Max Gawn and Marc Pittonet compete during the round nine match between Carlton and Melbourne at the MCG, May 9. Picture: AFL Photos

EVERYONE, pat yourself on the back … we did it. Round 15 is the final bye round of the season before everything returns to normal.

This is the week where you can right your wrongs with any failed experiments you trialled over the last few weeks. We all have players that we 'hoped' might have been better and if they have their bye this week … now is the time to part ways. Players like Jake Soligo, Will Day and Jack Macrae can all now be moved to bigger and better things.

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Before you finalise your trades this week, do a quick count. Make sure you are set up ready for next week when we return to 22 players on field. Make sure you don't have nine premium midfielders and only five forwards. Make sure you have the balance you aimed when the bye rounds started and hopefully the team you desired at the end.

Who's on the bye?

  • R15: Adelaide, Collingwood, Hawthorn, Richmond, St Kilda and the Bulldogs

Trap or treat?

Chasing players coming off their bye is the right play this week. So how will you use your three trades? Here are some traps to avoid and some treats worth considering.

Connor Rozee (MID, $712,000) TRAP
Listed as a 'trap' last week and he's unfortunately here again. The value in Rozee cannot be denied but he is coming off 72 from just 14 disposals. I need to see a decent score before launching.

Christian Salem (DEF/MID, $706,000) - TREAT
This short-term play is definitely worth considering. Salem has now averaged 105 in his last three games, but we all know how this story can end. Fingers crossed he stay fit.

Christian Salem in action during the R13 match between Melbourne and Collingwood at the MCG on June 10, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Colby McKercher (DEF/MID, $592,000) TREAT
Our boy Colby is back after missing the last five weeks. His price allows you to get another rookie off your field and at the same time, trade in a player capable of averaging 85-plus.

Jy Simpkin (MID/FWD, $580,000) TRAP
Simpkin scored 132 … and then was a late out with a hamstring. Prior to his 132, Simpkin was only averaging 57. I'm a huge fan of Simpkin but I've read this book before and the ending is predictable.

Kynan Brown (MID/FWD, $200,000) TREAT
Any $200k rookie at this stage of the year is a Fantasy gift. Brown has averaged 73 in the VFL this year and although Brown might start as the sub or be a one-week wonder… beggars can't be choosers.

Live Teams Show

The Traders will be live tonight to cover all the important ins and outs as teams are announced. They break down the popular trades, discuss captains and answer all your burning questions. Watch the Live Teams Show every Thursday night via and the AFL Live Official App and ask your questions in the comments.

Listen to the AFL Fantasy Podcast with The Traders at Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

Tag Watch

The old-school tag is back and it's causing problems. This week, expect James Jordon to tag Lachie Whitfield just like he did in round eight when he held him to just 48 points. Jordon has restricted several half-backs this year and after this week, he'll have his sights set on Jordan Clark or Luke Ryan in round 16. 

GWS and Toby Bedford surprised everyone last week with lockdown his role on Zak Butters (67 points). If the Giants run with the same strategy this week, maybe Isaac Heeney or the dangerous Chad Warner could be in danger.

Most traded in

  • Zach Merrett (MID, $898,000)
  • Christian Salem (DEF/MID, $706,000)
  • Arie Schoenmaker (DEF, $236,000)
  • Sam Walsh (MID, $931,000)
  • Connor Rozee (MID, $712,000)

The most traded-in player and fresh off his bye is Zach Merrett (MID, $898,000). Merrett has averaged 108 in his last three games and is prime for the picking this week. With the highest midfielder only averaging 110 this year, picking up Merrett at this price is nothing but a steal.

Even though he has the bye this week, it's perfectly fine to go early on Arie Schoenmaker (DEF, $236,000) … if you have enough players to cover him this week.

Zach Merrett celebrates a goal during Essendon's clash against Adelaide in round six, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Most traded out

  • Jack Steele (MID, $852,000)
  • Joel Freijah (MID/FWD, $410,000)
  • Darcy Wilson (MID/FWD, $590,000)
  • Kane McAuliffe (MID, $338,000)
  • Jeremy Sharp (MID, $689,000)

In any other week we wouldn't be encouraging coaches to trade out premiums like Jack Steele (MID, $852,000). However, the bye rounds provide us with the opportunity to not only trade in a player who will play an extra game, but to also offload those ‘premiums' who haven't been pulling their weight. Steele is coming off scores of 84 and 74, and now is the time to act on your frustration.

To find the cash to recruit premium players, you will need to offload rookies and that is exactly what coaches are doing in the final bye round. Even though players like Darcy Wilson (MID/FWD, $590,000) have been more than serviceable, he has his bye and was never targeted to be a keeper.

Jack Steele is tackled by Will Graham during the R13 match between St Kilda and Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium on June 8, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Calvin's best captains

Your captain scores you double points and over the bye period we need all the points we can get. 

No.1 – Max Gawn v North Melbourne @ the MCG, SAT 7.30pm AEST

Gawn is coming off scores of 148, 122 and 152 and is the No.1 player in the game based on form. This week he battles Tristan Xerri but returns to the MCG where he has averaged 128.5 from nine games this season. You just can't look past a player who has scored over 130 on six occasions.

No.2 – Sam Flanders v Fremantle @ Optus Stadium, SUN 4.00pm AEST

Not only does Flanders average 114 this year he meets a team this week who let the Bulldogs half-backs run free. Lachie Bramble (134) and Bailey Dale (110) did as they pleased last week and if the Dockers go in with the same plan, Flanders should have a day out.

No.3 – Sam Walsh v Geelong @ the MCG, FRI 7.40pm AEST

As we know, Geelong has given up plenty of points to midfielders this year and over its last five games we have seen Errol Gulden (151), Noah Anderson (142), Ollie Wines (133), Matt Rowell (132) and Zak Butters (128) all post monster scores. Walsh is fresh off his bye and will be ready to fire.

Sam Walsh handballs during Carlton's clash against Essendon in round 13, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

No.4 – Errol Gulden v Greater Western Sydney @ Engie Stadium, SAT 4.35pm AEST

Even though this match-up is much harder than Gulden has seen in recent weeks, he still must be considered. He scored 98 when he met the Giants in round eight, but last year he dominated them with scores of 132 and 116. He has averaged 132 in his last three games and must be in the mix.

No.5 – Dayne Zorko v Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval, SAT 1.45pm AEST

We all prefer Zorko playing at the Gabba and although he has only averaged 96 away from home this year he can't be written off. Lachie Whitfield (120), Nic Newman (108) and Zac Fisher (112) are the most recent half-backs to play the Power and if this patterns continues, Zorko will be great!

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