I played the Pro, or Gold, version of this draft style game the last two years, as well as also playing a similar style NFL fantasy game, which is superior again. There are a few differences between this and the normal mode of Supercoach, and at this point in time there are many questions still unanswered, such as how many teams are in each league, and whether it will be a natural extension of your normal leagues?
The Five Golden Rules of Draft Style AFL Fantasy Footy
1. Be There on Draft Night
This is THE most important rule in draft style fantasy games, and the reason is twofold. Firstly, it is an absolute hoot – draft night is set up just like a normal draft, where you have a minute to make your selection before the time runs out and it moves to the next team. It’s a pressure cooker environment, as you watch the clock tick down whilst you wrestle with the gut-wrenching decision whether to take Cotchin or Natanui. Not only that, but your best laid plans usually go to waste as you watch the team before you select Goddard, just when you thought he had slipped under everyone’s radar. It’s bloody brilliant. The second reason to stay in on draft night is to get yourself a better team – while the auto-select is adequate, it’s never as rewarding (or successful) as choosing your own team. A beer, a bowl of chips, and your draft list – things just don’t get any better than that!
2. Select the Best Player Available – in Each Position!
This might sound a bit obvious – of course you would select the best player available, that information is as useless as Sam Gilbert’s right foot. But it’s more than that – the important thing to remember is to keep your team as well-rounded as you can. If the composition remains the same as in 2012, there will be 3 midfielders, 3 defenders, 3 forwards and one ruckman – with 5 players on the bench, composed of whatever you like. Quality midfielders are in abundance in fantasy football, and can easily distract the unwary player. You ripper, you might think. I’ve got Swan, Mitchell and Hayes in my midfield…now to get a ruckman. Only to find you’ve got the great choice of Zac Smith, Mark Jamar or Oren Stephenson as your first stringer. Don’t forget - keep an eye on all positions and select a gun when you can.
3. Get Some Quality on Your Bench
Unlike normal Supercoach, trades are unlimited in the draft style game, meaning you are free to move your players around as much as you like. The only downfall is, teams can stockpile good players on their benches, meaning they are out of bounds to all other teams. This is a vital tactic to a successful team – get some quality players on your bench, so if your stars get injured or suspended you have someone there who can take their place for a few weeks and get enough points to keep the damage to a minimum – and you don’t have to worry about returning your injured stars to the pool for someone else to snap up and sit on until their return.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Stock Up With Players Taking on the Weaker Teams
This is a tactic used by many players in draft style teams, and the reason for that is simple – it works. While you do need to keep that quality on your bench, sometimes a perusal of players left to wallow in the pool can be very beneficial. The teams that have matchups against Gold Coast and GWS in particular are, on most occasions, in for big, percentage-boosting wins. Big wins correlate to big possession numbers, a truckload of goals and oodles of fantasy points. So if you normally wouldn’t go near Andrew Walker because he just doesn’t do enough, maybe the week he plays GWS you sneak him into your forward line – and watch the points flow in. It’s a risk, but what in fantasy football isn’t? It just might be the difference between a victory and a loss.
5. Be Wise – Offer Up a Trade to Better Your Team and Watch the Rising Stars
Fantasy footy is no place for the sentimental, we all know that. So you need to be wise and strong when it comes to your draft style team – recognise your strengths and weaknesses and play a tactical game accordingly. In this style of game you have the ability to offer players up for trade – either directly to another team, or indirectly to see what sort of interest you get. Kinda like Free Agency I guess. So, if you have somehow managed to acquire 4 or even 5 quality midfielders but are struggling in the ruck department, target a team who is flush with ruckmen and offer up a direct, juicy trade that could be beneficial to both teams. Similarly, keep a close eye on those developing superstars who may have been overlooked – your side may be completely different by the end of the season than what is was in round one. If they play well, get ‘em in.
So, there are my five gold rules of draft style fantasy football. Most importantly, have fun with it – I actually think it is a better format, allowing for more strategic and analytical play than the standard Supercoach game currently does. The beauty in this format is that your score relies on your stars, as it should – rather than the top dozen players in your team being cancelled out because everyone you play already has them, meaning your score (and whether you win or lose) relies almost solely on your weaker players. Some people complain that whoever has the number one draft pick (i.e Gazza) is unbeatable, however that is too simplistic a view. Yes, the first pick is beneficial, but if the leagues are 16 teams then in the rolling draft system, the player with pick 1 then has to wait until pick 32 for his second selection (1 to 16, then back in reverse order). This helps even things up, with many believing it is better to have for example pick 8 and pick 24. Even with only 10 teams like this year, the team with the first pick has to wait until pick 20 for their second selection. Sounds pretty even to me.
Hopefully these tips will help you navigate your draft style team in Supercoach 2013. Good luck!