This article revisits many mid-priced selections from previous years and may invoke memories of severe burns, betrayed trust and incoherently screaming at the moon. You may need to get up, walk around and take deep breaths while reading this article. It’s also a long one. You have been warned.
Mid pricers suck. They just do. They are fool’s gold, lying in the shallows, screaming ‘Pick me! Pick me!” promising averages far beyond they can ever deliver. Yet, we pick them. every. single. year. Around the byes we realise we’ve been made a fool of, spend precious trades and money to get rid of them, and swear ‘never again’.
Then in pre-season, we’re tempted by trades, by retirement, by the promise of role changes, we start with five of them aaaaaand we get dragged back in like the schmucks we are. The cycle repeats.
But not this year. I decided to go back through the annals of time (well, as far as I could before I stopped remembering who the popular mid-priced picks were, which happened to be three years) to assemble the ultimate, statistical proof that mid pricers are dumb and should never, ever be considered.
The cycle ends here, I thought to myself.
— Jock Reynolds (@jock_reynolds) January 12, 2017
Does It End Though?
In terms of searching for keepers, it does. It’s conclusive. Over the past 3 years, only 5 mid-priced selections have averaged over 100 over 18 games or more. Five. Less than two players a year.
And what’s more, four of those players were returning from injuries the year before. Dane Swan, Aaron Sandilands, David Swallow and Daniel Wells were all known as premiums, and all went into their seasons as mid-priced players well undervalued. The only asterisk on that list is besides Swan’s name, who played injured during season 2013.
The fifth was Zachary Merrett, who stepped up to be the only Essendon midfielder of 2016 who wasn’t absolutely terrible (but not only that, he was very, very good.)
The wisdom of the ancients backs this up – John Bruyn, the winner of SuperCoach in 2013, started with two midpricers, and those two were David Mundy (at 477k) and Dustin Martin (473k). c-money, the 2015 champion, has said “you don’t want more than 2-3 mid pricers.”
And when you look at the data, they don’t come off. The next three tables are basically a who’s who of Burn Men. And here I was thinking I’d never have to see the name Greg Broughton ever again.
The N/As on these lists reflect players who were popular, selected, but had their seasons ended within four or five rounds, so their stats aren’t enough to draw comparisons from. They’re still on the list because they’re still mid pricers, they were still picked, and they still ruined a lot of sides over the short period of time they’d been selected.
Okay, I know it’s a lot of numbers, but if we look at these tables, and think of the mid pricers lying in front of us for 2017. Where will the likes of Paddy Ryder, ($418,100) Isaac Heeney, ($433,300), Callum Mills, ($420,000) Bob Murphy, ($392,300) David Swallow, ($280,200) and Jobe Watson (353,300) all fit into this table next year? Will they also fail?
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Statistically, the answer is yes. Yes, they will. One of them will have a season ending injury, most of them will average between 80 and 95 and ONLY ONE of them will likely average more than 100. Which one? It’s probably too early to say I’m keeping a close eye on Aaron Sandilands, but this isn’t an Aaron Sandilands writeup (if you want one, look here) and the point here is the case is closed on mid pricers, done, gone, see ya later.
But the basics are there. Players don’t break out of that mid-priced brackets. They break out of $550,000 brackets into ultra-premium status. Everyone else is just making up numbers. The only players that do well are those returning from injury, and they’re easy enough to spot. Case. Closed.
But, most of us know this. Most of us have learnt not to rely on mid pricers to be there at the end of the year, aside from the one or two Daniel Wells’ that appear each year. Many of us keep mid pricers in the rack to generate cash while still scoring, especially in years where there are few rookies.
Using mid pricers as cash cows is a tactic that has taken off in the past few years, with a look to upgrade them at or just after the byes. But I’d never actually looked into if it works. So I decided to, and what I found probably won’t shock you.
It doesn’t work. Aside from one or two each year, mid pricers suck for fantasy teams. They just do. There’s no sugar coating it.
I had a look at the mid-pricers listed above, and put down their peak price during the year, when that peak was reached and what they’d averaged up to that peak, as well as their price at the byes to try and determine how many players are worth selecting on pure cash generation alone.
(Players that have an N/A for their peak indicate their starting price was their “peak”. In other words, they didn’t have a peak and as such should be thrown right in the bin as the suckiest sucks that ever sucked.)
Just as a note – Dom Tyson in 2014 could be argued as more of a rookie than a mid-pricer, but worms his way onto the list because it was his third season and he was starting at a new club.
It’s pretty damn conclusive. Only two players in the past two years have generated more than $80,000 by the byes. The rest of the popular mid pricers have all stunk it up big time, floating like a tepid turd in our teams, not making cash, not scoring points, just kicking up a mess.
That’s because they’re just really expensive rookies. And as the rookie insight article in the Jock Reynolds Magazine states, expensive rookies have to work so, so much harder to make cash.
Here’s a quick table of how much cash mid pricers would make by the bye (all standardised to round 13 here) comparing their value and their potential average:
Compare that to the historical lists above and it’s a sobering counter to the argument that mid pricers can make half-decent cash cows. Especially when you mention Sam Powell-Pepper averaging 70 at 135,300 would make $231,609 by the end of round 13.
So. You can look at mid pricers individually and you can make all sorts of excuses as to why you select them, but take a step back. Look at the big picture. No matter how tasty they look, the likelihood is that they’re going to suck and cause you a lot of grief.
Do. Not. Pick. Them.
So, midpricers, I’m not going to fall for it. No matter how tasty you look, with so much gorgeous potential oozing from you, we know you won’t work out for us. Even with all the signs you’re training the house down, I’m not even gonna look at you. Well, maybe a bit. But I don’t care how good you are, I’m only going to… you know what? I’m just gonna go like this, and if you get picked, it’s your own fault.