Fantasy A-League Focus – Round 16

In each edition of the Fantasy A-League Focus we take a look at some of the key issues emerging in the A-League and analyse their implications for fantasy coaches.

 

January Transfers

We’ve already had a few moves in this transfer window, with more likely to follow before the end of the month.  Unsurprisingly, the bottom-placed Mariners have been the most active so far, bringing in 5 players while offloading Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres, both of whom are set to join Melbourne City.

It’s doubtful either Fitzgerald or Caceres will have a huge impact fantasy-wise at City; City already provide us with 3 nailed-on options in Aaron MooyBruno Fornaroli and Harry Novillo anyway.

Of the Mariners’ signings, Alistair Bray (GK, $125k), Francesco Stella (MID, $150k) and Trent Buhagiar (FWD, $100k) have already been added to the game; it is unlikely any of the trio will make a splash in fantasy.  Bray did start in goals against Adelaide on Saturday, however expect him to vacate the position once Paul Izzo is cleared to return.

Brad McDonald, a 25 year old left back, has spent time with the Mariners before (as well as the Roar and former franchise North Queensland Fury) but faces stiff competition for a spot in the XI.  Given he will likely be a $100k cheapie, he could be worth bringing into your side if he does get an extended run in the team.

The Mariners also signed a player English Premier League and La Liga fans would be familiar with, but more on him later.

Perth have also been busy, sending three players on their way – the injury-prone and erratic Sidnei, disappointing import striker Guyon Fernandez and cheapie defender Antony Golec.  Fernandez’s exit means Andy Keogh (FWD, $275k) has joined their A-League squad.  So far Keogh has not looked at his sharpest; until he shows signs of reaching his best it’s wise to hold off on adding him to your forward line.

Meanwhile, City have released reserve GK Tando Velaphi and replaced him with Dean Bouzanis from Western Sydney, a move which allows Liam Reddy to join the Wanderers’ A-League squad (and put pressure on incumbent Andrew Redmayne).

The Jets have signed Olyroos midfielder Steven Ugarkovic.  Ugarkovic is yet to be added to the game but expect him to be around the $100k mark.  He won’t play until the Olyroos’ AFC under 23 championship campaign ends, and he’s not likely to be a good buy in fantasy anyway, a cheapie for your bench at best.

Melbourne Victory have signed former Brisbane Roar winger Jai Ingham (FWD, $100k).  He likely won’t get much game time until the Asian Champions League begins, so put a line through him for now.

Those are the only official moves so far, however Adelaide are circling former A-League stars Sergio van Dijk and James Troisi while City have signalled their intention to release David Williams and Robert Koren.  The Mariners could also add former Wanderers and Glory winger Youssouf Hersi this week.

Michael Thwaite looks to be the next to join the Glory exodus, having agreed terms with Chinese Super League club Liaoning Whowin.

 

A Merseyside Legend Arrives

The signing that has everyone talking though is the Mariners’ recruitment of 37 year old former Liverpool and Barcelona winger Luis Garcia.

While there can be no doubting Garcia’s quality, there surely must be questions over his fitness – Garcia has not played since a 13 game stint for Atletico Kolkata in the Indian Premier League in 2014, during which he scored two goals.

Garcia came out of retirement to play in the IPL, and – worryingly for the Mariners – was not retained for another season because of injury problems.

The other questions fantasy coaches must consider before looking to include Garcia in their team (who would likely come at a premium price) are where will he play, and how much game time will he get?  It’s possible he could play on either wing, so Mitch Austin’s position could come under threat, however being deployed as an attacking midfielder is another option, given the Mariners currently lack some creativity in the middle.  As for game time, expect him to come off the bench to begin with, and from there it depends on how quickly he can get his 37 year old body up to match fitness.

Our advice for anyone interested in bringing the Liverpool legend into their team is to play it cautious and not jump to add him as soon as he becomes available – there are too many questions over how he will go, and likely far more reliable players at the same price or cheaper.

 

