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.

Today I wanted to talk about how important it is to be flexible and not to become wedded to players you selected in a fantasy draft. There’s a theory in economics that basically says people place more value on something they own than on something of the same value they don’t own. I think in fantasy footy, this effect is even greater than in the real world. We drafted our team, talked trash about everyone else’s selections and then crossed every appendage on our body hoping that our speculative picks would pay off. The risk we run however, is that we become so attached to our players that we refuse to budge on them, even if there are clearly better options available. These lack of decision moments can seriously cost us during a long fantasy season.

After 7 rounds, we have enough data to make some tough calls about picks we’ve become attached to. This should apply specifically to the bottom players in each line. Obviously, if you for example loaded up on forwards and your F5 averages significantly above what’s on the waiver, keep those players. Likewise, if you’ve been able to trade up to strengthen a line so that your bottom players are fairly decent, feel free to hold firm. But when you have a line where your bottom on field player is only averaging a few points more than the equivalent waiver picks, it’s time to get flexible and be prepared to make changes based on data and upcoming matchups.

A great example is Mason Redman. He’s sitting on a lot of free agent lists with an average of 76.1. In his last 4 games however, his average goes up to 84.5, making him the 24th ranked defender and equal to a D3-D4 for most teams. Dropping a D5 or bench defender who’s averaging in the high 70s could be a profitable play in this type of situation.

I guess my point is to make sure you’re fully utilizing the waiver and free agent lists, not sticking with your favourites out of sentiment. I’m not suggesting dropping your guns without decent compensation in a trade, but for those lower players, be prepared to chop and change regularly. Chances are, you’ll reap the rewards with some bumper scores from the bottom of your list.

Buy: Tom Liberatore

There’s been a lot of talk (and salary cap hype) about Luke Parker’s recent addition of forward status. With the RBA interest rate hike announced this week, Parker may have become too expensive to pry away from an owner who made the call to HODL to him and is now reaping the rewards.  Someone who has flown completely under the radar and hence may not be as pricey is Tom Liberatore. A completely unremarkable fantasy midfielder, as a forward, he becomes super relevant with an average of 90 that matches his effort from 21 games last year. In fact, he’s now the 11th ranked forward in the game! It certainly won’t be cheap to gain Libba, but it could well be a worthwhile move if you can get it done.

Buy: Brad Crouch

Matt appeared in this article a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s brother Brad’s turn. He’s inconspicuously gone about his work this year and has managed to average 100 without attracting much attention of any kind (24th ranked mid overall). This week he had a season low 79, which makes it the perfect time to dangle an offer for him if you’re in need of a decent M3-M4. Judging on his output so far, and the fact that he has a history of averaging as much as 107, he’ll be well worth it.

Buy: Jack Higgins

Higgins might be a bit more gettable than the previous two players I mentioned but is just as relevant. He’s perennially been a bench forward for us, with coaches desperately hoping he moves into the midfield to fulfill his junior scoring potential. The benefit is that while his scoring has increased significantly this year, many still view him as that F5/bench forward. Looking at the stats, he’d fit well into most forward lines. Jack is averaging a healthy 75 this year, but if you remove the game where he got injured on 22, that shoots up to 85.6, making him an M2 in most leagues. Further, if you take out the slippery crap-fest that was the game in cairns this week, his average is 94, or 6th in the league! No, he probably won’t average 94 for the season, but that’s a great ceiling to have. Make an offer on the back of his 52 this week, because with a few more good weeks, he might be out of reach.

Hold: Mitch Duncan

It always hurts when our top pics betray our faith by underperforming. The problem is, that while there will be plenty of suiters willing to take them off our hands, they will most likely give us roughly the value of their current averages, not the value we anticipated when we drafted them. Duncan is a great example of this. On the back of a decrease in disposals (19.67 down from 26 last year), he is averaging 81.5, which sits between Zac Butters and Daniel Rioli. That’s incredibly disappointing when he was tipped to average over 100.  If you get a godfather offer that gives you an A grader in return for him, by all means, go for it. But instead of offloading him for an 85 averaging defender, it probably makes more sense at this point to hold onto him and hope he lifts his possession count as the season goes on. If he gets 3 more kicks a game, he’s suddenly a top 10 forward again!

