthy, but that’s the problem – will he stay injury free or will his bad luck continue? I think he’ll average 80-plus in the young Eagles midfield and rise in price to at least $330,000.
Kyle Cheney HAW
Very interested to see if this guy plays in 2011, because if he does, it’s easy money. For those who remember, he was a popular mid-year downgrade option in 2009 playing for Melbourne. He averaged a decent 62.4 (for a rookie with bottom-placed Dees) but only played 2 games last year after being out of favour with coach Dean Bailey. Moved to Hawthorn in the off-season in an exchange of late picks and is looking to revive his career, with a Campbell Brown role earmarked. His nab cup was average, playing a SC-style handball-heavy game (well, games) in the young Hawks defence. I’m interested to see if he gets a game once all the senior players are back as he is heavily discounted at $159,900 and can only increase in price from there.
David Mackay ADE
Mackay is one player I earmarked for a big 2010, thinking he’d fall in line with the Third-Year Rule. Averaged 51 in 2008, then 71 in ’09, it made sense that the only way to go was up. But unfortunately this coincided with Adelaide’s slide down the ladder and he was only able to manage 64.4 over 16 games (including an ugly 12 point game due to injury). He did have two separate injuries though, a groin problem early on then a sprained ankle later in the season. I still feel like when fit, this guy is all class and I’m backing him for big increase in scoring. His huge 130 in 2009 shows he can post big scores when he puts it all together. Will push for an 80 average and make you some cash if he is your unique pick.
Callan Ward WB
Ward is overdue for his breakout year. It should have been last year, but missed a huge chunk of the year with a groin problem (apparently not Osteitis Pubis according to WB medical staff and only a two week problem, which actually turned out to be OP and be a 13 game issue). His 2009 scores showed promise for a big year, averaging 70.3 over 19 games in the Bulldog’s strong midfield. I can only see this guy getting better, and he reminds me of a younger Higgins, or Robbie Gray – very classy and clever. But hopefully he can finish 2011 without the continued injury concerns that those guys have had. In a Bulldogs outfit looking to promote youth this year, I think he can push upward of 75 an become DT relevant again.
These are just some players that can have that big breakout season in DT this year. Scour the reports, stalk the pre-season games, and find your unique pick that can give you that edge. It could be the difference between a great team, and an epic team.