Thursday, 29 March 2012

AFL DreamTeam & SuperCoach - the final first sides ...

OK, so I've finally locked in my teams for round 1 of the AFL season!
I'll list my teams below & explain my selections at the end of the post, as well as people I still have my eye on as upgrade/downgrade tagrets.
The important thing about my present teams is that they were all named to play in round 1 (although some have already worn the dreaded green or red vest at various times during the opening two games of the season). Hopefully this is something that will continue (players on my team being named to play each week), as I think that Job Security will be a major factor in the various fantasy competitions this year, with only 2 players on the bench & the potential hassle of the bye rounds in the middle of the season.
Anyway ... on to the teams:
Remaining Cap: $1,800
DEF: B Goddard, H Shaw, B Deledio, G Birchall, B Lake, M Clarke, B Ellis, B Smedts, T Bugg
MID: S Pendlebury, G Ablett, J Bartel, S Coniglio, D Shiel, J Magner, C Smith, J McDonald
RUCK: D Cox, S Jacobs, J Giles, J Redden
FWD: L Franklin, N Fyfe, D Martin, R Nahas, P Dangerfield, D Hale, D Smith, J Paine, A Hall
Likes: I'm very happy with my premiums across the park. Obviously they are the key to scoring the vast majority of points, but I think I have a number of premiums who should be able to score me 100+ each week. I'm also happy with some of my rookie selections - McDonald scored well against Sydney (though he did get a 2 week suspension from the game as well) & Coniglio looks like he gets plenty of the ball (but needs to kick more often than he handpasses). Bugg started well for GWS also & I think guys like Hall, Magner & Bugg should all make decent cash for upgrading throughout the season.
Dislikes: There are a few concessions that I have had to make for the salary cap - not yet completely convinced of Smedts & Paine as rookies on my bench & would love to have found a place for Mzungu in the midfield & Suckling in the backline, but am happy with Bartel & Birchall (yes, I know the Mzungu/Suckling combo is cheaper than Bartel/Birchall ... but I was hoping to have Mzungu as my fourth premium midfielder).
Uncertainty:  The 'bargains' in the team are my main cause for concern. Will the likes of Lake & Clarke score the 80+ points I would like from them, or will they just be the run-of-the-mill players scoring in the 50s & 60s? Nahas, Dangerfield & Hale in my forward line are also somewhat concerning. Nahas' score last night (didn't get to see the game) was underwhelming & I'm not completely sure that Dangerfield & Hale will be able to push the 100 point mark regularly throughout the season ... but I suppose that is the risk I have accepted by selecting them.
Future plans:  There are a few rookies & premiums that I have left out of the team who I would like to get in at some stage throughout the season. Obviously as mentioned, Mzungu & Suckling are on the radar as upgrade targets. The usual suspects as far as the midfield are concerned are always in consideration (Swan, Boyd, Murphy, Thompson, etc), while there are still a few rookies with potential who can slot into the side as downgrades later in the year (the likes of Couch, Zorko, Patton, etc).
The other thing to consider is how well I manage to start the season & if I consider going for the overall finish, or just concentrate on going for league finals & the like. 
Remaining Cap: $5,900
DEF: B Goddard, B Deledio, H Shaw, B Houli, D Heppell, P Duffield, B Lake, B Ellis, T Bugg
MID: S Thompson, J Caddy, S Coniglio, D Smith, D Shiel, J McDonald, J Magner, H Cunningham
RUCK: D Cox, S Mumford, J Giles, J Redden
FWD: L Franklin, N Fyfe, D Martin, R Nahas, P Dangerfield, D Hale, A Hall, B Smedts, J Paine
Likes: I like the idea of the team ... with the stacked forward & backline (with 2 premium rucks) & mostly rookie midfield.
Dislikes: The risk involved in this system - obviously its a very risky approach (something I don't mind doing with SuperCoach this year), but I'm concerned that I could look like a fool come round 15 when I'm hundreds (if not thousands) of points behind the leaders.
The other thing I dislike about my team is that I currently have a combined 11 players from GWS & Richmond! That's over a third of my team made up of players who will likely not be involved in finals (not to mention players from Gold Coast & Port Adelaide) ... its a concern in terms of having too many players from the one team, as well as the thought that if the team in question (GWS or Richmond) does poorly, then their fantasy scores could potentially suffer across the field.
Uncertainty: I'm just not sure I have the right players in my team! I think there will be an obvious group of premiums in each position who will be the standout players (at least in fantasy team terms), but other than a few players (Franklin, Fyfe & Cox are the obvious choices), I'm not completely sure that the others I have selected will be in the 'season's best' team, which is what you'd ideally like to have happen. I'm also somewhat unsure that the strategy is the way to go this year - it is based on what Jay To (winner of SuperCoach in 2011) did in his initial side in 2010, but I'm not convinced that this year's midfield rookies are quite up to the standard of the 2010 group that prompted the strategy.
Future plans: Obvioulsy the main idea of using this strategy is to upgrade the midfields as soon as possible, so that you essentially end up with 20+ premiums on the field sooner than others who take a more 'traditional' approach. The fact that quite a lot of rookies have DPP status (with midfield being the most common position) means there are plenty of downgrade targets to choose from & there are the usual crop of star midfielders to bring into the side (Ablett, Swan, Pendlebury, Boyd, etc). The other hope with this system is that some of these premium players are initially overpriced (such as Pendlebury at $700k in SC), and will drop from their initial price in the early rounds of the competition, so that I can pick them up later & spend less money doing so.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Championships Round 7

