Here at SupercoachTalk, we like to be meticulous in our approach to this weird and wonderful game. All bases covered, no stone left unturned, all i’s dotted and all t’s….well, you know. So even though they’re more than three months away, I thought we should have a closer look at Supercoach’s annual stumbling block – that three week conundrum known as The Byes.
This is the lineup that the AFL has presented us with in 2020:
Now, you can glean a lot of what I’m about to say from Macca’s Bye Planner, which is a simply sensational piece of work and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t downloaded it already. But for those of you who don’t have the time to probe the endless combinations and permutations of Macca’s magnum opus, I’ve decided to have a closer look at bye strategy and try to find you all a safe path through this minefield. Aren’t I a great guy?
(OK fine, if you want the truth for some reason, then my team usually suffers through this time due to lack of preparation and I’m finally doing something about it!)
As mentioned previously on this site, bye strategies fall into one of two main categories – the vastly popular SPRINKLES, and the more niche approach we call BLITZKRIEG. The Blitzkrieg is relatively simple: pick one of the bye rounds and jam as many players into your squad as you can from those six teams . With a bit of luck, your team will absolutely crush two out of the three bye rounds and maybe even put you in the running for that tasty $1000 weekly cash prize. Of course, the trade-off for Blitzkrieg is that you’re tanking the third bye round and probably your chances at the overall prizemoney with it. So the question is what’s better: a decent chance at a grand, or a filthy sliver of a shot at $50K?
“The $50K!” I hear you all scream, and so that brings us to the more challenging approach known as Sprinkles. Space your premiums out across the three weeks and try to optimise your score for all the bye rounds, as well your total score for this period. Simple maths tells you that with 30 players in your squad, you pick ten players from each bye round. That gives you 20 actives in each of the bye rounds when you only need 18. No trades required whatsoever. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy right?
Well, that’s assuming you don’t have a dedicated loophole player. And all your players are fit and firing throughout those three weeks. And you’re okay with fielding a bunch of rookies throughout. This is not a perfect world ladies and gents – you’re probably going to need to trade. So how do we do this?
- Round 12 is the first bye round, and any player you bring in to play that week is going to miss one of the next two weeks. This effectively means whatever you pay for said player, you’re paying too much. That’s not good Supercoaching! So there’s the first unofficial rule of the Supercoach byes for 2020 – plan ahead so you can avoid trading in round 12.
- It then follows that in round 13 you should bring in players who’ve just had their bye in round 12, and then in round 14 you can bring in anyone who’s playing that week.
- And finally, DPP swings are even more valuable throughout the byes. Shift those pieces around the board, use your bench, and get those points.
With all of this in mind, here is a shortlist of the most popular premiums and a few notable midpricers, sorted by bye round:
I know this all seems like a lot of effort for the sake of three weeks in a season that goes for more than five months, and a lot of very clever coaches will tell you that the focus on bye strategy each season is excessive. Don’t listen to them. Take it from a guy who somehow manages to tank mid-year, every year: the bye rounds are an important factor when you pick your starting side, and even more so when you’re making your trades in the first half of the season. Done right, the byes can represent a great opportunity to make your move up the rankings while other teams are floundering due to poor planning. They certainly shouldn’t be the over-riding factor in your player movements, but ignore them at your peril!
EDIT: With the possible re-scheduling of the Saints-Port game in Shanghai due to the coronavirus outbreak, there could be a flow-on effect on the bye round for those teams. More info to come soon….
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