As we enter into round six of the 2020 season it’s time to look players are ripe for the picking over the next few weeks.
One thing that separates good coaches from great coaches is that they aren’t just looking at trades for this week. Rather great coaches are looking multiple weeks ahead at who could be ready to be traded into their teams. In this new series, we look at players who this week and the following two weeks will have likely bottomed out in price and could be a tasty trade target for your side.
Each week we’ll focus on the players in DreamTeam and SuperCoach you should be forecasting to bring into your side. The reason AFLFantasy isn’t included is that due to the way they’ve orchestrated the pricing almost every week a player is a realistic chance of obtaining their breakeven.
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.
Lewy & Checkers from Lane Kicking are back with their take on the Geelong Cats. Take a look to see who is on their AFLFantasy watchlist.
BREAKOUT: Charlie Constable – $563,000 (MID)
There is a little bit of James Worpel about this, Constable playing just the 7 games in his debut season at an average of 83, Worpel played the 9 for an average of 68 back in 2018. Constable will be looked at to hopefully fill the midfield role left behind by Tim Kelly. The 191cm midfielder finished his 2019 season with a massive 41 disposals, 14 clearances and 2 goals in the VFL and we only hope he can bring that form into 2020. We reckon his price point is just slightly awkward to start him in your midfield, but big risks can bring big rewards.
TRACK: Sam Menegola – $710,000 (MID)
Starts the year almost as a premium mid so it will take a lot of heart to pick from the start in classic, but Checkers reckons there is something special about this one. We aren’t sure if anyone else has ever matched this stat (maybe Michael Barlow) but in his first 50 games of AFL, Menegola posted a fantasy average of 99.
Struck down by injury last year, Chris Scott will be hoping he can have a big preseason and fill one of the vacant spots in the new-look cats midfield. Will be a big one to track in draft leagues, where he might slip down draft lists and you could grab a bargain a few rounds in due to only averaging 77 in 2019. We honestly wouldn’t rule out a 100+ average if he starts the season fit.
ROOKIE: Cooper Stephens – $240,000 (MID)
Young Cooper spent most of his draft year recovering from a broken leg and didn’t play a whole lot of footy, but it might have also helped Geelong snag a draft bargain similar to Joel Selwood back in 2006 who had doubters after finishing his draft year with a knee injury. There is a lot to like about this young cat, for someone who missed a large chunk of football, he is one of the most athletically prepared blokes to come out of the draft and is in contentions already for a Round 1 debut.
Rocking one of the tidiest rigs in the senior group in only his first year, Stephens is a hard at it inside midfielder, with pace and endurance (finished top in the Draft Combine Beep Test) and could very much be given the chance to fill the void left by Tim Kelly in 2020. In the three games he managed before the leg break, he averaged 19 touches and 4 tackles a game, and after a year in the sidelines he could come out of the blocks hungry.
While most fantasy coaches will be hot on Rowell and Anderson for their 200k+ rookies, Stephens could quite possibly slide under the radar of a few and be an almost unique rookie selection
UNDERDOG: Jack Steven – $653,000 (MID/FWD)
We were a little dubious on the early interest in Jack Steven, but as pre-season gets into swing we are starting to warm to him. He will start the season as the 10th most expensive forward, priced at an average of 88, and while he might be a 30 year old mid who only managed 7 games in 2019, he does come with a decorated fantasy resume including previous season averages of 112 and 104.
He could very much be a little bit of the unknown and cruise through the final few years of his AFL career and we watch his fantasy numbers dwindle, but an optimistic fantasy coach would see some strong upside if everything falls into place.
In probably the worst fitness of his career, coming off no pre-season he still managed to bang out a 105, 93 and 90 in his 7 games last year. From all reports he has slotted straight into the Geelong structure and program and is putting in the work on the track early in the pre-season. The Geelong program that has gained a strong reputation in previous years, especially in recycling the careers Gary Rohan, Luke Dahlhaus and Sam Menegola.
There is also the strong possibility of some midfield spots up for grabs, with the departure of Tim Kelly, the ageing Joel Selwood likely to move to half back, and the early injury concerns surrounding Mitch Duncan. If Geelong choose to use youngsters Cooper Stephens and Charlie Constable in the midfield, they might want to pair it with the experience of a 4x Best and Fairest winner in Steven.
