How to dodge SuperCoach bye catastrophe
Bye planning is integral to any KFC SuperCoach season.
When it comes the byes, some coaches will use them to split a 50-50 selection decision, whilst others don't even look at them and cross their fingers and toes hoping it'll all work itself out.
In the first edition of Doctor's Orders for 2021, @BolchDylan has had a look at the best ways to structure your premiums and how to navigate the dreaded bye weeks and use them to your advantage.
Planning for a range of curve balls gives us the best chance of getting through unscathed!
This season, subject to COVID changes, six teams have a bye each week through Rounds 12-14. Bye rounds also mean best 18 scoring, so don't fret if you are one or two players short of 22. Although it is better to have as close to a full team as possible as it gives you a better chance at a better score. Below are some of the best premium options from each round.
Round 12: GWS Giants, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide.
Missing premiums: Lachie Whitfield, Tom Stewart, Luke McDonald, Matt Rowell, Tom Mitchell, Josh Kelly, Tim Taranto, Travis Boak, Patrick Dangerfield, Zac Butters and Connor Rozee.
Round 13: Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Essendon, Richmond, West Coast, Western Bulldogs.
Missing premiums: Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons, Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh, Zach Merrett, Dustin Martin, Jayden Short, Andrew Gaff, Jack Macrae, Josh Dunkley, Caleb Daniel, Marcus Bontempelli.
Round 14: Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne, St Kilda and Sydney
Missing premiums: Max Gawn, Brodie Grundy, Reilly O'Brien, Luke Ryan, Jake Lloyd, Rory Laird, Callum Mills, Jack Crisp, Matt Crouch, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Isaac Heeney, Jack Steele, Rowan Marshall, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom, Nat Fyfe.
Round 14 is undoubtedly the toughest round to contend with and here's why. Let's say you roll with Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy in the ruck, which will be even more popular now that Braydon Preuss has gone down with an injury.
The three best defenders from last year - Jake Lloyd, Rory Laird and Luke Ryan - will also miss this week. Throw in a few of the other names mentioned here and this is by far the trickiest week to navigate.
You have two zero scores (known as doughnuts within the SC community) in the ruck and another one in defence if you have the three defensive premiums mentioned. In that case, you are leaving a maximum of 19 players to score, and some of those will be low-scoring rookies, which means it is likely your weekly score will suffer dramatically as a result.
A strategy that has worked for SuperCoaches in the past is back-ending your premium players. That means picking premiums who have byes in Round 13 or 14 in your starting line-up, then targeting players who have had their bye in Round 12 or 13 and upgrading to them once their bye is out of the way.
It is harder to target Round 14 bye players as well during the season, because you will definitely get a zero in Round 14 and waiting until Round 15 to get them is very late in the season, with most people already having upgraded to a fully premium side.
FIXTURE ANALYSIS: WHO WILL MAKE A FAST START IN SUPERCOACH
Most teams will start with between 11 and 13 premiums, depending on team structure. Throughout the season, a solid trading strategy is trading one player up and another player down, eventually creating a "full premium" squad. Let's say you have only 10 keepers to begin with, you'll need to bring in another 12 to get to full premium. Going by the one up, one down theory, that means you will use another 24 trades (12 x 2 = 24) to reach full premium. That leaves only six of your 30 trades left to use on high-end premiums, injuries and sideways rookie trading. This is fraught with danger.
So what is the best structure for our starting side? You probably want a maximum of two premiums on each line for a particular bye round in your starting side. This will allow greater flexibility during the season with upgrades and the potential to field at least 18 players that bye week.
HOW MANY IS TOO MANY FROM ONE BYE WEEK?
Let's break this down with Round 14 bye players, and Round 12 and 13 bye players separately.
In Round 14 you are already without Gawn/Grundy (for argument's sake you've picked these two). With 20 players possibly scoring left in the best 18 scenario, it would allow you to select three defenders or three forwards also with the Round 14 bye, assuming two bench rookies come onto the field as cover, to leave you with just 19 scoring players. The premium spread would look like this for Round 14 - three defenders, three midfielders, two rucks and two forwards. So 10 players with the Round 14 bye would be the maximum recommended amount.
In contrast, in Rounds 12 and 13, it is likely both of your rucks will be available. Therefore, you could probably afford to have 3-4 premium players per non-ruck line miss if you had to. To break it down, it would look something like this - three defenders, four midfielders, no rucks and three forwards, a total of 10 premiums maximum with the Round 12 or 13 bye.
You can cover on non-ruck lines to an extent, but you will struggle with the rucks. So it is important to make sure there is a nice spread of premiums with different byes on each line - remember relying on rookies is dangerous because they might not be picked or can score poorly.
Depending on whether you are playing for overall rank or head-to-head glory, you might also choose to "throw" a week. This is most common in a head-to-head league, where a coach will load up one specific bye round, pencilling in a loss but winning the other two.
Listen to the latest Doctor SuperCoach podcast below and follow them on Twitter at @Doctor_SC
Originally published as How to dodge SuperCoach bye catastrophe