Saturday, 8 September 2012

AFL DreamTeam & SuperCoach - 2012 in Review

So DreamTeam & SuperCoach have finished for another year. This post is going to be rather long & detail what I did during the competition, as well as where I went wrong & ways to improve in 2013.

Let's start with the overall summaries:
Total Score: 46,786
Average: 2034
Overall placing: 14,116 of 290,517
Final Team Value: $11,574,000 (peak $11,702,600 after round 20)
Highest Weekly Score: 2336 (round 17)
Highest Weekly Ranking: 758 (round 17)
Lowest Weekly Score: 1509 (round 11)
Lowest Weekly Ranking: 116,458 (round 10)


Total Score: 47,393
Average: 2061
Overall placing: 58,961 of 374,120
Final Team Value: $13,153,200 (peak $13,210,900 after round 22)
Highest Weekly Score: 2393 (round 8)
Highest Weekly Ranking: 281 (round 5)
Lowest Weekly Score: 1085 (round 11)
Lowest Weekly Ranking: 240,282 (round 10)

As you can see, there were some very good weeks, but also some rather poor ones. The three biggest issues I struggled with this year were the bye rounds (as I think most people did), dealing with injuries & trading.

Bye Rounds 
I did not find a suitable solution to the bye round dilemma this year, and effectively 'threw' round 11, when a large number of my players had the bye. Although it meant that I lost most of my league games for the round, the main impact was in relation to my overall position. Although I was not particularly highly ranked prior to the bye rounds, I was improving, but the bye rounds meant I took a huge dive down the standings once again (I was around the 56,000 mark in SuperCoach prior to the byes & dropped 30,000 places during those rounds; I dealt with them better in DreamTeam, but still slipped around 11,000 places from 26,000 before the byes, although with the later bye rounds I recovered to be in the 13,000s by the end of the bye period). There was much talk pre-season about dealing with the bye rounds, but much of this was thrown out the window by the time they appeared due to a variety of factors (largely injury-related). The bye rounds made it much easier to deal with donuts (scores of 0) throughout the year, however with the byes returning in the same format next year, I need to figure out a better solution than just 'do the usual' & accept a horrible score in one round.

More players seemed to be injured this year than in seasons past ... just ask Essendon or Carlton about how it changed their seasons! The other thing that seemed to create havoc was that in many cases the diagnosed absence was often greatly over or under exaggerated! This was further compounded by a huge number of late withdrawals from teams, so that many players named in teams did not end up playing (often they were named & had no intention of playing!), which further stretched benches & emergency cover. I traded Ablett out & back into my DreamTeam side around his mid-season injury & managed on multiple occasions to trade out an injured player, only to see their replacement also get injured! In future I think I need at least a week of a player on the bench, as well as future weeks out before deciding to trade them out, unless there are other factors involved. Also players like Ablett, although somewhat 'wasted' on the bench, are valuable team members & should be kept in the team as a general rule.