Hold: Nick Daicos

A rookie averaging above 85 is rare, and while we knew he would be handy this year, the statistically better Daicos (by 2.2ppg) has exceeded our expectations so far. A little part of me was hoping to see a WWF style Brothers of Destruction Gimmick for the Daicos brothers who were both racking up 90+ averages but that might be for a 2023 article. Unfortunately for Nick, he had his first tough game this week scoring 59. Don’t get rid of him, there’s still upside to be had if Collingwood decide to increase his midfield time. There will always be down weeks for young players. Take the highs with the lows and don’t give up on him yet.

Sell: Peter Ladhams

Ladhams has knocked it out of the park since coming into the Swans line-up for an injured Tom Hickey. He’s averaging 93.5 and is the 6th ranked forward in the game. His ruck availability has also been a godsend with the carnage that’s occurred across that line in the last few weeks. The problem for Ladhams owners is the imminent return of Tom Hickey. He is likely to be back in the coming weeks, and if he’s the preferred ruckman, he’ll either consign hickey to the dreaded forward/ruck split or knock him out of the team altogether. Yes, if he gets the number 1 spot from Hickey, or big Tom gets injured again, this banger scoring will continue. However, I think the best option is to cash out your chips at an all time high and see if you can get a gun from another line in exchange.

Sell: Chad Wingard

The Chad has always been a player who seems to score in big troughs and peaks. For a month he can’t seem to get above 70, and then BANG! A four week stretch where he averages 115 (like the last 4 weeks of last year). These stretches have coincided in the past with games where he’s been played predominantly through the midfield. The problem he has now however, is that Hawthorn have so many kids they are trying to move through there that even the pig himself, Tom Mitchell is struggling to get bulk minutes on the inside. If Titch can’t get the time he needs to build a monster score, it’s going to be hard for Wingard to push towards the 80 average we really need from him. Trade him while you can still extract some value. Hopefully reminding opposing coaches of his ridiculous finish to last year will be enough to get you something. If not, I’d strongly consider kicking him to the curb.

Sell: Jake Stringer

A player who seems to be consistently overrated is The Package, Jake Stringer. Yes, he’s a damaging footballer who gets some mid time every week. Unfortunately, save for a few good fortnights here and there, that has never translated into premium scoring. He averaged a career best 80.5 last year. Before that, his next best year was the 75.7 he averaged in 2015. He is also prone to injury, having never played a full season. Some packages are exciting, some disappoint. Treat this one like the jar of mango chutney my great aunt sent me last week and give it to someone else.

Note: Since I wrote this he got injured again… sell or drop at this point

Add: Mason Redman

As I said at the start of this article, based on the last 4 weeks, Redman deserves to be in your team. Don’t be afraid to ditch a low averaging defender or bench player for him, it could well pay off for you. Even if it doesn’t, you can drop him for someone else that pops in the next month.  

Add: Greg Clark

Possibly the most obvious ‘add’ recommendation that will appear here this year, but I have to say it anyway. Just grab him if he’s free. Greg could well be a 90-100 averaging midfielder, which is rare as an Essendon player running defensively at this point in the year.  

Drop: Nick Hind

Nick Hind had a breakout year in 2021, averaging a surprising 84.5 and bolstering struggling defenses in fantasy leagues everywhere. Up to round 4, his scoring had been solid, averaging 83.25. Since then he has been moved to deep in defense, then given the green vest, then dropped. He might return and average low 80s again, but he also may not. Drop him and get someone else.  

Drop: Blake Hardwick

Last year, Hardwick averaged a career best 81.3, with a ceiling of a whopping 134. Unfortunately, this seems to be an anomaly, as he hasn’t scored above 72 this season. If you took him late in a draft as a lottery pick, it’s time to drop him for almost any other defender available.