50 Most Relevant, Preseason 2019

#42 Most Relevant: Jack Billings

When he’s on fire he’s an unstoppable points-scoring machine, when he’s not you’d be better off with a rookie. So why is Jack Billings in the 50 most relevant?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Jack Billings
Age: 23
Club: St Kilda
Position: Forward

2018 Highest Score: 
123 Vs Brisbane (AFLFantasy)
133 Vs Brisbane (SuperCoach)

2018 Average: 

85.1 (AFLFantasy)
80.6 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $437,600
AFLFantasy Price: 
$618,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$609,300

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

It was a tale of two halves for fantasy coaches that owned Jack Billings last year. Things started off OK with a 123 in AFLFantasy and 133 SuperCoach against the Lions, however, that was the only time he’d score over 90 until round 13 against Gold Coast. Between round 2-12 he averaged 69.8 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 62.6 in SuperCoach. During this time St Kilda coach Alan Richardson chose to use Jack as an exclusive forward. He barely ventured outside forward 50 and was given almost no midfield rotations let alone the freedom to push up the flanks. The back half was a totally different story, despite not picking up huge centre bounce numbers we started to see Billings released back into the role that made him a premium forward just 12 months earlier.

That role is of a forward who doesn’t just stay inside 50 but rather starts from then and then pushes up the ground, adds support to midfielders up the wing and his elite field kicking skills is used to cut the angles.

From round 13 until seasons end in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he scored 4 tons, didn’t dip below 75 and averaged 96.8. For SuperCoach during this 10 week period, he registered 3 tons, went under 77 just once and averaged 93.4.

These averages start to reflect the scores from 2017 across all formats. That year he scored 11 AFLFantasy/DreamTeam hundreds and averaged just shy of 95. While for SuperCoach it was 10 triple-figure scores with an average of 92. For coaches who take the punt and select Jack in there starting squads they could be getting a premium forward at the value price of 10 points below his pervious season.

MY TAKE

If you were bullish on Jack Billings last preseason then, in all honesty, you should be again in 2019. Last year if anything reconfirmed to fantasy coaches that when utilised in the right way Billings is a top 10 averaging forward in all formats. The reason I suggest you should be bullish again is because if anything he’s priced under his proven scoring potential that you banked on him to deliver last year. Priced around 10 points below last seasons average should certainly indicate you should be just as if not more invested in him.

Sometimes as a fantasy coach, we use the same logic to rule a player into contention, yet we don’t follow that same logic for another player. Sadly, confirmation bias can reign supreme in certain sections. For example one of the most hyped forwards of the preseason so far is Josh Dunkley he flew home in 2018 with an average of 115.7 in SuperCoach and 112.4 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam in his final 9 games of the year. The reason coaches are hot on selecting him is that of his end of season points and role many believe that will continue for Dunks. That may be true, and fingers crossed it is, but Billings also averaged as a premium forward during the same stretch but is not being talked up with the same potential. Both have shown that when given the preferable role they are fantasy forward premiums. My bugbear is when fantasy coaches don’t use the same logic for different players subjectively. If you don’t wanna select Billings, don’t pick him, just don’t dismiss the similarities of the end of season role vs positional risk he along with others posses.

Whether you choose to start or upgrade Jack Billings the possible risk of role change still exists, as the Saints coaching staff have shown they have no hesitation moving him. However, if you choose to upgrade to him mid-season the possible value reward that he offers doesn’t exist. Seems to me as though is that coaches who begin with him gain all the possible reward and share equally in the risk with coaches who upgrade.

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DRAFT DECISIONS

12 months ago if you wanted to own Jack Billings you’d have been likely picking him inside the top 20-25 selections overall. In 2019 you won’t be needing to draft him that early. While still inside the top 20 forwards in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 30 in SuperCoach I believe he presents potential value to jump into the top 10 averages overall on where his current average currently ranks him. For AFLFantasy/DreamTeam coaches he’ll likely end up being drafted as an F2, while in SuperCoach you might get lucky to pick him as an F3, although I’m not certain you’ll get that lucky.

In a keeper league now is the time to strike, 12 months ago he was one of the first forwards off the board and I do believe now is the time to strike, because if he bounces back like his end of season numbers suggest you’ll be paying way overs at some point in the future.

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