This is where I think I really made some big mistakes & is something that I need to improve for 2013. I'll outline my starting teams for each competition and the trades I made during the year, along with a comment about whether I thought a trade was good or bad, and why that was the case.
Starting side:
DEF: G Birchall, B Goddard, B Deledio, M Clarke, H Shaw, B Ellis, B Lake, T Bugg, B Smedts
MID: G Ablett, S Pendlebury, J Bartel, J Magner, S Coniglio, D Shiel, J McDonald, C Smith
RUCK: D Cox, S Jacobs, J Giles, J Redden
FWD: L Franklin, N Fyfe, P Dangerfield, D Martin, D Smith, D Hale, R Nahas, A Hall, J Paine
Trades (reverse chronological order):
OUT Simpson ($371,200) IN Swan ($594,700) - Good trade - Swan is a gun & in hindsight I should have had him in the team much earlier!
OUT McDonald ($295,600) IN Clifton ($121,800) - Reasonable trade - McDonald had peaked & served his purpose from the start of the year, however Clifton may not have been the best rookie to replace him with, although he did a reasonable job as bench coverage.
OUT Shiel ($351,000) IN Hurley ($317,000) - Bad trade - Shiel had peaked, but I managed to trade in Hurley after some excellent performances,  and of course he was injured shortly after being brought into my team & did not reach the previous mid-season heights when he returned from injury.
OUT Goddard ($390,900) IN Hanley ($377,900) - Reasonable trade - with Goddard getting suspended, particularly during some ordinary performances, it was a good time to trade him out. Hanley was a good unique selection & was in the top defenders for the year, although he did have a few poor performances as soon as I brought him into my team. Having said that, the sideways trade is never a good thing if you can avoid it, and I would have preferred to have BOTH Hanley & Goddard in my team!
OUT Clarke ($287,400) IN Carrazzo ($384,400) - Good trade - Clarke had peaked & was no longer a sure started for Collingwood, while Carrazzo had returned from injury & seemed to pick up where he left off with some very good scores.
OUT Pendlebury ($502,500) IN Rockliff ($447,700) - Bad trade - Another injured premium & I traded them out. Rockliff turned out to be a horrible trade, as he was moved forward & his scoring dropped horribly. From memory Redden was a similar price & he would have been a much superior swap for Pendles (although Pendles would have also been good to keep).
OUT Smith ($282,800) IN Cloke ($333,700) - Bad trade - Although Smith had done his job & gained a decent amount from his starting price, Cloke turned out to be a horrible replacement & there were plenty of others who would have scored many more points than Travis ...
OUT Coniglio ($339,000) IN Priddis ($411,600) - Reasonable trade - Coniglio was another rookie who had more than lived up to expectations before getting injured. I planned at the start of the season for him to be one of my rookie keepers, but his injury forced the trade (although he did play well when he returned from injury late in the season). Priddis was a good replacement & put in some good scores for the team!
OUT Magner ($285,900) IN Sloane ($442,500) - Reasonable trade - Magner was another rookie who had done his thing & Sloane turned out to be a decent upgrade. The issue with Sloane was his lack of consistency - he could put up some good scores, but could also throw in the occasional 60-70ish score, which hurt.
OUT Hall ($243,200) IN Zorko ($236,300) - Reasonable trade - Hall was another who was a bit of a disappointment, as he did not hold a regular place in the Gold Coast team for much of the year. Zorko turned out to be a great replacement, but I got him too late & cost myself an extra $100k unnecessarily.
OUT Houli ($325,300) IN Shaw ($104,200) - Reasonable trade - Shaw was a serviceable rookie & although Houli was fairly consistent throughout the year, he never really had any big scores, so was not someone who I needed to keep in my team.
OUT Horsley ($308,700) IN Ablett ($556,400) - Good trade - Any time you can trade someone like ablett into your team is a good trade, although with hindsight I should have left him in my team during his injury layoff. Horsley was a good (albeit brief) addition to my team & made money quickly, which is what you want a rookie to do.
OUT Paine ($116,300) IN Darley ($104,200) - Good trade - Paine was another rookie disappointment (after looking promising in the NAB Cup) & Darley was a solid replacement.
