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.

With round 9 in the can, it’s the perfect time to think about your trading strategy for the upcoming bye rounds. Your ladder position and league setup will mostly determine this. Let’s look firstly at leagues with byes switched off. That 3 week break without games is the perfect time to set your team up for success heading towards finals. Look at players who are soon to be returning from injury and may be ready to peak after the mid-season break. Examples include Salem, Hall, Steele, and even Grundy if you’re struggling for a decent ruck. Those awful 8-week injuries will be reduced to 3 by the time round 15 rolls around. That means players will be back by round 18 and with a couple of weeks back should be tip top for finals. While grabbing injured players before the byes can bring some big rewards, it also carries significant risk, as its also possible that they reinjure themselves, or their recovery doesn’t go to plan. Make sure you only pick up 1 or 2 of these recovering superstars (depending on how many bench spots you have), or you could end up giving up a flag for a team that looks great on paper but is slowly jogging laps with the rehab group instead of winning you games.

For leagues that are playing through the byes, your focus should change depending on your ladder position. If you are languishing near the bottom, prioritize avoiding zeroes and look at trading out those injured players so you can take advantage of top teams who might struggle to field a full lineup. If you can jag three wins through clever trades and use of the waiver wire in rounds 12-14, you might propel yourself back into contention at the expense of teams unwilling to lose players they drafted.

If you’re lucky enough to be right at the pointy end of the table, well done on your season to date! Now you might be in a position where losing a game or two with a zero won’t matter. If that’s you, take advantage and see if you can grab a recovering premo from a bottom side for a bargain. This could really solidify your structure and set you up for that flag tilt! Just make sure you don’t sacrifice a finals spot as a result.

Buy: Jed Anderson

Whilst it would have been a big relief for North Melbourne supporters when Jed Anderson finally left the Covid 19 5G WhatsApp discussion group with Liam Jones and Cam Ellis-Yolmen, it appears that his hesitation to get the vaccination has had the unintended side effect of also making him hesitant to tackle, with only 1 each week so far. Luckily for us, his mid time has been steadily increasing, with 26 possessions from 70% game time in round 9. Given he averaged 5.7 tackles a game last year, there’s still significant upside for this forgotten forward.

Buy: Zak Jones

Zak Jones, did you polish your head in the Shine-O Ball-O? Because something certainly seems to be working. Last year injury derailed his season at different points, but he finished with an average of 101.7 from round 7 onwards. He’s building slowly, but with Steele out and his midfield minutes increasing, Zak Jones represents great value, if you can tempt an opposition coach into offloading him.

Buy: Patrick Lipinski

While he hasn’t reached anywhere near the heights we would have hoped this year, as a forward, Lipinski is more than serviceable. He’s ranked 19th of all forwards, and is also getting plenty of the ball, averaging 24.5 touches, suggesting that there could be scoring upside for him in the second half of the year. Jump on board if you can!

Hold: Jack Steele

Who could have known that Jack Super ‘man of Steele’s’ Kryptonite was a crunching direct hit to his shoulder? This is arguably the biggest injury of the fantasy season. A bit of a disclaimer here, if your team is languishing near the bottom of the ladder and you need wins, it could well be worth offloading him to get some points on the board. Likewise, if you play through the bye rounds, 6-8 games, plus the time it will take him to get back to the speed of AFL footy is a big price to pay. Having said that, for people in leagues that have a 3 week break over the bye rounds, you’re only looking at having to hold ‘the man of’ for 3-5 weeks before he’s back on the park. For a player of his ilk, that’s hardly a worst-case scenario and with St Kilda still looking for a spot in the Top 4, they will certainly be picking up that Bat Phone (sorry wrong franchise) as soon as possible!

Hold: Lachie Whitfield

As a Whitfield owner, I’ve been super disappointed with both his output and Leon Cameron’s consistent ‘Bevoing’ of the GWS superstar this season. He’s one of the best by foot in the league and he’s capable of 190s for goodness sake… just play him somewhere even adjacent to the ball, not in the forward pocket. Luckily, for us (not for Leon) the winds have changed at the Giants, and there’s a new coach for the remainder of the year. HODL for a couple of weeks to see if there’s an obvious role shift. If not, by all means look to move him on. I’m crossing everything that he returns to the uber premium he should be!

