This was a fun game with which to end the preseason. It was a low scoring arm-wrestle but highly entertaining with both clubs apparently giving it their all. Here are a few final notes to finish your preseason homework before the next podcast drops:
Played midfield. Looked explosive around stoppages and racked up plenty of possessions from limited game time. I’d be interested to know if the reduced TOG was deliberate to ease him back into senior footy and it’s only a practice game anyway, or if it was because he’s not quite fit enough after an interrupted preseason (and an interrupted 2019). Got through the game unscathed though which is the most important thing.
Also played midfield. More handball-happy than usual but he sure stands out with that ridiculous haircut. Can’t miss him and neither did his teammates. His price is awkward in salary formats after a mini-breakout last year from a handful of games, but he’s a very interesting draft prospect.
Darcy Fort & Rhys Stanley
Fort played half a game and performed admirably enough to put Rhys Stanley under pressure. Geelong’s ruck situation is an interesting one but the bottom line is that Smith leaving doesn’t necessarily mean Stanley is #1 all season.
Loves playing kick to kick with his teammates and might be an underrated option in fantasy formats this year. The role is definitely still there for him.
He’s actually pretty good at football, in case anyone had forgotten.
He’s also actually pretty good at football too. Not as good as Dangerfield, but still pretty good.
This is what track-watchers wanted to see heading into round one. Double figure tackle numbers and not anchored inside forward fifty – although he did spend plenty of time there. Enough to be concerned? Probably not.
Has his time finally come? Solid midfield minutes in both Marsh games and ooh ahh he’s looked good doing it. McGrath seems suited a little more outside than inside but the intent and endeavour is definitely there.
You’ll enjoy having him in your team just so you can say his name every week. Bit of luck and he’ll make you some cash too. 12 of his 18 possessions were interceptions and he read the play like a player with many more years of experience.
That’s premiership player Jacob Townsend, by the way. He did not play the inside midfield role that we hoped he might, but he did play very well as a pressure forward. The same role in which he won a premiership medal. Playing in a premiership. Premiership player Jacob Townsend, that is. Anyway, he might have earned himself a spot for round one on that performance but his scoring will still be heavily reliant on goals if he’s dancing around the forward pocket.
The Eagles welcomed the Bombers to Perth and to some strange weather for an entertaining pre-season clash which saw the visitors impress early and hold on for an 8 point win. There was a 20 minute break early in the second quarter due to safety concerns amid lightning storms in the area meaning the game was played in mostly wet conditions.
Both sides were missing a bevy of stars opening the door for some lesser lights to shine and shine they did! Whether some of these players get the same opportunities when both sides are at full strength remains to be seen and must be considered when assessing these performances.
This was our first look at the young gun in blue and gold and I honestly expected him to blitz it causing everyone to scramble to rush him into their fantasy sides (like Bont and Petracca last week). He started very slowly though, and with the likes of Gaff and Yeo missing, it was strange to see him playing so much off half forward early.
Essendon’s mids were well on top in the first half so it wasn’t surprising to see Kelly move into the preferred midfield role in the second half. This is when he really started to sparkle, getting his hands on it 13 times in the 3rd quarter, and finishing the game with 27 disposals and a goal. Set for a big year once he finds his groove at his new home.
Looking for a POD mid? The new Eagles captain just always gets it done and with Kelly’s arrival, should say goodbye to taggers for good. Had 31 touches and 4 tackles in this game and like Kelly, will thrive at the feet of Naitanui. Gun.
Deceptively good. Played midfield most of the night and was his usual busy self with 28 touches but I still feel when the full Eagles midfield is on the park, he’ll spend more time forward. Worth a look late in Drafts and I’m tipping he will be in everyone’s forward line in 2021.
Started very slowly due in part to the heavy conditions but warmed into the game quickly. Took 7 marks on a wet night and even though he is a year older, looks set for another big year in fantasy. Will be a solid option again.