Game on! 
After a slow start, Guy West has thrown the title hunt wide open, beating the previously undefeated Dusan Stojic with an unusual sideline (5...f6!?) in the Ruy Lopez to join Dusan in a share of the tournament lead! This has also had an impact on the chasing pack, with Domagoj Dragicevic now only half a point behind the leaders (though he has yet to play either Stojic or West), with 5 players tied for fourth on 5/7 & they are all in with a chance of taking out the event depending on how the results pan out in the last two rounds. Perhaps most impressive of the chasing pack is the unrated Frenchman Laurent Michaille, who joined the tournament in round two & has yet to lose a game, beating Urban & Zelesco along the way, as well as holding Voon & Ly to draws, and is clearly playing like someone rated over 2000! Both Mirko Rujevic & Carl Gorka have been consistent of those in the chasing pack on 5, with their results mirroring each other, with four wins to start before losing to one of the leaders, then splitting the point last week in their individual clash, before drawing again this week. Ari Dale has had solid, though not outstanding results to stay in the hunt on 5, while David Beaumont has had a few lucky breaks go his way in recent weeks to be something of a surprise in the group of players on 5 - not because he's not good enough to be there, but because he's managed to score 2/2 in recent weeks, when the optimistic view of his positions at times during these game would say he would have done well to achieve 1/2 from these game!
As usual, results are on ChessChat.
The game to be replayed this week is the top board clash between Stojic & West, where West played an unusual sideline in the Ruy Lopez to great effect, with Dusan going astray in the unfamiliar position. West had previously played the same line against Zhao in 2001 at the Australian Championships, but Zhao managed to drum up complications on the kingside quickly & went on to win the game. Perhaps this approach is the way to tackle the 'West system', rather than the more restrained (and more typical for the Lopez) approach that Stojic took in this game?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

AFL Dream Team & Super Coach ... the first (partial) lockout!

I've chopped and changed a bit from my last few blog posts about DreamTeam, but have finally arrived at what looks like it will be my starting side for the 2012 DT season ...

If you want to join my league (there are still places), then join league 962237 & take me on in the DreamTeam competition!

My round 1 side (as it stands before the GWS-Sydney game): 

Remaining Cap: $19,400

DEF: B Goddard, H Shaw, B Deledio, M Suckling, B Lake, M Clarke, B Ellis, T Bugg, J Paine

MID: S Pendlebury, G Ablett, T Mzungu, S Coniglio, D Shiel, J Magner, C Wingard, J McDonald

RUCK: D Cox, D Hale, J Giles, J Redden

FWD: L Franklin, N Fyfe, D Martin, R Nahas, P Dangerfield, J Riewoldt, D Smith, J Porplyzia, A Hall

I like most parts of my team - happy with the defense, although not entirely convinced about Bugg & Paine on the bench. Happy with the midfield, but not really sure about which rookies to start on the field & which to bench. Like the rucks - Cox is the must-pick option & I prefer Hale as my second ruck to using Giles, with the two rookies on the bench rather than competing for a place in the starting lineup. I'm also happy with the starting forwards, though am a little concerned about 3 Richmond forwards & my bench, but I imagine I'll be doing some trading before the dreaded bye rounds in the middle of the season!

I've got a feeling there might be some changes based on the full round 1 sides being named next week, but that's the team I'm sticking with for the time being!

As for SuperCoach, I've gone for a fairly risky strategy, with an all-rookie midfield!

