50 Most Relevant, Preseason 2020, Salary Cap Strategy

#48 Most Relevant | Dan Houston

He broke out late in 2019 and became one of the top-scoring defensive eligible players across all formats of the game. Can he do it for a full season? Or was it just a purple patch?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Dan Houston
Age: 22
Club: Port Adelaide Power
Position: Defender/Midfield

2019 Highest Score: 
123 Vs Essendon (AFLFantasy)
134 Vs Essendon (SuperCoach)

2019 Average: 

80.3 (AFLFantasy)
89.2 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $484,800
AFLFantasy Price: 
$596,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$580,800

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

In 2015 Port Adelaide struck upon a massive win in the 2016 rookie draft by selecting Dan Houston. The former Oakleigh Chargers co-captain was picked by the club as a medium-sized forward target at selection 45. At the under 18 championships he was lauded for is clean hands and for his reliability as a set shot for goal. Once walking into the club, he quickly developed into someone who could play off half-back for the club.

After spending a few years on the Port list a strong preseason saw him debut in round one of 2017 and play the opening seven games for the year. As a cash cow during this time he averaged 70 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 67 in SuperCoach. However, since then for the majority of the next two seasons, he’s been fantasy footy irrelevant for coaches.

From 2018 and the majority of the 2019 season he had games where he scored across half-back. However, on the most part was nothing more than a solid depth squad player for Drafts and Daily Fantasy games.

Things changed drastically for him in the latter third of last year. It started in the round fourteen clash against the Cats. Ken Hinkley and the coaching staff sent him to tag Tim Kelly. He did a pretty decent job on him too, keeping Kelly to 17 disposals and at 52% efficiency and the Power going on to win the game by eleven points. In that match, Houston managed 25 possessions, eleven of them contested. He won five clearances, six inside ’50s and scored 89 in AFLFantasy and 110 in SuperCoach.

Over the final five rounds of the year, Houston moved back into the midfield, and the strong fantasy footy scores flowed. During that five games stretch in SuperCoach, he posted three tons, one of which was a personal best of 134 and averaged 105. For AFLFantasy/DreamTeam during this same stretch of games, he scored 100 or more in three matches didn’t drop a score below 89 and averaged 103.

In may only be a small sample size of games, but based off the seven games (Rounds 14-15 & 19-23), I tracked him playing as a midfielder he averaged 99 in SuperCoach and 93 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam.

It can be misleading and dangerous to begin ‘splitting’ a players averages. However, for Houston who had such a clearly defined role change, it can give fantasy coaches a level of insight about what we may lay ahead.

SUPERCOACHAFLFANTASY
PLAYING MIDFIELD9993
PLAYING DEFENCE8473

If those scoring trends continue into the new season that could place him as the enormous value, given his end of season average, he’s priced at 89 in SuperCoach and 80 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. He could have between 10-13 points per game of value in him.

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MY TAKE

He’s a tricky one to pin down, as such he’s quite low in the 50 Most Relevant. Back in August Ken Hinkley explained the major reason for the midfield move. It was due to the need to bring quality ball use into the midfield unit, something Houston has in spades. So far this preseason he’s been training with midfield group and impressing the coaching staff in his continued development.

A look at the Port defensive unit would suggest he isn’t required there any longer. Hamish Hartlett, Darcy-Byrne Jones and Ryan Burton all can use the ball well by hand and foot and can play attacking roles off defensive 50/ Tom Jonas & Tom Clurey take up the key defensive posts while Riley Bonner rounds out the core defensive six. Should injuries strike Joel Garner Sam Mayes & Jarrod Lienert have all shown something at AFL level across half-back.

Houston needs to play through the midfield. Travis Boak, Ollie Wines, Tom Rockliff, Robbie Gray and Sam Powell-Pepper form the nucleus of the midfield group. Xavier Durrsma and Connor Rozee still need multiple rotations per quarter to keep fast-tracking their development. At first glance, things don’t look too bad for the Power, but to kick winning score players like Rozee and Gray must be used often inside forward 50. Added to this, Rockliff’s injury history implies he’s no certainty to play 22 games.

Dan Houston adds a combination of quality disposal, clean hands in the contest and some defensive pressure which they currently lack from that group. To select him in SuperCoach, AFLFantasy and DreamTeam you need him to have this role change to make the selection worthwhile.

Selecting him in your starting squad is a classic case of risk versus reward. The risk is that at his price point he must breakout and average in the ’90s for the selection to pay off. Without it, you’ll be stuck with a defender who’s scoring OK (late 70’s-early 80’s) but won’t be doing badly enough to prioritise him as a sideways trade. The reward is if he does play midfield he’ll score as a premium in our backlines and you’ll get them at a fraction of the price returning value on investment.

I believe he continues to play through the guts but I to give me the confidence to start him I’ll be watching his Marsh series games to determine his role. If he retains that midfield role, then he’ll be a popular D3 starting option for all formats.

Should he continues to play through the guts it will give me the confidence to start him. I’ll be watching his Marsh series games to determine his role. If he retains that midfield role, then he’ll be a popular D3 starting option for all formats.

DRAFT DECISION

I like the potential of Dan Houston when it comes to drafts of all formats. He’s got the potential to score as your topline defender (D1), but he won’t cost you that on draft day. In an ideal world, I’d love to be able to select him as my third defender. However, with strong preseason hype already surrounding him, you might have to bite a round or two early at D2 to secure his services. 

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