Jobe Watson. Essendon Captain, Essendon Best and Fairest winner, Brownlow medalist and top bloke.
The only thing I don’t like about that statement is the “Essendon” part. That’s more to do with where my loyalties lie than anything of relevance to the fantasy community.
But don’t worry I won’t let my dislike for the Essendon Football club distract me from my unbiased approach of analysing the best players from last season and Jobe Waston is the final player in the group of 6 that finished 2012 with Super Elite Status.
Jobe in 2012
Jobe had somewhat of a breakout season in 2012 increasing his average by 15 Supercoach points from 106 points in 2011 to 121 points in 2012. Now taking that on the figures alone you would say that was a full breakout season, however I say “somewhat of a breakout” because he had be threatening for the previous two years to take his game to the next level but was restricted by soft tissue injuries that appeared to strike as soon as he was finding his stride.
If you had taken the four games in the middle of the season in 2011 where Jobe had come back from a slight hamstring tear only to damage it again he would have actually averaged 115.8 points in 2011 and that was after seeing out the last 5 games not fully fit. After seeing that he had a good preseason with no problems I was happy to lock him in as my M3 (3rd midfielder) at his discounted price last season and he didn’t let me down (Unlike a few others I might add).
Looking at his stats he averaged 15.6 kicks, 13.4 handballs, 0.9 goals and 4.8 tackles a game. A lot like the other Super Elite players Watson excelled in the contested possession department. He was ranked number four in contested possessions per game and number four in clearances per game and considering how so many of his possessions were contested he had a very respectable disposal efficiency ranked 13th in effective disposal in the competition last season. So let’s have a quick recap of his scoring in 2012.
2012 under the microscope
- From a score point of view Jobe was a measure of consistency and was a very reliable scorer, only dropping below 100 points in 4 games with a lowest score of 73 coming in round 22 when he knew Essendon’s final hopes had died (broad smile).
- On the other side of the coin he had 9 games where he scored above 130 with a top score of 156. However if we have a closer look at his scores there is one element of inconsistency that on the face of it might not necessarily be a bad thing going into 2013.
- His average in a winning team was 125.6 points a game where his average in a losing team was 116.3 points – 9.33 points lower. So how might this be a good thing going forward ?? Well even though my heart wants me to believe Essendon will continue their woeful run of just three wins from their last 13 games of last season (face is hurting from me smiling now), my head is telling me a very different story where Essendon could be looking at a win lose record somewhere from 13-9 to 15-7 next year.
- If you apply the very simplified approach that Jobe’s averages in a winning and losing team will remain the same in 2013 that would put his projected average for next year at approx 123 points. Of course that’s a very simplified approach that takes no other contributing factors into consideration and there are other contributing factors, the first being a Higher Profile.
A marked man in 2013?
This may sound ridiculous but as the reigning Brownlow medalist Jobe Watson will go into season 2013 with a higher than usual profile and will become somewhat of a marked man. If you follow the trends set by the previous 8 Brownlow medalists then you can expect Jobe’s average to drop in the coming season. The table below shows the previous 8 Brownlow medalists their average in the year they won the medal, their scores and running averages in the first 5 rounds of the following season and their final average for the following season.
The dreaded Brownlow Hangover effect
- Remarkably last season Dane Swan became the first player to increase his average the year after winning a Brownlow medal. All the other years back to when Supercoach was created the player that won the Brownlow saw a decrease in his supercoach score the following year .
- Even more amazingly their average points scored dropped by an average of 11.6 points.
- I included the scores from the first 5 rounds of the next year to gauge an idea of how the player scored while handling the opposition’s new found focus on the reigning Brownlow medalist. These are the rounds I believe the opposition will be most focused on stopping the Brownlow medalist as he will still very much be talked about in the media before the next wave of Brownlow favorites spring up around round 7, and as its early in the season its easier for opposition to fixate on stopping a known high profile player, instead of the game plan of the opposition as there haven’t been too many games to analyse.
- Apart from Gary Ablett in 2009 and Jimmy Bartel in 2007 every other year the reigning Brownlow medalist got off to a slow start averaging well below their previous season’s average after the first four rounds then played catch up for the rest of the year.
