Diving into the AFLFantasy & SuperCoach prowess of Geelong’s Tom Stewart, we analyze his standout performances and consider his role evolution ahead of the 2024 AFL season
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
Tom Stewart is widely recognized as one of the AFL’s premier defenders, known for his exceptional ability to read the play and intercept opposition attacks. His calmness characterizes his style of play under pressure, precise decision-making, and elite marking ability, allowing him to disrupt opponents’ forward entries effectively.
Stewart’s skill set is complemented by his excellent use of the ball, ensuring he can launch counter-attacks with accurate disposals once he takes possession. Defensively, he is robust in one-on-one contests, leveraging his physicality and football intelligence to outmaneuver forwards. Beyond his contributions, Stewart’s leadership and communication at the back are invaluable, organizing the defence and instilling confidence in his teammates.
His consistent performance and ability to impact games defensively while contributing to his team’s offensive play make him an integral part of Geelong’s lineup and one of the most respected defenders in the league.
His 2023 season solidified his reputation as one of the AFL’s elite defenders, with key statistics underscoring his immense value on the field and in fantasy football. Stewart’s prowess is highlighted by his ranking in the top five per game for crucial defensive metrics, including intercepts, marks, rebound 50s, and kicks. This ability to disrupt the opposition’s play and initiate counter-attacks makes him a cornerstone of Geelong’s defensive strategy.
In AFLFantasy, Stewart had a commendable season, averaging 96.3 points. His performance included 12 tons, with three scores surpassing 120, though he had six scores under 80. His consistency and impact earned him a seventh-place ranking for averages among defenders and sixth for total points, showcasing his reliability as a fantasy option.
SuperCoach further highlighted Stewart’s exceptional season, with a career-high average of 113.6 points. Across 22 games, he amassed 16 tons, 11 of which exceeded 120 points, and two exceptional scores over 150, demonstrating his potential for high-scoring outputs. With only two scores below 80, Stewart ranked second for total points, trailing slightly behind Luke Ryan. His average placed him third among defenders, a testament to his scoring efficiency and consistency.
Stewart’s early-season setback, a Grade Two MCL injury, paradoxically offers fantasy coaches potential value due to the impact on his starting price for the following year. Priced at 96.3 in AFLFantasy and 113.6 in SuperCoach, Stewart’s performance from round 3 onwards—averaging 100.2 in AFLFantasy and 118.2 in SuperCoach—indicates his scoring resilience and potential for value.
His reliability and excellent track record bolster Tom’s fantasy football credentials. With five consecutive seasons averaging over 90 in AFLFantasy and four consecutive seasons averaging over 100 in SuperCoach, Stewart stands as one of the most dependable premium defenders in the game. This consistency, combined with his on-field leadership and defensive acumen, makes Stewart a highly sought-after player in fantasy drafts, offering coaches a blend of scoring potential and stability in their defensive lineups.Embed from Getty Images
With Tom Stewart, the discussion point is very simple. Is he someone you want in your squad from round one? Or will he be someone you intend to target during the season as an upgrade? Does he start this season on a hot streak, or can we jump on him as an upgrade before the streak begins? At some stage in the season, you’ll want to own him; the question is when not if.
Over his career, he’s been a player who always provides us with a hot 6-10 game stretch annually. For example, in 2022, there was even an eight-game stretch between rounds 3-11, wherein AFLFantasy/DreamTeam averaged 114 and had his scoring range between 93-169. However, in SuperCoach, he averaged 120 over the first ten games, and that run included a 74, his second-lowest score of the year.
Tom Stewart’s performance in the latter half of the 2023 season, particularly between rounds 15-21, underscores his status as a fantasy powerhouse. In SuperCoach, his average soared to 124.7, never dipping below 100, while in AFLFantasy, he maintained a solid average of 102, with only one game falling below 94. This stretch of games highlighted his scoring potential and consistency, making him a cornerstone for fantasy defences.
The prospect of Stewart playing more in the midfield for Geelong adds another layer of intrigue to his fantasy outlook. Given the additional opportunities for possessions, clearances, and tackles, a midfield stint could elevate his scoring ceiling even further. This versatility and elite defensive play could make Stewart an even more valuable fantasy asset.
Geelong’s early-season fixture further enhances Stewart’s fantasy appeal, notably favourable for defenders. Matchups against teams like St Kilda, Adelaide, Hawthorn, Bulldogs, North, and Brisbane present ample opportunities for high-scoring performances, making Stewart an attractive option from the outset.
Despite his undeniable talent and fantasy relevance, Stewart’s history of in-season injuries, which have often led to missed games and subsequent price drops, is a consideration for fantasy coaches. This pattern presents a potential buy-low opportunity during the season but carries the risk of temporary gaps in fantasy lineups.
Stewart emerges as a prime candidate for those searching for a D1 option with a high-scoring ceiling, particularly if looking beyond Nick Daicos. His track record, the potential for midfield minutes, and favourable early fixtures position him as a must-consider player in fantasy drafts.
The decision to start with Stewart or aim to acquire him at a value during the season depends on individual strategy and risk tolerance. Both approaches have their merits, with the former capitalizing on his immediate impact and scoring potential and the latter potentially maximizing value following any price drops due to injury. Regardless of the strategy employed, one thing is clear: Tom Stewart is poised to be among the top defenders in 2024, making him a highly desirable asset for fantasy coaches aiming for success by season’s end.Embed from Getty Images
Some players draft range is stable across all formats, while others see some ranking and range differential. With Tom Stewart, the selection as a D1 won’t change, but his draft range will have a few rounds differential. In SuperCoach, I expect him to head off draft boards in the middle to the late second round. For AFLFantasy, he’ll likely start getting selected from the third into the top of the fourth.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
WANT EARLY ACCESS?
Want access 24 hours early to the 50 Most Relevant podcasts? Join our Patreon and get ahead of the crowd here.