Total Points vs Average?

Written by Huttabito on February 24 2020


We have produced countless articles already this pre-season, all aimed at providing information that may provide you with that little kernel to help you improve your SC year.

Perusal of the SCT 2020 Pre-season Index will give you access to everything thus far!! This article is a review of the article from last year when looking at points verse averages, and seeing how it went … as well as looking at the new positional listings and trying to make the key call on selecting a player based on his total points history / potential or his average.

So, what is your preference when choosing a player – points history or average history? Everything seems to be around averages, and, in theory, they should be the same … right? But you must also factor in the number of games played… among several other factors … to say the least. You also may have to take a leap of faith … but let’s look at how last year finished up, before looking at the possible choices for this 2020 year.

The yellow shaded points or averages are those in the top positions in 2018 and the ones that ended up best in 2019 … not many repeating! Orange shaded cells were some of the popular breakouts that we listed, that did OK – again, not many!


Based on total points – of the top 8 from 2018, only 2 backed it up in 2019! Disappointing of note were Hurn & Whitfield whose averages were OK but missed too many games. Crisp was also notable, playing all 22 games but down in points – impact of Darcy Moore maybe?? Below is the list with top averages now …

Again, only 3 of the top 8 from 2018 were able to back it up. And, if Lachie and Shannon could have stayed on the park, they would have really produced … BUT, they wouldn’t have helped your tilt at chasing OA on this basis … interesting. Sicily, whilst his average is down (thanks Clarko – seriously??), he did look after you with total points, playing all 22 games. We didn’t do too badly with the ‘breakouts’ in Newman and Williams – and Williams was a no brainer really with a more midfield role and the injuries at the Giants. Again though, both missed 2 games and stunted their total points …

Let’s look at these tables now and reset them for 2020 and the start of the year. We’ll see if there looks like any must haves and again list some of the more popularly discussed possible breakout contenders from the various threads thus far.

So, if you are firmly in the camp of selecting your top 6 defenders by points and drafting your wish list, you couldn’t go wrong with Lloyd at D1 to Rich at D4. These gents are well ahead of anyone else on the list, with all of them playing all 22 matches.

Of course, you can’t start with all of them, 3 maybe – so which ones and which ones would be upgrade targets? Or, are there possible breakouts that you may be interested in? Some things to bear in mind:

Lloyd – was impacted late in the year and could have been much larger – will this happen again or were the Swans just experimenting?

Stewart has had a delayed start – will this impact him? First hitout in Marsh series was not encouraging.

Sicily would have finished second I reckon – if not for Clarko and his brain fart choices of moving him forward in several matches – watch for this again now.

Very similar looking list, when basing selections on averages – with the two big stand outs for me being Daniel and Ryan – if these two could have stayed on the park, and can play all 22 in 2020, I think they are well worth a look. Note also some of the top discussed ‘potential breakout’ players are also included for your viewing pleasure – I’ll include the same on the other lines as well – we aim to please after all!!

Will Stack maintain his role again and overcome that second-year syndrome? Will the two returning from ACL injuries get back to their best? Will Logue improve his numbers even more with last year under his belt and a pre-season?

So, what else should we consider? Will Williams get less mid minutes with the Giants mids returning? Have players changed roles? Do you have to sacrifice on other lines – or sacrifice on this line?

So, all up, does any of this help you? Are you a risk taker or a safer player? If you like risks, you’ll look at the three returning from long injuries. For your starting premos, for me, you can’t go past total points, which means playing all 22 games. I think you need to start 3 to set and forget – but it does depend on the mix of premos on your other lines … and available rookies. A premo in the mid is worth more than a premo defender … usually (or you name is Lloyd) … so if decent rookies exist, you may start less premo defenders and more mids. OR follow AllSaints theory and start all of Doc, Doedee and Robbo!

Remember, trades are gold! In general, you will be starting 13 ‘premos’. This means 9 upgrades, minimum, which generally means 18 – 20 trades. You will get injuries and you will need corrective trades (cough, splutter maybe even any of Doc, Doedee and Robbo, if you start any of them). So, starting the right premos is essential. For me, that means Lloyd, Laird and Sicily – maybe Houston as a risky option) – but can I afford them?! … I think there’s too much risk with Doc – he’s more a wait and watch for me.

Make sure to also check your BYE structure in the BYE PLANNER! If you haven’t already grabbed the file, do yourself a favour and get it and set up a few scenarios. Thoughts?

Next up, we will look at the Forwards – as they are also contentious – dare I say downright ugly?


So, the same question – when selecting your starting premo forwards, are you better off going with total points, or highest averages?

