AFL SuperCoach stars no one is talking about
We are 50 days until the first SuperCoach lockout of 2019, and already we are seeing some very similar teams.
It is perhaps one of the few negatives in this game we love, checking in on game day and seeing your mate has 20 similar players to you - of a possible 22.
While our teams are sure to change hundreds - maybe thousands - of times before Round 1, teams are likely to become even more similar as the days draw on. That is why it is essential that we look outside the box at players with low ownership - known in the SuperCoach world as points of difference (PODs).
PODs are generally considered to be players owned by less than 5 per cent of SuperCoach players, and have the capacity to boost your way up the rankings by setting yourself apart from the pack - ask the geniuses who started with Jack Macrae last season and cashed in as he finished the year with a whopping average of 127 SuperCoach points.
In the midfield, the similarities are particular evident. Most teams would have at least two of Jack Macrae, Patrick Cripps, Nat Fyfe, Clayton Oliver, Josh Kelly and Dustin Martin - some may even have them all.
With the highest scoring midfielder Tom Mitchell ($700,800) likely to be sidelined for the entire season with a broken leg, it gives us even greater freedom to go against the pack. Not to mention superstar Patrick Dangerfield ($660,500) gaining FWD/MID status.
Here are some of the best midfield POD options - with some familiar names among them.
Adam Treloar $594,200 | 2018 average: 109.5 (13 games) | Ownership: 3 per cent
A rare double-hamstring injury saw Adam Treloar's stellar SuperCoach season cut short, a year in which he showed tremendous consistency. The Pies star posted 10 tons in 11 matches from Round 2, and was on his way to another before he finished on an injury-affected total of 95 in Round 14. Overall, greater disposal efficiency and an average of almost a goal a game saw the ball magnet get more points per possession in 2018, and it's why he is every chance to average 110-plus this season. But will Dayne Beams' inclusion halt his influence?
Elliot Yeo $585,500 | 2018 average: 107.9 (22 games) | Ownership: 5 per cent
Remember this guy? Yep, this was the man punching out tons in our defence last year. It seems many SuperCoaches have forgotten about the Eagles dynamo without his DPP status, but he remains a formidable option. Yeo fell below 88 SuperCoach points on just two occasions during the home-and-away season, and we know his capacity to go big - eclipsing the 120 mark in eight matches. His ability to lift when the game is on the line means you can't rule him out
Joel Selwood $570,500 | 2018 avg 105.1 (22 games) | Ownership: 1 per cent
With Selwood, you know what you're going to get. The Cats skipper has averaged 100-plus SuperCoach points over the past decade, many of those years going beyond the 110 mark. Teams have steered clear of Selwood in recent seasons with the likes of Dangerfield, Duncan, Ablett and now Kelly surrounding him, but he is still first picked in their centre-bounce trio. A POD worth considering.
Marcus Bontempelli $564,600 | 2018 average: 104 (19 games) | Ownership: 3 per cent
Last year teammate Jack Macrae usurped The Bont as the most prolific player at the Kennel, but 3 per cent ownership is awfully low for a player of his calibre. Bontempelli's 2018 campaign was inconsistent, averaging 111.7 points to Round 13 (including a five-week burst of 145, 132, 120, 47, 128 and 129) and finishing well below that figure. Still only 23, the star's best is ahead of him, and he is favourably priced. One who has threatened to hit the next level and 2019 might be the year.
Angus Brayshaw $526,900 | 2018 average: 97 (19 games) | Ownership: 6 per cent
He just misses the criteria for an official POD, but close enough. Brayshaw finished 2018 like a house on fire, averaging 108.3 points from his last nine matches (including six 110-plus totals). He also finished third in the Brownlow Medal - despite his invite being lost in the mail. Now listed as just a midfielder, SuperCoaches have steered clear, but he could prove to be a fine selection if his red-hot form continues. The Dees midfielder is difficult to miss in his headwear, so the guys at Champion Data certainly won't miss any of his touches.
Dayne Zorko $520,200 | 2018 average: 95.8 (22 games) | Ownership: 2 per cent
A grim season has many SuperCoaches saying never again to Zorko - and who can blame them? Starting at over $600k, Zorko was unable to shake the tag in 2018, finishing with the second-lowest season average of his career. The 29-year-old should come out with a point to prove this year, and will get more of a chop-out from the emerging Lions midfielders. A known SuperCoach beast at that price-tag looks mighty tasty.
THE ULTRA POD
Jarryd Lyons $502,000 | 2018 average: 92.5 (19 games) | Ownership: Under 1 per cent
"Dayne Zorko has a point to prove? Hold my beer." Lyons was axed from the worst midfield in the league despite averaging the third-most clearances per game across the whole competition. If there is anyone who will out to prove themselves in 2019, it's Lyons. The contested side of the game is his bread and butter, and last season we got a taste of what he can produce, posting six tons (plus three scores of 99) while in and out of the Suns side. It would take a brave person to start with the ball magnet, but it is these sorts of moves that can really pay off.
Reece Conca $392,900 | 2018 average: 72.4 (16 games) | Ownership: Under 1 per cent
Conca left the Tigers searching for greater opportunity and he should get just that at the Dockers. Greater opportunity means midfield time, with Conca playing in all parts of the ground throughout his eight years at Punt Rd. Fremantle has a gaping hole in its midfield after Lachie Neale's departure, and it could see Conca slot in. His injury-affected score of 5 in Round 15 last year brings his price down even further, and the 26-year-old is in his prime. If he can get his body 100 per cent right - and that's a big if - he may be a surprise packet.
Andrew Brayshaw 328,600 | 2018 average: 60.5 (17 games) | Ownership: 1 per cent
The No.2 draft pick didn't tear the house down in his first season but he got better as the year went on. An average of 60 SuperCoach points doesn't scream "pick me", but Brayshaw was massacred by his time-on-ground, spending just 66 per cent of games on the park in 2018. A man by the name of Clayton Oliver scored 69.8 points per game from 67 per cent game time in his debut season, going on to average 111.4 the following year. Interesting. A Neale-less midfield and another pre-season under his belt could see a similar jump from the youngster.
George Horlin-Smith ($270,300 | 2018 average: 62.3 (4 games) | Ownership: 4 per cent
Horlin-Smith won't have to wait for several injuries to make his way into his new side's midfield. The inside midfielder played just 19 games in the past four seasons for Geelong - the same number he played in 2014 alone. Horlin-Smith, 26, will receive much greater opportunity in a young and inexperienced onball brigade. Isn't guaranteed a spot in their best 22, so keep a close eye on him throughout the JLT.
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