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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.