50 Most Relevant, Preseason 2020, Salary Cap Strategy

#22 Most Relevant | Zach Merrett

Over the past four seasons, Zach Merrett has been among one of the most beloved and popular premiums. Will this trend continue into 2020?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Zach Merrett
Age: 24
Club: Essendon Bombers
Position: Midfield

2019 Highest Score:
143 Vs North Melbourne (AFLFantasy)
155 Vs Brisbane (SuperCoach)

2019 Average: 

108.2 (AFLFantasy)
105.6 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $573,600
AFLFantasy Price: 
$803,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$782,400

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

Over the past few seasons, Zach Merrett has been one of the favourites of many fantasy coaches. He first rose to prominence in the Essendon drug scandal affected season of 2016. That season he was one of the best selections finished the season averaging 117 in AFLFantasy and 111 in SuperCoach.

More recently in 2019, he was unlucky not to find himself inside the 40 man All Australian squad. Across the league, he was ranked in the top 15 for Inside ’50s, disposals, tackles, handballs, uncontested possessions. He averaged 28 disposals a game, four marks, five tackles and almost five inside 50’s a game.

In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam last year he posted fifteen scores of 100 or more, with seven of those tons being over 120 and finished the season averaging 108\ From rounds 4-15 he had an11 game stretch where his lowest score was 99. Only two scores below 92 all year, both in the 50’s. One of them he spent a quarter off the ground with a concussion test again the Swans, the other was the dreaded Matt de Boer tag.

In SuperCoach he finished the year with a seasonal average of 106. The season consisted of fourteen scores of 100 or more, seven of them were over 120, and only twice last season his scoring dipped below 80.

Zach’s far from a one-hit-wonder. His season in 2018 Merrett in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam scored 14 tons, 6 of those were over 120 while in SuperCoach he posted 15 tons and just the four over 120. In fact, over four years, he has posted remarkable numbers

Between 2016 – 2019 in SuperCoach he has scored 52 tons, reaches that mark in 64% of matches and has an average of 106 during that time. The statistics are even stronger in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. He’s posted 62 tons, hitting the triple figures in 71% of matches over those four seasons and average 111.

To top it off, he’s only missed the one match over the past four seasons and hasn’t missed a game in the previous two. When it comes to relevant premiums across the formats, Zach Merrett ticks every box we need.

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MY TAKE

Over the past few seasons, many in the SuperCoach community have chosen to look past him and viewed more as an AFLFantasy selection. While it is true, he has a higher frequency of hundreds and a higher scoring floor he doesn’t lack for the ceiling. This year against Brisbane he posted his biggest SuperCoach score of 155.

Last season Zach Merrett showed that he was starting to work through the tag. When previously tough customers Jack Steele and George Hewett were sent to him they didn’t impact his scoring drastically. In reality, it was only Matt de Boer that got ahold of him and affected his output.

Merrett is a good captaincy option in AFLFantasy, but this year he comes with an added benefit. In these formats, we don’t have a regular rolling lockout, as such, getting multiple chances at selecting a captain are limited to the Thursday night games. Thankfully, Essendon has the most of all teams in league with a total of four. In round three and five, he could be a perfect Vice-Captain option early in the year, while post-bye round he presents an opportunity for us also in round thirteen and sixteen.

I love him in AFLFantasy and DreamTeam option to start, or as an upgrade target. At the time of writing in AFLFantasy, he’s currently in 6% of sides and given his scoring potential that low ownership is exciting for those who are now on him. If you can time the run in SuperCoach, then he could be a great unique on the run home.

DRAFT DECISION

Zach Merrett is relevant in all forms of the game, but historically it’s AFLFantasy scoring formats that he’s been at his best. Currently based on averages, he ranked 8th for midfielders in AFLFantasy and 17th in SuperCoach.

I struggle to see a world in AFLFantasy scoring formats that Zach isn’t taken within the first 20 selections. In some drafts, he’s a chance even to be a first-round selection. I’d target him in the second. 

SuperCoach formats given he’s ranked as the 17th best midfielder he won’t go as early. The third round is probably a stretch, but I can see some keen to jump here to own him. Rather the fourth round and having him as an M2 or M3.

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