50 Most Relevant, Preseason 2021

#47 Most Relevant | Lance Franklin

After not playing a game in 2020, Buddy Franklin is back and is priced at a price almost too good to be true.

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Lance Franklin
Age: 33
Club: Sydney Swans
Position: Forward

2020 Highest Score: 
Did Not Play

Career Highest Score: 
204 Vs North Melbourne | AFLFantasy (2012)
236 Vs North Melbourne | SuperCoach (2012)

2020 Average: 
Did Not Play

SuperCoach Price: $312,000
AFLFantasy Price: 
$377,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$416,600

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

Last year didn’t quite go to plan for Lance Franklin. After exiting 2019 playing his lowest ever career games tally (10),’ Buddy’ was looking forward to turning the clock back and dominating the season. During last preseason many were already saying that he was in the best physical condition of his life. Once it hit into the Christmas break that’s when things turned for the worse.

After suffering a knee injury in the preseason, he was required to miss months in recovery. The COVID break actually gave him a chance to get back and play. However, with still a month to go in the season, the Swans ruled out a return in 2020.

While a disappointment at the time for AFL fans, what it means for fantasy football coaches is we’ve got a former topline premium forward at an insane price.

If you’ve spent any time playing fantasy football in the past decade, then you’d be familiar with the scoring power of Lance Franklin. Since 2008 the Hawthorn and Sydney superstar has been a premium staple in our forward lines.

A look at his fantasy foot averages during this time will remind you, just how good of a performer he is. In the past twelve seasons in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he has averaged 96, 81, 99, 101, 101, 79, 95, 82, 95, 96, 91 & 70. For SuperCoach, he’s averaged 107, 88, 107, 110, 115, 90, 99, 87, 94, 98, 100 & 72

Over the past decade plus, Buddy has been an outstanding forward premium. His final seasons where he averaged 70 was actually an injury impacted season cause him to dip over 20 points per game from the previous year.

The added benefit coaches have is he’s now been further discounted by missing a full year. Arguably we’ve got a ‘double discount’ because of that.

Even at 33, the concern isn’t on his ability to score; the concern is around is the body. However, no realistic fantasy coach is expecting him to be a 20 game player. You need him to be the stepping stone that goes 80 over the opening few months. He can then be moved seamlessly to a bottomed out premium.

Coaches can choose one of two places to do this. After the opening 6-8 rounds, or at his multi-bye round at 14, he makes him an easy move to a forward premium coming off a goodbye.

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MY TAKE

What does Lance Franklin need to do to be selected in our round one side beyond just being named to play against Brisbane? Ultimately, it’s a pretty clear call. Have a preseason free of interruptions.

That’s not to say he must be going hell to leather from day dot. Certainly, it can be gradual load management increases. However, it needs to be free of setbacks. If this can happen, and he’s given a preseason game, he’s right in the selection mix in many formats.

Does the injury risk for an in season decrease just from a clear run at it during the preseason? No! It’s there for every player who plays. But an injury free preseason does give you clear visibility that he’s ticked every box possible. That way any mishaps were marginally more unavoidable.

Furthermore, the risk in selecting him even if he goes down with an injury is minimised with two things. Firstly, his starting price. In SuperCoach he barely $100,000 cheaper than Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. That’s an insane value given his scoring history. Worse case scenario you drop him down to a playing forward rookie you missed and pocket the cash.

Second, his current selection popularity. AFLFantasy is the only format of the game that’s ‘open’ at the time of writing, and he’s currently in one in five teams. With ownership trends that high even with an injury mid-game will still affect a high portion of coaches, you’ll be less impacted if chasing overall ranking.

DreamTeam coaches will see that at just over $400K he still has plenty of fat on the bone to warrant selection, right now he’s priced at 50% of Steele Sidebottom who’s the top priced forward. Buddy is certainly going to bring a strong scoring return should he plays. Similarly, in both AFLFantasy & SuperCoach, his value is immense.

Don’t worry about asking ‘can he still score?’ That’s the wrong question. Rather it should be this. Can you get a minimum of six games out of him? That means matches against Brisbane, Adelaide, Richmond, Essendon, GWS & Gold Coast. If he plays, he’ll average anywhere from 75-85 in AFLFantasy and 80+ in SuperCoach. That’s a handy reward given the starting price investment.

If you’re in the market for a stepping stone forward, then at very least Lance Franklin needs to be seriously considered with a preseason of interruptions.

DRAFT DECISION

Twice in the past decade played 20+ games, which speaks volumes that even when ‘fit’ his availability for a full season cannot be counted on. Scoring is great, but availability is crucial to draft success.

Lance Franklin is a perfect mid to late teen rounds of your draft selection. Here, coaches often look for flyers and value picks, which can have a minimal negative impact on your year.

At best, he flies and becomes a draft bolter that establishes a strong season for you. Conversely, he is a late round pick you discard into the pool which is common in this portion of draft day.

I’d not be selecting him any earlier than as your F4 on draft day.

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