My round 1 side (as it stands before the GWS-Sydney game):

Remaining Cap: $10,900

DEF: B Goddard, B Deledio, H Shaw, B Houli, D Heppell, P Duffield, B Lake, B Ellis, T Bugg

MID: S Coniglio, C Wingard, D Smith, D Shiel, T Ledger, J McDonald, J Magner, H Cunningham

RUCK: D Cox, S Mumford, J Giles, J Redden

FWD: L Franklin, N Fyfe, S Johnson, D Martin, D Zaharakis, R Nahas, D Hale, J Paine, A Hall

I don't mind this side, but I can imagine the side will require trades to be very important, particularly when it comes to upgrading rookies and a few (likely) sideways trades leading up to the bye rounds to avoid donuts. The other temptation with this side is to put in a premium midfielder like Pendlebury or Abblett, effectively as a permanent captain, & bring in a few more rookies in the backs or forwards, but  that would compromise the 8 rookie midfield theory put forward by last year's SuperCoach winner!


Monday, 19 March 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Championships Round 6

The Stojic train keeps on rolling ... with second seed Dusan Stojic winning yet another game to move to an undefeated 6/6. Guy West's recovery from a slow start saw him win yet again, this time against FM Chris Wallis, to move into outright second place on 5/6, setting up a likely Stojic-West round 7 clash.
Carl Gorka & Mirko Rujevic drew their game, which allowed Domagoj Dragicevic & Richard Voon to join them on 4.5/6, and they head the chasing pack, with a further 7 players behind them on 4/6.
In other results, David Beaumont stole a point in a rook ending when his opponent Bokso Mijatovic lost his rook. Laurent Michaille continued his good form with a win over Jim Papadinis, while Richard McCart beat Justin Penrose, who is having a tournament he would rather forget.
The game between Anthony Hain & John Beckman had quite an unusual opening, beginning 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 e5 3.d5 Ne7 4.f4

Here Beckman uncorked the novelty 4.f5 ... unfortunately it is simply a poor move in the position & he struggled to remain in the game, but Hain later blundered & allowed Beckman to achieve a winning position, before he finally blundered & allowed Hain to win in the end.
As usual, results are posted, along with the current crosstable, on Chesschat.
This week's game is the West-Wallis clash from board 2

Monday, 12 March 2012

AFL Dream Team League

Yes, I've decided to start an AFL Dream Team League - 962237 - this means that the first 17 readers who join can take me on in the 2012 DT competition ... for bragging rights if nothing else!
Yes, I will also be posting bits & pieces here from time to time about the various fantasy AFL competitions.
This time I thought I'd post about back & forward premiums that I either have in my side at present, or who I would like to have in my side (based on my initial team selection changing or trading during the year) ... or at the very least, players worth keeping an eye on as possible late inclusions into my side!
At some stage in the future I might look into rookies, but at the moment its just too tough to make a proper decision, combined with the fact that everything changes with rookies when it comes to the round 1 teams being selected (when anything you may have been planning is changed completely because your favourite rookie is left out of the team).
Anyway ... my back & forward premiums worth watching:
In my current team:
Heath Scotland (Car) - Possibly a bit pricey this year, but he always seems to score close to the 100 mark, if not over it, so he has a place in my side at present.
Brendan Goddard (StK) - Mr 'Do Everything' at St Kilda is a worthy addition to any DT side as he consistently finds the ball & although listed as a back/mid, he occasionally turns up in the forward line to kick a goal or two & can take a mark anywhere on the field.
Heath Shaw (Col) - Hopefully this year he decides to stay off the punt (and avoid suspension), but his on-field game is as good as ever & he's the go-to guy in the Collingwood defense, particularly if there's a turnover in Collingwood's backline - he quickly turns defense into attack!
Matt Suckling (Haw) - Had a breakout year last year, and Hawthorn's high-possession game is perfect for DT, so you really need one premium Hawthorn defender in your team & for me, Suckling is my man (although Birchall, and to a lesser extent Guerra, will put up similar, though hopefully slightly lower, numbers).
On the watchlist:
Corey Enright (Gee) - The main ball-getter in the Geelong backline & a consistent scorer, so definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Brett Delidio (Ric) - Lots of potential, particularly if he spends more time in the midfield. Had him last year & he was reasonable without being outstanding.
Jed Adcock (Bri) - Another one who picks up plenty of the ball. I picked him up in the middle of last season, right near the end of his purple patch of form early in the year. Might look to do something similar this year, but hopefully his purple patch comes a bit later in the year.
Dyson Heppell (Ess) - The must-have rookie of 2011 comes with a price tag this year. He can definitely get the points, the issue is whether he is worth the increased cost this year.
Paul Puopolo (Haw) - Another of the 2011 rookie class, Puopolo showed he could get the ball & DT points. His biggest issue is establishing himself in the Hawthorn side, so it would seem like a bit of a risk to have a $350k player on your bench hoping that he's picked for his team each week. If I was worried about that, I'd much rather have that issue with someone around the $100k mark.

