A player can slide in and out of favour in the eyes of the fantasy football community. Sometimes for valid reasons, other times for no valid reason. Entering into the 2023 season, the conversations around Christian Petracca have been minimal, but he’s got the potential to be a topline midfielder again this year.
Name: Christian Petracca
Club: Melbourne Demons
2022 Highest Score:
142 Vs Western Bulldogs (AFLFantasy)
189 Vs Adelaide (SuperCoach)
Career Highest Score:
153 Vs Port Adelaide | AFLFantasy (2021)
189 Vs Adelaide | SuperCoach (2022)
SuperCoach Price: $618,600
AFLFantasy Price: $908,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: $930,500
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
If you were drafting an AFL side from scratch, Christian Petracca would be one of the first players selected. He’s one of the league’s most elite players. Whether deployed as a centre-bounce midfielder or across the half-forward line, CP5 provides the opposition with a headache wherever he plays.
One of the keys behind what makes Petracca so good is the combination of his high footy IQ to see a game-changing option, but then he has the courage and the skill to make it happen. Last year he ranked first in the competition for goals, assists, and inside 50s per game. He’s also ranked inside the top twenty for metres gained, disposals and contested possessions.
In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, his seasonal average of 102.5 ranked him as the 14th-best midfielder in the game. He scored thirteen tons, five over 120, including 136, 139, 141 & 142. Those are some strong ceiling games! And in the first ten games of the season, he averaged 111. Alongside these top-end scoring elements were five scores below 80. We’ll address one of them in particular shortly. By the season’s conclusion, he was ranked eleventh for total points. Not a bad result for a guy who had a ‘down’ season in the eyes of many.
His SuperCoach season was even stronger. His average of 112.3 made him the 8th best midfielder by averages and seventh best for points. He ended 2022 as the ninth-highest scorer across the format. He got there by scoring twelve tons; he converted eight into scores over 120 and seven above 130. Some of these were absolute monsters. They included a 163 in the opening round and a career-high 189 against the Crows. He had just two scores below 80 all year and ended the season with an average of 120 from the final nine games.
These averages include a game that was an outlier. In round eleven, he scored 40 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 53 in SuperCoach. He wasn’t tagged, rather, he was battling a virus and later, after the defeat, coach Simon Goodwin conceded he probably shouldn’t have played. While it hurt coaches on him during the season, it does build in some additional value for coaches keen on him in 2023.
During the Dees premiership season of 2021 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he scored 14 tons, seven above 120 and five were higher than 130. To go with his ceiling and consistency of tons was a strong basement with no scores under 78. His average of 110 meant he was ranked eighth by averages in the game. Petracca scored more points than Zach Merrett, Sam Walsh, Marcus Bontempelli, Bean Keays and teammate Clayton Oliver.
For SuperCoach, he had an equally as strong season. He posted thirteen tons for the year, eight above 120 and three monsters of 145 or higher. He also dropped one score below 80 all year. By the close of the 2021 season, he finished the year ranked sixteenth for total points and his average of 111.4 just snuck inside the top 20 overall.
These two seasons have validated his 2020 breakout season. Where the covid bubble affected game length, he averaged an adjusted 108 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 117.5 in SuperCoach.
Alongside three seasons of being a topline premium midfielder is the durability variable. There’s nothing more frustrating than jumping off on a premium. It causes you to potentially slide behind the pack as you make fix-up trades while others keep surging forward with their moves. With Petracca, h hasn’t missed a game of footy in four years and just one in six. Nobody can predict injuries, but based on history, you feel an element of confidence with Christian.
I’ve been playing fantasy football for over a decade, and normally I don’t get too concerned or pay significant attention to player ownership percentages. But I keep an eye on them to get insights into what the ‘group think’ or ‘mob mentality’ is doing. What can give you an edge over the pack is if your split on a player’s forecast performance, sometimes ownership can be the separator. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that Trac has an ownership of 3.57% in AFLFantasy, 5% in SuperCoach and 3% in DreamTeam. For a player with a safe 100+ average history and the potential to push top-eight midfield numbers, that’s criminally low. He was already on my radar, but seeing that few on him combined with his known potential has made him quite a tempting starter.Embed from Getty Images
Over the last four weeks of the season we saw Christian Petracca start to take on a significant role change. Over the season he was a 75% centre bounce attendance midfielder. Yet, in the last month he attended just 50% of CBA’s. At the same time we saw a spike in CBA’s for Angus Brayshaw? Was this the causation? Or was it correlation alongside the the fact that he was battling some niggles in the back half of the season? Ultimately only the football and Christian will know.
But what it did do is create another damaging option in the Demons forward line. Does he stay as high 70’s CBA midfielder this year? Or do the club choose to use his skills and weapons more in the forward half of the ground. If they do, then there’s a universe I see him picking up DPP and becoming MID/FWD. I wouldn’t select him on the hoped basis of a DPP gain alone, but I would be factoring it as a consideration.
Last year we saw Luke Parker, Tom Liberatore, Rowan Marshall Bailey Smith and Marcus Bontempelli at times across the season gain forward status. The year prior it was Josh Kelly. At some point in 2023 we will get some new premium options in the forward division. The reason I bring it up is because I’m seeing teams go heavy on the premiums this year in starting squads. And it makes sense given the value we have. But factoring in potential additions doesn’t appear to be in the periphery of the fantasy community. There’s a real chance that the demons split CP5’s time more forward and he becomes someone we’ll need to factor into our upgrade plans.
I’m considering Petracca as an upgrade target; this isn’t just because I’m watching what might happen regarding a DPP addition. That’s a factor, but not the defender. Historically, he always gives you a look to get him in cheap with a few poor scores. Between rounds 11-13, he averaged 71.6 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 74 in SuperCoach. The year prior, between rounds 7-9, he averaged 90 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 88 in SuperCoach. These aren’t disasters when you own him for a season because it’s levelled out when he has multiple weeks where he averages north of 120. But these pockets of games create an opportunity for coaches to pick up a premium performer at a discounted price point.
There is a little bit of meat on the premium bone, so if you’re starting him, your expectation is an increase of his average back up towards 110 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and pushing back towards 120 in SuperCoach. That’ll likely place him as a VC/C candidate in your early rounds. I don’t trust him enough to be that reliable, so it’s an upgrade city for me!
Based on his 2022 seasonal data Christian Petracca will get ranked as the 14th best midfield inAFLFantasy/DreamTeam. That’d place him as an M2; that’s about the range for him. And he has the upside to becoming an M1 and pushing to be a top-ten averaging midfielder. Getting him as an M2 will see him heard off draft boards in the late third-early fourth range.
In SuperCoach, he’s got the capacity to be selected as an M1, but I need help seeing him getting selected there. So instead, he’s an early M2. He’ll likely get taken in the range of the late second and into the third round.
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