- This includes Dane Swan who was only averaging 105 after round four last year before he went bang in round 5 with a massive score of 180.
Looking at Jobe in Supercoach and AFL Fantasy 2013
Essendon’s first four games are Round 1 v Adelaide (AAMI), Round 2 v Melbourne (MCG), Round 3 v Fremantle (PS) and Round 4 v St Kilda (ES). Even though Watson isn’t the most ideal player in the Essendon midfield to tag as he wins his own ball, and Essendon are less effective when the opposition shut down their outside run and carry I won’t be surprised to see the first tag going to Watson, for the first few rounds anyway. This might change when Stanton and to a lesser extent Goddard start tearing it up on the outside. This leads me nicely into my next point of focus, the Essendon list.
On the surface Essendon go into 2013 with a very strong list but the key for them will be keeping their best 22 on the park. In all honesty 2012 was a horror year for the bombers. Their pre-season saw them put on too much muscle too quickly and as a result the list grew thin as players dropped off with soft tissue injury after soft tissue injury as the season progressed.
..more competition for Supercoach points?
On the up side 2012 did see the continued improvement of youngsters Dyson Heppell, Ben Howlett, Heath Hocking and Jake Melksham, all who you would expect to improve more in 2013 and there could very well be an AFL Fantasy breakout contender in that group. The good news for the bombers in the off season was the pick-up of Brendon Goddard who I believe is a wonderful signing but not for the obvious reason that Goddard will be the game changer himself.
Essendon’s early form last season was sensational as was that of Brent Stanton and it was no coincident that the drop in Essendon’s form coincided with the drop off of Stanton’s effect on the game. Opposition simply realised if they shut down Stanton’s run and carry they were restricting Essendon’s most effective avenue to goal.
The guys at Bomber land know this too and with the addition of Goddard in the guts it should free Stanton up that little bit more and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see his SC average increase to the 110 mark. Goddard himself will also be a player scoring points that was not in the frame last year and even though some people are expecting Goddard to get back to his elite days at Saint Kilda (another debate) I can’t see him scoring less than 100 points per game.
Add this to the possible breakout year that some tip Heppell to have now that it looks like he will be part of the midfield next year and there are a lot of averages increasing at bomber land in 2013. Now you are probably sick of me telling you this at this stage but there is only 3300 points to be divided up in any given game and with all these players picking up points that they didn’t get last season.. this means somebody else isn’t going to be getting them this season. So where does this leave Jobe Watson ?? Well even though the bombers have some room regarding average supercoach and AFL Fantasy points with only Watson, Ryder and Stanton averaging over 100 points last year, with all these additional projected average increases to other players at Essendon I don’t see Jobe having much scope to improve his average and it may very well fall the other way.
The good news for Jobe and for Essendon is that even in their season from hell with soft tissue injuries, Jobe managed to get through unscathed, which was really good considering his past record with soft tissue injuries. This makes me think that they have nailed down Jobe’s training program and I would be confident that he will again have a very good durability factor in 2013 and play out the 22 rounds of the home and away season … and yes bombers supports probably finals too (smile has gone).
The Mad Irishman’s Verdict
Even though I think Jobe will finish in the top 10 midfielders for 2013 and he will be a very solid pick for the reasons outlined above I just don’t see any scope for him to improve his average on last season. I feel there are better options in the same price bracket that offer better value for money and it is for that reason I won’t be selecting Jobe in my initial team in 2013. He is however someone I will look to get into my team and if I am correct in predicting a slow start to the season he could very well become my first upgrade.
Current Status: Super Elite
Starting price: $647,200
2012 Average: 121 Supercoach points
2012 Games Played: 22
2013 Predicted Status: Elite
2013 Predicted Average: 116 to 119 points
2013 Predicted Games: 22
Value Rating: 4.9 (average)
Will finish in the top 10 midfielders but a predicted drop in average added to a predicted slow start means it way be wise to look elsewhere for starters in your initial teams. Definite upgrade target after round 6/7.