FOOTY being played every day is something plenty of fans are excited about, but AFL Fantasy coaches will need to be switched on.

Rounds 9-12 will be played back-to-back meaning once one round finishes, the next one starts the following day.

The biggest thing Fantasy coaches will need to know is that lockout will lift following the final game of a round with the first partial lockout being in effect when the ball is bounced in the next game. We are lucky that there will be upwards of 20 hours between rounds, but it will mean that coaches will need to be strategising as to when they adjust their team.

One of the biggest differences – and subsequently challenges – for Fantasy coaches is when teams will be announced. The Thursday night team selection night is no longer as 22s for each match will now be announced at 6:20pm AEST the day prior to the game.

The key changes:

  • Averages will be awarded to players on a bye who played in the previous round. Players with a bye will be locked at the start of the round, therefore if you wish to trade or captain them, you will need to do that prior to the round starting. This also involved any movement on field or on your bench (including emergencies).
  • A rolling lockout will be in place for every game of each round between rounds 9-12. The last game of each round will be essentially the 'full lockout'.
  • Fantasy Classic: Three trades available to use or lose ever rounds for the remainder of the season.
  • Fantasy Draft: Restricted free agents (RFAs) will be processed in the morning of the next lockout (time TBA).

Trading

Generally we will have a full lockout to have our trades finalised by, usually at the start of the Friday night fixture. With a rolling lockout, trades can be made at any time before a player's club plays.

For example, if you want to trade out Tiger Marlion Pickett this week, you would need to do so prior to the 7:10pm AEST bounce on Wednesday night for the Western Bulldogs v Richmond game. After the game, he is locked into the position he is in your team.

As we have had a Thursday night game and a partial lockout for every round this year, this will be familiar. The difference is that there will be a partial lockout (aka rolling lockout) for every game of the round for the next four rounds.

Coaches should only make trades they need to. That is, holding onto trades until certain players play can help limit risk of selection issues or late changes.

With teams being announced the day before they play, coaches could be sweating on some fringe players being selected or injury/resting from games later in the round. Keeping a trade up the sleeve could be worth considering for the unforeseen team changes in the last couple of matches of the round.

A full contingent of bench players will help for cover; however, many will look to trade aggressively if a premium player is out to maximise points on field each round. With three trades, this is a sound strategy.

The goal should be to improve your team week-to-week. Still look to downgrade fattened cash cows to new rookies coming through (we may see a few in this period) and use the cash to upgrade players on your field. Having less ‘rookies’ on field after this period should be a priority.

Simply, using the fixture, be across when the players you wish to trade out and your trade in targets are playing and map out when the best time will be to make your moves.

NOTE: Trades are reversible throughout the rolling lockout; however, be aware that you may be unable to rollback your team if dual-position moves have taken place and captains locked in.

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Captains

You will be able to name your captain (and vice captain) as normal.

If you've used the VC loophole in the past, you'll understand that with multiple partial lockouts, you can choose which game you want to place the VC on rather than being the first (Thursday night) game as we've experienced in the past.

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Generally you should look to have your VC from the first 2-4 games. This will be dictated by who your non-player is to bring on the field and place the captaincy on… and when they play. If you don't have a non-player, then you might as well just lock the C on who you think will score the most for the round.

There is always risk with running the VC loophole and that is amplified by the fact teams may not be known and the possibility of multiple ins/outs from round-to-round.

Bye rounds

Rounds 10 and 11 are scheduled as bye rounds. In the past we have had to plan our teams around when players are on a bye. Due to the unknown nature of the fixture, rather than having to deal with a zero for a player on a bye, their 2020 average will be awarded for those in the 22 the previous round.

ROUND 10 BYES: Carlton, Fremantle, Hawthorn, West Coast Eagles
ROUND 11 BYES: GWS Giants, Sydney Swans

There are likely to be bye rounds post round 12 and the same rules are likely to apply.

There is minimal strategy required due to this rule; however, some coaches may decide that trading in a player with a bye could be a positive thing for their side. Andrew Gaff is currently averaging 92, ranking him as the fifth best midfielder and a score that every coach would be happy to bank in round 10. The No.1 defender, Jake Lloyd, should be a trade target regardless, but his average of 86 would see a great score guaranteed in round 11.

Players receiving their average on the bye will have price changes reflective of the score awarded.

On the flipside, you may decide between playing a bench player and the pre-determined score from an on field player. Do you take Caleb Serong's 55 (current average, subject to change based on his round nine score) in round 10 or play a fellow rookie off the bench instead?

As bye players will be locked at the start of the round, if you wish to trade on out or bring one in, you will need to do that before the first lockout of the upcoming bye round.

There’s a bit to think about, but being switched on with when games are scheduled – especially start times – and having a plan will hold you in good stead.

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