(Written & Created By AllSaints)
Thoughts on BYE STRATEGY
BYE BYE HAPPINESS!
Hello loneliness, I think I’m gonna cry!
Goodbye my [season], goodbye!!
After the carnage of Rd12 last year and with some site visitors asking what the right number of premos per bye might be, let’s have a look how we might approach it. First, let’s give the byes some context.
We play 23 Rounds in the season. We play twenty of those rounds with 22 players afield, and three (the bye rounds) with 18 (scoring) players afield. We also have a captain each and every week, who will likely produce an elite output (especially if you have a loophole); let’s say 20% more than your team’s average/player. It is likely more than that, especially in the early rounds with rookies everywhere, but is a safe assumption in providing context.
Our total scoring players for the year are therefore:
(20 x 22) + (20 x 1.2) = 440 + 24 = 464 [non-bye rounds], and
(3 x 18) + (3 x 1.2) = 56 + 3.6 = 59.6 [bye rounds]
Total scoring players for the season is therefore: 523.6 players (aggregated). The bye rounds therefore account for 11.4% of your season’s total scoring. With 11 rounds prior and only 9 after, it is likely more than that, given the quality of an SC team’s output should improve over the course of the season.
Last year’s SuperCoach winner scored 53 892 pts over the course of the season. That equates to a scary 102.9 pts per player per game (including the C at 20% loading).
The beauty of SuperCoach is that it presents a level playing field at season’s start. SCT has taught us that we ought to start with an absolute minimum of 12 ELITE players, more likely 13 with the hope that you may also have a 14th elite player due to situations and player pricing at season’s start. To go with the averages, let’s say 13.
Before the season begins, we will ALL pick our (13) ELITE players with the intention that these are LOCKED in for the entire season (barring injury and other garbage). Don’t be PROHIBITIVELY PRESCRIPTIVE at this stage. You are going to be making a number of upgrades prior to that first bye round. Instead, we should CONSIDER the byes and there are some logistical basics to consider:
– We have two bench spots in DEF and FWD lines, that suggests it is likely a waste to have more than TWO premos from any one bye on these lines until that bye round is played (as you will have to field one who can’t score!)
– Similarly, in the MIDs, three bench spots means NO MORE THAN THREE from any one bye upto and including that bye round being played (and no more than two for Rd12), and
– With only one RUC bench spot, it is preferable to have your two rucks on different byes (both Grundy and Gawn have the Round 13 bye in 2019 – thanks for the fixtures, AFL!)
There are however scenarios that may have you thinking you can bend these rules, and you’d be right. Using Grundy and Gawn as an example: over the 2018 season they both scored 500 points (give or take) more than the third best performing ruckman, Martin and were averaging 127-130/week. If the 2019 season plays out in a similar fashion and you can still field 18 players across your other lines (ie no donuts), then you are better off (on aggregate) to just pick them and swallow it. Even a donut wouldn’t be a disaster in that scenario (as you will be up on Total Points over the course of the entire season), but this is an exception, not the norm.
If you’ve already made your elite list, by line, it is worth prioritising them based on how you think they will perform in 2019, and then split them or colour-code them (thanks Freo Tragic) by their respective byes so that you can see how their byes may affect your optimum selections. Whilst most lines are manageable, one thing you will likely notice is that apart from Greene (who carries significant risk as it is), there are NO proven elite FWDs with a Rd 14 bye. Is that a problem? Potentially yes. Some SCTers may choose to start Tom Lynch (RIC) for this reason, especially if Greene doesn’t get up. Lynch appears to be under-priced. There are others to consider, but he’s the stand-out amongst the few that there are.
While I would never normally consider rookies’ byes when it comes to planning your bye strategy in the pre-season (more on this later), it does make sense to think about Setterfield (CAR – Rd14 bye) as a starting rookie, in the hope that he goes well enough to be an onfield FWD for Rds 12 and 13 given such a lack of proven elites. This is one bye conundrum that is bound to attract a lot of chat as the byes approach. Hopefully there will be someone who emerges that we can snaffle up. Finally,
Giving yourself as much flexibility as possible at the outset, will allow you to minimise risk AND affords you greater choice with your upgrades. With 13+ elite starters, you will likely have a minimum spread of:
3 : 4 : 1 : 3 across the four lines. Mine currently sits at 4 : 5 : 2 : 3. However, always select your premiums prior to considering their byes. You may not have to make any adjustment(s), but at this point it is worth checking two things:
i. How many premos do I have per bye in total? And
ii. How many per bye on each line? (giving due consideration to the above parameters)
Season Proper – pre-byes
Once the season starts in earnest there are a few other things to consider:
While getting to so-called ‘full premo’ is nice, don’t rush it. If you see smart rookie downgrade opportunities take them, but don’t feel you have to upgrade at the same time. If you’re better served to wait (for a truly Fallen Premium to bottom out and/or a rookie to max out) then wait. You will have both more trades and comparatively more money in the bank (critical) as a result, when the byes come around.