It’s very hard to call it this early in the pre-season but we do see Stuv as such an unknown, he could really go anywhere from a 40 avg playing as a deep forward, all the way to a 100 averaging midfield bull. We will be watching his preseason with interest as he is the sort of player who could make or break a few draft leagues.
2019 was a difficult season for Jack Steven. After failing to secure a rumoured trade during the previous offseason he never really got his season going. He played four of the opening six matches of the year, but in May he took an extended break from football to deal with mental health issues.
During those opening four matches he posted two scores over 90 in all formats, one against the Suns, the other the Crows.
It wasn’t until August when the four-time St Kilda best and fairest players was seen again playing at the elite level. Upon his return, Jack himself admitted he wasn’t at peak physical fitness but mentally was in a much stronger place. Because of this, he spent his final three matches of the season plonked firmly inside the Saints forward fifty.
For fantasy footy coaches, this is how he became forward eligible for us in 2020. Thankfully in one of these matches, we did see flashes of the Steven of old. Against Fremantle, he won 22 possessions, kicked three goals and scored 105 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 96 in SuperCoach.
In his most recent full season at AFL level, he played 22 games and averaged 96.6 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam which featured 10 tons. In SuperCoach, he averaged 94.5 and scored over 100 in 10 matches. P
Throughout playing fantasy footy for numerous years, you get accustomed to hearing specific phrases. These include, but aren’t limited too ‘training the house down’ and ‘more midfield time.’ Recently on Melbourne radio station, SEN Patrick Dangerfield spoke highly about the potential impactJack Steven will have at Geelong. Here are just some of the things Danger had to say on the clubs newest recruit.
“Obviously with the loss of Tim (Kelly), he’s going to be an important player for us and we think he’s that line breaker and goal kicker that we have seen him do across his career.
“He’s got pace, he’s got break-neck speed, he’s a four-time best and fairest winner, and if he can approach that, I know they’ve lost Tim Kelly, what an injection (Steven) is into that side.
The big question this preseason is around what role does he play at Geelong? The departure of Tim Kelly has created an opening inside the midfield for the Cats. The skill sets of he and Tim aren’t identical, but his ability to run and carry and burst from stoppage is an impressive skill for the Cats.
Geelong is firmly pushing hard for another chance at a premiership this season, make no mistake about that. It’s why allowing Jack to play mainly through the midfield makes sense. However, the club will need to keep half an eye to the future with Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood and even Patrick Dangerfield heading towards the twilight of their careers. Young Cats like Charlie Constable, Quinton Narle, Nakia Cockatoo and Brandan Parfitt will need substantial midfield minutes for Geelong to future proof the side.
One thing to factor in through this is that Steven isn’t a natural forward in the sense that he didn’t play last year in that role by choice. Instead, it was born out of necessity as he lacked the fitness base to play through the midfield. Geelong is also stacked in this line with Gryan Miers, Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan all adding some flair and pressure inside forward 50.
Can you pick him and Devon Smith in your side? In short, the answer is yes, especially if it helps push another forward cash cow off the ground. The key variable will be around how many other stepping stone selections you have in the additional 28 spots. Although both present the potential to be season-long ‘keepers’ you need to also plan for them not to be.
Everything seemed to be going to script for Steven until just days ago he tweaked his calf at training. Thankfully, it appears to be nothing too serious, and the club anticipates he’ll re-join the main group in coming days. If that eventuates, we should see him playing his first game as a Cat in the Marsh Community Series against Gold Coast on February 22.
If he plays through the midfield predominantly in the preseason matches at his price point, it’d be tough to pass upon him. If Steven is playing through the midfield mainly, I struggle to see a world that he doesn’t average 90 in all formats.
The range of where he goes in drafts will vary in part depending on when your draft is hosted. If it’s after the preseason matches and he’s playing through the midfield, I do see a world where people would use a pick to select him as their F2.
Right now, I wouldn’t be reaching any higher than a prospective F3 choice on him.