In Brief

  • The Olyroos lost their opening game 1-0 to UAE before defeating Vietnam 2-0.  If the Olyroos fail to defeat Jordan in their final group game on Wednesday they will likely be eliminated from the tournament, meaning their A-League players could be available for this round.  Advancing to the quarter finals will see them miss this round, while a semi-final berth means they will miss Round 17 also.
  • Newcastle Jets finally found the back of the net against an undermanned Wellington on Sunday.  Previously the Jets had gone 6 games without a goal and were averaging less than 2 shots on target per game.  Against the Phoenix, they had 6 shots on target and scored 3 goals.  Four of these shots on target were by David Carney, who scored his first goal since Round 3.  With Perth at home this round the Jets could strike again, as the Glory have kept only one clean sheet in their last 9 games and are allowing their opponents an average of 5.1 shots on target per game.
  • Perhaps the more fantasy relevant outcome from that match was that even the Jets could expose the short-handed Wellington defence.  This week the Nix travel to face Melbourne City, who continue to lead the league in goals and shots on target.  Given a City win seems the safest bet this round, expect most coaches to be putting the captain’s armband on a City player – just a question of whether it is Mooy, Fornaroli or Novillo who gets the nod.
  • With some of the better forward options ruled out, Kosta Barbarouses has stepped up in timely fashion.  The Victory winger has scores of 13, 16 and 16 in his last 3, registering 5 shots on target and 9 shot assists in that time for 2 goals and 4 assists.  Against Sydney’s steely defence this week however, he and his Victory teammates may find it more difficult to carve out opportunities.  Victory did put four past Vedran Janjetovic in Round 6, though it is unlikely Graham Arnold will elect to go on the attack as he did in that game.  A forward three of Fornaroli, Besart Berisha and either Novillo or Barbarouses seems the way to go until Jamie Maclaren returns.
  • Though the Wanderers have slumped to consecutive losses after going 10 games undefeated, Dario Vidosic has shown signs of life in the last two weeks with scores of 6 and 9, including a well-taken goal in the derby and 4 shots on target.  He could yet come into fantasy calculations, though Mitch Nichols still remains the Wanderers midfielder to have.
  • Adelaide’s resurgence continued with a 3-1 win over Central Coast, with the Reds only trailing City in shots on target (79 to City’s 86) and allowing the 4th least shots on target in the league (60 – Sydney set the standard there with just 33).  On paper Brisbane away presents a far greater challenge for the Reds, however Amor’s team are better in both of these statistics than the Roar (68 shots on target, 67 allowed).  The Roar have also failed to score since Maclaren departed to link up with the Olyroos – against Wellington they nonetheless hit the target 7 times, however against Victory (who have a comparable defensive record to Adelaide with 54 shots on target allowed) they only troubled Danny Vukovic once.
  • Craig Goodwin had another excellent game against the Mariners – his last four scores are 16, 5, 12 and 15, with 3 goals and 2 assists from 9 shots on target and 7 shot assists in that period.  Having finally settled as a winger under Amor, Goodwin is now a far more bankable commodity in fantasy than he was under Gombau.
  • Iacopo La Rocca’s composed performance in defence, filling in for the suspended Jordan Elsey, should make Elsey owners nervous.  Nonetheless, Elsey should be played on the field this week if you have him.  Also, Adelaide play the Friday night game, so we will know prior to lockout if he is starting.

10 thoughts on “Fantasy A-League Focus – Round 16

    1. Hi Oscar – haven’t heard an update on Cirio sorry, I do know it was only a hamstring strain so he could be right for this week.

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      1. Okay thanks, fingers crossed; I’m betting on him picking up some serious points for the second half of the season if he can stay injury-free

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  1. Justin

    Another great article. Based on it I’m thinking of playing my wild card and having the following team:
    Young , Hall
    McGowan, North, Hoffman, Bowles, Jackson
    Kalik, Mooy, Austin, Nichols, Goodwin
    Fornaroli, Barbarouses, Harold

    With enough left to swap Harold for McLaren when he’s back from Ollyroos duty

    What’s your thoughts on that lineup heading into the finals?

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    1. Hi Ozjock – and cheers.

      I think the overall structure of the team is fine, especially once Maclaren is back. Then you have 3 gun forwards, 3 guns in midfield plus the vastly underpriced Austin, and a solid cheap defence.

      The main worry I would have is selecting 2 Roar defenders along with Jamie Young. Firstly, this prevents you from making a direct swap of Harold for Maclaren as you can’t have 4 players from one team.

      I don’t like having 3 defenders/keeper from one team as then I would be at risk of 1 goal costing me 12 points; and if I did go down that path, it would be players from a team with a superior defensive record. The Roar are not the best defensive side in the league, sitting behind both the Wanderers and Sydney FC in terms of goals conceded, and they are 5th in shots on target allowed (behind the two Sydney teams, Victory and Adelaide). So, while decent, they are not the team I would be investing heavily on in defence.

      I’m not confident enough that Young will continue to keep Theo out for the rest of the season to pick him myself, but I think Jade North might be the one you decide to remove given he is more of a mid-priced defender and doesn’t really give you any more value than the cheaper Bowles. There are better, cheaper options on other teams or even if you really want 2 Roar defenders then get Jack Hingert.

      Hope that helps.

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      1. Thanks. That makes a lot more sense.

        Love your column. It’s made all the difference for me over the last few years

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  2. Hey Justin, sorry just another quick question hahah. Now that the olyroo’s are knocked out does that mean they may be back for this round of a-league? (Particularly concerning roar with their two guns)
    I have work all tomorrow evening so won’t be able to look just before the match for the lineups

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    1. Hi Oscar – according to the squad lists for the round, some will be back, some are still listed as unavailable: http://www.a-league.com.au/article/hyundai-a-league-round-16—ins-and-outs/14inlld9jb53210arateg915i1

      Brisbane’s contingent are among those still listed as unavailable.

      Now, it’s not impossible that they’ll make a surprise appearance given that A-League clubs have a reputation of making late changes to their squads (which is supposed to be against the rules, yet it happens anyway). But I wouldn’t bank on it happening.

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