#1 Most Relevant | Nick Daicos


Nick Daicos has made an indelible mark on the AFL landscape in just two short years, showcasing a career trajectory many veterans would envy. From clinching the Rising Star award to being adorned with an Anzac Day medal, earning his inaugural All-Australian honours, and even securing a premiership medal, Daicos’s contributions to the game have been spectacular.

His remarkable journey, however, was marred by a late-season injury, which arguably was the only thing standing between him and the prestigious 2023 Brownlow Medal.

Nick Daicos, in just his second AFL season, has rapidly become one of fantasy football’s most valuable assets, especially in AFLFantasy and SuperCoach formats. In AFLFantasy, he notched an impressive average of 108.8 points per game, with 14 games scoring over 100 points. Six of these games saw him surpass the 120-point mark, including a standout performance that earned him a career-high score of 150.

Of equal importance, he posted only two scores below 80 points throughout the season, one of which came in a challenging match where he was heavily tagged by Finn Maginness and also suffered an injury. Despite these hurdles, Daicos finished the season as the top defender by average, outperforming notable midfielders like Connor Rozee, Caleb Serong, and Christian Petracca.

In the SuperCoach, Daicos’s performance was equally stellar, with an average score of 117 points per game. He tallied 15 games with scores in the triple digits, cementing his position as the top defender by average and ranking 7th overall, above esteemed players such as Jordan Dawson, Rowan Marshall, and Tom Liberatore. Even when faced with tags and injuries, Daicos’s remarkable consistency and scoring ability underscore his immense value in fantasy leagues and his pivotal role as a defender in fantasy lineups.

Nick Daicos’s transition to spending more time in the midfield has significantly boosted the value of his fantasy football. Analyzing his performance, it’s evident that his scoring potential escalates with increased midfield attendance. Specifically, in the 12 matches where Daicos attended at least 35% of centre bounces, his AFLFantasy average soared to 107.5, while in SuperCoach, it reached 112.4. This distinction becomes even more pronounced in games where his centre bounce attendance spiked to 65% or more, showcasing averages of 116 in AFLFantasy and an impressive 121.8 in SuperCoach. Such statistics underline Daicos’s burgeoning prowess as he delves deeper into midfield roles and hints at a ceiling that has yet to be fully explored.

Daicos’s ability to elevate his game further into the midfield realm, combined with his already impressive stats in only his second season, sets the stage for what could be an extraordinary career.

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Navigating the decision to start or target Nick Daicos as an upgrade hinges on several key narratives that fantasy football coaches must consider. The infamous Finn Maginness tag game in Round 4, compounded by an injury to Daicos, is a cautionary tale. While some in the fantasy community might be tempted to exclude this outlier to boost Daicos’s averages to 112 in AFLFantasy and 120 in SuperCoach, it’s a reminder of the inherent risks and the complexity of relying too heavily on selective data to fit a narrative.

Opting to wait and target Daicos as an upgrade revolves around strategic considerations, including:

  • The Early Bye Round: Collingwood’s absence in Round 5 offers a strategic pause, allowing coaches to assess Daicos’s early-season form and tag susceptibility.
  •  Tagging Threats: Beyond the Finn Maginness game, the potential for Willem Drew’s tag in Round 6 looms, hinting at challenging matchups that could affect Daicos’s scoring and, by extension, his price.
  •  Price Dynamics: The combined effect of these early challenges presents a scenario where Daicos might be acquired at a more favourable price point post-bye, aligning with a strategy to maximize value from premium selections.

Conversely, the argument for starting with Daicos underscores his unparalleled status in fantasy backlines, characterized by:

  • Dominance and Potential: As the preeminent defender in fantasy, Daicos’s blend of skill, role, and scoring potential sets him apart, suggesting that early investment could secure a cornerstone for fantasy defences.
  •  Preparation and Adaptation: The Magpies’ preseason focus on mitigating the tag’s impact reflects a strategic emphasis on enhancing Daicos’s resilience and scoring consistency, even under targeted pressure.
  •  Natural Evolution and Role Expansion: Daicos’s ongoing development and the prospect of increased midfield time provide a compelling narrative for improved scoring, underpinning his appeal as a starting option.

The equilibrium between starting Daicos and planning him as an upgrade target epitomizes the strategic intricacies of fantasy football. Coaches must weigh the immediate advantages of securing his high ceiling from the outset against a mid-season upgrade’s tactical flexibility and potential value. This decision is further complicated by Collingwood’s early fixtures against GWS, Sydney, St Kilda, and Brisbane, with Daicos’s performances in these matches poised to influence strategic directions profoundly.

Ultimately, whether to integrate Daicos from Round 1 or strategically pivot to him post-bye encapsulates the dynamic challenge of fantasy football management. Each path offers distinct advantages and risks, underscoring the necessity of adaptive strategy and keen market observation to optimize fantasy outcomes.

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In AFLFantasy and SuperCoach drafts, Nick Daicos stands as the premier defender, warranting consideration as the very first pick on draft day. His exceptional output, combined with a unique blend of reliability and upside, firmly establishes him atop the defender rankings. As fantasy coaches strategize for the draft, securing Daicos could be pivotal, marking him as a cornerstone for any successful fantasy football campaign.


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