As every good Fantasy Coach knows, having a good start to the season is vital for setting up your team for the rest of the season. And the first eight rounds of the AFL draw are a particularly crucial period for team growth. It is the period you move from your ‘growth stocks’ and transition into ‘blue-chip stocks’ (so to speak); your rookies and ‘project players’ fulfill their growth potentials and hit their break-evens. This gives you the much needed funds to bring in the premium players in the race to complete your team.

When choosing a player, their job security and scoring potential are obviously the most important criteria. However, one secondary factor which is often overlooked when choosing between two similar players is the difficulty of the draw. Let’s face it; it’s difficult for a young player to score well if they’re team is getting pumped by ten goals.

Methodology

To determine the difficulty of the draw I have added up each teams “Against” AFL Fantasy scores. This determines which teams were the easiest to score against during the 2017 season:

Points Conceded – Best to Worst

Team Points
1 Greater Western Sydney 33879
2 Geelong 34674
3 Adelaide 34707
4 Essendon 34741
5 Richmond 34755
6 Port Adelaide 35032
7 Carlton 35130
8 Sydney 35424
9 Collingwood 35455
10 Melbourne 35496
11 Brisbane 35647
12 West Coast 35781
13 St Kilda 36051
14 North Melbourne 36135
15 Gold Coast 36376
16 Western Bulldogs 36384
17 Hawthorn 36750
18 Fremantle 37434

While last years performance isn’t a guarantee of future performance, it’s the best indication we have. So if you believe a team will do better or worse in 2018 – take that into consideration.

The Results

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rank
ADEL ESS RICH STK COLL SYD GC CARL PORT 16
BRIS STK MELB PORT RICH GC GWS COLL DOGS 13
CARL RICH GC COLL KANG WEST DOGS ADEL ESS 10
COLL HAW GWS CARL ADEL ESS RICH BRIS GEEL 18
ESS ADEL FREO DOGS PORT COLL MELB HAW CARL 4
FREO PORT ESS GC GWS DOGS WEST RICH STK 15
GEEL MELB HAW WEST STK PORT SYD GWS COLL 12
GC KANG CARL FREO WEST BRIS ADEL DOGS MELB 3
GWS DOGS COLL SYD FREO STK BRIS GEEL WEST 1
HAW COLL GEEL RICH MELB KANG STK ESS SYD 17
MELB GEEL BRIS KANG HAW RICH ESS STK GC 5
KANG GC STK MELB CARL HAW PORT SYD RICH 6
PORT FREO SYD BRIS ESS GEEL KANG WEST ADEL 8
RICH CARL ADEL HAW BRIS MELB COLL FREO KANG 2
STK BRIS KANG ADEL GEEL GWS HAW MELB FREO 7
SYD WEST PORT GWS DOGS ADEL GEEL KANG HAW 14
WEST SYD DOGS GEEL GC CARL FREO PORT GWS 11
DOGS GWS WEST ESS SYD FREO CARL GC BRIS 9

Conclusion

Greater Western Sydney, Richmond, Gold Coast and Essendon are the teams with the easiest draw. Following this are Melbourne, North Melbourne and St Kilda with a slightly favourable draw. Collingwood, Hawthorn and Adelaide have among the hardest starts to the season.

Given weaker AFL teams are more likely to play rookie and promising players, it’s teams such as Gold Coast and North Melbourne where I believe we’ll see a lot of value this year; coupling opportunity with an easy draw in the early part of the season.

So tell us what you think in the comments. Does the difficulty of a teams come into consideration for you? And from which teams are you looking to find value?