Player Spotlight – Dustin Martin

Written by on February 11 2020

Dustin MARTIN (MID/FWD, $543,000, 100.0, 20, BE:100)

Dusty won everything back in 2017.  He just won another Premiership and a second Norm Smith medal in 2019.  He has regained FWD status in 2020 for the first time in a number of years and is currently the third-highest picked FWD at 57.6% in SuperCoach 2020 (behind only Whitfield and Rankine).  As one of the best players in the competition and a dearth of FWD premo picks to choose from this year, you’d probably think I’d be mad not to start him in 2020?  Add to that, I’m almost 100% certain he’ll be a Top6 FWD in 2020.  So what gives?

Now would be a good time to read the previous post on Elite Analysis if you haven’t already 😉

First let’s take a look at his SC career to date.

Looking at the average trend, I think it is reasonable to say that 2017 was an outlier.  Dusty will be 29 this year and that for me is an early warning sign for a player who has only once averaged over 109.  The above curve has me believing he is more likely to dip in 2020 than improve.  He is also spending more time FWD as he ages (his change in positional status this year is testament to that).

The other key factor for me to consider not starting Dusty, is that he has been a slow-starter and strong finisher in SC for many years now. As are the Tigers to be honest.  No doubt starting him is OK; he’ll almost certainly be top6 FWD come season’s end, but there might be value in waiting for the inevitable early drop in price, picking him up cheaper and for a better ave. when things start to warm up.

The chart above shows how this manifests itself.  The graph line shows his averages over the course of a season from Rd1-23, over the last five years (on average).  Dusty tends to dip reaching a low point from anywhere between Rds4-8 with another latter dip before he ramps up for finals in his usual impressive manner.  As FD rightly pointed out in his earlier piece on Luck, Skill & Circumstance – 2020, the Tigers tend to just keep Dusty ticking over early in the season until things matter (winning games and gaining the double-chance) and as finals approach.

I was hoping that the above chart would be more compelling, so instead, let’s have a look at the last five years in more detail and what not starting him would have afforded any SuperCoach with a shrewd knack for those ‘Fallen Premiums’.

Taking last year as an example, you could have saved yourself $75k, avoided his early 90.9 average and picked up a player who would average 104.9 for the remainder of the season, for just $488.8k..  2016 and 2017 were startling in their differentials; the average across all five seasons is 98.3 early season ave. and 112.7 for the latter two thirds; a 14.4pt difference!

Final thoughts

I’ve talked a lot about ‘underpriced’ players already in this pre-season and for me the FWD line is stacked with options right now.  Of course those numbers will likely dwindle as we learn more and get toward the start of the season proper (eg injuries, specific role doesn’t come to fruition etc.), but I would rather spend the $543k on ensuring I have the best (better-scoring) Premos on other lines and spend the remainder in my FWD line on players that are 90% certain to score well AND make quick cash so I’m ready to pick up a cheap Dusty when it eventuates.

The main criticism I got when I posted an abbreviated version of this on Twitter was that I’d be forgoing premo FWD-line pts with no clear alternative to provide them.  I understand the argument, but if I’m paying less $/pt on other premos (on other lines) and stacking my FWD line with ‘underpriced’ players I MUST come out on top, unless he averages closer to 110 in 2020.  Of course there is an element of risk, and he may well pump out a 130 under the lights at a packed MCG in Rd1.  Even so, I’m taking a calculated risk on a five-year trend to continue and his current age to be the start of his inevitable SC decline; it looks like it may have already begun!

I think I know what the overwhelming response is gonna be but,

Will you be starting Dusty in 2020?

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37 thoughts on “Player Spotlight – Dustin Martin”

  1. Love this, glad im not the only one who thinks the same way.
    Doubt ill be starting Dusty this year, instead ill be using the cash to go 6 deep potentially in the midfield !


