Champion data have announced the new positions for SuperCoach & AFLFantasy for 2022. As usual, we’ve got some significant positional gains and disappearances. MJ’s back to take you through the changes.

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Defenders

Two of the more prominent big name changes into the backlines for 2022 is North Melbourne pair Aaron Hall and Jack Ziebell. If you owned either player at points last season, you had some fantastic scoring success. Both were value picks, but now coaches looking to start them will be paying up to get them. Of the two, Hall is the most intriguing for owners as I believe he can be the top scoring defender this year. As a rookie, Essendon captain Dyson Heppell moves back to the positional status he started with. He is a defender this season. He spent last season as the Bombers quarterback out of defence and should prove a potential top averaging defender after coming off a 95 in AFLFantasy and 99 in SuperCoach.

Bombers teammate Nick Hind moves from the forward line and picks up defensive status. So too does Jarman Impey and Bailey Dale. Both were midprice revelations for owners last year. In addition, popular cash cows from our starting squad the previous season in Braeden Campbell has also moved down back.

Some of the more exciting gains are Sydney’s Justin McInerney and Carlton’s George Hewett. Both are MID/DEF and should see significant time through the midfield next year. While they might not deliver enough to become premium performers, both should make valuable cash in classic formats while in drafts provide strong returns compared to likely ranking. Speaking of value, it was only two seasons ago Brad Hill averaged 88 in AFLFantasy and 84 in SuperCoach. He’s picked up DEF staus and should have between 10-15 points per game of value inbuilt.

We do have significant losses in this line, and we’ll talk about them shortly. But we have retained plenty of talent. Daniel Rich, Tom Stewart, Caleb Daniel, Jordan Dawson, Christian Salem, Jake Lloyd and Isaac Cumming will still be defenders. In addition, we’ve held onto Jack Crisp and Lachie Whitfield, but both will be MID/DEF.

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Midfield

The midfield seldom has any relevant midfield gains. Instead, it’s about those who’ve lost a positional status in another portion of the ground. By name, Patrick Dangerfield is the most significant DPP loss. The previous MID/FWD now has sole midfield status. I was pretty surprised by this. Without visibility of the data, just on the ‘eye test’, he looked sure to have spent significant time up forward to retain his status. Oh well, maybe an in-season DPP gain for AFLFantasy and UltimateFooty coaches.

The most significant loss from the forwards based purely on 2021 data was Dayne Zorko. Last years number one ranked forward by points is now available as a midfielder only. This means that he drops from a likely second-round pick to potential a fifth or sixth round for draft formats. Isaac SmithTom Phillips and late season bolter Harry Schoenberg have all lost FWD status and can now be selected solely in the midfield

The backline moving out and into the midfield are both Callum Mills and Rory Laird. Both were superb last year. Both averaged over 110 across the formats. These are significant averages, and based on scoring, they are more than good enough to be considered in this new line. Of additional benefit would be that they’ll likely be drastically shortened in ownership. It might be a brave starting squad selection, but both have shown they can match it with the top 10 midfielders.

From a cash cow perspective, likely popular duo Jason Hore-Francis and Nick Daicos are midfield only options. However, it’s unlikely to drastically hurt either’s ownership percentage as both looks to be highly owned in 2022.

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Rucks

Usually, this line doesn’t provide us with many gains, and in 2022 that trend continues. The matter of the position from this line is who has gained or lost DPP to afford coaches further flexibility. A potentially significant change to preseason plans to coaches is regarding Rowan Marshall. Many (including me) felt he’d down enough to retain RUC/FWD status, but that isn’t the case. He’s a pure ruck. If you played AFLFantasy last year, you’d recall Sean Darcy gained RUC/FWD status, but nobody should be shocked that he’s just a RUCK this year.

From a DPP perspective, some of the more potential viable options to consider with RUC/FWD status are Peter Ladhams, Ben McEvoy and Tim English. All might be draft and daily fantasy relevant options but will be picked in those formats every week.

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Forwards

I’ve already discussed the losses we’ve had to our forward line. And while they are significant, they are more than replaced with some of the gains we’ve picked up. Arguably the biggest is new MID/FWD Geelong star Mitch Duncan. Last year he averaged 99 in SuperCoach, his lowest since 2016. While in AFLFantasy, he averaged 100, which features a single digit score of eight in round 14. He’s a genuine candidate for the top scoring forward candidate.

Duncan isn’t alone as a new forward pedigree of being the top player in the line. GWS Giants inside bull Tim Taranto scored twelve SuperCoach tons last year and 15 in AFLFantasy. While he might be used to cover the absence early in the year of Toby Greene inside forward 50, I’d be shocked not to see him end the year as a top 10 forward. His captain Stephen Coniglio has had multiple seasons averaging over 100 across all formats. If he can get through the preseason unhindered, he’ll be a sensational pick, given he’ll be priced at 60 even before the likely discount hits. Only another injury interrupted season could stop ‘Cogs’ from being one of the most valuable picks this year.

The other big-name gain is Adam Treloar. Injuries robbed him from getting his 8th straight season of averaging over 100. His MID/FWD status is that he spent the final seven games of the season (including finals) playing off the half-forward line. Should he get back into the primary Bulldogs midfield rotation, then he’ll be challenging to ignore.

His teammate Josh Dunkley retained MID/FWD DPP, as did Jordan De Goey, Chad Wingard, Shai Bolton, Tarryn Thomas and Steele Sidebottom. All of whom can be top 10 ranked forwards after the year. In addition, Kangaroos Tom Powell and Will Phillips are both MID/FWD for keeper league players, while fellow 2020 draftee and Adelaide Crow Luke Pedlar are another new MID/FWD.