Hold: Travis Boak

It was one aberration, where Ken decided to rest him for an entire match in the forward line. Don’t jump at shadows, Boak will be fine when push comes to shove. Keep in mind, the Power don’t play the Kangaroos again for the year. This nightmare of a game for Travis might make you double think giving him the captaincy, but I certainly wouldn’t look at moving on this ripper of a selection.

Sell: Darcy Cameron

I’ve made a bit of a habit in the last couple of weeks of prematurely ending some well-earned victory laps. I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify, that when you’ve picked up a player from the waiver wire who’s had a role change and produced some banger scores as a result, it’s important to be aware of factors that could see them turn back into a pumpkin. When there’s a role reversal on the horizon, you don’t have to offload them immediately (Blicavs is a great example of this), but it certainly doesn’t hurt to see what value there is for them and be open to a trade if the opportunity arises.

In the last 3 weeks, Cameron has proved to be an outstanding waiver selection, averaging 103 as a forward. Keep in mind however, that before that when he wasn’t the sole ruck, he averaged a very underwhelming 47.8. This is a roundabout way of bringing me to my warning… There are rumours of Mason Cox returning to the Collingwood side as a ruck option, which could well end Cameron’s high scoring run. Add to this the fact that Grundy will return before finals, and there’s a compelling case to seek a trade in the next few weeks if the opportunity and value are there.

Sell: Lachie Weller

Out of the dumpster fire that has been our forward lines came the announcement that Lachie Weller would start the year with forward status and would spend time behind the ball. This seemed too good to be true, and as it’s turned out, it has been. He’s only scored one ton and had one other game over 80. In fact, in the last five, Weller has averaged a tick under 70. That’s enough to land himself on my trade table. Take really any upgrade in any other line for him while he might have enough value to net you something. He could also be handy steak knives in a two for one deal.

Add: James Aish

He’s never put a full season together, but James Aish is certainly on a roll at the moment. He’s averaging 95 in his last 3 games with two tons, and he’s scored above 70 in all but 2 games this year. The numbers suggest he’s well worth a punt if he’s still floating around your waiver wire or free agency list.

Add: Zach Guthrie

We all try to pick breakout candidates from the waiver wire. One of my favourite strategies is to look at players who showed a ceiling last year.  Guthrie ticked this box with a whopping 128 at the end of the season, and he didn’t miss a breakout beat during pre-season training and community series games.  2022 looked to be his year, but he just wasn’t able to cement his place in the side during the early rounds. Now that he’s back, the younger Guthrie has scored 108 and 83 in the last two weeks. He might go back to the 60s and get dropped for someone over the age of 30 in the coming weeks, but it’s also entirely possible that his scoring continues for a while yet. Take a punt and jump on board.

Drop: Brad Close

Prior to round 1 I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. Then he scored a ridiculous 138 in round 2 and became something of a commodity. Since then, he’s had a top score of 81 and a low this week of 23 AF and 13 SC… from 81 percent game time (I double checked because looking at his score I assumed he was injured). It’s definitely time to cut your losses and run if Bradley’s still tying up a spot on your bench.

Drop: Matthew Flynn

Coaches who ended up with the likes of English, Lycett, Darcey, Grundy, McEvoy or any other failed ruck have been scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a replacement this year. Unfortunately, with Preuss Season being real, Flynn hasn’t been the answer for us. His inconsistent scoring combined with a lack of ceiling means that there’s not much point in holding him. You’d be better off streaming back up rucks as needed and taking a punt on someone else from the waivers. This could equally apply to Sam Draper, who’s 17 AF and 6 SC points (with 16 hit outs!) from a full game really defy logic. Whilst I may be 172cm, 33 years old, and last played 8 years ago in local league Div 4 reserves, I honestly think that if I ran out as second ruck for Essendon, I’d legitimately have a shot at matching that total! Hang on, who was I meant to be talking about again? Matt Flynn? Oh yeah, while Preuss is playing, he’s cooked, drop him (and maybe Sam Draper too)!