It is so nice to see the big fella in full flight again and we all have our fingers crossed he can have a healthy season. As expected, his minutes were limited, and his first bench rotation came within 5 minutes of the start of the game! His time on ground was 51% but when on the field, he commanded the stoppages and looked solid with 11 touches and 28 hit outs. Should be a popular R2 option but will be frustrating to own as it’s difficult to accumulate points while warming the bench!
Read our full preseason take on him from the 50 Most Relevant Series here.
A round 1 bolter and a real option for our R3 spot. He did some nice things and stayed involved throughout even capping the performance with a goal. Can he leapfrog Vardy and Hickey to be the Eagle’s back up for NicNat? I think he can!
Had a huge night kicking 6 straight and relishing the space and attention with Darling and Allen missing. He is looking sharper and more agile than he has in years but for context, he was up against the single gamer in Zerk-Thatcher. At his price, he could be a good cash maker early in the year.
I’d heard great things about this kid and, with it being suggested he could play on the wing this year, he was firmly on my watch list. The role on the wing was there but for a 6 foot 4 winger, I must say I didn’t notice him a great deal. He didn’t get a lot of ball collecting 11 disposals but did look clean and composed. He’s still very young and if he keeps that role, remains relevant as a rookie, particularly with that handy DEF/FWD dual status. Let’s have another look at him in Marsh 2 when some of the other midfielders return.
He looked good and provided great run and carry off half back, but he turned 30 last year and I can’t see him suddenly becoming relevant for us.
He did enough to suggest he’s going to be one of the big improvers this year, but I don’t think I was the only one worried early as he only attended 1 centre bounce in the first half. He was tackling hard (finished with 6) and was throwing his weight around a bit as he looked up and about and pleased to be fit again. But he needs to convert that into more fantasy points if he’s going to come even close to replicating his 2018 season.
Thankfully, he had a big second half as he was given more midfield opportunities attending 8 centre bounces and collecting 14 touches. Will be better for the run as this was his first game since round 8 last year.
Ultimately with Devon, the test we needed to see is did he add defensive pressure and tackle? The answer to that is he did!
Read our full preseason take on him from the 50 Most Relevant Series here.
I absolutely loved his game as he was solid throughout the 4 quarters and played a fantasy-friendly game. He was never far from the ball and even snagged a nice snapped goal in the 1st quarter. Finished with 29 touches and 4 tackles from just 65% game time. Fits the bill for a breakout perfectly.
Could be one of the stories of last years mid-season rookie draft (after GF hero Marlion Pickett) as he looked very much at home on the big stage albeit a pre-season stage. He looked fantastic playing high half forward and was all over the ground laying tackles and taking important marks. He only played 65% of the game but still had 20 touches, 7 marks, 7 tackles and kicked 2.2. I’m not sure the same opportunities will be there in the season proper, but this performance has made me take notice.
Very much under the radar in fantasy circles perhaps after not quite delivering on his potential last season. He looked the real deal in this game though, as he commanded the half back line dashing up and down the ground and even took some of the kick in duties.
He had a good spread of stats with 21 touches, 7 marks and 5 tackles and could be a nice unique option. The only concern is the impact of Saad and Mckenna on his role and scoring output when they return. One to watch.
He is so great to watch when he’s on, but I just wish he got more involved on the outside. His lack of +6’s makes him hard to consider with the competition for midfield premo spots is so tight. Had 27 touches, 6 tackles but no marks and is probably more relevant in the sense that when he plays this well, the taggers should go to him and leave Merrett alone.
Speaking of Merrett, he barely got out of second gear and had lowish time on ground at 65%. He was very busy early with 8 touches in the first quarter but wasn’t heavily involved beyond that. It doesn’t matter though, he’s a proven fantasy jet. If he was in your side before this game, just keep him there and enjoy him.
Read our full preseason take on him from the 50 Most Relevant Series here.