    1. Good plan I reckon Olie. There are a few MIDs who will likely ave. 10+ more than Dusty for a similar initial outlay. I reckon even Sam WALSH will outscore Dusty in 2020 and he’s $50k cheaper.
      Add to that, you probably won’t want more than two MID rookies on the field at the start. Points matter if they’re onfield!


        1. Absolutely. Must have in my opinion. Has the very real potential to finish top three overall. Go and have a look at his season averages for the past few years and I bet you’ll get him in


        2. I predict FD’s TLAs will say he is just passing his peak, but the ‘circumstances’ that he also looks at may mean a positive rebound for the soon to be 30-yr-old (5 April):
          1. window closing on his first premiership = will go all out in 2020
          2. Kelly departure, Jenkins arrival, an undercooked Duncan and an aged Selwood should mean he plays more MIDFIELD minutes, perhaps for the last time
          I’ll probably be starting him this year for these collective reasons.
          If the circumstances were very different, I’d probably give him a miss. But they’re not!

          He is priced to average exactly 15pts more per week than Dusty. If he doesn’t, I’ll eat my trousers!


        3. I’ve been looking at Uber-premium price drops in the first third of the season and over the last 3 years Danger has dropped:
          $190k by round 9 (2019)
          $145k by round 8 (2018)
          $156k by round 8 (2017)
          Will he drop again? Who knows, but if I go someone like McGluggage, I save $115k to use elsewhere, lose potentially 120 points (Danger avg 115, McGluggage avg 100, for 8 rounds), can I gain 120 points elsewhere with the $115k, then get Danger cheap? Hope so!


  2. Great write up! Some compelling arguments against him that’s for sure, but I’ll be locking him in!


        1. This is my dilemma. I have reservations about starting Dusty just like everyone else. But if you leave him out, who do you pick instead?


          1. Apart from Lachie, I haven’t locked in anyone just yet. I may go Heeney again but …
            I’m basically looking for three or four underpriced players in the hope that two will become keepers.

            Blake ACRES has a proven high ceiling when playing on a wing or outside. If he gets a decent role, he’s in.
            Devon SMITH said yesterday that he’s had his first full pre-season in years and expects to play more MID time in 2020. If he plays in decent minutes in the guts in the Marsh Series I’m locking him in.
            Will be watching Parish, Gresham and DeGoey too. All have natural upside ahead and increased time up the ground will only make the increase more significant.
            Tom LYNCH was so undercooked last year. Plays for the best side in the comp and averaged over 100 in the BH last year including finals!
            Will Andrew BRAYSHAW have a breakout year? Will Jacob TOWNSEND and Aiden BONAR get the roles they crave and make $200k each?
            Will Cockatoo and Stephen Hill play a good nine/10 games to make some serious money?! Jack STEVEN?!
            Will CEGLAR be 1st RUC at HAW? Will FRAMPTON get enough of a support RUC role to be a decent onfield scorer and money-maker?

            We’ll be able to make better informed decisions AFTER the Marsh Series, but I’m pretty certain I’ll want to start five of these (incl. three rookie-priced) ahead of Dustin MARTIN. If it doesn’t eventuate then so be it, but the likely averages of Top6 FWDs in 2020 are likely to be low enough (apart from Lachie) to ensure my focus will be on all other lines, before worrying about it.


  3. Plays 14 games at the MCG for the year.

    9 out of his first 12.

    I think the yellow and black crew will be trying to take full advantage of their home ground early.


    1. It’s a good point GraPol, and that was something someone on Twitter mentioned. I had a look. If I recall correctly, I think his MCG ave. last year was 3.7 higher than his non-MCG average. Which means his early/late season trends are far more significant than where he plays.


  4. If Dusty wasn’t the 2nd highest SC scorer over the last 5 years, available for $540k in the forwardline, I probably would be happy to pass. But I just can’t leave him out.


