They're back for 2014. The rule changers have been at it again, similarly to the ones who run the actual AFL season. After the 2013 rule change of 2 trades a week, written off in its infancy but finishing the season having been enjoyed by many, we have now been dealt a card which has also created anger amongst the hard core fantasy folks once again!
We were alerted to the changes as our Pre-Ordered AFL Prospectus' arrived at our door steps on Tuesday Morning. What was to follow was quite a bombshell. In 2014, we will have unlimited trades till Round 2, due to the Split Round which potentially could cause issues for the 'casual players'. I've been an advocate for keeping the rules as they have been. I begun playing the traditional AFL Fantasy in 2007 and quickly became enthralled within the game, planning my team and upgrades on a continual, almost unhealthy basis. We had 20 trades and needed to make the most of each one. Buying durable players, locked into their best 22 was an absolute must. The trades slowly began to grow as AFL Fantasy players levels began to drop after the opening bang of keen players withered away.
Then came the game changer, two trades week in, week out. Personally I was against the rules and still am. Having played the game for such a long time, I was used to only the top end players having a final squad full of premiums. Getting this squad showed that you had planned your side excellently and hadn't wasted trades on unnecessary issues. By Round 23 of this season, our teams were stockpiled with 25+ premiums, with issues such as whether to field Gary Ablett Jnr. or Leigh Montagna in Round 23 at the fore front of our thinking.
The game had lost it's gloss for us old timers. Then an additional change occurred. Effectively they've given us a free hit at Round 1, simply because the masses mightn't be on the ball. Any cheapies that have been bypassed in previous years will now not be missed. The vast majority will have an idea of who the breakout contenders are as well, giving less chance to the hard core to compete. Comments, or lack there of have been apparent from the fantasy elite, clearly suggesting they feel the same way. I realize that it may work in some hard core fantasy fans favour as well, but tampering with the game continually is just making it far less enjoyable. Supercoach, Sportal and the like have stuck by their methods and have given fantasy players consistency which they have grown to enjoy. I predict the difference in participants will greaten between AFL Fantasy and Supercoach once more.
What the changes mean?
Load up your side for a Round 1 onslaught. St Kilda, Sydney, Richmond, Carlton, Eagles and Hawthorn appear to have the pick of the fixtures. While avoiding the Crowley tag is a must, so choosing the right one of Swan, Beams and Pendleburry will be important. As you can see in my plan teams below, there have been an extreme amount of changes.
My AFL Fantasy Team Pre-Rule Changes;
Mitchell, Birchall, Waters, Grimes, Swallow, Suckling (Howard, Laidler)
Pendleburry, S.Selwood, Stanton, Cotchin, Beams, Murphy, Michie, Ellis (O'Rourke, Polec)
McIntosh, Sandilands (Longer, Currie)
Riewoldt, Dangerfield, Franklin, Thomas, Fasolo, Rohan (Bock, Honeychurch)
My AFL Fantasy Team Post-Rule Changes;
(Changes from side italicized and underlined)
McVeigh, Mitchell, Simpson, Birchall, Geary, Howard (Siggins, Steinberg)
Johnson, S. Selwood, Jack, Steven, Cotchin, Murphy, Michie, Polec (Van Unen, Wearden)
McIntosh, Sandilands (Thurlow, Wallace)
Riewoldt, Martin, Harvey, Parker, Clark, Bock (Reynolds, Spina)
That's 18 changes! More than half the squad has been turned over. Whilst majority of these players I wouldn't like to go into season 2014 with in the other formats, picking them for a one week wonder score will be a must this season. Afterwards we can resort back to our Pre-Rule Change sides and we'll have one week of football to consider exactly the moves we shall make.
In additional news, although not as much of a bombshell is that the 3 game price rolling average has been dropped for 2014. After the second game, players will have new prices. This is yet to be determined exactly how it'll work, but this method will certainly give us less time to jump on the bargains and can potentially make the game somewhat harder. Anyway these are my early thoughts on the new changes...
How do you feel about these moves? Thanks for reading, enjoy the day fantasy folks!