#20 Most Relevant | Tristan Xerri

Exploring Tristan Xerri’s ascent as North Melbourne’s primary ruck option, we delve into his fantasy football potential and strategic value following a promising season and the departure of Todd Goldstein.


Tristan Xerri is a pivotal player for North Melbourne, embodying the archetype of a modern AFL ruck-forward with his versatile skill set and impactful presence on the field. His ability to contest effectively in the ruck and his agility and knack for goal-scoring when playing forward allow North Melbourne to adapt their game plan flexibly according to the match’s demands.

Xerri’s physicality and competitive edge in aerial contests make him a formidable opponent in both the ruck and forward line, providing the Kangaroos with a dual-threat option that can influence the game’s outcome in multiple facets.

Furthermore, his development in reading the play and decision-making has enhanced his contributions, making him a physical presence and a strategic asset to the team. Xerri’s role within North Melbourne is integral, offering a blend of toughness, versatility, and scoring ability that significantly impacts the team’s performance and dynamics.

For years, Tristan Xerri has been viewed as the apprentice to Todd Goldstein; last year, he started as the leader but suffered an ankle injury early in the round one matchup. Despite the setback, he played just nine games, but we still saw glimpses of his scoring potential.

Tristan Xerri’s performance metrics from the past AFL seasons offer intriguing insights for fantasy football coaches, especially considering the departure of Todd Goldstein and what it means for Xerri’s role at North Melbourne.

In AFLFantasy, Xerri’s average stood at 66, with notable peak performance, scoring a season and career-high 110 points upon returning from injury. This performance and scores above 80 hint at his potential when fully fit and in form. Similarly, in SuperCoach, he achieved a slightly higher average of 72.8, highlighted by a triple-digit score of 102 and three additional scores reaching or surpassing 88.

A pivotal moment in assessing Xerri’s potential value came during rounds 17 & 18 when he assumed the primary ruck responsibilities in the absence of Todd Goldstein. In these games, Xerri’s performance significantly improved, averaging 92 in AFLFantasy and 88.5 in SuperCoach. This uptick in scoring, over 25 points per game higher than his season average, showcases the impact he can have as the lead ruck option despite the small sample size.

Looking back at 2022, even in a shared role with Goldstein, Xerri posted impressive scores, including five AFLFantasy scores over 79 and four SuperCoach scores over 80. Notably, one of these games saw him achieving a SuperCoach ton and an AFLFantasy score of 120, underlining his capacity for high-scoring performances. This game, where he amassed 20 possessions, 24 hitouts, five marks, and two tackles, exemplifies what Xerri can deliver with substantial time on the ground.

With Todd Goldstein’s move in free agency, Xerri stands as the unchallenged #1 ruck option for North Melbourne, opening a significant opportunity for fantasy coaches seeking value in their ruck selection.

Given his demonstrated scoring ability, especially in the absence of Goldstein, Xerri emerges as a compelling choice for those looking to capitalize on a player poised for a breakout season as the lead ruckman. This shift in role could translate into consistent, improved fantasy scoring, making Xerri a player to consider for those aiming to find value and potential upside in their fantasy football lineups.

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Starting Tristan Xerri in your fantasy football side offers a strategic advantage by providing structural versatility across other lines of your team. His dual-position availability, particularly in formats where he can be slotted as both a ruckman and forward, allows fantasy coaches to craft a more flexible and adaptive team structure. This flexibility is crucial in navigating the long fantasy season, marked by injuries, form fluctuations, and bye rounds, as it allows coaches to optimize lineups without compromising overall team balance.

However, Xerri’s preseason preparation has been less than ideal due to a facial injury that required surgery. Despite this setback, the club has reassured him that he remains on track to participate in the preseason games, maintaining his running loads and overall fitness. This situation underscores Xerri’s somewhat unlucky streak with injuries, which, while not consistently linked to a specific type (such as recurrent soft tissue injuries), has interrupted his continuity and development in the past. This history of frequent injuries poses a consideration for fantasy coaches weighing up his potential for the upcoming season.

