50 Most Relevant, Preseason 2019

#31 Most Relevant: Josh Dunkley

He flew home as one of the most inform scoring forwards in fantasy footy last year, is scoring like that a sign of the future or a lucky scoring run?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Josh Dunkley
Age: 22
Club: Western Bulldogs
Position: Midfield/Forward

2018 Highest Score: 
132 Vs Carlton (AFLFantasy)
157 Vs Carlton (SuperCoach)

2018 Average: 

95.7 (AFLFantasy)
95.1 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $516,300
AFLFantasy Price:
$695,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$685,100

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

One of the sweetest feelings for a Fantasy footy coach is jumping on a player that’s in red hot form who’s pumping out massive scores week in week out and at any time over the final 9 games, you owned Josh Dunkley last year you got to experience that sweet feeling. During this stretch of games in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he averaged 112 and scored 7 tons, 5 of them were over 110 and his lowest score was 96. For SuperCoach he averaged 115 and scored 7 tons, 3 of them were over 130 and his lowest score was 86.

The reason for the points explosion was after making his way back into the side from a VFL stint the move was made by the coaching staff to move him from a forward-based role to an exclusive ball winning midfielder. However, while it’s not quite the lofty scores he was still being reasonable in his opening 10 games of the year he averaged 80 in AFLFantasy with just the one ton, while SuperCoach he scored 2 tons at an average of 76.5.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge does have a history of changing a players role late in the year and then if a player is successful in that space he’ll maintain that into a new year. Over the final 10 games of 2017, Toby McLean averaged 95 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam after only having only one score over 90 in his first 9 games. While in SuperCoach he ended the year final 10 game stretch with an average of 97 after failing to score a ton in the opening 9 games. This impressive form was enough to secure a fulltime midfield role in 2018. While nothing is ever for certain, it does give coaches confidence that Luke Beveridge has rewarded performance before.

Even in his debut season, we could see the development of a fantasy player. In 2016 he averaged 80 in AFLFantasy and scored 4 tons while in SuperCoach he averaged 69 and had 3 scores in the ’90s. Not bad for a first 13 games at the elite level.

MY TAKE

The biggest question mark surrounding Dunkley isn’t his scoring capacity but rather whether or not he’ll be afforded the role that he so well played towards the conclusion of 2018. Just a few days ago we spoke about Tom Liberatore who when playing is an elite clearance and contested ball winner. By all reports, he’s had a bumper preseason and is ready to be released back into the midfield group. Equally, can Toby McLean and Josh Dunkley co-exist in the same midfield? I believe the answer is ‘yes’ in part as they are different types of players, but also as we saw it for a majority of the last 9 games of the year. Both were part of plenty of midfield rotations, rather it was the now-departed Luke Dahlhaus that had a decrease in his midfield opportunities as he was used more forward.

One of the things that helped the Dogs win them the premiership in 2016 was the versatility and flexibility, the negative for fantasy coaches is when players are used in multiple roles unpredictably it can be difficult to have confidence in the selection of a player, especially if one of those secondary roles isn’t fantasy friendly.

Given what we know he can deliver he must be firmly on your watchlist if nothing else. I know plenty of coaches will choose to view him as an upgrade target up until the JLT if not beyond depending on the potential role adjustments the Dogs midfield unit may make. If he does retain that primary midfield role he’d need to be among one of your first forwards you upgrade to because he could very quickly price himself into a position where you may have to use 3 trades in DreamTeam or SuperCoach or acquire him. If he goes back forward predominantly coaches will be burned badly and misfire early in the season.

For mine, he’s on my watchlist and if I like the role I see in the JLT I can see myself starting with him.

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DRAFT DECISIONS

If you want to own Josh Dunkley in 2019 he’ll likely cost you an F1 spot even with all the potential question marks around him his upside means he can be seriously in the conversation as the highest scoring forward overall. A selection inside the top 3 rounds probably feels early, but I can’t see him being there by the time you get around to your 5th overall pick.

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