In recent years there have been three clear choices when it comes to fantasy royalty. Dane Swan, Tom Rockliff and Gary Ablett. Unfortunately, injuries have yet again contributed to an early season finish for Ablett and it may well be the last time that the little master is an automatic choice in our fantasy sides. There is some talk that Ablett may play forward in the future, but that will mean that at best a DPP addition may be coming in 2018. It’s a long time to wait and it may just be time to thank him for the wonderful services that he has provided our sides. I remember having doubts about how Ablett would be able to adapt in leaving one of the great modern day sides of Geelong to a fledging newcomer in the Suns. Would the lack of experience and polish around him reduce his output? How wrong I was. Ablett took his game to another level and carried the young side along with him. We have been priveleged to watch one of the greatest of all time in our era.
However, we have to consider the here and now. Ablett has gone down and is out for the rest of the season. In all formats of the game he is in over 50% of teams and a lot of coaches have a big choice to make about who he is traded to. As always, it depends on the structure of your team as to what is the best option. Factors such as a completed side and trades remaining wil dictate the choices that need to be made.
Firstly, if the side is completed then the only real option is a trade to the next best midfielder that you don’t have. Obviously the best of the lot at the moment would appear to be Patrick Dangerfield and many would consider him the obvious choice if there are a few dollars in the kitty. The thing from here though is that Dangerfield is in nearly 60% of teams already and costs $100k more than other rivals. Sydney also showed that Geelong are not nearly as imposing if Dangerfield can be quelled and surely teams take a more defensive approach against him in the last part of the season. I would only be looking at Dangerfield if you aren’t too fussed about him costing $100k more than other options who could quite easily average the same from here. Rory Sloane, Lachie Neale and Jack Steven have shown huge ceilings and have some opponents remaining who leak points and are great choices in almost straight swaps. The consistency of Dan Hanneberry should not be ignored either and is another great proposition as a straight swap.
Secondly, is the side is not completed and you require some extra funds to upgrade elsewhere there are some great underpriced options that can be picked up and the extra funds can be used to strengthen the team on another line. Steele Sidebottom had a great game on the weekend and although he had been quiet in the month prior, he has previously shown a great ability to get on a run and produce huge scores. For under $500k he has to be seriously considered. In recent weeks the boys have highlighted some great underpriced midfield options on the podcast in Andrew Gaff, Brandon Ellis and Brad Crouch. Both Gaff and Ellis have a 3 round average of over 100 and Crouch is very close. In particular, Crouch has been building into form very nicely and although it would take a huge risk to downgrade Ablett to him, consider what could be done with the $130k that can be made with this trade in RDT. It might be enough to get a Petracca to a Hall or Greene and let you drop Kerridge back to the bench. It could mean getting a Kerridge to a Merrett or Martin. There are some great options that can be achieved by looking at the Ablett trade in this way and it takes the rookie lotto equation out of the picture.
Finally, if you are one of the forward planning coaches who have picked up a cheap Gaff, Ellis or Crouch type in the last few weeks as some fantastic M9 cover I would urge you to consider trading Ablett to a DPP option to give you greater flexibility for the run home. This is only the start of players being out for the rest of the year and DPP provides a fantastic ability to manouvre your side through the end of year minefield. The ownership of Aaron Hall has dropped from 63% at his highest ownership to around 46% after his suprise omission prior to the byes. This is the perfect time to bring him back in. Ablett and Rischitelli out of the Suns midfield can only mean some serious mid time for him and we all remember how he opened the season in a blaze of glory. On averages, Zach Merrett and Dayne Zorko are in the top 4 players in the competition this season. Don’t dismiss them without taking the time to work out how a move like this could benefit your side.
A season ending injury to a high priced player is not the end of the world. Use it to to your advantage. Create a point of difference in the mids or strengthen another line. There are some fantastic options available. As always, we love to hear your thoughts. Let us know on Twitter @brettfish15 or @coachespanel or join in the conversation at our Facebook group here.