Statistical Analysis | Mid-Price Forwards

Remember when Jack Billings averaged 75 SC between rounds 1-11 last season before being dropped?

I do, because then I rage-traded him.

Remember when he proceeded to collect 54 disposals (yes, fifty-four) in the VFL the following week, against a Frankston side whose senior coach somewhat conveniently happened to also be an assistant at St Kilda…

Yes, I remember that too.

I also remember painfully observing the 23-year-old former pick No.3 play the final 10 games of the season in the Saints’ engine room, while averaging 99 SC.

Kill me.

Is Jack Billings worth the risk? Shorty’s in-depth analysis

I fully understand if this man is already on your ‘never-again-list’, but here I am, with the full support of statistical analysis, to demonstrate why Billings presents SuperCoach coaches with a risky, yet highly viable, mid-price option for our FWD lines.

As per my article on Monday where I analysed FWD premiums, I have gone ahead and chosen eight players – all priced at less than $450k in 2019 – who are seemingly priced well below their potential output.

I have used eight measures – price, 2018 average, 2017 average, games played (2018), ceiling, scores of 85+, scores 0-60 and value for money – to create a standardised value to ultimately decipher which FWD mid-pricers are your best bets for 2019 from a purely statistical perspective.

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).

^Further, I have multiplied the value for money ‘rank’ by a factor of two to compensate for an evident disparity in the ‘average points per game’ between higher and lower priced options.

*As Gresham averaged just 66 SuperCoach points in 2017 and Worpel didn’t play at all that season, I haven’t factored these into their TOTAL, instead, I devised the average from their seven other measures and added that on top.

2017 average

Four players – Toby Greene, Luke Dahlhaus, Joe Daniher and Billings – all scored well below their 2017 average last season. For Greene and Daniher, it was a case of poor health; Billings played out of position for half the season; and Dahlhaus was desperate for a fresh start. Given these four players have already shown the SuperCoach community how well they can score, they provide coaches with serious upside.

Value ($/pt)

To decipher this measure, I used each player’s highest average out of their 2018 or 2017 average. Thereby, as Greene (96.1 in ’17) and Daniher’s (86.0 in ’17) averages fell drastically in 2018, they provide coaches the most value heading into the 2019 SC season.

Ceiling

Tom J. Lynch is a freak and Richmond has secured itself a genuine gun full-forward. Lynch showed his SuperCoach prowess in round 2 last year, booting eight goals and gathering 21 disposals at ease against a lacklustre Carlton. The former Gold Coast co-captain registered 180 SC that day, however, due to an eventual knee injury, it would be his only triple-figure score of the season.

Should I pick em? Tom Lynch profile

Like all KPPs, Lynch’s consistency may be an issue. But a fit and firing Lynch at the Tigers equals a frightening prospect. Verdict: Upgrade target.

Durability

Jade Gresham was the only listed player to play every home & away game in 2018. Having averaged 66 SC in 2017 and 79 SC in 2018, with more midfield minutes ahead of him, all signs point towards a breakout season in 2019.

Scores 0-60

James Worpel only played nine games in 2018, but gosh did he make an impact. It seems his importance will only be reinforced by the season-ending knee injury to reigning Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell. The young Hawk scored less than 60 on just one occasion last season, while registering 85+ SC points more than 44 per cent of the time (ranked No.1).

Dahlhaus could be relied upon to score 80-89 almost every single week. Bare in mind, this is a player who has averaged 90+ SC in four of his past five seasons… Watch him closely in the JLT and if he’s playing purely as a midfielder, I wouldn’t hesitate in starting him.

This is the part where I convince you to consider picking Billings:

a) He averaged 96.8 in his final 10 games in 2018;

b) He is the only player on the list to not score less than 77 after round 13;

c) His final month consisted scores of 122, 102, 97 and 85;

d) Seb Ross, Jack Steven and now Dan Hannebery will be tagged first;

e) He’s proven, having averaged 92.6 from 22 games in 2017;

f) He’s durable, having missed just one game in the past two seasons.

Tempted? I am.

Ownership (%):

Jack Billings – 2%
Jade Gresham – 2%
Tom J. Lynch – 4%
Luke Dahlhaus – 5%
James Worpel – 7%
Joe Daniher – 7%
Darcy Moore – 11%
Toby Greene – 19%

Who to avoid?

