50 Most Relevant, Preseason 2021

#13 Most Relevant | Matt Rowell

After the opening 4 rounds of the season, Matt Rowell was on track to deliver us the great rookie season ever. Sadly a shoulder injury put an end to that. Can he pick up from where he left off?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Matt Rowell
Age: 19
Club: Gold Coast Suns
Position: Midfield

2020 Highest Score: 
106 Vs West Coast (AFLFantasy)
171 Vs West Coast (SuperCoach)

2020 Average: 
70.8 (AFLFantasy) | 88.5 (Adjusted Average)
100.8 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $495,100
AFLFantasy Price: 
$574,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$588,400

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

In 2019, Sam Walsh gave fantasy football coaches one of the great debut seasons ever. After the first four rounds of 2020, Matt Rowell showed that he was on track not just to eclipse, but smashing through that glass ceiling.

The former #1 draft pick averaged 18 possessions, 5 tackles, 4 clearances, 4 score involvements, 2 rebounds 50’s and 2 inside ’50s per game. Just looking at that scoring build, you can see that he’s not a one-dimensional fantasy option. He wins it on the inside, is impactful on the outside and does the defensive tough stuff.

Before succumbing to his season ending shoulder injury, he scored 64, 108, 104, & 78 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam resulting in an average of 70.8 or 88.5 adjusted. For SuperCoach he scored 72, 172, 141 & 114 as his first four games and ended up averaging 100.8.

Yes, it’s only a few AFL games, but it reflects his junior career’s dominance. At the Under 18 Championships in 2019 for Vic Metro, Rowell averaged 25 disposals a game, 12 of those were contested possessions.

In the NAB League for Oakleigh, Rowell averaged 171 SuperCoach and 123 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. From his seven games, he averaged 32 disposals, 17 contested possessions, eight tackles and four marks per game.

Due to him missing 12 of a possible 17 games he’s been awarded a small discount. In AFLFantasy he’s now priced at 77, in SuperCoach at 92, while in DreamTeam he’s priced at 63. If you believe he can lift his average across the formats anywhere between 95-105, he still presents value for coaches across all formats.

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MY TAKE

It might only be early February, but Matt Rowell is among the most popular selections across all formats of the game. He’s currently in 52% of AFLFantasy and SuperCoach teams, while in 44% of DreamTeam sides. It’s high ownership numbers like this that create two types of responses from coaches.

The first is to be bold and ‘take him on.’ With ownership that high, some might be tempted to think that they can find a comparable or stronger performer than Rowell around that similar price range. With so many picking him, all it could take is a slow start or injury management from the club to feel like you’ve come out ahead.

On the other hand, you can view these high ownership numbers as risk mitigation. With such a large population of the game owning him he’s the sort of player that if his scoring ‘pops’ and you’re not on him, then the year starts with you playing catch up early.

Please make no mistake about it; Matt Rowell is a superstar player. And for a long time he’ll be in our fantasy sides, but is 2021 the right time? As good as he was last year, it was only just 4 full games.

As good as his 4 full games were, it’s only 4 games. At his price point, he’s priced either similarly or cheaper to proven performers like Ben Cunnington, Rory Sloane and Dyson Heppell. Can you really pick a player who’s played just a handful of matches over these established options?

History is also against him. How often do we see second year players breakout to genuine premiums? Nat Fyfe did it, as did Clayton Oliver and Jackson Macrae. Clearly, it’s rare air to be able to do it. For those who are Rowell believers, they will easily believe he can match it with these fantasy greats in his second year.

The big question prospective and current owners want to be answered ‘How’s the injury recovery going’? According to the club, the Suns will play it safe with his contact work to get him ripe and ready for round one. At this stage, he’s on track to appear in the clubs preseason AAMI Community Series clash.

With two trades a week and over half the competition owning him in AFLFantasy, there is absolutely no risk in picking him. The potential reward is light years ahead of any possible risk. In this format, he’s one of the easiest automatic picks of the season.

In DreamTeam and SuperCoach, the selection isn’t as obvious, but based on his ownership numbers clearly, a majority of coaches think we’ve only just got glimpses of his potential. For SuperCoach, he will need to pop that average closer to 105 or more to be worth it, while in DreamTeam reaching the 100 will certainly prove a strong reward for his owners.

Matt Rowell is a joy to watch and own. Given his ownership looks set to be sky-high, he’ll not just be defining the Suns’ success, but the potential of our fantasy footy seasons.

DRAFT DECISION

The drafting range of Matt Rowell could be relatively broad. There’ll be some that are super bullish and jump on him as an M2, while others will see his small sample size and hope he can be available at M4.

For me the sweet spot is M3, but he could be a midfield spot either end depending on the style of coaches in your league.

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