Keepers and Bargains 2020

Written by Father Dougal on March 16 2020

Hi everybody!


Last season I wrote a post in which I started calling teams that are not Guns and Rookies but also not really mid-priced madness, or maybe the not very mad, mid priced madness, Keepers and Bargains. Link below:

Having had a year to think about it, I’m pretty convinced that it is a very valid approach. Now before anyone freaks out about how GnR is the best, etc etc, I already wrote in the past about how a pure GnR team is theoretically ideal. There was math. The thing is, the real world is not the theory world. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. 

I’m gonna try and explain this from the top down. 

  • You win by scoring the most points over the course of the season. Everything we do should be aimed at scoring the most points. 
  • We are limited by money, trades, and available players. 
  • Money and trades are fixed. We get $1,000,000 and 30 to start the season
  • Because they are fixed, there are basic strategies related to money and trades that do not change much if at all from season to season
  • The player mix changes every season, often a lot. 
  • The good strategies available each season is determined by the details of the player mix
  • To do really well in any given season, you have to tailor your strategy to that season’s player mix.

So, what strategy is best depends on the player mix. Guns and Rookies or something close to it has been very good to us in the past. Given the players needed to make it work, I would use it very happily. But, if the Supercoach Gods do not always give us the players needed to make it work. Like in 2020. Sometimes they give us players that are too good to ignore and do not fit into GnR, in which case smart managers fit those players in even if it means not going pure GnR. At some point, I think the 2nd midpricer, you have moved from GnR to Keepers and Bargains. 

So, how does keepers and bargain work? 

First, you fill your team with all the good cows. (All teams should start this way!) 

Second, you add your captain options. Three being a good number. 

Third, you add all of the good cow-like objects.   

Fourth, you add keepers.

If you run out of cash at step Four, then you have to go back and decide where to make changes. How to do that depends on who you have and who is available. Generally cheaper keepers since you really do not want to get rid of the players from the other steps!

Some more details:

Good cows mean job security, and preferably a low price. Players like Rowell and Walsh too. Check the rules of cow-quisition for more info on picking cows. 

Captain Options are the players you think will score the best of all players and therefore want to be able to captain. This year those might be Grundy, Gawn, and Macrae. Premium Rucks and Mids. Really, whoever you think will score well often. Price is not an issue for these guys, just score. When you double the score, all their prices are just fine!

Cow-like objects are players who can make money like a cow, preferably $150,000 or more, and that you will want to sell to get that cash. That means they have to be priced about 38 points, or $206,400 below where you think they should be. The reason for being priced $206,400 below to make $150,000 is a combination of deflation and not getting the maximum possible rise by the time you will be ready to sell. Their drawback is that they cost more than cows. 

Keepers are players who you plan to keep. That means that you think they will be among the top scorers in their position. Forwards and defenders priced to average over 55, or about $300k, are going to be keepers if they make $150,000! In a way that makes them easy. You can just get the Fs and Ds you think will score best with the highest discount. If three guys average 100, you want the one that cost least! Rucks and Midfielders are harder. There are going to be mids and probably rucks who will be priced enough below what you expect their average to be to be tempting, but who are not likely to average high enough to be a player you want in one of those spots at the end of the season. If you think Mike the mid is going to acverage 105, and he is priced to average 90, he is sort of a trap. A 105 is not really good for a midfield spot, and a 15 point ($81.5k) discount may not be enough to stick yourself with a low scoring player. If you are ok with him being in your team all season, then you’re good. If not, go up to a keeper or down to a cow or cow-like object. Of course a few well timed high scores and he might make enough to be worth trading out. But you can’t plan on that. 

You can have players who are discount enough you do not want to pass them up, but who may not be keepers. You do want points, and a 20+ average discount will still lead to money. These guys are a bit risky though, since under-performing will result in someone you have to trade out who has not made money or scored well. I feel like you have to look at these case by case rather than with a rule. 

So, last year, there were a bunch of bargains that led many to cry mid-priced madness, who then went on to be way useful. I don’t mean obscure players either, these were players we talked about and had decent ownership. Looking back at last year’s post they were: Zac Williams, Tom Liberatore, Darcy Moore, and Brodie Smith. Every one of them worked out well for their owners! 

Zac Williams: What I said last year pre-season: “Zac Williams on the other hand, who costs $52,600 less than Tuohy, is in 29% of teams because his owners expect him to average 93 or more this season. Since he has averaged 93 in the past, is pretty reasonable to expect that. Williams is a bargain. He is likely to be a keeper as well.”  

— So, a keeper with a discount. Just the sort of keeper you want, priced below what he ended up averaging. Priced at 93 and scored at 101. 


Tom Liberatore: What I said last year pre-season: “is priced to average 54.6. Call it 55 That means if he averages 93 you can expect to sell him for the same $150k profit you would for selling a dodgy forward cow you payed $123,900 for and who averaged 59. Of course a dodgy forward cow could go to say 64, but Tom could go to 98. In his case, he could go 110, as he has done that before. That’s 55 over his PTA, and forward cows do not average 78!  

We know one big game can boost price a lot, and who is more more likely to have a really big game when it will push them to a high price? Forward cow, might get a ton or even a bit more. Libba’s known ceiling is 171. He could certainly have a 130+ match and pump his score way up. Overall, Tom is arguably a better a cow than say Petruccelle or for a midfield example, Gibbons. Down side is he costs more. Upside is way more points and playable on field.”

