As in the past few years, I am now looking at generating a discussion on selecting your starting guns and chasing OA glory. Is it better to go off total points or averages? In theory, they should be the same … right? And, for some players it is. But in many cases, it is not, as players can have really high averages, every year, (yes, I’m looking at you Jelly – actually, most Giants players for that matter!!) but they miss several games and thus do not end up scoring the highest points in each position, possibly also costing you trades in and out, and in again … hmmm, this is sounding like a different kind of article … better stop it there!
At the end of the day, total points scored is what wins this thing. Not great averages, generally. There are other factors that need to be considered in making your starting choices and these are and should include:
- Your appetite for risk. Are you a risk taker or a safer player? If you like risks, you’ll look at those sparkly exciting players with awesome averages … but Caveat Emptor!! (buyer beware)
- Has the player had a role change that may lead to them scoring better – particularly key for players available in DEF or FOR and listed as duals, or even in one or the other roles, but widely expected to be playing a lot of MID time.
- Are there enough viable rookies on each (and all) lines? – Remember, rookies determine your structure – starting premos do not determine your structure!
- With the above – if there are few viable rookies on one line and a lot on the other, you may start more premos on one line than the other – eg DEF looking pretty bare this year and FOR rookies more plentiful / viable, so perhaps more Premos start in DEF than FOR
- Are there other players in the team that play a similar role, and thus potentially steal points of each other and limit each players scoring potentials – will this be an issue for someone like Sicily?
- Is the player a key position player (KPP) – particularly important when looking at DEF and FOR players, as it usually limits their scoring potential – with the odd exception – Tomahawk is a GUN!
- Finally, do you think the player is due for a breakout year? Look at their points scored in each of the preceding years and yes, their averages – combined! It’s great if their averages are jumping by 10 or 20 a year … but not so great if they miss 3 or more games every year!
- And finally – CHECK YOUR BYE STRUCTURES – for players on each line and across all lines!! Round 14 is already looking really ugly – don’t compound it further by building your team with all your key premos all having the bye that round!!
So, that said I am including the spreadsheet in the same format as previous years, with a tab for each position and generally, at least twice the starting number of players in each position for your consideration – with both averages and total points tables. Go and have a look and continue reading …
- NOTING – 2020 was a funky year, as we all know! Less games, shorter quarters, teams playing away from home and in “a bubble” and scores were generally accelerated – so make of the scores / averages what you will!
- I have included the two preceding years’ tables as well for your viewing pleasure – it may help you in your decisions!
- Note the players shaded in green – these are the ones who were listed as the top starting options in 2021 and again in the list for starting in 2022
- My picks – I have highlighted in yellow shaded cells and surprise, they are the ones who play just about every game!
- Some of the more popularly mentioned breakout contenders in 2022 on the various forum threads have also been included in each position – how will they go?
- No surprises most of the top 12 all played every game in 2021. Laird & Mills no longer available
- You can’t start all of them though, so three, maybe four at best – so which ones is key, and which are upgrades?
- For me – there are three (3), and only three, that should be your starters – can you guess?
- One other key thought here – you may just want to pick defenders that will take their teams primary kick in role – the rule change for playing on from a behind allows better scoring for those players! Look at Rich last year – then again, is he a worry – every second year he misses games! Will he miss matches again in 2022? Whitfield is similar, in reverse! Every second year he misses matches – so is this the year he plays all? When on the park, playing the role he does, he’s in the gun category … but do you risk him?
So, the same question – when selecting your starting premo forwards, are you better off going with total points, or highest averages?
Popular theory, “if you aren’t starting Dunkley, then you aren’t serious …” hmmm. It’s true – in an average sense … but will he stay on the park or cost you trades again?
- This position is the hardest to pick and get right and is subject to the most player position changes every year – it’s a wasteland this year
- The key here is generally having those players that have M F status (and maybe the odd R F – I’m looking at you Maxxy and RoMO!), or at least a forward only, that we know or believe will play large mid time (or newly swapped to be a primary interceptor / kick in artist like Ziebell / Hall in 2021)
- Taranto looks likely, depending on his role and De Goey and Treloar could win you this thing … but do they stay on the park?
- There is one player here that defies the “don’t pick KPP players” rule – can you pick him? … It’s Hawkins! Every year he finishes in the top options. Now, the Good Father would probably indicate that he is getting into the “too old” category and thus not an option … but do you start without him? He’s worth considering in your final 6 when he dips in price!
- Will Butters breakout? Maybe Greene? Nah, forget it … unless he’s had a frontal lobotomy to become a decent human and pass the no d’head policy!
Arguably one of the most “difficult” lines to select as there are many options across the clubs, and they usually cost you the most – so getting them right first up is potentially paramount to a successful year.
If you’re a risk taker, you’ll also be looking at trying to find that elusive breakout player. Who picked Parish last year? – are you brave enough to start Rowell or Serong?
- Are there any injuries to consider from the off season?
- Can you afford the players … are there enough rookies across all lines to let you run that one extra mid or breakout player?
- For me, the top ones speak for themselves and are in most teams being posted on the Rate My Team threads. You can’t really go wrong with any of them as your starters I think … and it may just come down to a question of BYE PLANNING
- Fyfe, Kelly and Treloar. Do yourself a favour … DON’T!! Great averages, but total points and games limited due to injuries … are they worth the risk?
- There is one Swan here that should be considered as he never misses games and is always there
No explaining here – you need Gawn / Darcy & Grundy – daylight to the next best ones … and remarkably they are consistent with games played … and even if missing one or two they make up for it in how well they score.
- Marshall appears impacted by Ryder and is thus risky
- NicNat is that good! BUT he does miss games until last year – dare you risk him?
- Don’t discount the ageless warrior Goldie as well – solid and durable and will save you some coin to start
- The dreaded round 14 Bye is a bit of a problem … but manageable if you plan your trades, upgrades and bye planning well! Do yourself a favour and download the Bye Planners and plan out many scenarios and option!
- You may be a risk taker and want to choose not playing one of the big two and investing the dollars saved on other lines, and play another premo there … that may work … will you risk one of the breakouts listed?
So, remember, your rookies determine your structure, not your premos!
Remember, trades are gold! In general, you will want to be starting 13 ‘premos’ (12 at worst). This means 9 upgrades, minimum, which generally means 18 – 20 trades. You will get injuries & COVID will impact (it’s why we have extra trades this year, don’t be lured by them!) and you will need corrective trades (cough, splutter Jelly anyone?). So, starting the right premos is essential.
OK – that’s it from me … hopefully this article has been useful and generates some great discussions! Post them below and let others share their thoughts (dare I say pain??) Good luck for your year, bring on TLT and please let’s find some great rookies!!
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