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The 2017 Optimal AFL Fantasy Team finally proves link between Genius and Madness

Steven Edwards is currently doing a PhD in mathematics and he has applied his skills to Fantasy footy to determine the best team possible.

For centuries psychologists have studied the link between creative genius and people who the rest of society consider a little insane. Many brilliant people throughout history have fit both descriptions, such as famous painter Vincent Van Gogh and pioneering physicist and inventor Nicholas Tesla. Today, we are happy to provide the final piece of evidence that was required to prove this highly debated link, the Optimal AFL Fantasy Team of 2017.

With a total score of 60,551, an incredible 9,659 points more than the competition winner, Selby Lee-Steere’s Moreira’s Magic, you would have to be insane to have selected this side. Amazingly, this ‘dream team’ has an average score of 2,633 points per round (Moreira’s Magic averaged 2213) with a noteworthy score of 2,949 points in round 22.

The starting squad blatantly disregards the generally accepted Guns-and-Rookies strategy. A total of fourteen players were selected in the initial team with a starting price of $200-500k. In fact, out of the 35 top-priced players at the start of the season across the four positions, only 4 were selected: Taylor Adams, Rory Laird, Zachary Merrett and Tom Rockliff.

While the rest of us were looking for rookies as trade down targets, the optimal team focussed on sideways trading. Crazy. In fact, not once was a rookie traded into the team throughout the season. The cheapest player traded in was Luke Ryan in round 19 at a price of $306,000.

Image result for luke ryan

Luke Ryan from Fremantle.

Throughout the season a total of 17 different captains were used. This on its own is remarkable but not completely surprising. We could all have done a lot better if we could choose the captain at the end of the round, not the start. What is surprising is that out of these 17 captains, Patrick Dangerfield was not made captain once. This is conclusive evidence that there is no such thing as a set-and-forget captain.

As most of us already know, the second substitute position in the ruck is somewhat unnecessary. The optimal team exploits this by selecting backup Richmond ruck, Ivan Soldo, who sat in the squad without ever being selected in the starting team until he was traded out in round 12.

The final sign of utter madness is that the team finishes with a whopping $1,254,000 unused in the remaining budget. Talk about restraint. What makes this possible is the ludicrous finishing team value of $16,758,000 (the highest valued team was “the toecutters” with $15,249,000). Apparently it is possible to reach a point where budget is no longer important.

At the end of the day this is a team that is essentially impossible to have chosen during the season. However there is a certain beauty in its craziness.

So next year, when you are thinking about making a move that everyone else is calling crazy, remember what Aristotle said (more or less) – “No great [AFL Fantasy Team] has ever existed without a touch of madness”.

Round 1 team

Taylor Adams, Rory Laird, Andew McGath, Caleb Marchbank, Dylan Roberton, Curtly Hampton (Andy Otten,  Nic Newman)

Dyson Heppell, Andrew Gaff, Marc Murphy, Zach Merrett, Tom Mitchell, Tom Rockliff, Clayton Oliver, Dayne Zorko (Jake Barrett, Hugh Greenwood)

Matthew Kreuzer, Jarrod Witts (Braydon Preuss, Ivan Soldo)

Elliot Yeo, Charlie Cameron, Alex Neal-Bullen, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Mitch Hannan, Jeremy Cameron (Dan Houston, Ryan Burton)


Scores, team value, salary cap remaining, captain and every trade for the 23 rounds of footy.

Rd Score Team ValueBudgetCaptain (Score)Trade In Trade Out
12646$10.967M$33KDyson Heppell (156)Rory Sloane
Bradley Hill
Rory Laird
Dyson Heppell
22578$11.269M$187KRory Sloane (152)Sam Docherty
Gary Ablett
Andrew Gaff
Charlie Cameron
32520$12.110M$60KMarc Murphy (145)Ben Mcevoy
Jack Billings
Clayton Oliver
Braydon Preuss
42551$12.893M$26KTom Rockliff (157)Mitchell Duncan
Michael Hurley
Marc Murphy
Will Hoskin-Elliott
52528$13.450M$35KDayne Zorko (157)Isaac Heeney
Cameron Pedersen
Alex Neal-Bullen
Dan Houston
62650$13.888M$21KGary Ablett (162)Joshua Kelly
Bachar Houli
Rory Sloane
Curtly Hampton
72668$14.224M$65KTom Rockliff (167)David Zaharakis
Michael Walters
Andrew Mcgrath
Caleb Marchbank
82807$14.680M$10KJoshua Kelly (162)Patrick Dangerfield
Bryce Gibbs
Tom Rockliff
Jeremy Cameron
92783$15.051M$60KTom Mitchell (177)Dustin Martin
Brandon Ellis
Mitchell Duncan
Jack Billings
102605$15.281M$260KBryce Gibbs (145)Brodie Grundy
Kane Lambert
Jarryd Lyons
Ben Mcevoy
Dylan Roberton
Mitchell Hannan
112228$15.649M$199KDustin Martin (164)Jackson Macrae
Jack Gunston
Sam Mayes
Elliot Yeo
Andy Otten
Ivan Soldo
122426$15.994M$31KBrodie Grundy (158)Patrick Ryder
Kade Simpson
Chad Wingard
Joshua Kelly
Ryan Burton
Jake Barrett
132278$16.286M$18KBryce Gibbs (194)Matt Crouch
Sam Menegola
Jarrod Witts
Jarryd Lyons
142626$16.598M$12KJackson Macrae (137)Luke Parker
Jack Martin
Isaac Heeney
Bachar Houli
152912$16.650M$210KBryce Gibbs (160)Rory Laird
Travis Boak
Nic Newman
Hugh Greenwood
162809$17.015M$83KDayne Zorko (181)Isaac Smith
Michael Hibberd
Kane Lambert
Michael Walters
172685$17.090M$210KGary Ablett (152)Rory Sloane
Dayne Beams
Zachary Merrett
Gary Ablett
182559$16.818M$564KDayne Beams (142)Tom Hawkins
Luke Ryan
Dayne Zorko
Sam Mayes
192617$16.399M$1004KTom Hawkins (158)Lachie Neale
Jack Billings
Michael Hibberd
Tom Hawkins
202652$16.570M$886KLachie Neale (152)Lance Franklin
Bachar Houli
Lachie Neale
Bradley Hill
212673$16.499M$998KDayne Beams (143)Shaun Grigg
Toby Nankervis
Bryce Gibbs
Michael Hurley
222949$16.292M$1265KShaun Grigg (153)Zachary Merrett
Matthew Boyd
Dayne Beams
Luke Ryan
232801$16.758M$1254KLance Franklin (171)

Round 23 team

Matthew Boyd, Kade Simpson, Brandon Ellis, Taylor Adams, Rory Laird, Bachar Houli (Sam Docherty, Jack Martin)

Matt Crouch, Rory Sloane, Zach Merrett, Shaun Grigg, Tom Mitchell, Dustin Martin, Patrick Dangerfield, Luke Parker (Isaac Smith, David Zaharakis)

Paddy Ryder, Matthew Kreuzer (Brodie Grundy, Cameron Pedersen)

Lance Franklin, Sam Menegola, Jack Macrae, Toby Nankervis, Jack Billings, Jack Gunston (Chad Wingard, Travis Boak)


Huge thanks to Steven Edwards for his incredible research. We are keen to hear from our readers with any observations from this awesome data.

Image result for matthew boyd round 23

Matthew Boyd was traded in for the Grand Final.

Recent Comments

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