Here’s how they finished up last year when comparing to the top scoring or averaging FWDs from 2018.

Speaks for itself really. Only 2 backed up from the 2018 position, and Danger was actually a mid in 2018. Heeney was basically in 8th both years. Only 2 KPPs in the top 8 – and in reality, they weren’t, as Boak was pure Mid and the surprise packet Marshall, was a Ruck. Hawkins & Darling though deserve a mention.

If chasing OA, KPP just doesn’t cut it in the forwards – we really need those dual MF’s! (yes, read both ways!!). Let’s quickly look at the averages and see how they went.

Same story here with only two backing it up – though we pretty much knew Dunkley and Boak were going to be right up in the scoring. Worpel didn’t let us down as the only possible breakout player that performed well and finished in the top 8 FWD averages and scoring.

OK – so what can we glean from this? You need to play mid and be dual to score well as a FWD (or sole Ruck!) It’s hard otherwise to get decent scoring FWDs AND … stay away from Robbie Gray – he’s a trap and promises sooo much, but gets stuck in that FWD role which kills his scoring (I may be a little salty here – I said as much when he came up on polls and a thread last year … and still took him)!!

Let’s see how we can use this now by looking at the 2020 offerings … surely we can avoid the same mistakes.

One word … YUCK. And that’s the technical term! Other four-letter words could be inserted here, aimed at SC and CD … but I’m sure there are minors reading.

One person of note is showing there … the little Master! Surely, if he plays a large amount of mid time, he may just find his way into our sides?? Just for the memories even? Hmmmmm … we’re all going to be in the same boat and may have to select some KPPs … which ones though? Let’s look at the choices based on averages and see if it gets any better … with a few of the widely mentioned breakout players …

OK – so this is now quantifying the sheer poor state of the forwards this year. Just who on earth can we bank on being top 6 … let alone top 8. New technical term … @#$#@@#%!! …

Choosing your starting players should be fairly easy – though each with risk. Whitfield appears a must … even at the highest listed choice … but will he play 20+ games or again be injured? Heeney has his issues already and may be required to play more forward time with Buddy out again … that leaves Dusty and Walters – with the latter having his best year last year – can he repeat?

Bye structure surely has to be factored in here and we may be dictated to (aren’t we always?) by available rookies – use the BYE PLANNER and set up a few options folks so that you aren’t racing around at the 11th hour as team lists throw us for a loop!

The possible breakout options are mostly well discussed already in multiple articles … we’re going to have to rely on some of them it seems. Hopefully Messrs’ Smith & Steven can save us and re-find their form and scoring potential of 2018!! Notably, the other possible breakouts widely discussed this year actually make it into the top listed players anyway … Lynch & Greenwood. The latter is particularly interesting in a weak Suns line-up but slated to play Mid – one to watch for sure! They both need to play 20+ games though – (edit – Greenwood went OK last night in the Suns trial V Cats)

Ziebell must be considered. He’s consistent, if not overly high averaging … BUT he stays on the park, playing all 22 games the last two years (touch wood, say a few Hail Mary’s, honestly SC Gods, please don’t jinx him). I hate saying this, but the other player option lurking there (I can’t stand him, he’s a grub and a f—wit) but still is up in the scoring may also be considered – Greene. However, this must be a risky pick, due to … well him! Surely, he once again misses matches due to stupidity and grubbiness and also with the Giants mids back at strength you would expect he plays more forward again? – consider wisely folks!

So, what else should we consider? Their roles? There’s lots of positional changes on these players as well … will this help or hinder their scoring?

OK, for me again, when starting, I’m leaning towards total points and thus games played being the clincher. Walters & Heeney & Ziebell fit this bill. Lachie is the really unknown factor. There is some argument to not start him and save a few thousand towards other lines. BUT if you do this, you may not look to get him again until after his bye in Rnd 14. The problem with that is, fit and in Mids, you would expect his best benefit to be in the early rounds (let’s face it, he seems to go down all the time and is not that durable… how much is a trade worth again?!!) Thoughts?

The next area we will look at is the Mids.


The third instalment of these articles comparing total points verse averages, when deciding on your initial starting line-ups. Arguably one of the most difficult lines to select as there are many options across the clubs, and they usually cost you the most – so getting them right first up is potentially paramount to a successful year.

What are the key factors, aside from points and averages, that you will consider? Clearly, their role must be important. Player changes around them will also come into play. Age seems to be a factor in scoring as well as staying on the park. Will GS raise its ugly head again this year?