OUT Cox ($442,800) IN Maric ($400,600) - Reasonable trade - Maric was the breakout player of the year & it would have been good to keep Cox, although he was losing some value at this time of the season. Ideally I would have started with Maric (who I had in 2010), but it was a case of better to have him in late than not at all. Of course Cox returned to his scoring of 2011 after I traded him out, something that was typical of my season!
OUT Ellis ($211,900) IN Heppell ($444,900) - Good trade - Ellis had just about peaked in price & Heppell was a good upgrade.
OUT Kennedy ($201,800) IN Adams ($125,700) - Good trade - Kennedy had peaked (perhaps meaning he wasn't the best rookie selection), but Adams turned into a good scorer & solid cover for players who were out.
OUT Bartel ($447,200) IN Horsley ($119,800) - Good trade, although perhaps it could have been done sooner. Horsley started with a bang, scoring 100+ each game with Ablett out of the side, but when Gaz returned, his scoring slowed & he became yet another rookie to gain some coin & be traded. Bartel seems to be past his best, although can make an excellent team player at times, its not so good for DT.
OUT Ablett ($592,900) IN Simpson ($489,500) - Bad trade - Ablett's injury should have meant that I just benched him for a few weeks, but Simpson had started well, but as with others throughout the season, he came into my team & his form dropped off, before finally getting his jaw broken (meaning he needed to be traded out later in the year after losing value)
OUT Smedts ($113,300) IN Beams ($469,500) - Good trade - Smedts was not living up to the pre-season hype & Beams had a breakout season & would have been great to have in the team from day 1!
OUT Hale ($338,200) IN Treloar ($104,200) - Reasonable trade - Treloar turned out to be an excellent rookie selection, however perhaps it was wrong to trade out Hale, who went on to have a good season (more so once Bailey was injured & he took on the main ruck role)
OUT Fyfe ($450,000) IN Sidebottom ($429,300) - Good trade - Brought about by injury, but happy with Sidebottom's performances throughout the year & in hindsight, probably should have started with him in the first place!
OUT Smith ($149,100) IN Ebert ($360,500) - Good trade - Ebert was in great form at Port Adelaide & Clay Smith had shown promise, but could not finish out a game consistently & struggled to remain in the Bulldogs team throughout the year.
OUT Shaw ($454,000) IN Houli ($415,300) - Reasonable trade - Heath Shaw is too inconsistent with this scoring. Houli brings consistency, although he is not going to get the 80+ scores that you would like very often, so that somewhat negates the trade.
OUT Nahas ($415,700) IN Kennedy ($104,200) - Bad trade - although Nahas was a poor initial choice, Kennedy was not the best replacement, as he seemed to have only short-term value & 'hit the wall' fairly early in the season.
Final side:
DEF: B Deledio, P Hanley, G Birchall, D Heppell, B Lake, A Carrazzo, S Shaw, T Bugg, S Darley
MID: G Ablett, D Swan, B Ebert, R Sloane, M Priddis, T Adams, T Rockliff, S Clifton
RUCK: I Maric, S Jacobs, J Giles, J Redden
FWD: D Beams, P Dangerfield, S Sidebottom, D Martin, L Franklin, D Zorko, A Treloar, T Cloke, M Hurley
Keepers from Round 1: B Delidio, G Birchall, B Lake, T Bugg, J Giles, S Jacobs, J Redden, P Dangerfield, D Martin, L Franklin, (G Ablett)
Of these, Delidio & Dangerfield were the standouts, making big improvements on their 2011 scoring.
Jacobs & Birchall were solid, although more could have been expected of them.
Giles had a great year, although frustratingly he spent much of the year on my bench (and most of the time when I started him on the field, he was outscored by the player I benched, and of course then had a huge game when he returned to the bench himself).
Bugg proved to be a handy rookie & useful bench cover or 7th defender late in the season.
Lake was a good 'bargain' pickup, although his inconsistent scoring was at times frustrating.
Redden was a handy 4th ruck, although he spent most of the season on the pine.
Martin did not live up to the preseason expectations, although his season was reasonable without being outstanding.
Franklin was frustrating, with record-breaking scores mixed with poor scores, injuries & suspensions. He was the kind of player you wanted to have in your team, but were never sure what you were going to get with him.
Ablett was his usual excellent self, although I of course traded him out & back into my team during the season. He's one of the best in the competition for a reason & almost a must-pick from the start of the season.
