Expert tips: 11 secrets to KFC SuperCoach domination
Australia's biggest and best fantasy sports game is back for another huge season, with new features and prizes and the same great feeling when you nail that perfect trade or come from behind to claim victory over a mate.
To help you get your hands on those cash prizes, delicious KFC rewards and private league glory, we've unlocked 11 inside secrets and tips from the experts.
Download the app, get some chicken home delivered and start picking. Here's the recipe to becoming an instant KFC SuperCoach champion.
1. Get the right rookies
A "rookie" in KFC SuperCoach world is any player priced at about $200,000 or under (No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is $207,300).
A good starting KFC SuperCoach squad will contain up to 15 rookies - filling the bench in each position plus a few spots on the field to create space in the salary cap to afford the big guns you want.
Rookies also fill a crucial role as the players with the most potential to rise in value during the season - good scores mean bigger price rises - allowing you to cash them in and buy more superstars. Last year's most popular rookie, Tiger Marlion Pickett, started the season valued at $123,900 and by Round 10 you could have sold him for almost $350,000.
The most important goal is to get rookies who are playing - even low scores are better than nothing. The easiest way to derail your KFC SuperCoach hopes is to select rookies who don't get games.
Check out our Rookie Bible to make sure you get the best cheapies this year.
2. Lay the foundations
One big lesson many KFC SuperCoach players learned in 2020 was it's not much fun watching established stars produce big scores for your mates when you don't have them.
Sometimes you just need to pay up to get the best. Jake Lloyd is very expensive, but in 2020 he was the topscoring defender - averaging 15 points a game more than the next-best player in his position (Luke Ryan). It's hard to imagine a scenario in which he isn't at least in the top three defenders in 2021, so just pick him now and save yourself the stress of missing out on his scores or figuring out how to trade him in.
The same goes for Max Gawn in the ruck and Lachie Neale in the midfield.
3. Avoid injury-prone players
If you're paying big dollars for AFL stars, you need them playing every week.
Freak knee injuries are one thing, but repeated soft-tissue problems are a big red flag.
GWS gun Josh Kelly can score with the best KFC SuperCoach midfielders, but in the past three seasons he has played 42 of a possible 61 matches, costing his owners a trade - or worse, waiting for weeks while the Giants put out vague statements about his availability.
Kelly averaged 115 points a game in 2020 but on total points he was behind Trent Dumont and Touk Miller, who just showed up every week.
Pick Lachie Neale and you can sleep easy - he has missed only one game in the past six seasons. Clayton Oliver hasn't missed a game since 2016.
RELATED: PREDICTED TOP-SCORERS AT EVERY CLUB
4. Fitness first
On a similar note, you can cross off players who have interrupted pre-seasons.
Hawk Tom Mitchell can usually score KFC SuperCoach points in his sleep but he is racing the clock to be fit for Round 1 after having a shoulder reconstruction in October last year.
Even if he makes it to the finish line, he's likely to be underdone and start the season slowly. Better to pick a fully fit midfielder available for around the same price.
Meanwhile, news Patrick Dangerfield is battling a groin issue has alarm bells ringing.
5. Value, value, value
If you starting picking all your favourite players you will realise something quickly: $10 million doesn't go very far.
Your aim should be to select players who will perform at or above their starting value, but the likes of Max Gawn and Jake Lloyd will struggle to improve on their mind-boggling 2020 numbers. Having said that, they are still likely to be the top players in their position so it's worth forking out the cash (see point 2 above).
That makes it even more crucial to find some value selections to fill out your squad. And there are plenty of options, from forward line bargains like Jack Ziebell, Ben Brown and Joe Daniher to underpriced midfielders Elliot Yeo and Dyson Heppell.
Mid-price selections are traditionally risky but if you get them right, it can set up your season.
6. Share the fun
The real fun of KFC SuperCoach is the letting your friends know about all the decisions you got right (and defending the ones that may not have gone exactly as planned).
Create your own private league to take on your family and friends in head-to-head matches each week on the road to a finals series over the final four home-and-away rounds. The final round is KFC SuperCoach grand final day.