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As soon as the AFL Trade window closes, media personalities and fans alike clamour to decide and define who the big winners were from the period. Instead of focussing on the ‘clubs’ who came out trumps, I decided to look at some players who ave increased their SuperCoach, DreamTeam and AFLFantasy value heading into the 2020 fantasy season.
At St Kilda, has has been starved of opportunities to play as an inside midfielder. He’s been stuck behind the likes of Seb Ross, Jack Steele, Luke Dunstan and co all getting a gig ahead of him. On the occasions, he was allowed to use his hulking frame through the midfield his fantasy numbers showed plenty of promise. In 2018 his opening five scores in SuperCoach were 144, 90, 97, 92 & 107. In AFLFantasy it was 124, 92, 77, 83 and 100.
Moving to Fremantle, they desperately need support for Nat Fyfe, and under a new coach, Blake could thrive if given the opportunities. Currently priced 13-15 points per game under what he achieved in 2018, so if he retains forward status, he looms as a genuine breakout candidate.
Could we have our R3 locked away with this trade? Andrew Phillips trade to Essendon means the Frenchman as becomes the clear second choice ruck for Carlton. Pittonet should be cheap next year and should Matt Kruezer suffer an injury that rules him out then he could well be a handy cash cow. Last year in the VFL he averaged 39 hitouts, 16 disposals, three marks and three tackles a game.
The significant variable here is about if Brandon holds onto his defensive eligibility. If he does, then he looms as a potential premium target we need to place seriously on our watchlists across all formats and platforms of the game. In 2014 and across the full season of 2015 we saw that when Ellis is played as a wingman, he can score well. During those two seasons, he played every game, averaged 99.3 and posted 23 tons in AFLFantasy. While during that same time in SuperCoach he averaged 98 and scored 22 hundred plus scores. Some of those 100+ scores were monsters too, with multiple games going well north of 130.
If he plays wing for Gold Coast and is defensive eligible in fantasy footy, then he’s a serious preseason watchlist. However, as a midfielder, he’d need to elevate his current average (the mid-’80s) into the 100 range to make his selection just scraping worthwhile in the salary cap formats of the game.
If you’ve played any format of fantasy footy for multiple seasons, you’ll be fully aware of the scoring potential he owns. Before this season where he battled his mental health his AFLFantasy/DreamTeam averages have been 96, 93, 104 and 111. While for SuperCoach he was going at 94, 90, 102 and 103 and only missed two games during those four seasons.
The questions shouldn’t be around can he score well, but rather can he get his body in a position to be back to his best. However, three vital determining factors will impact just how many select him. Firstly, with him playing only seven games will the formats award him a discount for games missed due to battling with his mental health? Secondly, can he get back to full health and fitness? One of Jack’s key weapons is his elite endurance and aerobic capacity. Something we failed to see much during the season. Finally, does he gain forward eligibility? In his three games, he played almost exclusively forward including one where he kicked three goals.
If the answer is yes to all those, then he could be a highly popular starting squad option
He moves from fantasy footy irrelevance at GWS into the conversation at North Melbourne. From his two games this season he averaged just over 40 across the formats. The key questions will be first, is he worth the premium price tag in our starting squads? Fantasy coaches have plenty of strong cash cows already entering 2020, so for him to be a good selection, he’ll need to outscore them.
Can he force his way into the Roos engine room which already boasts Cunnington, Ziebell, Davies-Uniake, Higgins, Anderson, Simpkin, Dumont and Thomas? This will be something fantasy coaches need to watch with great interest?
Stuck for opportunities behind a long list of Port Adelaide forward talls Billy saught a move for more opportunities at senior level. Those opportunities increased Josh Jenkins move to Geelong. Frampton has now given himself a chance at playing some senior footy for the side he grew up supporting as a kid. The bonus is he should be RUC/FWD eligible which could prove to be quite handy should he crack the Crows side.
Will he score enough at his price point to give actual value? Will, he even fit the Crows new forward structures? Both are great questions, and for fantasy footy coaches ones we’ll get further clarity on once the preseason gets underway. However, it’s safe to say he moves from nobodies radar to providing a blip for fantasy footy coaches.
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