Statistical Analysis | Premium Forwards

Before I begin, do me a favour.

Log into your SuperCoach side and lock Patrick Dangerfield ($661k) into that F1 position. I can’t fathom how the man is in just 66 per cent of sides (wtf are the other 34 per cent doing?).

Anyway, while Dangerfield occupies your first forward posi, the selection of a second and third forward is proving to be more difficult.

I have gone ahead and chosen eight players – all priced at more than $500k in 2019 – who are seemingly popular picks amongst the SuperCoach community.

Keeping things aligned with my undiagnosed OCD, I have also used eight measures – total points, average points per game (ppg), ceiling, basement, consistency, scores of 125+, scores < 60 and value for money – to create a standardised value to ultimately decipher which FWD premiums are your best bets for 2019 from a purely statistical perspective.

What do the new rules mean for SuperCoach? Check out Matty’s analysis

For each criteria, a player receives a ‘rank’: 1 = best; 8 = worst, with the summation of these values giving us a Total Score (lowest = best).

So, what does all that mean?

Total Points

Justin Westhoff leads the way here. The Power utility didn’t miss a beat in 2018, playing every home & away game. In fact, only three of the top 10 FWDs (ordered by price) played all 22 games in 2018, those being Westhoff, Menegola and Smith.

Ironically, Menegola (knee) and Smith (bicep) are currently nursing niggles, but both are expected to line-up for round 1.

Average 

Tom Hawkins enjoyed a breakout season, finishing 2018 as the highest averaging FWD. This was ultimately aided by Geelong’s annihilation of both Fremantle and Gold Coast, where Hawkins capitalised scoring 144 and 136 against them, respectively.

Ceiling

Hawkins and Menegola both scored more than 125 SC on five occasions. Something for coaches to consider is the AFL’s fixturing of Geelong at GMHBA Stadium. The Cats typically play a more SC-friendly game at the Cattery and as they play four games at GMHBA in the first nine rounds, it seems starting one of Hawkins or Menegola is a must.

Consistency

For the sake of my analysis, I have excluded Isaac Heeney’s 18 SC against Richmond where he was concussed during the first half. With that outlier being discarded, the Swans young gun becomes the 2nd-highest averaging forward and was clearly the most consistent forward last season, only falling below the 80 SC mark on three other occasions, while posting triple figures 55 per cent of the time.

Countdown to the season: Check out the SCHQ 40 in 40

Devon Smith was the second most consistent forward last season, emphasised by his ceiling being just 125. Smith notched scores between 80-110 SC on 13 occasions, while he scored 111-125 SC six times.

Current ownership (% of sides):

Hawkins – 1%
McDonald – 3%
Menegola – 4%
Dunkley – 11%
Westhoff – 13%
Gray – 13%
Smith – 24%
Heeney – 39%

Who to avoid

Key forwards have always been frowned upon when it comes to SuperCoach. They’re historically inconsistent, and although Hawkins scored incredibly in 2018, he did post three scores under 60. If we take away his final two scores of 144 and 138, his average drops to just 97.5. Whether the introduction of the AFL’s new 6-6-6 rule will favour key forwards remains to be seen. Verdict: Upgrade target.

Verdict

Based on my analysis, Westhoff seems to be the pick of bunch. A season-low of just 73 while playing every game means the Power big-man is not only consistent, but also reliable. One thing to note is the introduction of former Eagle ruckman Scott Lycett into the Power side, and how that may impact Westhoff’s ruck duties. Westhoff has yet to feature in my side this pre-season, but I’m now debating whether he nudges Menegola out of my F2.

There isn’t much more I need to say to pump up Heeney’s tyres. The kid is still improving and with only more midfield time ahead of him with the likes of JPK and Jack ageing, I can’t see the Swans No.5 averaging less than 105. Lock him in.

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