The first decision that needs to be made when building a team is “Am I playing for overall points and the prizes that come with it?” or “Do I want the bragging rights of winning head-to-head and crushing my friends in the league?”. The decision of going for overall points v head-to-head will have big implications on both our initial starting teams and how we trade.
Lets first tackle the strategy regarding the simpler head-to-head version of the game. The reason I call it the simpler version is because….
- Origin implications are not as severe
- Bye rounds do not require much consideration
- Can get off to a bad start and come back
- Having dead money (money not making points) in the form of large amounts of $s in the bank, or guns on the bench for short term injuries does not hurt us too badly
- Easy to save trades
- Easier to time trades
The best strategy for crushing your friends in head-to-head is to stack the team with cash cows early, whilst picking a few guns to hold for the season. Then as the season progress slowly purchase the required big boys (Gallen,Tomkins,Farah ect). If you play your cards correctly and follow the Guru’s advice, you should be able to have the best possible team just in time for your top 8 finals. This strategy requires patience as you may sacrifice a few early wins for the greater good, which is end of season domination.
When picking an early team see if you can find some solid reliable guns that you can leave in for the whole season saving you trades and headaches. These are players like Cameron Smith, Fensom and SBW who in 2013 could be relied upon for consistent scores. Their consistency creates price stability, and this price stability means they are great to pick early on, as its unlikely they will give you a chance buy them later at a bargain bin rate. Now let’s contrast this with unreliable guns such as Billy Slater, Jarryd Hayne, and George Burgess who although capable of 90s, are also capable of 15s. These are the kinds of players you must leave out of your initial side, in order to pick them up after a form and price drop, saving dollars! In economic terms, the opportunity of choosing stable guns early is much smaller than wild guns.
When it comes to trading for head to head we only trade for two types of players 1) Cash Cows or 2) Absolute guns! If they are not one of the best in their position then they best be yelling mooooooo all the way to the cow shed. One mistake I see many beginners make is buying what I call “Nothing players”. A nothing player is usually priced between the 200-350k bracket who is not likely to make much money and is not one of the best players in his available position therefore adding “nothing” to the chances of your teams long term success. Classic examples of these in 2013 were Mark Minichiello, Sam Thaiday, and Tariq Sims. Avoid trading these players types of players into your team, as if you want to win your head to head league they are definitely not for you! There are a few exceptions to this however:
- We can buy one of these players is if they have had such a significant price drop they are effectively a cash cow (eg 2013 Benji Marshall).
- Some variable has changed that they will now make a lot more points, eg getting more minutes or moving into a new position. For example, 2013 saw Rob Lui make great points during origin and Elijah Taylor making 50+ when he started getting close to 80mins.
The 3rd is when you are trading out a player on the down, and trading in a player on the up, I call this the “stepping stone” trade. For example let’s say we started with a rookie who was 150K, he has made steady gains and is up to 270K, however his last 3 scores are 51 15 and 19. We think he has peaked and is due for a large price drop if we hold on. Shaun Johnson started at 380k but a few low scores early has sent him down to 285, his last 2 scores however are 45 and 55 so he is due for a price increase. For 15k we can trade Johnson in for our rookie which will make us a bit of money and we can use him as a stepping stone to get the big dogs like Reynolds, Cronk and the one they call DCE!
This concludes the ABC strategy for head-to-head team building and trading. Remember if you have any further questions ask me on my official Facebook page below.