What an absolute shame he has lost dual position status! He looked brilliant tonight playing big midfield minutes and getting involved in everything, particularly early. Had a massive first half with 16 disposals and even though he slowed down after that, would definitely be in the votes (if there were any). I don’t think I can pick him in the midfield, but Bombers fans can get excited because I think this will be his year.
After being in and out of the senior side last year, it’s hard to know where Langford’s at. If this performance is anything to go by, he can say goodbye to his VFL days for good because he was excellent.
Playing mid-forward, he was all over the ground and stayed involved all night with 25 touches and a goal. It’s hard to see him being trustworthy enough for salary based comps but one to watch in Drafts.
One to consider if you don’t trust Jacobs or Naitanui. He looked ok and held his own against his more fancied opposite ruck in NicNat. I’m not sure he’s worth the risk though and not convinced he’ll keep a healthy Bellchambers out.
Acting captain for the night and like Hurn started slowly in the rain. Worked into the game well but was put on ice at 3 quarter time and was even seen with ice, strapped to his leg. Hopefully, just a precaution as the Bombers have enough players battling to be fit for round 1. Finished with 12 touches and 5 marks.
The former Giant and Tiger barely got a look in as he played forward for the first 3 quarters with little impact. Had a great chance to finish off some good work with a goal in the third quarter but fluffed his shot. He was given a good run on the ball in the last quarter attending nearly every centre bounce and was very involved but didn’t look confident when dropping a sitter in his defensive 50.
Finished the game hobbling off with a proppy knee which thankfully didn’t look too serious. It’s hard to see him getting a permanent spot in the midfield with some of the performances of others but his price point keeps him relevant. Wait and see.
2019 was a difficult season for Devon Smith. The year started with an elbow injury in February at training the impacted his preseason. He managed to squeeze seven games in before he succumbed to his troubling knee and was required to miss the remainder of the season.
Even before the injury, the then highly owned MID/FWD wasn’t returning scores that owners were expecting. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he had only one score over 100 and an additional two scores over 80 going at an average of 79. For SuperCoach just the one score over 100, this was also his only score over 80. He ended the season with a disappointing average of 69.
Smith was rotating through the midfield and half-forward similar to 2018, but his fantasy output mirrored a drop in all scoring lines. He dropped an average of four possessions a game, one mark and almost three tackles a game.
What fantasy footy coaches are excited about is that at his price point he’s massive value if he can return his 2018.
That season in SuperCoach he averaged 96.8 from 22 games. He scored eleven tons, four of them were over 120; also, he had four scores between 90-99. The scores were even stronger in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, He averaged 106, posted twelve scores over 100, six of those were over 120 including a 150. Additionally, in eight matches he scored between 90-99. That wasn’t a typo. Devon had only two scores drop below 90 all year.
A major discussion point for fantasy coaches around Devon will be about if 2018 an outlier? Both from scoring and injury perspective. As yet he’s been unable to play 22 games outside of that year. However, between 2014-2105, he missed only three games overall.
In terms of scoring potential, 2018 is far from a one-off. Between 2014 -2017 his seasonal averagers for AFLFantasy/DreamTeam are: 94, 86, 80 & 81. While for SuperCoach it was scores of 90, 87, 81 & 79.
In both DreamTeam or SuperCoach he’s priced well beneath these scores, currently ranked for averages just outside the top 50 forwards for averages in DreamTeam. In SuperCoach he doesn’t even make the top 100. If he can get near those scores, let alone his 2018 year, then he should prove an excellent selection.
As a starting squad option in AFLFantasy, he is a huge pass. Given he’s priced almost identically to Dustin Martin, I cannot see how you can start him. He presents no value, so you’re picking him to score near or identical at his 2018 season.
In AFLFantasy we have two trades to use or lose each week he is a genuine upgrade target if he shows he can return scoring near an average of 100.