If you’re a risk taker, you’ll also be looking at trying to find that elusive breakout (aka Champion Data favourite … excuse my sarcasm!) player. Who will be the next MacCrae, Cripps or Oliver? Are there any injuries to consider from the off season? And finally, can you afford the players … are there enough rookies across all lines to let you run that one extra mid or breakout player?

Let’s firstly look at how they played out last year and how many backed up from 2018.

So, as with the other lines, only limited numbers backing up from the top scorers in 2018. 4 to be precise (with Danger in the FWDs). Picking those ones that were going to step up was key to your SC season it seems. Bont & Treloar proved great pickups with both playing all 22. Dunk was obviously in the FWDs and Fyfe bounced back – but still missed 2 matches (will he ever play all 22?)

Let’s look at the picture with the averages and see if any of the possible breakouts did any good.

Interesting. Based on averages, the top guys all pretty much backed it up. BUT, would it have helped you in the OA race? Jelly wouldn’t have, only playing 14 games and probably costing you a couple of trades … so too Gaff and Yeo just not scoring enough or playing all matches. The Bont was the big improver – lifting his average by over 10 points – can he do it again in 2020??

The really disappointing one to note here was that five of the widely discussed possible break out players just didn’t step up to the next level. Will have to see if we can pick some better ones for 2020!

OK, let’s look at how they reset themselves for the start of the 2020 season.

For me, the top 8 speak for themselves and are in most teams being posted on the Rate My Team threads. You can’t really go wrong with any of them as your starters I think … and it may just come down to questions of: how do they fit your Bye Structure, and do you think they will play all 22?

T Kelly is in a lot of discussions – he improved his average by 10, hasn’t missed a game and has moved home. Will this see him improve again … or hold at a level? For me, I don’t think he’ll be in the mix. Just too many quality mids at the Eagles – sorry GD!

More interesting are discussions around Parker, Taranto and Merrett – will they be in the mix this year?

So, what do the total averages tell us and is there a ‘smoky’ in there?

Not really a lot different is there? Jelly appears, but he just doesn’t seem to stay on the park long enough to be relevant – certainly a risky choice. I think the Weagles boys will all cancel each other out to some extent and Sloane never seems to get there. I don’t expect Boak to be in the top 10-12 Mids.

Note the listed possible breakout players with Titch showing here – if he stays fit, he’ll be in the top 10 for sure. With Titch back, will this help or hinder Worpel? Lifting his average by 25 was impressive! Steele is listed once again … though he just never seems to take that final step to the top level (sorry AS!).

For me though, as it has been on every line, the averages are irrelevant if the player won’t play all 22 matches – at least 21 for the Mids. So, those risky picks just have to be left out at the start and become upgrade targets if they are having a great year. Of course, every pick is a risk – we just never know who will get injured and when.

Finally, the Rucks to look at – and this looks like the easiest choice … right?


On face value, it would seem that it doesn’t matter which way you look at the big men of the AFL … there are only two stand out choices … so let’s get to it!

Status quo here – the top 3 were the top 3 – hands down. No question on their averages either, so no need for another table.

Witts did step up as forecast, but he was surprisingly surpassed by Marshall. O’Brien & Lycett also performed admirably well.

So, let’s see how the numbers stack up for the 2020 season and if there are any possible break out options you may be interested in.

Basically, dollars permitting, and your planned tactics … maybe bye numbers considered (they’re both out in Rnd 13 – which is a bad bye round for most), if things stay much the same in 2020 as they did in 2019, then you only have two choices … they scored way more points than the next best!! That’s a lot of points to give up! And to win this thing, as I have said before, it’s all about points!

Now, will Gawn’s early season injury affect your choice? If so, then Goldy looks like your best option, though perhaps Rowan or Lycett can continue to improve on their breakout 2019 seasons.

Can the others lift themselves up a few hundred points across the year and lift their averages by 10 or more? Do they have the mids around them to help this? Do they offer more than just rucking for their stats?

Factor all of this in … and let’s look at the top averages and a couple of discussed breakouts …

No real difference here at all. I think you will need to make your decisions based on your appetite for risk and whether you think it is better to have an extra mid (or potential breakout mid) as opposed to the two premium rucks. Ie you want cash on other lines. For me though, it’s about total points and trades – no point trading a ruck in later in the year if the top two from 2019 remain the top two … and it is hard to see why they won’t barring this early injury scare to Gawn – they score better than the Mids anyway and are that much further in front of any other ruck.

On the above point, re trades, I can’t see either of the potential breakouts listed offering enough to be worth the trades – but who knows?? Ceglar certainly didn’t impress enough in the first Marsh series match to suggest he will be worth having – either in ruck or forward as cover.

