Viney, Howe, then who? AFL SuperCoach’s best mid-pricers
At least when it comes to KFC SuperCoach chatter.
Melbourne on-baller Viney ($439,300, MID) registered the top score in Round 1, amassing 186 points against West Coast.
Howe ($431,900, DEF) was one of only two defenders to eclipse 150, logging 156 in Collingwood's resounding victory over Western Bulldogs.
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Viney (break even -19) and Howe (BE 8) are all the rage in KFC SuperCoach ahead of Round 2, with their low break evens guaranteeing a steep rise in value.
There's no shortage of other mid-price options to consider beyond the popular pair, with North Melbourne's Jy Simpkin and Hawthorn's Chad Wingard among the topscoring forwards of Round 1.
Essendon midfielder Devon Smith ($335,800, FWD-MID) was the most-popular mid-price starting pick, featuring in 58.9 per cent of teams.
If you missed the star Bomber, he should be your priority trade target for Round 2 after scoring 105 against Fremantle.
Here's 15 trade options in the mid-price bracket you should be considering:
Jy Simpkin (North Melbourne) $383,000 FWD-MID Round 1 score: 131
Simpkin provided a taste of his talents in the second half of last season when he posted scores of 106, 125 and 117 from matches where he collected 30 disposals or more. However, five games of 65 points or less to start the campaign and two below 50 from rounds 21-23 restricted the Roo's season average to 70.5. Greater consistency is what can take him to the next level as a KFC SuperCoach stud.
VERDICT: Might be the best breakout POD up forward.
Connor Rozee (Port Adelaide) $422,100 FWD Round 1 score: 125
Rozee comes with an awkward price tag, although his Round 1 effort against Gold Coast suggests he can justify the extra spend. The Port Adelaide young gun was prominent with 21 disposals and six marks and it's encouraging for his scoring potential that he's been slated to spend more time in midfield. Rozee averaged 77.7 in his debut campaign despite being largely stationed in the attacking 50.
VERDICT: If you started Darcy MacPherson or Darcy Parish, consider a downgrade to Rozee before his price spikes.
Ben Long (St Kilda) $283,100 FWD Round 1 score: 118
Our first look at Long dashing off halfback for St Kilda was promising. He only averaged 53.9 and 52.1 in the past two years, but that was playing as a small forward. Long went at 78.6 per cent from his 14 disposals in the Saints' Round 1 loss to North Melbourne. His total was boosted by 11 intercept possessions and 11 contested possessions.
VERDICT: The signs were very positive. He's well worth a look and will shoot above $300,000 quickly.
Andrew McGrath (Essendon) $399,400 MID Round 1 score: 113
Well done if you listened to my pre-season advice and were one of the 5.8 per cent of teams who selected McGrath. Of course, I didn't! The No. 1 draft pick had 23 disposals (11 contested) and laid eight tackles against Fremantle to suggest he's ready to take the next step and become a bona fide AFL on-baller. He only needs to score about 80 to rise by $20,000 after Round 2 and could quickly bridge the gap to become a straight swap to a fallen premium.
VERDICT: I should have started him at M5 as I planned.
Jordan Ridley (Essendon) $322,600 DEF Round 1 score: 100
The No. 1 scoring Bomber in pre-season wasn't Zach Merrett, or even McGrath. It was young defender Jordan Ridley, who averaged 106 across two Marsh Series fixtures. Only 1300 coaches followed that form into the regular season and Ridley rewarded them by scoring 100 against the Dockers. Job security was his issue last year and he didn't feature after Round 7, averaging 66. The indications are he'll be a more permanent fixture this year though.
VERDICT: With so few defensive rookies, why not at least consider him?
Jayden Short (Richmond) $349,300 DEF Round 1 score: 86
The Richmond defender was restricted by injury last season, when his KFC SuperCoach average dipped from 85.8 to 64.3. Short benefited from the absence of Bachar Houli in Round 1, posting 86 points in the Tigers' win against Carlton. The obvious question mark will be how prominent he will be once Houli returns, considering the star Tiger averaged a career-best 105.3 in 2019.
VERDICT: The Houli factor is too much of a worry.
Sam Jacobs (GWS Giants) $348,400 RUC Round 1 score: 134
Jacobs registered 10 possessions and 28 hit outs on debut for GWS, posting his best KFC SuperCoach score since Round 15, 2018 against Geelong. It's worth tempering the excitement surrounding his dominance considering he was up against fourth-gamer Darcy Fort. It's hard to justify spending the extra $96,900 to pick Jacobs over Sydney's Sam Naismith, who will generate cash much faster.
VERDICT: Go with Naismith instead.