What do you need to see in the preseason to select him? In a word, tackling. The thing that aided his best scoring season was an extremely high tackle count. That year he broke the record for tackles in a season at an average of 8.5 a game. Across the Marsh preseason games, the indicator that he’s near his scoring potential will be around his pressure acts. If these are present, that’ll give me the confidence I need to pick him.
Devon doesn’t need 30 disposals a game to score well. I’d prefer him not to. The perfect statistical game both he and fantasy would be looking for is 20-22 possessions, 3-4 marks, 1-2 goals and 6-7 tackles. If we got that, he’d provide a valuable role for the Bombers and turn in close to premium numbers as a forward.
In SuperCoach and DreamTeam at his price point, I find him near impossible to pass on. In AFLFantasy, he’s an upgrade target.
Devon Smith could be one of the steals of the draft. He has the potential in AFLFantasy/AFLDreamTeam drafts to score as good as players like Dustin Martin and Michael Walters. Given he’s ranked well outside the top 20 forwards on average he could slide in some leagues. I’d love to use my F3 selection on him, but in all honesty you’ll more likely need to use an F2 selection if your desperate to own him .
SuperCoach leagues he slides even further, but given the salary cap formats preseason hype he should go well before his average ranks him. I’d be laughing if I got him as an F4, and wouldn’t be shocked if he drffted that late.
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The AFL Trade and Free agency period is well underway, and despite it being months before the prices and positions are revealed at The Coaches Panel we wanted to take a look at a player from each club that we have pencilled onto our 2020 watchlist.
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Ned McHenry | Injuries have stalled any chance of a debut, but the positive means he’ll be basement price for us in 2020. He offers everything the Crows midfield unit lack. High pressure, work rate, skills and is a bundle of excitement.
Alex Witherden | One mans trash is another’s treasure. Sadly Alex has had a drop of about 10 points per game and has burned plenty of fantasy coaches this year. With Luke Hodge hanging up the boots (again), then I think we need to seriously consider the potential value he presents.
Charlie Curnow | I might be on my own here, but two seasons ago he was one of the most excited breakout candidates. This year he scored his lowest seasonal average since his debut. On top of this, he may be eligible for a possible small discount due to missing 11 games, and we could have a considerable value pick on our hands. The severity and impact of his basketball-related knee injury have on his preseason will determine whether or not he stays here for long.
Taylor Adams | Another frustrating season battling injury resulted in just ten games. The one positive for next year is he should get an injury discount of a minimum of 10%. Throw this on top of a low 90’s average, and he could be one of the best-underpriced premiums of 2020.
Devon Smith | It’s low hanging fruit in terms of how noticeable a candidate he is, but with many bombers having minimal fantasy footy relevance he is the one to highlight. Last season he played only seven games before injury which guarantees him to get some form of discount. Whether that’s higher than 10% will be determined by each formats creators. The bonus is he was already averaging 25 points below his 2018 season numbers, meaning the possible value could make him one of the most selected players in 2020 mainly if he retains forward eligibility which I believe he will.
Andrew Brayshaw | With Ed Langdon and Brad Hill both out the door in the trade period and David Mundy in the twilight of his career the time is right for Andy to emerge and take a key midfield role alongside Nat Fyfe. Priced at 70 in all formats he looms as a ripping breakout candidate if given the opportunity.
Sam Menegola | Have you picked up on the theme yet that a lot of this ‘watchlist’ players are premiums from previous seasons but had injury impacted years? Sam’s one of those with injuries limiting him to just nine games, meaning he should qualify for a 10% discount. Added to this he also experienced some inconsistency in midfield minutes which forced his average to drop of 15-20 points.
Gold Coast Suns
Jack Bowes | A broad view may look at his seasonal average around the mid-’70s this year and not think he offers much. Sometimes as a fantasy coach, we need to look a little deeper into the numbers to see the value. In the opening five games of the year, he was going at an average of 92 in AFLFantasy and 99.8 SuperCoach. To top it off with him playing 14 games it might just qualify for injury discount. Fingers crossed.