Two words, Darcy Moore. I am very surprised he’s currently featuring in 11 per cent of sides. Sure, he is young and as a loose defender, possesses SC potential, but his body is a major deterrent. Moore injured himself on four separate occasions in 2018, while the more damning aspect is on each of these occasions, the injury occurred during either his first or second game back from the preceding injury.

Overall

I can’t believe I am saying this, but after my analysis, Billings is actually tempting me. I started with him last year and it ruined my season, but if SC coaches are seriously considering players such as Josh Dunkley and Alex Witherden purely based on their strong finishes to 2018, then Billings needs also be on your radar.

Shorty’s superstars: Young Lion Witherden set to explode

One downside is his price; awkwardly positioned in the low $400,000s, if the Saints midfielder (or half-forward? lol) fails, you’ll have to burn two trades to upgrade him. On the flip side, if St Kilda coach Alan Richardson plays him purely as a midfielder, don’t be surprised to see Billings average 95+.

While finishing 6th in my analysis ranking, a fully fit Daniher will do wonders for an almost-certain-to-improve Essendon outfit. Priced at an average in the high 50s, if the Bombers big man can score 75+ on the regular, he will be a prime stepping stone to a potential fallen premium such as Tom Hawkins or Lance Franklin… The difficult part is finding room for him at F4.


4 thoughts on “Statistical Analysis | Mid-Price Forwards

  1. Mate, no… This reasoning is flawed on multiple occasions.
    “a) He averaged 96.8 in his final 10 games in 2018;” ~ and he averaged around 60 in his first 10.

    “b) He is the only player on the list to not score less than 77 after round 13;” ~ this is a typical response after one’s dropped.

    “c) His final month consisted scores of 122, 102, 97 and 85;” ~ you’re doubling-up on his end to the year. Shouldn’t be a point to add.

    “d) Seb Ross, Jack Steven and now Dan Hannebery will be tagged first;” ~ was he ever tagged in the past??

    “e) He’s proven, having averaged 92.6 from 22 games in 2017;” ~ again, he had a horror start to the year, but finished strongly later in 2017. All it says is that, mentally, he tracks poorly at the start of the season. Maybe you can select him in Round 12 when he costs $200,000.

    f) “He’s durable, having missed just one game in the past two seasons.” ~ hey, I’ll give you that one. He’s durable.

    Yes, I may be labelled “biased”, as I have him on the “never-again” list, but nearly all of those statistics were redundant since you were comparing him to players not really worth considering. Not to mention, that “133” he got was in the inconsistent/unpredictable Round one against a deflated Brisbane. I’m happy to say: “PASS.”

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  2. a) Shows Billings averaged at a premium level for a consistent period (final 10 rounds), which is different to him simply averaging 77 across the whole season (because this could’ve have been 79 rounds 1-11 and 75 rounds 12-23)

    b) A typical response after one’s dropped is to score 11 consecutive games above 77… after he’d just averaged 75 for the first 10 rounds? I don’t think so.

    c) I’m not doubling up. I’m highlighting how there were no (Tom J. Lynch-esque) outliers such as an 180 SC score in the rounds preceding Billings’ final month.

    d) No he hasn’t been, but I’m emphasising that even if Billings begins to score well, he won’t ever be tagged, because there are 3 other Saints players who are potentially more damaging.

    e) In 2017, he scored 5 90+ scores in his first 9 games (average 88.2) … sounds pretty good to me for someone who was only priced at an average of 74.

    f) Durability, glad we agreed on something eh.

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    1. a) yes, but you can’t leave out the negative either. High scores, but proceeds to average poorly, means he had some VERY bad games.
      b) yes, a typical response after being dropped is bouncing back.
      c) yes, you doubled-up because you’re again making the point that he finished well.
      d) never being tagged in one’s career can be said to about 95% of A.F.L. players. Hardly a point to make.
      e) I was referencing his first 5 games – which consisted of 75, 67, 53, 97, 55.

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  3. Thanks for the write up. I want to consider, i kept him all last year and i ended up with him as f7-ended up looping him quite often due to his good finish to the season.
    Danger, heeney, dunkley, smith. This has become cookie cutter but for good reason. Saints might be woeful yet again, if i had more confidence in that team id be considering picking him.

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