— Well, that ended up pretty much dead on. Huh. He scored 75, 128,150,106, and 98 for an average of 111.4. His price at the beginning of round 6 was $493,800, a gain of $193,400!   


Darcy Moore: What I said last year pre-season: “might have been a better example, (than Libba)  in that he just needs to score 81 to make $150k by R10.

— He averages 78.4 in the ten games he played before his bye, and made $135,000. Not quite the $150k we want, but way good points for his price of $239,400. He put up a pair of tons in a row after the bye, and only his 13 in the game he was injured kept him from going bigger. He did get up to a $159,800 profit if you had to sell him then, although that was slow money, which is not as good as fast money. Still a good player to have owned. 


Brodie Smith: What I said last year pre-season: “is priced to average 60.5.  So, if he manages an average of 98.5, keeper! But say he averages 85? Well, you still get 85 points a week, at the cost of 60.5. Not bad. And you can still sell him for $82.5k profit, which is not bad, if not exciting, but you got the points. I’m thinking he stays until his bye then gets upgraded, assuming he does not end up a keeper, or throw a big score out before R 11. Not a compelling case but not a bad one for the low end of what people are hoping for from him. If you don’t have another $150k to get a gun Defender, and don’t want to have $200k in the bank and a dodgy cow, well, he fits.” 

— Played 22 games at an 88.6 average. I’d take that at D6 for that cost. As a cow, he was worth $466,000 at R8, after averaging 93.9. Profit of $133,500. With the points, more than worth it. He dipped at his bye, which meant people like me who sold him then really messed up, missing his max cash and his post bye points. 


So, all three of the hybrid guys worked out. Huh. They all were coming back from injury, which meant that the risk was health more than performance. And two of them did break down, but if you took the cash when it was there to take, they worked out well. Best- case-super-well for Libba. 

But, were there guys who people thought were bargains that failed? Well, breakout candidates are much more risky The most popular I can remember were Angus Brayshaw, and the Crouch Brothers. The Matt was priced at 101.3 after going for 110.6 the previous season and just 23. If you are ok with a 110 average, which yes, then a fine pick that did not work out. That happens. He did go for 103.7, which was a bit over his price. Brad on the other hand, was priced at 96.2 which was a career high. The hope was he would go 105-110  for the first time. He went for 98.4 and took up a midfield spot. Brayshaw, ohhh boy, he was priced at 97.1 and averaged 83.3. So the three breakout guys were small fail, fail, and huge epic fail. 

I went by memory for the breakouts. Looking at the list…Dunkley and Neale had floors and were not really expected to break out even though they did, Boak had an 88ish floor and was a risk of being just 88 at forward, so was certainly some risk and great guy to start with. Still guys who have done it before seem like good risks and breakouts do not. 

I think I just expanded Keepers and Bargains into a mini which bargain. Well, nothing wrong with that….That’s what I get for thinking out loud as I write…, you know what I mean….


Anyways, this season looks like a Cowpocalypse again, and worse than the last one, which means not close to enough good cows to go with a proper GnR. Even if you try that, you have to pick a lot of expensive cows which means a need for bargains, and…I think this year it is K&B for all! 


What are you going with this season?

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Thanks for reading!


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9 thoughts on “Keepers and Bargains 2020”

  1. The main thing I learnt from this is do not select cheap midfielders in the midfield unless they are extremely good value (most probably make 150+k) or, are all but guaranteed top 10.


    1. Cogs unfortunately a borderline pick at M5 should make some money presents decent enough value for his potential but not sure his top 10… but wont be far off i guess


      1. Cogs is priced to average 101. If you think he will be top 10 at the end of the year that’s a 10 or so point discount, which is fine for a top 10 guy. But, if he goes at 105, then he’s a total trap. You’d be paying barely under for someone who you would not want in your final team.

        So, it totally depends on what you think he will do. I’d scrape the cash together to get Oliver, or if you have him already then The Bont, Danger, or even Titch. But that’s just me, and I’ve gotten very cautious about non-cow mids.


        1. yeah I’m not sure he pushes 110 this year especially when taranto returns..
          & I’m not sure how i’ll scrape the extra $$$ without really compramising other picks.

          It’d look like this:

          TU: Coniglio M5, Petracca F3 & Young D5

          TD: Danger M4, Ceglar F3 & Taylor F6


  2. TU:
    MID from M6-M8 Walsh Rowell Pickett
    FWD F3-F6 Steven Dev Taylor Budarick

    MID from M6-M8 Rowell Green Pickett
    FWD F3-F6 Petracca Steven Dev Taylor

    I think walsh presents huge value for an M6 he could do an oliver a late season upgrade i think but comes at the price of having too run steven at F3 instead of tracca, risky? look over the options above carefully & let me know comment if you wish


  3. I am actually super excited about this year’s Supercoach.

    I can’t remember a year where teams are so different. The cowpocolypse will bring a great diversity, where nailing your initial team will be crucial, compared to previous years where most teams had a base similarity of 13-17 players.

    In saying that, gee it’s hard to pick a team. All the best everyone, hope your hair stays in longer than mine has.



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