SuperCoach was my 'experimental' team, following on from some ideas from Impromptu, 2011 SuperCoach winner Jay To.
This experimental team was supposed to have a midfield of rookies, with a fairly stable line in the forwards & backs. Unfortunately, a variety of incidents (mostly injuries) transpired to change this!
The idea was that the higher scoring rookies tend to be midfielders (and there was a huge crop of GWS rookie midfielders to choose from) & they would go up in price quicker, meaning that I could trade them out for premiums fairly early in the year. The 'stable' forward & backlines would go along churning out decent scores from a mostly-premium line & after a slowish start, I would finish strong & have a settled team fairly early in the season ... but rarely do such plans play out exactly as planned ... and this was the story of my SuperCoach season!
Starting side:
DEF: Goddard, Houli, Delidio, H Shaw, Duffield, Heppell, Lake, Bugg, Ellis
MID: Thompson, Coniglio, McDonald, Caddy, D Smith, Shiel, Magner, Cunningham
RUCK: Cox, Mumford, Giles, Redden
FWD: Franklin, Fyfe, Dangerfield, Martin, Hale, Hall, Nahas, Smedts, Paine
Trades (Reverse chronological order):
OUT Martin ($453,000) IN O'Keefe ($565,200) - Poor trade - I decided to use my last trade late in the season & it turned out that Martin finished strongly in his final two games, while O'Keefe had a fantastic round 22, but when I decided to gamble & put the C on him in round 23 for the Grand Final, he had a shocker!
OUT Milera ($266,500) IN Gumbleton ($172,700) - Reasonable trade - Milera was a reasonable rookie selection & Gumbleton had shown some potential, although the trade could have been better as Gumbleton was not a big scorer & did not hold his place in the Essendon team late in the season.
OUT McDonald ($290,500) IN Yarran ($293,300) - Good trade - McDonald had peaked & Yarran was around his lowest price for the year & went on to score a number of 90+ scores, which is great for a player under $300k.
OUT Houli ($341,500) IN Hanley ($448,200) - Reasonable trade - As with my DreamTeam, Houli had been consistent, but was not delivering as big a scores as I had hoped. Hanley proved to be a decent option, although ultimately only slightly better than Houli over the later part of the season.
OUT Shiel ($387,600) IN Watson ($638,000) - Good trade, but done too late in the season. Watson had a fantastic year, but slowed down over the final few rounds. Would have been great to have him earlier in the season.
OUT Hartlett ($461,700) IN Gibson ($94,700) - Good trade - Gobson proved to be a great rookie choice, pulling out a number of 100+ scores!
OUT Duffield ($449,700) IN Carrazzo ($465,300) - Reasonable trade - Duffield had a mid season form slump & Carazzo was a quality replacement, although Duffield returned to the Fremantle side later in the year & played well, while the idea of the premium/sideways trade is again an issue ...
OUT Coniglio ($352,200) IN Barlow ($452,200) - Good trade - Coniglio's injury brought this on (though he was planned to be a keeper at the start of the year) & Barlow turned out to be a good option for the price.
OUT Smith ($292,500) IN Patton ($196,600) - Poor trade - Although Smith was around his peak price, Patton was overpriced & did not score anywhere like what I was hoping he would score.
OUT Zaharakis ($516,300) IN Sidebottom ($587,900) - Good trade - Sidebottom had a great season & Zaharakis' injury forced the trade. A good player choice, but once again, trading a premium for a premium is something to be avoided.
OUT Horsley ($324,600) IN Hartlett ($442,500) - Poor trade - Alhough Horsley had peaked, Hartlett turned out to be a poor replacement, going down with a serious injury after a few weeks.
OUT Paine ($127,100) IN Darley ($113,200) - Good trade - Paine had been a disappointment & Darley turned out to be good bench cover for later rounds.
OUT Redden ($171,300) IN Jenkins ($113,200) - Reasonable trade - Although Jenkins was a good pickup, the trade was somewhat wasted as he rarely saw anything other than the bench & Redden had now really gained enough to be considered a good rookie trade.
OUT Ellis ($234,200) IN Hurn ($438,800) - Good trade - Ellis was around his peak & Hurn turned out to be a good choice for the remainder of the year.
OUT Hall ($177,500) IN Adams ($136,600) - Good trade - Although Hall himself was a poor selection, Adams was a good replacement, providing good bench cover throughout the year.
OUT Magner ($280,600) IN Horsley ($128,700) - Good trade - The Magner star burned brightly, if only briefly & Horsley proved to be a useful midfielder, at least while Ablett was out injured.
