EACH WEEK I’ll be bringing you my thoughts on which players to BUY, SELL, HOLD, ADD and DROP in AFL Draft Leagues.  The moves are based on a 10 team redraft league with 22 players per team, so if your league is shallower, deeper or keeper, use your best judgement as to what moves apply.  Remember no-one HAS to trade with you, but the least you can do is make offers to try improve your team.  Also consider your league set up and team structure before making a move.  This is a list about value and treating your team as something that is constantly evolving to try get it as solid as it can be.  As I always say, “if you ain’t trading, you ain’t trying!”  You can hear the rest of my thoughts each week as part of the Draft Doctors Podcast released each Monday.


Ahoy drafters, I thought this week I’d annoy you and do something a little different to the usual column.  I know a lot of you out there are wheelin’ and dealin’ and making some great moves to bring home that title – and I love it!  Myself, John and the Statesman all love hearing about the successes you’re having.  But let’s not get complacent.  There’s a lot of bridges to cross and water to navigate and whatever other stupid metaphors you can think of that says ‘it ain’t over’.  It’s time to get real.  Time to look at the big picture.  It’s time for a fantasy stocktake.


With the byes approaching (presuming you play byes), you’ll be in one of three positions on your ladder – 1 – golden – you’re flying along with either no, one or 2 losses.  Things are rosy.  2 – middling – you’re in the middle of the pack with other teams, fighting for a finals spot or a better finals position.  You’ve had some injuries and a couple of draft picks didn’t work, but others did and with the right breaks, you’ll be there at the pointy end. 3 – languishing.  Your team sucks.  You drafted bad, you’ve had injuries, done bad deals and every meme in the league is about you.


If you’re in situation one, for me, it’s time to be aggressive as hell.  Be prepared to take a couple of losses over the byes for the greater good.  If you drafted a late ruck, go trade for Gawn.  Start contemplating doing 2 for ones which will reduce your depth but bolster your main lineup.  Look at plus matchups for your finals run.  You’re in this to win it, go for it.


If you’re middling, and this is hard, patience is required.  You might see others doing deals, but you’ve got to keep winning.  If you’re managing an injury, stay patient.  Do the things that have got you here – smart captain picks, waiver strategy, good trading and plus matchup streams.  Looking too far ahead can cause you to lose sight of what’s coming up – wins you NEED.


If you’re team’s screwed, well, I hope you play in a keeper and can start trading old dudes and reload.  If not, you’re obviously going to have to win your bye matchups.  Drop who you need to, trade at a slight loss if it gets you a win, field full teams.  It’s really that simple.  Traditionally the bigger bodied mids also perform better in the second half – guys like JPK, Joel Selwood, etc.  It might be worth flipping a running type for plodders for potential upside.


I realise I’ve mentioned a lot of moves to make, just be aware – injuries will occur in the second half of the season.  So thinning down your roster too early can hurt you if you get some injuries.  Of course, I believe in going for the win and you’ll have to weigh up where you are in your league.  Obviously there are a lot of different finals formats and they all have different rewards for finishing position, so you’ll know what’s important to you.


And on all that trading, be aware of the value of players in whatever format you’re playing is.  And I don’t mean averages.  I mean, compare position to position.  Midfielders average the most, but what about defenders vs forwards?  We field the same amount, but at this stage, especially in SC, there’s more forwards averaging over 80 than there are defenders.  So a 90 defender is more valuable than a 90 forward because there isn’t as many of them, yet we have to field just as many.  You mightn’t be able to haggle it that way, but it’s worth noting.


I also wanted to touch on trading for injured players.  Number one – they make great trade targets.  Number 2 – it’s often not a great play.  Yes, you can get great value, as Max Gawn would cost the Earth when fit but would be very hard to pry away from his owner.  But you really have to be OK with that player getting reinjured.  Tom Rockliff is a fantasy stud, but comes with huge concerns and shoulders are notoriously easy to reinjure.  I’m not saying don’t do it – please, go for value – but just know what you’re getting into.


Lastly, I wanted to talk about finals matchups.  Whether you play round 19-22 or the last 4 weeks, or 3 weeks, whatever, just be aware of the matchups and the waiver pickups you might want to grab beforehand as a stash.  I can tell you West Coast have sweet matchups in rounds 19 and 21 and Mark LeCras is on a lot of waivers.  That’s just off the top of my head, but it should be noted.


I hope you enjoyed the change of pace and don’t mind not having player writeups for a week, but I and the other guys really want to see as many of you bring home titles as possible, and I think the stocktake is valuable.  But seriously, in SC, Steve May is a great trade target.  Now go win!