OK – that’s it from me … hopefully these articles have been useful and generated some great discussions! Good luck for your year, bring on TLT and please let’s find some great rookies!!

The excel workbooks that were used in this analysis are available for download here:
Points v Average 2019 – Final
Points v Average 2020


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22 thoughts on “Total Points vs Average?”

  1. It said at the start that their were countless articles. Just go to the pre season index, most of them are there. Lol.

    But I think the players average aspect is something you gamble on. With fyfe or Kelly types. You know you will trade them at some point or need a plan in place to cover them, so long as your prepared for it can nab yourself lots of extra points by selecting them then sideways trading them when they get injured to a breakout/ performing a bit better player.


    1. Your covering rookie quality has a lot to do with it to.

      If Jelly say misses 3 rounds but you have bench cover and can add in 70 points per game, say, then include that into his total points it drastically changes your perceptions.

      Both him and Whitfield are in my team, but you have to acknowledge that both are huge risks.


      1. G’day HH! Yep, that can be a factor – however, I don’t think we are going to get any decent rookies on the mid bench who we can reliably say will get 70 minimum each week!!

        I think it will come back to a whole series of factors –
        how many of the returning previous premium type players are you starting (with their associated risk factors?);
        how many trades do you think you are going to burn through
        will you have enough rookies to generate cash growth to make those replacements?

        And a few others … I guess, based on price and reward, you could argue that Jelly is worth a punt over Danger for $12K more … but this then brings into play your overall Bye structure planning and will Jelly outscore Danger by that much over the weeks he is on the park? (applying the assumption he goes down with an injury again …)

        It’s one of the permutations that makes the game so hard to win … the Luck factor is significant in all decisions!!
        Good luck HH – see you in some H2H’s!!


    2. Thats exactly why not have the fyfe and jelly types. Why not have the bont and neale types for the same price and hopefully not have to plan to trade them at all.


      1. Because they can kill you in a head to head. And if they miss 1-2 games only they finish with top tier ave and points. I’d rather bank on an ultra premo playing 20+ games than a player breaking out or for a regular premium to increase his points.


  2. Thanks TOF – that’s why there’s a link to the index with all the articles!!

    I’ve tried to put as much data in the tables for the last three years for everyone to make some easy analysis of the best player options, with some thoughts thrown in. (It’s a long read in this format and thought it might be a few threads!!)
    Hopefully it stimulates ( or clarifies?) people’s thoughts on their choices for their starting lineups!

    As with everything luck will play a big factor and yes the choice of Jelly type players is what can really set you up if you know (think) you will have enough trades left at the back end! (I haven’t been able to get that right yet!)



  3. Great in-depth article.

    I think Whitfield’s injury history is being overplayed a little. He had a shocking year last year, but a broken collar bone is a freak incident, and not indicative of someone who is constantly missing games for similar issues.

    Across 2017-2018 he played every possible game outside of his drug ban. In 2016 he missed three, and only one in 2015. So that’s four missed games in a four year stretch.

    There’s also zero chance he’d play in SOO if his ankle wasn’t 100% right after surgery.


    1. Yes mate – I currently have Whit in my side – just have to go with those points potentially on offer – there’s a lot of ‘risky’ options we are considering this year though! – the joys of SC!!!


  4. Thanks TOF – that’s why there’s a link to the index with all the articles!!

    I’ve tried to put as much data in the tables for the last three years for everyone to make some easy analysis of the best player options, with some thoughts thrown in. (It’s a long read in this format and thought it might be a few threads!!)
    Hopefully it stimulates ( or clarifies?) people’s thoughts on their choices for their starting lineups!

    As with everything luck will play a big factor and yes the choice of Jelly type players is what can really set you up if you know (think) you will have enough trades left at the back end! (I haven’t been able to get that right yet!)



  5. Excellent facts and figures for us all to ponder!
    Great stuff.
    Really appreciate all who post on here and the hours they must spend composing these articles to help mugs like me!
    Very much appreciated.


  6. Analysing Marsh series results can identify guns, gumby’s and bargains in a position but due to inconsistent game time the real value/cost of players can be hard to determine and there’s always the probability that a lot of the players with high PPM and low $PP wont actually play round 1.
    After running the weekends numbers through the db I got some interesting results, the top 6 ‘Best Value’ defender eligible players were
    1. Damon Greaves $pp=1,609 $PPPM=1,505 Score 77
    2. Nathan Jones $pp=4145 $PPPM=1,589 Score 96
    3. Wayne Milera $PP=3,908 $PPPM=2,216 Score 103
    4. Josh Walker $PP=3,600 $PPPM=2,310 Score 96
    5. Jack Lukosius $PP=3,923 $PPPM=2,511 Score 70
    6. Jake Carlisle $PP=3,571 $PPPM=2,515 Score 92

    $PP is Dollars per point
    $PPPM is Dollars per point per minute
    Score is total SC score

    The figures are based on 20minute quarters because I couldn’t find any info stating actual quarter length (before time-on) and I only took note of the countdown clock at the start of the last quarter in the LionsV.Power game. If the quarter length I used is wrong the figures will be wrong but the order wont change.