In my current team:
Lance Franklin (Haw) - The must-have forward for 2012. Looks like he's also spending more time in & around the midfield, so even more opportunity to pick up possessions & points.
Adam Goodes (Syd) - Sydney's best player & he's one who plays all over the ground, finds the ball & racks up those DT points.
Nathan Fyfe (Fre) - 2011's breakout forward & someone I picked up midway through the year. Looks like nothing has changed if the pre-season is anything to go by & he looks like another excellent selection this year.
Robin Nahas (Ric) - My unique pick in the forward line. I had him in my starting team last year, but got rid of him mid-season due to some inconsistent & poor scorer (it seemed like he alternated between 20 & 70 each week). Of course the trading curse struck & he then produced a string of 100+ games pretty much as soon as I'd traded him out & maintained that form for most of the second half of the season. He's also someone who will be in very few teams, so I like him in my team as someone who will score, but will also be different from my potential opponents.
On my watchlist:
Steve Johnson (Gee) - Highest priced forward for a reason, though his scoring is somewhat inconsistent, so although he'll be watched, unless something changes I doubt he'll make my team this year.
Travis Cloke (Col) - Apart from Buddy, the only other true full forward that is worth considering for DT. Good kick & can mark well, so finds ways to pick up points. He was in my team for much of last year & did nothing to make me not want to consider him for 2012.
Matthew Pavlich (Fre) - It seems like the older he gets, the better he plays. He's another of the forwards who spend a decent amount of time in the midfield & as a result gain a decent number of possessions & DT points. Well worth considering ...
Dustin Martin (Ric) - This young Richmond guy just keeps improving & is one who I would love to have in my starting team if at all possible, particularly as he spends most of his time in the midfield ... and midfield = points in DT! At present I'm torn between him & Nahas & have gone with Nahas because of the price & uniqueness factor ... but its not set in stone ...
Nick Riewoldt (StK) - St Kilda's leader, who can hopefully put a forgettable 2011 behind him. He's definitely capable of scoring big, but unless St Kilda has more options in the forward line (other than Milne & other 'scrappers'), NRoo risks copping the best opposition defender week in, week out, which isn't going to help his DT scores! Will see how he starts the season & might consider bringing him in mid-season.
Jarryd Roughhead (Haw) - Roughhead is in my considerations primarily due to his Ruck/Forward dual position eligibility, particularly when it comes to the mid-season bye rounds. He can definitely score points, though is returning from serious injury this season, so will need to be monitored in the early rounds of the season, both to see if he gets games, as well as if he is able to recover his point-scoring ability from previous seasons.
Patrick Dangerfield (Ade) - Dangerfield has threatened to become a premium DT player for the last few years, but he seems to struggle to score points throughout the game, with brilliant patches combined with moments of laziness. He looks better than ever if his pre-season numbers are anything to go by, so definitely one to keep an eye on, perhaps with a chance of starting the season in my team.
Michael Hurley (Ess) - Hurley is Essendon's most promising player & like Dangerfield has shown both brilliance & laziness in the last few seasons. He was part of my team for a large portion of last year, but had extra flexibility as a Back/Forward. He's probably one who won't make my team this year, but there's a chance he could sneak in at some stage during the year.

So there you have my thoughts about a few potential players for my 2012 Dream Team side. My starting forwards & backs (well my premiums at least) will almost definitely come from this list of players.
I might get around to posting something about mids & rucks, as well as possibly rookies for 2012 at some stage in the future ... but if you're interested, definitely join my DT league!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

MCC Club Championships Round 5

There's now an outright leader! Dusan Stojic won the top board clash against Carl Gorka (Carl has put his game against Dusan up on his blog), while IM Guy West continued his climb back through the field beating Mirko Rujevic, to end Mirko's undefeated start to the event. This leaves Dusan a point clear of a growing chasing field, with 6 people tied for second on 4/5. The tournament now takes a break, with the Labor Day long weekend & the annual Ballarat Begonia Open on, but the final four rounds should prove interesting in determining the final placings at the top, particularly if Dusan manages to drop a point & fall back to the chasing field.
As for the Ballarat tournament, although it is a great tournament, I think I'll be giving it a miss this year, but will definitely be following it online. That means most likely that there will be a few different things on the blog for the next few weeks - less chess reporting & more variety ... maybe more DreamTeam stuff, perhaps some poker ... wait & see!
Results for last round are as usual on Chesschat & the draw for round 6 will also be there in the next day or two.
This week's game is an example of why white normally doesn't castle queenside in a Benoni!