SuperCoach AFL: Time to trade Walsh?
UNLESS you're one of the top 1000 SuperCoaches after seven rounds, you no doubt have bigger issues in your team than Sam Walsh and Reilly O'Brien.
No. 1 draft pick Walsh has been a valuable starting pick, rising by almost $250,000 from his initial price and providing an average of 95.1 points per week.
O'Brien, meanwhile, has been a revelation since replacing injured ruckman Sam Jacobs as Adelaide's first-choice big man, making more than $200,000 and averaging 94.
As both Walsh and O'Brien's prices climb closer to premium status, there will come a temptation to upgrade the pair to historically-reliable selections whose prices have fallen.
But with trades at a premium before the bye rounds, should you take a cautious approach or move on both Walsh and O'Brien in a bid to climb the rankings?
Price: $452,600, Mid
Break even: 97
Ownership: 72.3% (144,734 teams)
Bye: Round 14
Walsh has been a safe on-field bet since making his debut in Round 1, scoring 79 or better in every game except his debut 68 and posting four consecutive hundreds between rounds 3 and 5. His break even exceeds his average for the first time this week and coaches need to decide whether they picked the No. 1 draftee for cash generation or scoring potential.
The aggressive play: It will only cost you another $130,000 to make the leap from Walsh to top scorers including Jack Macrae and Nat Fyfe. If you can't afford to part with such a large chunk of your bank, Tim Kelly is available for $501,700 or Stephen Coniglio is only $526,800.
The safe play: Hold. This will be the most-popular option for coaches mindful of the upcoming byes. Round 8 looms as a week where a double downgrade to Jackson Hately and Noah Answerth will be popular and you can build your bank by bringing both rookies in without sacrificing Walsh's scoring.
Price: $340,700, Ruck
Break even: -11
Ownership: 13.4% (26,933 teams)
Bye: Round 14
O'Brien has capitalised on an opportunity he waited two years for to become the Crows' No. 1 ruckman, even outscoring the most expensive SuperCoach ruck Brodie Grundy in Round 7. He's sitting on the bench at R3 in thousands of teams who traded him in purely to generate money for a forward upgrade when his price peaked. That time might not arrive until after the byes, considering O'Brien scored 123 against Fremantle and still has a negative break even. His lowest score for the year is 84 and he should see your team through until at least his Round 14 bye, unless you desperately need to cash in for upgrades in other positions now.
The aggressive play/s: Trade one of your starting ruckmen and put O'Brien on field. This is the ultimate risk-reward play, as trading Max Gawn or Brodie Grundy would allow you to add a top premium in another position. Alternatively, you could trade O'Brien before he reaches his peak value and gain points up forward via an earlier trade than others who hold him through the byes.
The safe play: Hold until Round 14 when he has the week off. If you've got Patrick Bines on your forward bench, swing him back to R3 and use O'Brien's value to trade to a forward premium for the run home.
ROUND 8 TRADE TARGETS
Jack Macrae $582,300 Mid, Avg: 113.9, BE: 149
Wait another week if you want to get Macrae at his lowest price, but a player of his scoring ability is great value at less than $600,000. He hasn't gone above 110 in the past month, but all signs still point to him being one of the top midfielders again this year. He has a friendly bye in Round 12, which is a bonus.
Nat Fyfe $578,200 Mid, Avg: 116, BE: 87
The Dockers captain's price rose by $14,000 after he scored 124 against Adelaide and he's only heading north. Four of his six scores this year have been 124 or better and the only time he went below 110 was when he was concussed against St Kilda on 63. Still only in 30.7% of teams, Fyfe is looming as a must-have this year.
Tim Kelly $501,700 Fwd-Mid, Avg: 99.7 BE: 88
Kelly is still available for a slight discount on his starting price and his average of 99.7 puts him in the top-six scoring forwards of 2019 - ahead of teammate Patrick Dangerfield. Five of his seven scores this year have been 100+ and his 39 against GWS when he was tagged by Matt De Boer has been long forgotten. While his Round 13 bye matches with other popular premiums, you need Kelly in your forward line now.