  5. He is just such a safe pick for top 6 FWD though, and is already at a decent enough price. Personally I’d rather take a risk on picking someone than not picking someone, and with Lynch and Reiwoldt both fit Dusty might not be needed forward as much. Also, not sure that Richmond are the clear top side this year, and with a few other teams expected to improve (like the doggies) they might not be able to cruise up to the bye like the last 2 years and might decide to keep Dusty in the middle more.

    I do get your point, and other have made similar cases re: Whitfield, but I’d just rather lock in two almost guaranteed top 6 fwds for the year and concentrate on other aspects of my team. Hopefully I don’t have egg on my face come rd 8!


  6. Some great points all round, but I’ve omitted Dusty for now simply because the Tigers are so bloody good!

    They don’t need to rotate him through the guts to dominate teams, they give great service to him, Riedwolt, Lynch, the smalls and watch the goals pile on. Eg. the final against Brisbane where Dusty basically pitched a tent inside the FWD 50.

    At this point I’m looking for FWDs who will have the maximum amount of midfield minutes, and Dusty’s proven he’s equally devastating up FWD. Just gonna be annoying waiting for him to get those midfield bursts.


    1. I have also gone crazy. I am being very much influenced by FD articles on age, trends etc. based on that you could let both Walters and Martin pass. If you can’t trust the reliability of Whitfield, then what? On those assumptions alone, Heeney will be a strong selection. I think without his broken thumb, even more so. Greene, ticks a few boxes, but fails reliability and the flog test.

      I hate to say this, but I currently have Petracca in my forward line. Age profile right, reliable, improving his output, more mid minutes and the possibility that his team will improve. (Well, it’s hard to imagine they could get worse)

      I then have Ceglar at F3.

      So, Heeney, Petracca, Ceglar. I have put up some crappy forward lines in SC before, but I might have outdone myself this time.


  7. Great article AllSaints and I’m glad your concise argument sums up my thinking. Dusty is a guy who lacks motivation for day-to-day footy and will be a pain to own early in the season. I am going very left of centre up forward in 2020…


  8. Come on guys the season is long and cash generation isn’t everything… Martin will average 98-110 and I’m willing to bet my left nut. You lock that in for 543k at F2 every day of the week rather than take a huge risk on a Ceglar or Greenwood type who will likely not play 22 games and average around their price.


  9. With Lynch, and Jack fit and firing this preason and with Cotchin still abit cooked Dusty should be in for mid time i’d presume


    1. It’s hard to gauge, Tigers have more young mids lining up to play, out of the grand final side only Ellis has left but they have Graham, Ross and Stack to come back in and Collier-Dawkins is getting some good press.


  10. Looking like another frog in the making to me !! As, you have just convinced me to swap him for Rankine, and get a sixth mid premo. May even swap him for Lynch and pick up another rookie and some cash…decisions !!


  11. Interesting AS. I am not planning on starting Dusty and didn’t last year for similar reasons – role, slower start etc and let’s face it there were better options in the Fwds and mids last year to start.

    BUT – this is contingent on what shows in pre season (no guarantees either mind you! #canttrustcoaches!!) what is happening with Heeney and a few other things.

    You need two decent premos at least in the Fwds. And for me personally I think 6 deep mids is too many – it only leaves you 2 more and you may just miss one that really goes big.

    Just my humble thoughts – but nice discussion above all!!

    Edit – meant to say this caper is a marathon to – not a sprint!!


  12. Dusty should average 95-100 and the odds of playing 20+ games is very strong.

    To start without Martin replacing him with say a mid-pricer around the $400,000 mark you would need that player to average within 10 points of Martin or most of the premium scorers at the byes. Considering there are not too many forwards in 2020 who averaged in excess of 95 last year mid-pricers are an option.

    So looking at say Lynch or Wingard $412,300 type who both are capable of pushing an average of 90. In a perfect world;
    Initial minimum cash savings to spend on team $130,700 = 24 points.
    Points loss per week = 10 points.
    Upgrade to Martin at byes cost = $54300. (Round 4 = $109000. Round 8 =$67000)
    Trades required to get Premium = Two (2) – actual plus cash generation.



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