You can add our experts to your league, set up rivalries and groups in the KFC SuperCoach site, and get social by joining the KFC SuperCoach debate on social media. Start with the official Facebook and Twitter accounts, the KFC SuperCoach Facebook Group and follow experts like Al Paton (@al_superfoooty), Tim Michell (@tim_michell) and The Phantom (@ThePhantomSC).
7. Trading tactics
You have unlimited trades until Round 1 then 30 for the rest of the season. Some of those will be needed to replace an injured player, but if you use the others wisely you can end up with a much stronger team than the line-up you start with.
Every player's price will change after they have played three matches, and each week after that. You want to make sure you've got the best cheapies and bargains before their price shoots up.
Experienced KFC SuperCoach players talk about getting players "on the bubble" after they have played two matches and before an imminent price rise. This usually applies to rookies but not always - a potential bargain like Jack Ziebell is set to shoot up from his $257,900 starting price if he scores well. And price moves also work in the other direction. Score poorly and your price will fall; Ziebell's value fell by more than $200,000 last year.
The key to successful trading is timing - buy players before their price goes up, and trade out players before their price falls.
It can be hard to predict a sudden price drop, but you can see a price jump coming if you know what to look for.
An injury to a star player early in a match is often a pointer to a bargain trade a few weeks later. Last year Tom Stewart lost almost $100,000 in value after scoring just 18 points in Round 4, when he was out of the game by quarter-time. Smart KFC SuperCoach players knew that didn't represent his try scoring ability and snapped him when his price bottomed out in Round 10. They were rewarded with seven 100-plus scores in the last seven rounds.
You can track projected price moves in KFC SuperCoach Plus.
Try to avoid "sideways" trades where you swap players of a similar value without improving your team overall.
8. Check teams and late changes
Improving your KFC SuperCoach performance can be as simple as checking in before the round starts to make sure all your players have been named, and you have set your captain, vice-captain and emergencies in each position.
There's nothing worse than logging on after the round has started only to find one of your players wasn't selected or was a late withdrawal - a mistake even the most experienced KFC SuerCoach players would confess to making at some stage.
There is a rolling lockout in KFC SuperCoach which means players are locked for the round when their team plays - so if one of your players is a late out you can still trade them out or move them to the benches long as their replacement hasn't played yet.
9. Back your gut
You don't want to miss the boat on the most popular players, but you also want to set your team apart from the pack.
KFC SuperCoach is more fun when you have a few unique selections in your squad based on your own research and instincts - when they score well there is no better feeling.
But be careful - it can be very risky to have a team full of them!
10. Mistakes can be fixed
Regrets? We've had a few. Every seasoned KFC SuperCoach player has stories about their pre-season specials that bombed, trades that backfired and terrible captain calls. Sure, they are frustrating, but remember everyone makes them - last year's winner admits to making a "panic trade" late in the year and bringing in Sydney fringe midfielder James Rowbottom, who was rested the following week. The fact Jason Barnett recovered and won the $50,000 prize is a lesson to us all - don't spend too much time worrying about the calls that don't go the way you hope, especially when so much is out of your control. Move on to the next trade - remember this is a marathon not a sprint.
11. Did someone say KFC?
Sure, bragging rights are great, but you know what's better? Bragging rights and fried chicken. Every week, the Colonel is going to be serving up vouchers to the top 11 players on the KFC SuperCoach leaderboard. Imagine snagging yourself a three-piece box, paid for with nothing more than your footy savvy.
There are more great rewards on offer throughout the year and for the top players at the end of the season, including some amazing KFC merch. Even if your KFC SuperCoach team is struggling you can still find yourself in some amazing KFC gear.
.. and one more - have fun!
Trade and selection decisions can be stressful but don't forget KFC SuperCoach is a game and another way to enjoy the footy. Celebrate the wins and don't ride the losses too hard - there's always next week. Good luck!
Originally published as Expert tips: 11 secrets to KFC SuperCoach domination