OUT Cox ($548,200) IN Maric ($414,100) - Reasonable trade - Its always risky trading out someone like Dean Cox, as he has shown that he can score consistently. Maric was a more than adequate substitute & the $100k gained in the trade was useful elsewhere, although it would have been nice to have Maric from the start of the season.
OUT Smedts ($123,500) IN Zaharakis ($432,100) - Poor trade - Although Smedts turned out to be something of a disappointment, Zaharakis was a good short-term replacement, but as with many others in my side, injured himself shortly after being welcomed into my side, so with the value of hindsight, this was one trade that could have been much better.
OUT Caddy ($235,300) IN Rockliff ($577,400) - Poor trade - Caddy was underwhelming & Rockliff was turned into a key forward by Michael Voss & his fantasy scores plummeted as a result.
OUT Mumford ($610,300) IN Treloar ($113,200) - Good trade - Mumford's early season injury forced this trade & Treloar went on to have an excellent rookie season. The only drawback of this trade was that it meant that Hale had to move to the rucks permanently, which took away some of the flexibility of my team.
OUT Shaw ($516,300) IN Harvey ($547,700) - Good trade - Shaw proved to be an inconsistent scorer, while Harvey was fairly consistent & found some excellent form late in the season.
OUT Fyfe ($528,600) IN Hawkins ($414,100) - Reasonable trade - Another trade forced because of injury. Hawkins was a reasonable replacement, but his scoring was very inconsistent & not ideal in terms of what I would like from my players.
OUT Cunningham ($94,700) IN Ebert ($344,400) - Good trade - Cunningham was a poor rookie selection, who ended up playing very few games during the year for the Swans, but Ebert was a good replacement, having a great year at his new club!
OUT Nahas ($467,900) IN Milera ($124,700) - Reasonable trade - Nahas was another poor initial selection & Milera turned out to be a reasonable rookie replacement, although there were others who in hindsight could have been better selections.
Final side:
DEF: Delidio, Goddard, Hurn, Hanley, Heppell, Lake, Yarran, Bugg, Darley
MID: Watson, Thompson, Ebert, Barlow, Treloar, Carrazzo, Rockliff, Gibson
RUCK: Maric, Hale, Giles, Jenkins
FWD: Dangerfield, Sidebottom, O'Keefe, Harvey, Hawkins, Franklin, Adams, Gumbleton, Patton
Keepers from round 1: Delidio, Goddard, Heppell, Lake, Bugg, Thompson, Giles, Hale, Franklin, Dangerfield
Of those who traveled the season in my side, Dangerfield & Delidio were the clear standouts, having excellent seasons.
Thompson was reasonably consistent, without being outstanding.
Goddard & Franklin were good most of the time when they played, however injuries & suspensions made their seasons shorter than they should have been.
Lake turned out to be a decent, although inconsistent, 'bargain' pickup at the start of the season.
Giles was outstanding, but frustrating, as he was my third ruck for most of the year, so many of his big scores were lost on my bench.
Heppell was consistent without being a star.
Bugg proved to be a solid rookie selection, starting the year well & providing good coverage for injuries in the later part of the year.
Hale had an interesting year, starting slowly before breaking out when Bailey was injured. His big issue was that his scoring remained inconsistent, with the potential to score 150+ balanced by his occasional under 70 scores.

The big challenge for 2013 will be rookie selection, with no ready-made list of rookies in the form of Gold Coast & GWS to choose from. I also need to come up with a better starting side ... and hopefully end up on the right side of injuries. The experiment with the rookie midfield brought home the importance of making good trades, as I felt a number of my trades were done for the wrong reasons, and were often wasted. This was particularly an issue later in the season when I was running low on trades (as were many others in the competition). I also realised the importance of saving some trades for the final rounds, as I felt that in both competitions my team 'peaked' a few rounds before the finals & I was often stuck with injured or out-of-form players in my team during finals, meaning I often had a less-than-ideal side of the ground, or no emergency cover.

In short, it was a good season where I learnt some things, which will hopefully translate into an improved performance during 2013!

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