AFL SuperCoach: Have you forgotten the byes?
The JLT Series has concluded, which means we can start to finalise our SuperCoach teams for 2019 with some real statistical data from the pre-season games.
Something else to consider while we do that is the fixture and the multi-bye rounds. But how much focus should we place on the fixture? Let's have a look at it in more detail now.
Once again this season, the AFL has scheduled three multi-bye rounds mid-season when every club will have a week off from Rounds 12-14.
During these rounds, SuperCoach rules are modified so only the best 18 individual scores from your team - regardless of their position - count towards your weekly total. You are also given an extra trade in each of the three rounds, which can be really helpful at the time.
With so many players on byes, and others potentially injured or missing games for other reasons, sometimes it can be very difficult to even field 18 players during those three rounds, which means planning in advance is crucial.
Some coaches place a lot of emphasis on the byes and make sure their starting team is well balanced across the three rounds, while others don't worry too much about it at all, and there are varying degrees of planning carried out on the spectrum between those two extremes as well.
It is a good idea to look at your team structure in terms of the byes, however there isn't much of a need to place too much importance on it at this time of year.
Our teams will change a lot between now and then. Most serious coaches hope to have a fully upgraded team by the time the byes finish, which means almost all of your rookies and potentially failed mid-pricers will be gone from your team by then.
2019 BYE ROUNDS
ROUND 12: Essendon, Fremantle, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs
ROUND 13: Brisbane Lions, Collingwood, Geelong, Melbourne, Sydney, West Coast
ROUND 14: Adelaide, Carlton, Gold Coast, GWS Giants, North Melbourne, Richmond
Therefore, when looking at the byes at this stage of the season, it's only really worthwhile considering the impact on your premium players. The really important time to be considering the byes is when you are using your trades in the lead-up to those rounds, to ensure you are not left short of players in any week.
Most coaches attempting to fully upgrade their team will be using maximum trades each week in the lead-up to the byes and then with three trades in each of the bye rounds, it is possible by trading smartly to easily account for all bye rounds and to fully upgrade your team at the same time.
To give yourself the best chance of pulling this off, it can be a good strategy to have most of your players playing in Round 12, with the second-most in Round 13, because you can potentially trade out players on their bye to a player who has already had their bye, meaning its easier to plan mid-season for the later bye rounds, so the best time to plan for the first bye round is now.
That might mean not starting with too many players from the Bombers (Devon Smith), Fremantle (Nat Fyfe), Hawthorn (James Sicily), Port Adelaide (Robbie Gray), St Kilda (Jack Billings) or the Bulldogs (Jack Macrae) who you plan to keep all seasons.
Here are some players to consider who have their bye in Round 14, and will be available in the first two bye weeks:
Rory Laird (Adel) $587,600 DEF
The second-most expensive defender in the game this year, however is likely to be a sure bet!
Stephen Coniglio (GWS) $588,600 MID
We were lucky to get Coniglio at a discount last season after he played just seven games in 2017, and his starting price this year is scaring a lot away. However, his form has been immense during the JLT games and could very well be worth every penny.
Kane Lambert (Rich) $481,800 FWD
Has played two strong seasons in a row now and showed no signs of slowing down during the JLT.
Will Setterfield (Carl) $144,900 MID/FWD
We're not giving away much here, he'll be locked into almost every team.
Chris Burgess (GC) $123,900 DEF/FWD
Had a very impressive game in JLT1 and could have cemented a Round 1 spot.
Jackson Hately (GWS) $148,800 MID
Played well at senior SANFL level last season and has been super efficient during both JLT games.
Bailey Scott (NM) $117,300 MID
Was an excellent ball-winner at junior level and has already shown during the JLT that he could carry that over to AFL level.
Again, looking at the strength of fixture for teams after the byes is potentially irrelevant, because our teams will change a lot during the season and especially in the lead-up to and during the byes.
However, it can still be beneficial to have a quick look at the fixtures from Round 1-12 to gauge whether there are any trends that might help us decide on one player over another, particularly our rookies.
TooSerious.net has a tool called the Ticker which shows you the influence teams have on their opponent's SuperCoach scores by position, over the short, mid or long-term.
We can look at it now based on last season's games, however it's advisable to check again throughout the season when the data is updated progressively to reflect the current season.
Who has a good run-up to the bye:
Geelong defenders: Jordan Clark ($144,300).
GWS defenders: Isaac Cumming ($173,700).
North Melbourne midfielders: Bailey Scott ($117,300).
Geelong midfielders: Charlie Constable ($123,900), Tom Atkins ($112,900).
Port Adelaide midfielders: Zac Butters ($157,800), Xavier Duursma ($130,800).
GWS midfielders: Jackson Hately ($148,800), Nick Shipley ($130,300), Jye Caldwell ($162,300).
North Melbourne ruckmen: Todd Goldstein ($548,000).
St Kilda ruckmen: Whoever gets the No.1 spot in Round 1 could be great for the first few weeks!
West Coast forwards: Jarrod Brander ($135,700).
North Melbourne forwards: Tom Wilkinson ($102,400).
Carlton forwards: Alex Fasolo ($250,000), Will Setterfield ($144,900).
And here are some players to possibly avoid:
Fremantle defenders: Griffin Logue ($164,300).
Sydney defenders: Justin McInerney ($117,300).
Fremantle midfielders: Brett Bewley ($117,300), Luke Valente ($117,300).
Brisbane ruckmen: Archie Smith ($172,300).
Collingwood ruckmen: Jordan Roughead ($379,100).
Fremantle forwards: Sam Sturt ($135,300).
Brisbane forwards: Connor Ballenden ($123,900).
Of the many factors to take into consideration when selecting your starting team, the fixture is just one small part, however it is important to make sure you don't start with a whole team on the bye in the same round, especially not Round 12. With a little team balance across the byes among your premium players, and by making the right trade decisions during the season, the byes will be OK.