Noah Answerth $117,300 Def-Mid Avg: 70.5 BE: -72
The first of this week's bubble boys, as many coaches consider a double downgrade to bring in Brisbane Lion Answerth and GWS midfielder Jackson Hately. Answerth has managed scores of 72 and 69 in his first two AFL games and is projected to rise by $65,000 this week with a score of 71 in Round 8. His Def-Mid eligibility is a plus and opens the door for coaches to swing him with Port Adelaide's Xavier Duursma. The only question mark is whether Zac Bailey, who has been out with a hamstring injury, pushes Answerth out of the Lions team.
Jackson Hately $148,800 Mid Avg: 90 BE: -93
The withdrawal of Josh Kelly from GWS' team to face St Kilda at the weekend presented the chance for Hately to build on his debut 95 and he did not disappoint. The first-round draftee backed up that effort with 85 and is projected to make more than $80,000 in Round 8. Leon Cameron will have a few selection headaches if Lachie Whitfield, Josh Kelly and Phil Davis prove their fitness, so watch team news closely this week before locking Hately in. He was squeezed out previously despite having 22 possessions on debut.
Marcus Bontempelli $586,300 Mid Avg: 121.6 BE: 103
Only Lachie Neale and Patrick Cripps have a better average than Bontempelli after seven rounds. The Bulldogs star has two totals above 140 and hasn't gone below 95 this year. His high ceiling has never been in doubt, but he has been prone to throwing in the odd low score. With that threat seemingly gone, Bontempelli looks a safe bet for a premium midfield upgrade and he heads toward $600,000.
Justin Westhoff $402,300 Ruc-Fwd Avg: 78.7 BE: 36
Westhoff's price is heading back toward premium status after he overcame a month-long slump with scores of 92 and 108 in the past two weeks. Westhoff has benefited from the return of Todd Marshall to the Power forward line in the past two weeks, which has allowed him more freedom around the ground. He's a perfect buy if you have Patrick Bines on your ruck bench as he can provide flexibility should one of your starting ruckmen miss through suspension or injury.
Tom Stewart $507,700 Def Avg: 103.6 BE: 98
How much longer can the Geelong defender stay a point of difference pick? Stewart is still only in 6.3% of teams, despite being the fifth-best defender of the year behind Jake Lloyd, Lachie Whitfield, Shannon Hurn and Luke Ryan by average. His Round 13 bye doesn't suit if you have Dangerfield, Kelly, Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy, but Stewart ticks almost every other box, including his price.
Caleb Daniel $499,700 Fwd Avg: 104 BE: 78
Daniel continues to rack up possessions at will across halfback for the Bulldogs, amassing 36 disposals against Richmond on Saturday. His score of 113 against the Tigers continued an incredibly consistent season, during which he has posted between 93 and 120 in seven games. Daniel is still only in 5.6% of teams but his ownership will start growing by the week.
Sam Walsh $452,600 Mid
Patrick Dangerfield $541,800 Fwd-Mid
Willem Drew $322,400 Fwd-Mid
Matt Parker $249,000 Fwd
Charlie Constable $303,000 Mid
Tom Liberatore $461,700 Mid
Tom Rockliff $465,700 Mid
Tom Atkins $259,800 Mid
While the temptation to trade Walsh, Liberatore and Rockliff is understandable, this is the period of the season where you should be either cashing in on rookies or upgrading to premiums. Use your trades to bring in Answerth and Hately to build your bank or target Fyfe or Macrae, rather than sideways trading one of this trio.
If you held Constable while he had a week off, it doesn't make much sense moving him on this week. He performed strongly in the VFL and has been tipped to earn a senior recall after being omitted for Round 7. Parker (BE 12) and Drew (BE 58) should continue to make money, although the Port Adelaide on-baller will be a popular trade when the Power has its Round 12 bye. Atkins (BE 18) could reach $300,000 after Sunday's score of 87.
Dangerfield (BE 197) is in 72% of teams, so when he scores 26 as he did on the weekend, take solace that 144,000 other coaches are suffering too.
Jordan Clark $239,500 Def
Michael Gibbons $266,200 Mid
Jack Petruccelle $274,500 Fwd
Clark (BE 55), Gibbons (BE 50) and Petruccelle (BE 59) have break evens which either exceed their average or are close to it. You only have two trades this week and upgrading in the forward line should be your priority. Expect a double downgrade of Clark and Gibbons to Answerth and Hately to be among the most popular trades of the week.