It is not unreasonable to think that you may have traded your way up to 18+ elites come the start of the byes, that’s five or more upgrades (or 10-12 trades). You may have more or you may have less (if you’ve been particularly unlucky with injuries/under-performance). Any which way, the key is to have AT LEAST 12 ELITES who have their byes in Rounds 13 or 14 in time for Round 12, so you can field at least twelve premos during Round 12 itself (the first bye Round). Remember, you will also have three trades available to you prior to each bye round being played. Use them wisely and don’t compromise on your long-term goals to solve a short-term problem. Be objective.
If you have made it to 18 elite players before the byes, it makes optimal sense to have 5:6:7 across byes 12, 13 and 14 respectively, or 5:7:6 and at worst 6:6:6. Why? Because the first two eventualities give you 13 premiums on field for the first bye in Round 12.
A lot of people get hung up on DPPs. In short, don’t! If your elites happen to have that status then great, but never upgrade to a so-called premium DPP at the cost of a single-position elite player who clearly offers you more points. If a decent rookie comes along with DPP status, he fits with your trade strategy and you can accommodate them on the line that will afford you to swing, then by all means grab the opportunity, but don’t compromise your points or trades just so you gain that short-term flexibility, it’s just not worth it.
As we approach the byes (say from Round 7 or 8), it is worth doing a full assessment of your rookies. Who are your definite keepers, who can go, who has to go. This is really the only time you need to consider your rookies’ byes. Those you are definitely going to keep should now be counted in your players available each week (think Kelly, Doedee, Fritsch last year). If they’re on field, tread carefully. Try and assess the ‘value’ (lost and gained) in any trade you are considering and weigh up what is right for YOUR TEAM. Everyone’s circumstances will be different, but as you get closer and closer to the byes, it is ideal to have ear-marked at least 20 players available for the first two byes when Round 11 comes around. With a total of 30 players on our lists, this is not an unreasonable goal, giving you both reassurance if players become unavailable and with a bit of luck, some scope to maximise your scoring each week. Fortunately, SCT has a secret weapon to help you with this.
Nobody can plan for the unforeseen carnage that was Round 12 last year. So many premos OUT for one reason or another left many of us fielding as few as fifteen players!! What you can do, thanks to SCTs Bye Planner, is work out how many players you will likely have available for each of the bye Rounds and in good time. All trades should consider these numbers and maximise the opportunity while minimising the risk wherever possible. If you’ve prepared properly prior to the season starting and have followed these rudimentary guidelines, you should be OK.
Season Proper – during the byes
Regardless of your situation going into Round 12, going into Round 13 provides you with the opportunity to make upgrade trades for players who’ve already had their bye. You’d think if you don’t already have them, players like Sicily, Mitchell, Macrae, Fyfe, Merrett, Dunkley and Smith are now free to play EVERY game until season’s end. There may be other options that have emerged too; upgrade/downgrade as appropriate, maximising the opportunity that three trades affords you. You’d like a minimum of 13, ideally 14 premos playing in Rd 13.
Going into Round 14 is similar to the above, except you also now have Round 13 byes available until season’s end. You’re nearly there. You’d like a minimum 14 premos playing in Rd 14.
The run to Finals – post-byes
You should come out of the byes close to full premium, with around 20+ elite players.
Please note, if you have had shockers with injuries/duds early in the season, don’t get hung up on the indicative numbers presented above and ‘chase’ a short-term solution. Don’t panic, it’ll just take you a little longer, but you will get there if you show patience and persevere with your strategy. I am talking from recent experience, and emotions are still raw. I have learned many lessons and will no doubt learn many more this year, but the byes last year was my steepest learning curve!
When the Rd12 teams dropped last year, I felt like I’d been torn a new one, with so many premiums out or rested. I panicked and was down to one trade before I knew it (by Rd16). I stumbled home with a lot of luck it has to be said. While things could have played out much worse than they did, it could also have been so much better (if I’d just copped a single donut sweet in Round 12!!). I was warned … plenty!! But maybe you need to feel the pain first to learn the lesson.
While the above is simply some basic thoughts on what I learned last season from the fab SCT community, I am sure I have missed a few major points and a few subtle nuances too. Please share and discuss. We will all be better for it. I have no doubt there will also be plenty of threads throughout the season to help us with addressing any burning questions relating to the byes.
Happy planning SCTers and bye-bye for now.
** Give it up for AllSaints! Doing a great job with his various analysis…… – Schwarzwalder **
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