#21 Most Relevant | Zach Merrett

Zach Merrett’s blend of consistency and elite performance cements his status as a top fantasy football option, navigating the strategic depths of selecting a midfield maestro amid the early rounds’ quest for scoring diversity.


Zach Merrett is a quintessential midfielder whose skills, style, and impact have made him a cornerstone of the Essendon Bombers. Known for his exceptional ball-winning ability, Merrett combines a high work rate with elite endurance, allowing him to influence the game across all four quarters. His precise and intelligent use of the football sets him apart, with his decision-making and passing accuracy under pressure being particularly noteworthy.

Merrett’s ability to read the play and anticipate the movement of the ball and his opponents enables him to position himself effectively, whether intercepting an opposition pass or being in the right place to receive a handball from a teammate. His tackling is tenacious, underscoring his commitment to the game’s offensive and defensive aspects. Merrett’s leadership on the field is also significant, often inspiring his team through his actions, decision-making, and consistent performance.

His first season as Essendon captain marked arguably the best year of his AFL career, showcasing his evolution as a player and leader. Despite recording a lower possession count than in previous years, Merrett’s game was significantly enhanced by a career-high average of 5.1 marks per game, reflecting his increased involvement in key moments and his strategic positioning. His prowess was further highlighted by his standing in the league’s rankings, where he finished inside the top 10 for several critical statistical categories.

Merrett was second in the league for uncontested possessions, underscoring his ability to find space and create play opportunities. His sixth-place ranking for effective disposals per game demonstrated his precision and reliability with the ball, contributing to Essendon’s offensive efforts. Additionally, finishing tenth in overall disposals per game amidst a lower possession count indicates his efficiency and impact with every touch of the football. These performances solidified Merrett’s status as one of the league’s premier midfielders and emphasized his crucial role in driving Essendon’s gameplay as captain.

In AFLFantasy, Merrett delivered an impressive average of 112.8, with his scoring consistency highlighted by 15 tons, including seven scores over 120, five over 140, and three surpassing the 150 mark, with no scores falling below 80 throughout the season. His performance positioned him 8th for overall points scored and 6th for averages among all players, underscoring his value as a premium midfield option.

In SuperCoach, Merrett achieved a career-high average of 116.3, showcasing his elite status with 15 tons, of which nine were over 120, eight exceeded 130, and two were colossal scores over 160, with only one game scoring below 88 (a 69) all season. These remarkable statistics earned him a 9th-place ranking for overall points scored and 6th-place for averages, solidifying his position as a top-tier fantasy asset.

Merrett’s fantasy football impacts are a testament to his scoring consistency, which is almost unparalleled in the league. For the past eight seasons, he has maintained an average in the triple figures, a rare feat that highlights his reliability and elite performance level year after year. Fantasy coaches who have had Merrett in their teams have benefited from his consistent high scoring, making him one of the most sought-after midfielders in fantasy football.

Embed from Getty Images


Selecting Zach Merrett in fantasy football might not be the most glamorous pick, but his ability to consistently deliver results is unparalleled. While he may not always present as a ‘value’ option, Merrett offers something equally crucial: reliable, consistent scoring.

Year after year, he navigates through the season to average over 100, often providing fantasy coaches with the opportunity to acquire him at a more favourable price, typically following a game where he’s been heavily tagged. The positive takeaway from last season is Merrett’s improved resilience against tags, showcasing his ability to adapt and still post respectable scores even under tight scrutiny.

The Essendon midfield dynamic is an evolving puzzle, with Merrett’s Centre Bounce Attendances (CBA) increasing from 68% to 74% last year. Integrating players like Will Setterfield, Darcy Parish, Jye Caldwell, and Dylan Shiel alongside rising stars such as Ben Hobbs and Elijah Tsatas raises questions about how the team will balance its midfield composition.

While there might be speculation about Merrett being deployed off a flank to accommodate this mix, how this will unfold in 2024 remains to be seen. Merrett’s scoring pattern involves cycles of high-scoring games, targeted tagging, and another series of significant scores.

Timing your decision to bring him into your fantasy team could capitalize on these cycles for maximum benefit. The early part of the season presents challenges, such as potential tags with Finn Maginness in round one. Still, Merrett’s schedule from Round 7 onwards—featuring matches against teams like the Eagles, Giants, Kangaroos, Tigers, Suns, and Blues before the bye week—suggests a prime opportunity for high scores. I’m targeting round seven as the prime spot to upgrade to Zach.

Given Merrett’s historical performance against certain teams, the post-bye period in Round 15 looks particularly promising. Except for Geelong in AFL Fantasy and Adelaide and Geelong in SuperCoach, Merrett boasts an average of over 100 against the remaining fixtures.

With most of Essendon’s games scheduled at high-scoring venues like the MCG or Marvel Stadium, the latter part of the season could be the optimal time to ensure Merrett is a part of your fantasy squad. This strategic approach to managing Merrett’s inclusion could create a thrilling and rewarding fantasy football experience.

Embed from Getty Images


Zach Merrett’s status is a top midfield option, and it’s well justified, given his consistent performance and scoring ability. His track record of averaging over 100 points in the past eight seasons places him among the elite midfielders in the game, making him a highly sought-after asset in fantasy leagues.

Considering the drafting strategy of many fantasy coaches, I anticipate Merrett being selected early in the second round. This prediction stems from the common approach of securing a high-scoring ruckman in the first round or a premium defender like Nick Daicos, who offers significant scoring potential from the backline. This strategy balances the team by locking in top performers across different positions early in the draft.

Merrett’s proven consistency and the potential for high scores make him an attractive option for coaches looking to solidify their midfield early on. While the desire to secure positional diversity in the initial rounds may see him picked slightly later than some other midfielders, his value as an M1 remains undisputed. Coaches who prioritize a strong midfield core and can draft Merrett in the early second round will likely find him a cornerstone of their team’s success throughout the season.


Do you believe he is fantasy relevant?
Will you be starting with him?
Have your say on our Facebook,  Twitter or Instagram


Want access 24 hours early to the 50 Most Relevant podcasts? Join our Patreon and get ahead of the crowd here.