Stephen Coniglio | An inconsistent year for Cogs when it came to his body. After playing 22 games last year, he could manage just the 15 in 2019. He dropped 7 points per game in terms of average from the previous year, but coaches need to take the time to analyse for the scoring drop. One of the key reasons behind the fall was due to his round 17 game against the Tigers where he got injured on 0 points, causing chaos for the 20%+ of coaches that owned him. Without that game, his averages look much healthier of 111 in AFLFantasy and 108 in SuperCoach. Missing seven games might mean he misses getting an injury impacted discount on his starting price. The reality is we have one already due to that Richmond game. I’m very keen to start him in 2020, arguably priced 10 points under his scoring potential of 110.
Tom Mitchell | He missed 2019 with a broken leg and had he not got injured he would’ve been one of the most selected players in all forms of the game. He’s eligible for a sizeable discount, meaning for many he’s an instant starter. However, I’m more keen to see how he moves and looks through the preseason. With ‘Titch’ even with a hefty discount, he’ll still be among one of the most expensive players in the competition, that’s a lot of money invested in your starting squad, and you must get it right at that price tag.
Angus Brayshaw | Seven months ago the fantasy footy community was ablaze at his potential after storming home last season. He started 2019 and even ended it OK, but during the majority of the season due to a combination of role change and form, we saw his fantasy scores plummet. Gus dropped over 15 points per game avg across all formats and became a serious burn man for many coaches. The positive for us is as we enter into 2020 he will be priced next year in the mid-’80s. His scoring potential can be further 20-25 points per game above pricing. The first step in his fantasy footy resurrection will be the Demons can land some wingman with skills and pace. If they do, it’s a piece of the puzzle that’ll see Angus moved back into the midfield role required to score well.
North Melbourne Kangaroos
Luke Davies-Uniake | If he gains FWD Status then I’m going to consider him. LDU presents seriously huge third-year breakout potential, especially as he needs to start getting the midfield opportunities at Arden street.
Port Adelaide Power
Ryan Burton | Injuries have plagued him over his career, but both at the hawks and now at Port, we’ve seen that a fit Burton holds plenty of fantasy relevance. During a four-week window post-bye, we saw his scoring potential. In SuperCoach he posted scores of 105, 96, 79 & 108 while in AFLFantasy it was 93, 110, 69 & 92. If he can stay fit, then he needs to be on your watchlist.
Dustin Martin | This all depends on if he gains forward eligibility or not. If He’s a MID/FWD, then I’ll find it very difficult to pass on him. His role in the AFL finals may determine whether or not he qualifies as forward eligible.
St Kilda Saints
Dan Hannebery | A frustrating year for the former Swan who only managed to play in 5 games this year. The positive of this is two-fold, firstly he will receive an injury impacted discount due to the number of games he missed. Secondly, when he did play scored well with four of his five games seeing him score 90+ including two hundreds and an average in high 90’s across all formats
He may not present the same value as he did this year, but if Dan gets through the preseason unscathed, he is genuine underpriced premium.
Oli Florent | Place him as a breakout candidate, because as this year went on, he just got better and better. Florent possesses line-breaking speed, uses the ball well by foot and is one of the shining lights for the Swans both for now and the future. Three of his final four games in AFLFantasy he scored 91, 113 and 98, while in SuperCoach he scored 82, 102 and 106. He’ll be priced at his seasonal average of 69, but I have confidence that he could well be a stepping stone well worth considering.
West Coast Eagles
Nic Naitanui | Are you considering not starting with a set and forget ruck strategy next year? Then for SuperCoach, you need to consider NicNat seriously. Over the past 18 months, injuries have been cruel to NicNat, but we have seen that when he plays, even in the limited game given this year, he can score well. Last year he averaged low 90’s from just three games, meaning he will be discount eligible. In addition to this, his past three years averages are 96, 105, 103 so Nic could well provide excellent value as a stop-gap to a top tier ruck if you’re looking for a different approach.
