THEY strike fear into some coaches, but for others, it’s an opportunity to build their side for the back-half of the season.

The bye rounds are coming.

Many leagues choose to turn the bye rounds ‘off’ for head-to-head matches, especially Fantasy Draft leagues, but the overall competition and the race to the Toyota HiLux and other major prizes in Fantasy Classic continues.

Former winners and highly ranked coaches consider the bye rounds a chance to move up the overall rankings. They take advantage of the adjustments to the game and via smart trading, end up with the most points possible over the three-week period.

04:43 Mins
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The Traders' round 10 Fantasy wrap

There were some monster scores on the weekend including Clayton Oliver's 155.

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Bye round rules

As six teams will be on a bye in each of the bye rounds, some rules are adjusted to help coaches manage.

  • Best-18 scores will count for round score from on-field 22.
  • Three (3) trades are available for each bye round.
  • Bye players will be locked at the final game of the round.

It should be noted that normal emergency rules will apply. For example, if you have a DNP in a position, your selected emergency will come into play. If their score is within the best 18 active scores in your team, it will count. A player with a bye will be considered a DNP.

Bye round schedule

Each bye round has six games. Round 12 sees games played Friday-to-Sunday. The other two rounds feature Thursday night games. As there is the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, round 12 includes a Monday game.

Don’t forget that teams are now announced at 6:20pm AEST on Thursday nights (6:20pm AEST Wednesday night for Thursday games). Note that 22s for the Sunday games will be announced on Friday at 5:00pm AEST and Monday games on Saturday at 4:30pm AEST.

When is your club's bye?







Gold Coast



GWS Giants






North Melbourne

West Coast

St Kilda

Port Adelaide

Western Bulldogs


Team structure for the byes

What is the best bye structure? It’s the frequently asked question with bye rounds approaching.

The simple answer is to have as many players available as you can on any given week. Having more than 18 players is a bonus as the lowest scores would be knocked off. Those 40s we’ve been getting on a weekly basis could be gone!

While some think having 10 players on a bye in each round appears to be a good mix, a structure of 8-10-12 is a preferred strategy for many. In a perfect world with all 30 squad members playing each week (yeah, right), that would mean, before trades, you’d have 22, 20 and 18 players available in each round.

It is encouraged to have more players with a bye later in the block of byes. More on that shortly.

Using the Fantasy coach subscription, you can click through the ‘Bye Detector’ to see how balanced your byes are. It is important to note that due to the best 18 needs to come from your starting 22, you can’t count bench players in a position if all on-field slots are filled. For example, if you’ve got all eight defenders playing in round 12 (six on-field, two bench), your bench players won’t be included in your score as they’re not on field.

Using dual-positions switches can help here.

Trading strategy

As we have three trades for each of the bye rounds, the aim should be making sure you’ve got as many green dots on your field each week.

Round 12 trading is often the hardest.

If there was one piece of advice to take away from bye round strategy, it is to trade OUT a player with a bye and trade IN a player coming off a bye. This will only work for rounds 13 and 14, so what do we do in round 12?

Generally, the three trades for round 12 are used on rookies or cash cows. It might be fixing up a ‘red dot’ for someone who is unlikely to suit up in the next three rounds, or dumping a round 12 rookie for someone coming through with a bye in a future round (as long as it doesn’t mess with structure). Getting some cash in the bank for the next two rounds is a common strategy.

Round 12 bye players Chris Burgess, Jacob Kozchitzke, Tom Powell, Charlie Lazzaro and Miles Bergman have made most if not all their possible cash to date and can be moved on.

You should aim to hold your premiums here.

In rounds 13 and 14, aim to follow the simple advice of trading someone with a bye out of your team for someone who has just had their bye.

Deven Robertson, Harrison Jones, Archie Perkins, Nik Cox and Anthony Scott could be at the top of the list to cull in round 13. With some cash in the bank, you could potentially trade three of your rookies on a bye this week for another rookie and two premiums. Depending on your finances, you could get a big midfielder like Mitch Duncan or Tom Mitchell.

The Swans have the bye in round 14 and some have been holding Chad Warner to sell him in this particular week. Although his form has been great, James Jordon is another you could move on to turn into an uber premium. For those running with Matt Flynn in R3, now is the perfect time to grab the bulk cash he’s made. Caleb Poulter and Ryan Byrnes will most likely be valued at $450k+ at this stage based on the 100s they scored in round 10. Maybe it’s the time to cut ties with Lachie Sholl … or even Jordan De Goey?

As for the players you’re bringing in, ideally you’re looking at the players who have had their bye … but everyone’s budgets will be different. Hopefully we see some rookies make their debut so we’ve got downgrade options and similarly, targeting underpriced premiums is always a nice play.

Lachie Whitfield should be on your radar after the Giants’ round 12 bye. More trade targets will be discussed on the weekly AFL Fantasy podcast.

Final thoughts

The more players you have playing in these rounds, there’s a better chance of a high score as the lowest performances will be dropped off if you’ve got more than 18 playing.

Whatever you do, aim to hold your premiums and do you best to upgrade your cash cows so that you exit the byes with a better team than you entered them with.

That’s the aim of the game!

There will only be eight rounds left in the season once the byes are over. For most Fantasy leagues that’s four rounds of ‘home-and-away’ fixtures and four rounds of finals. Hopefully you have fewer rookies on your field than your opponents!

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