Despite these concerns, there’s a growing sentiment that Xerri may be on the cusp of a significant breakout similar to the trajectories observed in players like Max Gawn and Jarrod Witts. Both Gawn and Witts experienced periods of injury and inconsistency before hitting their stride and becoming dominant forces in the ruck. While acknowledging that drawing parallels between Xerri and these players involves a degree of selective data interpretation, it highlights a potential upside that is too tantalizing for fantasy coaches to ignore. Those considering starting Xerri look at these examples as a source of confidence, betting on his ability to overcome past challenges and emerge as a key fantasy asset.

The possibility of Xerri reaching his peak performance as a ruckman this season is an intriguing prospect. If he can channel the resilience and development arc of ruckmen who have transitioned from injury-plagued starts to fantasy football stalwarts, Xerri could represent a value pick with significant upside. For fantasy coaches willing to look beyond the immediate concerns and speculate on his breakout potential, starting with Xerri could be a calculated risk that pays off handsomely, provided he navigates the season with improved health and consistent game time.

Tristan Xerri’s performance in the 2023 season, particularly his win rate of 51% from 452 ruck contests, places him in a favourable light compared to other notable ruckmen in the AFL. His efficiency surpasses that of Tim English and Rowan Marshall, who both had a 40% win rate and even edged out AFL stalwarts like Max Gawn (49%) and Brodie Grundy (48%), though he falls short of Sean Darcy’s impressive 57%.

This statistic is particularly noteworthy considering Xerri’s limited game time compared to his peers, suggesting a strong potential for impact in games. With North Melbourne’s midfield composition evolving, Xerri’s ability to convert hit-outs to advantage could significantly bolster the team’s centre clearance and overall midfield performance.

However, it’s important to frame Xerri’s fantasy football relevance within the context of strategy rather than viewing him as a long-term keeper in fantasy squads. The initial fixture list presents a mixed bag of matchups for North Melbourne, which could influence Xerri’s early-season performance and, by extension, his fantasy scoring potential. His role as a strategic selection rather than a season-long hold becomes clear, offering fantasy coaches a pathway to upgrade to a premium ruck option as the season progresses.

Considering “parachute options” becomes critical in this strategy, especially considering Xerri’s past injury that necessitated such a move for many coaches last year. The key to successfully navigating mid-price selections like Xerri lies in having a plan for upgrading him should he still need to meet early expectations, considering the limited options at his price point.

Ownership percentages across various fantasy formats highlight Xerri’s popularity among fantasy coaches, indicating confidence in his potential to provide value. With a 16% ownership in AFLFantasy, 4.4% in SuperCoach, and 10.6% in DreamTeam, Xerri is a notable mid-price option, especially when discounting rookie selections.

For coaches contemplating mid-price strategies, Xerri’s compelling ruck contest win rate, potential for hitout-to-advantage improvement, and early fixture matchups make him a player worth serious consideration for inclusion in starting squads. The “safety in numbers” reflected in his ownership across fantasy formats suggests a collective belief in his value proposition, underscoring the strategic advantage he could offer in the early stages of the fantasy football season.

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In drafts, Tristan Xerri presents an intriguing option for coaches who miss out on securing a top-tier ruckman like Tim English, Rowan Marshall, Max Gawn, or Brodie Grundy in the early rounds. Given his potential and the statistical insights from the previous season, Xerri positions himself as a viable pick for those looking to address their ruck position in the later stages of the draft.

Considering the variable depth of ruck options across fantasy leagues, Xerri could either emerge as one of the last on-field rucks selected or serve as a strong bench option for teams. His efficiency in ruck contests and the opportunity to step up as North Melbourne’s primary ruckman following Todd Goldstein’s departure enhance his appeal as a sleeper pick with upside.

For fantasy coaches in deeper leagues or those employing a strategy that deprioritizes early investment in rucks, Xerri’s late-round value could provide a competitive edge, offering solid performance potential without the high draft pick cost associated with the league’s elite ruckmen. His positioning in the draft will largely depend on individual league dynamics and the strategic approaches of fellow coaches. Still, for those willing to gamble on Xerri’s breakout potential, he represents a calculated risk with the promise of a significant return on investment.


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