The byes are finally behind us. As usual, they didn’t disappoint. From premiums scoring poorly in the final bye round, to sure-bet rookies being rested it is always a challenge. Take something out of them and use it to your advatage next year.
So we are finally on the run home. It’s time to get all the premiums back on the field and work out how you are going to storm home. The beauty of this game is that you can play it to win overall or just play in leagues against mates for the ultimate bragging rights. The one thing that is constant in all of the formats is that you need to have the strongest possible team on the field in the run home to have any chance. Trades may be tight, but it is important to use any that you may have left to your advantage in the remaining weeks. One of the key things to look at in your side is the amount of uniques that you have in your favour. From an overall perspective having unique players makes it possible to make up plenty of ground in the remaining 8 rounds if they are firing and pumping out huge scores. From a head to head league perspective, you need to make sure that the unique factor is in your advantage to come out on top in the finals. It can be common at this time of the year for these type of match ups to be decided by less then 6 players.
So, in considering these factors I will attempt to highlight some players that need to be considered on each line and may be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful campaign. In each line I was use recent form as a guide and highlight a unique option for RDT.
Defender: Jarrad McVeigh.
This may be suprising, but McVeigh is still in only 8.3% of teams, compared to the clear number one premium choice in Heath Shaw, who is in 62% of sides. McVeigh has a 3 and 5 round average of 95/94, compared to Shaw with 89/88. After a delayed start to the season, McVeigh started slowly and took a little while to get going. In his last 2 games he has looked fantastic and is primed for a strong run home in a team that will be competing to finish in the top 4. The Swans have some tough games in the next 2 weeks, but a 4 week block against Carlton, Fremantle, Port and St Kilda should see McVeigh put up some decent numbers in the final 8 rounds.
Midfielder: Rory Sloane.
When Dangerfield left the Crows it opened up the position of number 1 midfielder for the Crows and Rory Sloane has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Sloane plays a fantastic all round game that hits the stats sheet in every possible way. He works hard both ways, loves to tackle and kicks goals. There is not too much that he does wrong, apart from the odd sub-100 score, which can be hard to take from a midfield premium. Sloane has a 3/5 game average of 124/188 ppg and the Crows have potentially the easiest fantasy scoring draw on the run home http://coachespanel.com.au/dt-fixture-analysis-2016-round-16/ (thanks to Tim and his brilliant fixture article). Sloane is now over $600k, but he only features in 7% of sides and this needs to be considered against popular midfield trade in targets such as Luke Parker, who is already in over 30% of sides.
Ruck: Brodie Grundy.
Most people would have a settled ruck division by now and the big 3 of Goldstein, Gawn and Martin dominate the ownership numbers. Stefan Martin would be the choice of the 3 if anyone needed another ruck, based solely on his price. A unique option to consider though would be Brodie Grundy, who is only in 1.8% of teams at the completion of Round 15. Grundy does his best work as the sole ruck and although Collingwood have been playing musical chairs with their other talls, I would expect Grundy to continue rucking alone. He has a 3/5 round average of 99/94, which is comparable with Goldstein and Martin. Personally, I don’t think the ruck position is the place to be going unique with the options available, but each to their own.
Forward: Brett Deledio.
A poor first half had a few new Deledio owners a little worried in the last round, but he moved behind the ball in the second half and proceeded to move from 15 at half time to 91 at the final siren. That is some serious scoring power and he has proven over the last 5 seasons that he is able to score well in any role, with a season low 95ppg average. Deledio is in only 6% of sides and offers a very nice point of difference in the run home. The only concerns that I see from him are that he is in a side that has now officially had it’s season declared over by the coach and there will be some tinkering in the remaining part of the season to have a look at some different options. There have also been a number of documented injuries for Deledio in the last few seasons and at the first sign of trouble he will be wrapped up in cotton wool and put on ice for the season. There is a little bit of risk, but isn’t that what we love about this game?
There isn’t a lot of time to make up ground in the overall stakes. A few sneaky uniques is the only way to really achieve it. Are there any that you have your eye on? What about someone that you think can win you a league title? Let us know on Twitter @brettfish15 or @coachespanel or join in the conversation at our Facebook group here.