#22 Most Relevant | Harley Reid

Exploring the fantasy football potential of Harley Reid, the West Coast Eagles’ number one draft pick, as coaches navigate the balance between his high expectations and rookie status.


Harley Reid, selected at #1 in the most recent AFL draft by the West Coast Eagles, brings a thrilling blend of attributes that promise to electrify the AFL landscape. Reid exemplifies the quintessential modern footballer with a game rooted in explosive power and speed. His ability to dominate the contested game sets him apart and establishes him as a dynamic force on the field. Reid’s versatility allows him to impact play across multiple positions, showcasing his adaptability and making him a critical asset in various game situations.

What makes Reid particularly special is his ‘X factor’—an innate ability to change the course of a game with individual acts of brilliance. Whether it’s a breathtaking run, a critical tackle, or a timely goal, Reid makes the spectacular seem effortless. His capacity to impact the scoreboard further underscores his offensive threat, ensuring that he’s a constant concern for opposition defences.

The anticipation of Reid’s entry into the AFL has been building for nearly two years, with his selection as the #1 draft pick being universally anticipated. This level of expectation speaks volumes about his talent and potential impact. The West Coast Eagles, in securing Reid, have not just added a highly talented youngster to their ranks but have invested in a player who could redefine their team dynamics and contribute significantly to their future successes. As Reid prepares to make his mark in the AFL, the excitement surrounding his debut season is palpable, with fans and analysts eager to see how this prodigious talent will translate his junior success to the professional stage.

Harley Reid’s final year in junior football was nothing short of spectacular, cementing his reputation as a standout talent and a force to be reckoned with in the future of AFL. Throughout the National Championships, Reid showcased his remarkable versatility and skill, seamlessly transitioning between the midfield and forward positions, a testament to his dynamic play style. His prowess in winning contested balls, whether at ground level or in aerial contests, highlighted his competitive edge and physical capabilities.

Reid’s exceptional decision-making skills, combined with his precision in ball distribution by both hand and foot, underscored his role as a key playmaker. Throughout the championships, he posted impressive averages of 19.5 disposals, 12.5 contested possessions, and 6.5 clearances. These outstanding performances earned him third place in the prestigious Larke Medal voting. They secured his position as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Victoria Country, affirming his status as an elite junior talent.

In fantasy football terms, Reid’s impact was equally phenomenal. As a midfield/forward option in the national championships for SuperCoach, he averaged a remarkable 135 points, demonstrating his scoring potential and fantasy relevance. Meanwhile, in AFLFantasy, he maintained a solid average of 80.5 points, further highlighting his consistency and ability to contribute significantly across different formats.

Reid’s exceptional final junior year showcased not just a player of immense talent but one with the potential to adapt and thrive at the highest level of AFL. His performances indicate a player ready to make an immediate impact professionally, equipped with the skills, athleticism, and football IQ necessary for a successful transition. As he steps into the AFL with the West Coast Eagles, Reid’s junior year achievements set the stage for an eagerly anticipated debut season, with expectations high for this prodigious talent to continue his upward trajectory.

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The strategy of integrating high-end draft picks into the AFL through specific roles, notably seen with players like Harry Sheezel and Nick Daicos transitioning through half-back positions with stints in the midfield, appears to be a trend gaining traction, potentially signalling the emergence of a copycat league in terms of player development. West Coast Eagles’ approach with Harley Reid, the #1 draft pick, follows a similar pattern. The club’s decision to deploy Reid from half-back, with opportunities in the midfield, has been showcased in match simulations at training, suggesting a deliberate strategy to ease him into the AFL’s competitive environment.

This role allocation for Reid is particularly strategic, considering the scoring challenges within a lower-ladder team like the West Coast Eagles. Positioning him at half-back rather than primarily forward mitigates concerns about his scoring potential and cash generation in fantasy leagues. It’s anticipated that the Eagles will lean on Reid as a key playmaker, aiming to build his confidence and showcase his talents at the elite level, which aligns with the club’s interest in fast-tracking the development of their ‘franchise player.’

Reid’s deployment in this role could impact the fantasy relevance and scoring of other West Coast players like Brady Hough, Liam Duggan, or Alex Witherden, considered mid-price picks in fantasy football. Fantasy coaches eyeing these players might need to adjust their strategies accordingly.

Given Reid’s role and the club’s investment in his development, he could rank as high as F4-F5 in fantasy football forward structures, offering a pathway to strong scoring opportunities. However, coaches should temper expectations of him replicating the debut season scores of Sheezel and Daicos, as Reid’s style is more about making a significant impact per possession rather than accumulating disposals.

The excitement around Reid is palpable, with Coach Adam Simpson and new assistant coach Luke Shuey fueling expectations about his potential impact. Being the most-owned player, his ownership percentage across the competition underscores the fantasy community’s high anticipation and confidence in his abilities.

The only conceivable reason to fade Reid would be the belief in the emergence of a cheaper cash cow with comparable or better scoring and similar job security. Yet, finding such a player seems highly speculative. Suppose Reid is fit and named for round one. In that case, the consensus is clear: incorporate him into your starting squad and capitalize on the unique opportunity he presents in fantasy football this season.

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Given the unpredictability of their immediate impact in the AFL, the conventional wisdom has often been to fade rookies or select them as late flyers in single-season fantasy drafts. However, Harley Reid’s situation appears to be an exception to this rule, particularly due to the unique circumstances surrounding his entry into the league and the specific role the West Coast Eagles have carved out for him.

Given the scarcity of reliable forward options in fantasy football and Reid’s promising placement on the field, it’s plausible to anticipate that some coaches might be tempted to secure him earlier than typical rookies. His role as a potential key playmaker from half-back, combined with midfield stints, enhances his appeal, making him a more attractive prospect than the average first-year player.

I can envision scenarios where coaches, eager to capitalize on Reid’s potential, might select him as high as F3 in their fantasy leagues. Personally, I find this to be a bit too optimistic, given the inherent risks associated with banking on a rookie’s performance to anchor such a critical position in the fantasy lineup. The idea of drafting Reid as an F4 seems more palatable, striking a better balance between capitalizing on his upside and mitigating the risk of overreliance on a yet-unproven AFL talent.


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