In Dozen Deals we use BUY, SELL, HOLD, ADD, or DROP. This is based on a 10 team 22 player roster. BUY, SELL, HOLD, and DROP will apply to players that are generally owned, while ADD will cover players you may find on the waiver wire or as a free agent.

Trading being such an important and often overlooked part of fantasy draft leagues, I thought I’d look this week at how to choose players to target or to look to give away. The key is to see how many points you’re going to gain by bringing in a player, vs how many you’d lose for the player you’re giving up. This seems ridiculously obvious, but there is some nuance to it. The main thing people overlook is the average scores of players sitting on the waiver wire. In most leagues this year, it looks like there are several forwards, backs and midfielders averaging in the mid 70s available. That means if you’re giving up a player as part of a trade like David swallow who’s averaging 55, and you get in the trade a midfielder averaging 80, it’s easy to think that you’re up 35 points. In fact, you’ve really only gained 5 points because you could have taken a free agent averaging 75 and given up nothing. That’s why premium players are so valuable, because it’s hard to find players averaging significantly above what is on the waiver wire. So, when a player like Hugh McCluggage starts the season averaging 84, he looks like a great buy low candidate, because while he’s about 10 points above the waiver average at the moment (that’s the value I’ll have to give an opposing coach in a trade), his upside is to average 100 and be 25 points above the waiver average. That’s why I’m so reluctant to trade slow starting premiums and so keen to get them through the door! 

Buy: Hugh McCluggage

In 2021, Hugh McCluggage averaged a super healthy 100 and was one of the game’s better wingmen. Unfortunately, 2022 hasn’t started out the way he would have wanted, with his possession count down on last year. Playing on the wing means there are bound to be games where he doesn’t find as much of the ball, but there’s no reason he can’t rebound and push his average well into the high 90s for the rest of the season. I think he’ll be very gettable if you make a decent offer while his stocks are low.

Buy: Isaac Cumming

A bit of a trend in this article has been my recommending you buy rock solid defenders who have a good floor and fill out all the stat columns every week. This week’s nominee is Isaac Cumming. He’s continuing to evolve as a player, showing this year that he can not only take a few marks, but actually find quite a lot of the ball. He’s another name that isn’t sexy but will get the job done for you week after week.

Buy: Daniel Rioli

Rioli has slid under the radar this year, but the flexibility he offers you could be invaluable. A rare defender/forward, he can plug gaps in your team and knock out tons as a forward. He’s currently the 17th ranked forward in the game, averaging more than Shai Bolton, Jaidyn Stephenson, or Zac Bailey. In addition, the Tigers are playing a back-friendly style, which means he’s far less likely to drop a shockingly low score that could derail your round.

Hold: Jordan Ridley

Since his breakout year in 2020, we have expected the world from Jordan Ridley, with people drafting him as high as D1 or D2 in 2021 and 2022. He averaged a disappointing but serviceable 80 last year, and despite predictions of a fantasy-friendly role, is sitting at 73.5 so far this season. I think with a player like Ridley, we need to lower our expectations a tad, and concede that while he may never be a D1 or D2, he’s probably a very, very good D3 or D4. It’s a long season, and he’s such an important player to the Bombers setup, that they’ll make sure he gets plenty of the ball. Be confident his scores will head back above 80, but not much higher. It’s not amazing, but it’s enough to keep him around.

Hold: Sean Darcy

About as durable as Luke Shuey’s hamstring, Sean Darcy once again returned from injury and was almost unsighted in the first half, with a measly 18 points. He got far more involved as the game went on, scoring 42 second points in the second half. We know that with the game moving so fast, players take time returning from injury. While it’s been a rough start for Darcy owners (like myself), he’ll come good in a few weeks’ time. Until then, if you have a decent back up like Luke Jackson, or Tim English prowling your forward line, take advantage of their flexibility and give Darcy a week on the pine to get himself back to full match fitness.

Hold: Todd Goldstein

Another ruck in the hold column, but for a very different reason. Goldy has been solid for a long time, but this year has lost his spot and is playing as a pinch hitting forward. While this means his value as a number 1 ruck has plummeted, there is a fair chance he may gain forward status in a couple of weeks. I’d be holding him at least until then, as while his stocks are at rock bottom right now, with forward status they may well rise enough for a trade. If Xerri picks up an injury or gets rested, Goldy may also give your team a late season boost.

Sell: Jye Caldwell

Another player who had a lot of salary cap hype in the pre-season, Caldwell has had two decent scores and two shockers. With Merrett still to come back in, it’s hard to see how his scoring will improve significantly from his current yo-yoing performance. Considering he has only played 18 AFL games, an 80 average certainly isn’t terminal, but it’s not going to win you a flag. Time to sell this baby gazelle while you can before he (and you) fall flat on your face! (note: Caldwell is a chance at adding F status, he does need some forward time to get there so tread carefully)

Sell: Brad Hill

A definite case of sell high, Brad Hill has had a decent season so far. Playing off half-back, he’s found plenty of the ball, and apart from a shocker in round 3, produced some handy scores. They worrying part of his 4 goal, 114 point performance this week, was that he was switched to a wing/forward role, which for future games is likely to severely reduce his output. He won’t kick 4 goals every week, so sell now while his value is at its peak!

Add: Patrick Naish

As every fantasy footy pundit has said at least 10 times during the first 4 rounds, forwards are thin on the ground this year, which means finding some decent options on the waiver wire or free agent list is invaluable. Due to their unprecedented covid and injury run, players like Patrick Naish have got a game, and he looks like he can find the footy. Averaging 21.5 disposals a game, he’s a solid option as an F5, who may well do better then some high draft picks who haven’t hit the heights we’ve hoped.

Add: Peter Wright

Two Meter Peter is currently the 8th highest averaging ruck in the competition; something which almost made me fall off my chair when I read it. That currently makes him fieldable as a ruck or a forward in almost any league.  In fact, he’s currently ahead of Marshall, Lycett, Nankervis, and Darcy, which is crazy when you think that in a lot of leagues, he’s resting on the waiver wire. Grab him while you can.

Drop: James Worpel

The Worpedo began his Hawthorn career like an unstoppable blue Koopa shell but this season the Worpedo, like the Australian France submarine deal, is dead in the water. He’s shown no ceiling and has managed to stay on the ground for 72% game time and only find 10 points. That’s some serious commitment to avoiding the ball at all costs. Drop immediately, this overhyped experiment is officially done!

Drop: David Swallow

Often referred to as the definition of a JAG (just a guy), at an average of 55, Swallow can’t even be considered worth the acronym. He’s just not scoring well enough to be on our fields or benches. People have been keeping him because of the lure of DPP changes in the coming rounds, the problem is that even if he picks up back status, he’s still not scoring enough to be played as bench cover.