How to fix AFL fantasy football
The fantasy football season drew to a close this weekend and we all get to sit back and wonder where it all went wrong, or for the fortunate few, how did they manage to pull off the win and how can I do it again next year.
So, what will season 2013 look like? What changes will Virtual Sports/Champion Data bring in? Who will be the first picked in your team next season? Is there a particular strategy that works better, for whatever reason?
My Dream Team season was a little flat and every time I seemed to get some momentum, I ran into somebody who was having their best week. The killer for me was the bye rounds.
The bye rounds cause a real dilemma and whilst the AFL has suggested they won’t increase the length of the season to give the players two byes during the home and away rounds, it may come in eventually.
How do we propose to smooth out this huge wrinkle in a competition that has over half a million competitors?
The best solution I can come up with is something I’ve believed in for a while now; keeping it as real as possible, seems to me to be the logical solution.
How many AFL lists have just 30 players? Why don’t they have just 30 players? Because you need more than 30 to put a team on the field every week, which is precisely my point!
What would be wrong with a squad of 40 players? Say five rucks, with perhaps 10 forwards and defenders and then the remaining 15 being midfielders.
You keep the whole dual position player system and maybe expand a little on that bracket – some guys this year were listed as single position, but spent a whole lot of time in the middle and vice versa, with certain midfielders spending a lot of time in the forward line, or occasionally defence.
I don’t really see an issue with this. You could lower the “magic number” – the multiplier applied to the players points average, to arrive at his price tag – and that would then allow you to fit the additional players into your salary cap. Pretty simple solution.
I would favour keeping it a little high to ensure “coaches” had to draft a more than reasonable number of rookies. It would also require coaches to look at some of the “mid-price” players that everyone seems to avoid like the plague.
To fit within the salary cap you will have to have a blend of guns, rookies and mid-price players, unless you want to punt on a whole swag of first-year players getting a regular gig, straight up from Round 1, which isn’t all that likely this coming year, as we don’t have a new AFL team to champion.
The other good thing this will do is further diversify teams/squads. It can be a little boring sometimes over a weekend, when you’re playing someone and they have 18 of your starting 22 and you’ve both opted for the same skipper. You come down to having an interest in four blokes over the weekend. Lot more excitement and following of games when you have different players engaged.
The other matter that really has come into its own this year is the “late withdrawal”. Nothing more annoying than having your opponent on the ropes and then Damian Hardwick or another decides he’s going to give said player the week off.
But hey, don’t tell anyone on Thursday when the team is announced, or even make a change to the selected side on Friday. Nope, we’ll leave it till a couple of hours before the side runs out.
It has played merry hell with a lot of people’s teams. You only have to troll the normal fantasy football websites to hear the frustration that comes to the surface when this happens.
It’s usually a good solid player that gets pulled, because the coach wants to give him a break, or he’s carrying a “niggle”. They’re the guys we’ve backed in for our fantasy team, for the same reason – they’re a gun, solid player.
What I reckon we need here is keeping it to 22 selected players to run out as normal but adding some flexibility to your second layer, the same as a match day squad – i.e. be allowed to pick three emergencies that come in for a late withdrawal, of the “like” position, rather than just were you nominate them.
So for instance, if you had Birchall on the field in defence and he was a late withdrawal, then you’re emergency player Ellis would play. Then if you had another late withdrawal, say Brian Lake, and you had Mark Baguley as a second emergency, given he’s a midfield–defender, he could then cover Lake.
If you then were extremely unlucky and had somebody like Joel Selwood pull out of your midfield after another concussion, despite being named on a Thursday evening, and you had Thomas Couch (if by some fluke he’d been picked to line up for the Ds) as a midfield forward, he could cover that absence.
After that, if you have any more, then you’re obviously picking too many blokes with injury concerns and perhaps you should hand in your whistle. At least with a decent sized squad you have a chance of getting some enjoyment out of your weekend, every week.
I might take it a little too seriously at times, but I don’t think I’m an orphan in that and with over 500,000 entries and Supercoach each season, I’m sure there will be more than a few people reading this article and nodding their head at the same time.
Maybe this is why registrations of AFL Dream Team are down 4.5 percent and SuperCoach down 6.2 percent over 2011 – and flat across the last three years.
Anyway, I’ll be interested in other peoples thoughts on the subject.