Bye, Bye…Bye? 2020 Bye Round Strategy

Written by Chillo on February 13 2020

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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7 thoughts on “Bye, Bye…Bye? 2020 Bye Round Strategy”

  1. At first glance this is the best bye round fixture I’ve seen so far in terms of premium players spread throughout each round.

    Sure, you have Gawn & Grundy together….But unless if the byes change to a different time of the year (unlikely) or somebody other than Melbourne & Collingwood play on the Queen’s Birthday (very unlikely), or we become a Republic and do away with the monarchy (slim chance) Dee’s & Pies will always have bye together.


  2. Great write-up, Chillo.

    Bye planning is the main skill I want to add to my SC game this time around. Butchered the bye rounds last year, certain could’ve improved a couple hundred places OA had I planned more carefully.


  3. My own rule of thumb on bye planning is that I expect to add one premo in the second bye round and two premos in the third bye round.

    If I start with 13 keepers, then I will try to start with a 3,4,6 structure. Meaning 3 keepers with a Round 12 bye, 4 in round 13 and 6 in Round 14.

    If I have 14 keepers, then it really doesn’t matter too much where the 14th keeper has his bye.

    If I can set up with this structure from the outset, as you add premos from rounds 6 to 11, the consideration of their bye rounds becomes a little less important, and you can focus more on the value in the upgrade, rather than use the upgrades to get your structure right for the byes.

    Doesn’t mean you will still be ok in the bye rounds, a premo missing a week during the byes can foil all the planning in the world. The opportunity to give players the extra weeks rest by giving them the round off before their bye has started to be a factor. For me, it’s possibly another reason to think twice about players older than 28. Well, certainly players older than 30, with their team in finals contention.


  4. I have a good structure for R12 atm and will be hoping to do any early upgrades that have r14 bye, and nil r12 trades itself. R13 is tricky with GRAWN, but I’m looking at three upgrades hopefully from Stewart/Rich in def, Danger/Yeo/ Gaff/Merret/T Kelly in mids, and Ablett/Gresham in fwds. R14 allows additional upgrades from Lloyd/Ryan, Fyfe/Treloar, Martin/Heeney/Petracca.

    More pre-season work than ever before, and the bye planner is invaluable. I would strongly recommend “TooSerious” as a player filter early in the year.


  5. Great info!

    Having messed up the bye round planning last year, I’m tempted by a semi-blitzkreig approach this year to save myself time and targeting R14 as there’s lots of options there. Something like 2,2,9, then I can pick up the essential R12/R13 players (including Gawn) through upgrades and that hopefully gets me to 18 players in R14. If I play a dead team in my leagues I’ll have a chance!



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