Trent McKenzie (Port Adelaide) $298,700 DEF Round 1 score: 79
Maybe I'm being a bit nostalgic here, but let's throw McKenzie into the mix for old time's sake. A KFC SuperCoach favourite in 2013, superboot McKenzie has only featured three times in the past three seasons. His one appearance of 2019 resulted in a score of 110 and he made Port Adelaide's Round 1 team - scoring 79 from 15 disposals and seven marks. It sounds crazy to me too, but maybe it's crazy enough to work!
VERDICT: I'll need some convincing between now and June 11 to follow through and pick 'the cannon'.
Bailey Smith (Western Bulldogs) $415,900 FWD-MID Round 1 score: 106
A favourite of KFC SuperCoach expert Al Paton, Bulldogs rising star Smith was a shining light in Round 1 in a game where premium midfielders Marcus Bontempelli and Josh Dunkley struggled. Smith had 23 disposals and laid seven tackles despite the Bulldogs being blown away by Collingwood. Second-year breakouts are rare, but not unheard-of. Clayton Oliver produced the most memorable in 2017 when his average skyrocketed from 70.3 to 111.5.
VERDICT: Another option to consider if you started MacPherson or Parish. His extra midfield time nudges him ahead of Rozee.
Sam Petrevski-Seton (Carlton) DEF-MID $443,300 Round 1 score: 113
Did we miss a potential breakout defender? Less than one per cent of teams started with Petrevski-Seton, who is in his fourth season at Carlton. Petrevski-Seton lifted his KFC SuperCoach average from 67.2 to 81.6 last year as his average jumped from 16 possessions a game to 19. His Round 1 ton can be largely attributed to a disposal efficiency of 89.5 per cent from 19 touches. If he improves his numbers to closer to 25 possessions a game he'll be a smoky to be a top-six defender.
VERDICT: He's got serious breakout potential, but that price is off-putting.
Chad Wingard $412,300 (Hawthorn) FWD-MID Round 1 score: 131
At last check, Wingard had come into more than 1000 KFC SuperCoach teams by virtue of his Round 1 heroics in Hawthorn's win over Brisbane Lions. Wingard was one of the Hawks' best with 20 disposals and three goals, displaying the type of matchwinning quality which led Hawthorn to recruit him from Port Adelaide. Now it's a question of whether he can produce that regularly in brown and gold.
VERDICT: Loved his Round 1 display, but unless he's guaranteed midfield time I'd look elsewhere.
Jon Ceglar (Hawthorn) $417,000 RUC-FWD Round 1 score: 101
Ruckmen are in vogue, possibly for the first time, in KFC SuperCoach. There's been little reason to look beyond Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy in recent years in search of ruck points. Ten ruckmen scored tons in Round 1, headlined by Grundy's 179. Ceglar was one of the other nine big men to hit triple figures and has the bonus of carrying RUC-FWD swing. He'll provide insurance should one of your starting ruckmen be sidelined and has been tipped to be Hawthorn's first-choice ruckman with Ben McEvoy to feature in defence.
VERDICT: If ruckmen can maintain the sort of numbers we saw in Round 1, Ceglar would be a perfect F3 or F4.
Sam Naismith (Sydney) $251,500 RUC Round 1 score: 121
The bargain big man of 2020. Naismith's career-best average of 69.6 hardly warranted much thought, but he vastly exceeded expectation with a score of 121 in Round 1. His Round 2 break even of -25 is the best of any ruckman and another 100 would result in his price launching above $300,000. In a season where SuperCoaches only have 17 rounds to generate cash, that's hard to ignore.
VERDICT: If you started him you're a genius. If not, he's an ideal partner for Brodie Grundy or Max Gawn.
Brett Bewley (Fremantle) $252,700 FWD Round 1 score: 95
Brett who you ask? The Dockers wingman landed in the west as a mature-age recruit last year, averaging 51.7 from seven games and generating $114,900 from a starting price of $117,300. He's become KFC SuperCoach relevant this season after a shift to the wing under new coach Justin Longmuir. That paid immediate dividends when the gifted ball user had 20 disposals and eight marks against Essendon for 95 KFC SuperCoach points. He's noted for his effectiveness by foot and Bewley went at 85 per cent disposal efficiency against the Bombers.
VERDICT: Anyone who listens to the SuperCoaches Box podcast will know I'm a fan. He's a good chance to feature in my five Round 2 trades.
Darcy Fort (Geelong) $264,800 FWD Round 1 score: 94
Fort was preferred to Rhys Stanley in Geelong's season opener and had 24 hit outs to Sam Jacobs' 28. That effort should be enough to earn him another opportunity as the Cats' first-choice ruckman. Fort's three matches last year yielded scores of 105, 51 and 53, although it's worth noting he spent a fair chunk of time forward. If he's playing in Round 2, it will be as a No. 1 ruck. That, plus the record scoring by ruckmen in Round 1, should have him on your radar.
VERDICT: He's in my team already. You should pick him too.
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Originally published as Viney, Howe, then who? SuperCoach's best mid-pricers