With 2015 now open on TheBench most leagues are currently preparing for the new season to kick off. Commissioners would have finalised their managers for the upcoming season and set the draft date so the attention will be switching to a review of the rules and implementing any changes that might have been flagged in 2014.
My own league is currently undergoing this process and with our rules pretty much set after years of fine tuning, our main focus has been what changes (if any) do we need to consider with regards to our starting line ups and the all important scoring system. Over half of the leagues hosted by TheBench take advantage of customisable scoring systems and this is where things can get interesting. As the style in which AFL games are played evolves so too does the value which you place on your scoring positions.
In the KFL (of which I am commissioner) we have some similarities to the Classic league available on TheBench; however there are a few amendments. For 2014 we had the following scoring in place:
1 x Ruckmen Hit Out x1, Mark x1, Disposal x0.5, Goal x2
2 x Tacklers Tackle x5
4 x Forwards Goal x 6, Behind x 1
5 x Midfielder Disposal x1, Goal x2
2 x Markers Mark x3
For our review the main thing we focus on each season is trying to get all positions to be of a similar value. Of course you are going to get managers who push a case due to a bust out game (L.Hansen with 17 marks in one game comes to mind) however for the most part we are looking for trends in the game that are either over inflating a positions statistics or reducing their relevance to the competition.
For years ruckmen dominated the first round of the draft so that has been adjusted from year to year to help level the playing field. Of course securing a healthy big man is a great way to get your team plenty of stats however it is no longer the be all and end all. And ultimately that is what you are trying to create within your league, to have a scoring system that creates more strategies to building a successful team. That way a manager must be switched on for draft night rather than being able to go into autopilot.
For 2015 our attention has turned towards the forward position and trying to make them more fantasy relevant for 2015. The days of forwards kicking 100 to win the Coleman are long gone. The last forward to kick over 100 goals was Lance Franklin who managed to kick 113 (including finals) in 2008, Brendan Fevola kicked 89 in 2009 however since then no forward has kicked more than 82 goals in any season.
With AFL sides looking to spread their goal kickers to small forwards and more importantly midfielders perhaps it is time to adjust the statistics that are included to suit. Here are a few ideas that have come out of my league to potentially combat this trend:
Increase Points Scored Per Goal
One of the simple fixes we have been looking at is to increase points scored for a goal to 8. All of a sudden cheering on your forward when he is kicking a bag on the weekend has a lot more meaning to it, and really, isn’t this why we all play fantasy sports?
Forwards to Include Marks
Another idea that is doing the rounds on our email chain is to reward the key forwards of the game by including points for a mark. There is nothing worse than watching your forward patrolling the wing ala Nick Reiwoldt or Buddy Franklin so adding a few points here is another solution.
Create a New Position
Unlike other fantasy competitions the beauty of TheBench is you can get creative so another idea floated was to split our existing 4 forwards into 2 x Full Forward and 2 x Small forward. Full forwards could score from goals, behinds and marks and small forwards goals, behinds and tackles. Every week you hear about how important forward line pressure is so why not introduce this into our fantasy games.
So after much discussion we ended up floating these ideas as an official vote and the only one that managers had an interest in for 2015 was increasing goals to be 8 points with 5 out of 10 votes. After much arm pulling and ear bending of the 5 managers who voted no we finally ended up with a 6th manager siding with the yes’s but only for a trial basis with the scoring reverting back to 6 points if the votes fails to get a majority of votes for season 2016 (got to love having lawyers in the league).
So what changes are you looking to implement for 2015 and what do you think of the ideas mentioned in the article?