There are a number of inequalities in the AFL that prevent fairness throughout the league. The scheduling through the fixture is something that the AFL uses to draw bigger crowds and television audiences, but this comes at the expense of a level playing field. The way the season is drawn out to 23 rounds in an 18 competition is an example of this.
Every club in 2013 will play five teams twice and have one bye. Some will have it easier than others.
What does this mean for fantasy?
Due to the uneven schedule, some clubs might get the opportunity to play multiple times against teams that leak a lot of fantasy points or don’t allow many fantasy points. Thinking about this may help in the team selection process, especially in draft leagues.
So, what teams will acquire a taste of leather poisoning if they get the chance against the weaker fantasy point leaking teams of the AFL in 2013? What teams will struggle to touch the footy if they’re forced to come up against the hoarders of the competition, not once, but twice?
2012 AFL Fantasy points allowed
The above column chart is a ranking of each AFL team and the average fantasy points scored against them in 2012. Finals are included for the teams that participated.
From 2011, the outlook hasn’t changed that much. The biggest sliders were Collingwood. In 2011, they were ranked fourth allowing just 1491.8 average AFL fantasy points against them. In 2012 they dropped to 11th place allowing an average of 1544.6 AFL fantasy points against them. This is no surprise as we did rate Collingwood to have the most difficult strength of schedule in the competition for fantasy potential. The biggest improvers were Adelaide. In 2011 they averaged 1606.6 AFL fantasy points against them and were ranked 14th. With a great schedule they were able to improve dramatically and in 2012 moved up to sixth place allowing an average of 1482.4 AFL fantasy points per game.
West Coast topped the list allowing just 1426.2 AFL fantasy points per game. Hawthorn took second place allowing 1439.6 AFL fantasy points per game. Both these clubs dominated in 2012. Other clubs struggled to score fantasy points on them throughout the season. What’s even more telling is the fact that we rated Hawthorn and West Coast among the teams with the most difficult strength of schedules.
Strength of Schedule
To identify the teams that will have the opportunity to score the most and least AFL fantasy points in 2013 we have assigned each with a SoS (Strength of Schedule) score. To calculate the SoS for each club in 2013 the formula below is used.
The sum of the 2012 avg. AFL fantasy points against for the 5 teams to play twice in 2013 / 5
According to the SoS rankings, Melbourne has the best fixture in terms of fantasy output for 2013 and Hawthorn has the worst. Melbourne will play GWS, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Western Bulldogs and Fremantle twice. This is a much easier schedule than Hawthorn who will have to face off against Geelong, Collingwood, North Melbourne, Sydney and West Coast twice. When looking at the average fantasy points against in 2012 column chart it’s easy to see why this is the case. Hawthorn will play teams who don’t allow as many fantasy points in comparison to Melbourne. The below chart outlines the five teams each club will meet twice in the 2013 season.
Of course looking at SoS isn’t the ultimate guide to the team selection process in draft leagues. We draft players, not teams. However, it’s likely that the bottom end teams will improve as the AFL tries to maintain an even competition. Remember, this is only a helpful guide not a hard and fast rule.