Josh Dunkley | After a slow start he was one of the most damaging forward options of the season, and with a likely loss of forward eligibility, his ownership numbers could plummet due to him being a midfielder only. However, with 14 of the last 16 games seeing him score 100+ and many of them captaincy capable scores he could be a sneaky point of difference in your starting side.
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The Cats and Bombers kicked off the second week of JLT matches under lights at a chilly GMHBA Stadium. For fantasy coaches, this was our last chance to get a look at some very relevant players, and we learnt plenty from the match.
Just under 70% game time for the goat, but did some nice things with his limited time on the ball. At times he looked a little lost in the role inside forward 50, but to be fair Gazza was blowing out any preseason cobwebs with the match. Sadly with him playing the majority of game time forward, he’s not a viable starter in your team.
I love what he brings to the Cats line up with the potent combination of defensive pressure and XFactor. The departure of Lincoln McCarthy has opened up a small forward role, and right now Miers is doing everything directly to grab it. Keep an eye on this cash cow, he doesn’t have a huge ceiling, but I think he has robust job security.
Sigh! Do we really need to do this, he honestly has to be in your side. Five clearances, ten inside ’50s, eight score involvements and 30 disposals all of 3/4 of footy. Just do it… Pick him!
Played just 50% game time but look super impressive and played liked he belonged inside the Geelong midfield unit. Five clearances, nine of his 17 possessions were contested, barring something drastic I think we’ve got a big basement priced cash cow capable of playing on the field.
Five clearances, five inside ’50s, 28 disposals and the dilemma for fantasy coaches is no to ponder whether or not Tim Kelly is a genuine top 6 averaging forward in 2019. If he maintains the midfield minutes from tonight across the season, then he must be in the conversation.
Last week he came onto Fantasy coaches radar with a strong debut performance for the club. He backed it up again tonight with five rebounds 50’s and making good decisions in traffic and space vast beyond his experience. The Cats have a ripper, and even when Zac Tuohy comes back into the side from injury, I can see him maintaining his time in the team.
Wound back the clock with a vintage performance. Selwood started on the wing lined up against Dyson Heppell but quickly inserted himself into the centre bounces. 38 disposals, 7 tackles and a huge 11 marks for the Geelong captain reminded fantasy coaches than when he’s given the time and space he can score as well as anyone.
Didn’t play any of the first quarter and ended up playing just 59% of the match. In that time he managed 23 possessions, six clearances and three inside ’50s. I think if you were looking for reasons not to start him you probably found them. Even though he won plenty of the ball his lack of tackle pressure and marks in a very open game could send alarm bells ringing. Equally, if you were already bullish about him, this game would’ve given reason to be optimistic that he’s ready to explode in 2019.
Has been a fantasy scorer historically (all be it pre supplement scandal), but the arrival of Dylan Shiel should allow him to fly even further under the radar. Got plenty of uncontested ball and wouldn’t be the worst unique starting squad option if you want someone with no ownership.
Still working his way back to full fitness, took some nice contested grabs but most encouragingly he spent some time as a relief ruckman. Whether that was due to help get some more time into his body or is a genuine role the Whoosha wants to let him grow into we’ll have to wait until the round one side is named. At this stage it’s SuperCoach only he should still be tempting you, but given his preseason I can understand you looking elsewhere.
Like many Bombers he’s still making his way back to full fitness. I saw nothing this week that would give me the confidence to start him in any format of the game. Make him an upgrade target, based on his preseason you cannot start him.
Has come on in leaps and this preseason and is indeed building a case to be locked into the Dons best 22. Nine of his 17 possessions were contested, five rebound 50’s and a goal to top it all off. As a cash cow, he’s a little pricey as a defender, but he’s certainly showed over the JLT Series that he could score well.
This kid is a future star of the competition. I love the role he has within the side as a wingman and will have some fantasy relevance for many years to come. He’s worthy a sneaky AFLFantasy starting squad spot 😉