    1. This is especially for the flog that hates info being posted in the comments 🙂
      Players under 213k
      PPM and $PPPM
      $PPPM low to high top 6
      Xerri $815
      Rowell $1,111
      Buderick $1,292
      Sweet $1,321
      Sparrow $1,477
      Greaves $1,505

      PPM High to Low top 6
      Rowell 1.87
      Sparrow 1.60
      Bonar 1.56
      Xerri 1.55
      Sweet 1.29
      Wilson 1.15

      I can’t understand why everybody is saying xerri wont play. He killed in the praccy game and in the Marsh game, he kicks, marks and tackles and had the highest de% of any ruck eligible player that played on the w/end and, brown still isn’t training with the main group. Have I got blindness for a tall Kanga who applies great fwd pressure and can mark and kick goals?


  7. I’ve done a similar thing but with just the rookies. I’ve ignored length of qtrs/game, and converted each score o 85% game time…hope I got it right !! Results are…..

    Starcevich 75
    E Smith 46
    Georgiades 60
    Rowell 127
    Budarick 74
    Close 61
    Xerri 105
    Bonar 105 (Used a bit of editorial licence here given the level of interest)
    Mahony 37
    Greaves 73

    Not a huge pool, but with the State of Origin game this week, lots to see hopefully.

    Only lock is Rowell…Greaves worth a second look, Xerri just back up surely. Bonar looks a chance.


  8. Thanks Hutta

    Some extremely useful reading.

    I just reviewed my backline, Sicily ,Houston and Doc…
    Somehow now, it seems a little too risky.

    I would love to see which Premo’s you are thinking of starting in 2020 ?


    1. G’day Freo! Thanks mate.

      I should also say, that in posting this article, its worthwhile drawing attention to the fact that in all lines, it seems over the last couple of years in looking at this data, that very few actually back up each year – particularly in total points. So that for me, in mids in particular, means its a risk to start 6 as opposed to 5 mids … but it will all be about weighing up your available trades, and the luck factor …

      So, here’s where I’m currently at (D, M, R , F):
      Lloyd, Sicily, ?? – the last is still up in the air.
      Mac, Neale, Cripps, Danger & Oliver – (though I’m significantly worried by lack of Cats midfield to support Danger now and he was in as he is Danger and because of his R12 Bye – to be reviewed)
      G&G – Gawn – is watch this space …
      Whitfield, Dusty / Heeney (depending on Heeney’s injury) and Smith …

      Not sure if that helps … of course it can all change after the Marsh series …


  9. Great article!
    My take on the old total points versus average:
    For me to take on a guy who is likely to miss games he has to be special on his position.
    Whitfield is special as a forward. I can only see Dusty matching him week to week.
    Fyfe & Kelly are not special to me. Fyfe once was, but right now I do see 7-8 midfielders capable of averaging the same as him, who dont miss as many games.

    3 bulldogs, Neale, Cripps, Danger, Oliver

    That’s leaves 1 spot which will be 1 of them, Titch, Treloar or a bolter,but preferably last upgrade


      1. I’d argue that Macrae or Neale are more likely the No1 midfielder (your key word is “if”!!!).

        And to Dann below, trust me when I say that groin’s, once done, never, ever fully recover. And these guys, at elite levels, push them harder than sports persons not quite at that level … BUT again, its just one of those luck factor calls that everyone will make … it either goes your way or it goes the other …

        I’m not sold either way just yet, but given that most years thus far I struggle to hold my trades … I’m leaning a certain way *wink*!!


    1. J.Kelly’s first surgery/injury free pre-season since his rookie year is a factor, he’s basically done what he’s done as a footballer thus far whilst having a dodgy groin.


      1. True but it’s not like he’s got a new groin this off-season, so it’ll still have some (remains to be seen how much / little) impact on his play from that injury.


  10. What has Jelly ever done – F%$K ALL!! Kelly has cost most owners 2/3 trades year in year out for F%$K all….

    You only have to fill 8 mid spots, people over think this shit…..

    Start with the most reliable highest scoring players and then add from there, Kelly is a long way down that list unless you dont mind burning trades….



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