For years Nat Fyfe has been one of the best players in the AFL. Lately, his body has dominated the headlines more than his football. As we enter the 2023 fantasy football season, the gang at Champion Data has given us a potential gift. They’ve awarded Fyfe DPP. As a MID/FWD, he could be one of the best starting squad options.
Name: Nat Fyfe
Club: Fremantle Dockers
2022 Highest Score:
89 Vs St Kilda(AFLFantasy)
96 Vs St Kilda (SuperCoach)
Career Highest Score:
150 Vs Adelaide | AFLFantasy (2015)
171 Vs Carlton | SuperCoach (2014)
SuperCoach Price: $313,600
AFLFantasy Price: $681,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: $458,700
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
For over a decade, Nat Fyfe has been one of the best AFL players and a staple of our fantasy football sides. With multiple Brownlow Medals, numerous club best and fairest wins and broader AFL media acclaim, there is no doubt then when Nat is fit and healthy, at full flight, he’s magnificent to watch and enjoyable to own in fantasy footy.
The 2022 season will go down as one of Nat’s most frustrating seasons. An injury interrupted preseason left him managing a back issue that required some surgery. After a few setbacks, he managed to get back into the side; however, a series of hamstring-related issues brought further disruption and cost him a spot in the Fremantle finals campgain.
It took til round thirteen for Fyfe to make his first appearance in the season. Of. the seven games he managed to play, he averaged 56.1 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, and for SuperCoach, he averaged 63.2. He had just one match that even vaguely resembled what he’s historically been capable of doing. In round seventeen, he scored 89 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 96 in SuperCoach. That came from 21 possessions, six marks and three goals.
This scoring is well below what he achieved in 2021. From his fifteen games, he averaged 100.4 in SuperCoach, which featured eight tons, five of which were above 120, and his scoring fell below 90 in just five games. In addition, Fyfe averaged 84.4 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, which featured five tons and five additional scores of 80+.
Few players could match his scoring capacity from 2011-2020 across all formats, especially in SuperCoach. Over that decade, he regularly averaged between 95-105 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, and in SuperCoach, he had nine seasons averaging 100+, including three 119+.
Fyfe’s scoring power over the last 10+ seasons cannot be ignored. And while injury-interrupted seasons like last year can hurt, the benefit for the fantasy community is the player will receive a pricing discount, and they can become undeniable value. He’s currently priced at an average of 57 in SuperCoach, 50 in AFLDreamTeam and 77 in AFLFantasy. Based on his historical capacity, he’s got anywhere from 25-70 points per game of value!
Throw in the fact that he’s not just midfield eligible. Champion Data had awarded him MID/FWD status after playing heavy forward minutes after returning from injury last year. So you now have a potentially elite scorer that could become a season-long premium in the forward lines at an insanely good price. If Fyfe has yet to be considered this preseason, you’ve been doing it wrong!Embed from Getty Images
Nat Fyfe is of undeniable value IF he plays in the role through the midfield that saw him win two Brownlow Medals. However, the news from the club with match simulations is that he’s playing as a forward. You can look at that in two lights. Firstly, this will be his new role, and any midfield opportunities through the Dockers midfield will be minimal. While this is a possibility, an alternate reality could eventuate.
Preseason club match simulations, practice matches and community series games mean nothing to players of Fyfe’s experience and age. These games are much more about getting them through from a fitness perspective. Nat’s a game champion, and Fremantle is fully aware of what he can do through the midfield. So why not spend the preseason enhancing his forward craft and protecting his health through the preseason by developing his forward craft?
Fyfe will play forward for chunks of the season, as he should. He’s a difficult matchup for any defender, and his power and aerial strength will add some experience to arguably the line the Dockers are the most vulnerable. However, if Fremantle is serious about not just making finals, they must play him through the midfield for more than just a few rotations. He is still one of the most dynamic and damaging midfielders in the AFL when at full health. Am I saying Nat will play as a permanent midfielder? Certainly not! But the narrative that when the season proper comes around that Fyfe won’t be given a decent MID/FWD split is false.
Normally a player with a recent injury history comparable to Fyfe, I’d be driving home the point that you start them or fade them. And as true as that might be with Nat, the starting price mitigates any risk. He’s got the scoring history to certainly be a player capable of turning into a season-long hold as a keeper, but he doesn’t have to be that in some formats. As a reference in SuperCoach, he’s priced cheaper than preseason popular stepping-stone midfielders in Dom Sheed & Jacob Hopper. Based on his scoring potential, he’s got way more scoring potential than them both.
If this were an AFLFantasy only 50 most relevant, he wouldn’t even make the 50, let alone be this high. Priced at an average of the high 70s, your only selecting him if you were confident he’s returning to a 90+ average. While he has the potential to do it, he’ll likely need a heavy midfield role.
In SuperCoach & DreamTeam, he’s very relevant, given he’s got the potential to average double what he’s priced at. With the volume of trades we have in these formats, you can look at Fyfe not just as a starting squad stepping stone but as an in-season trade, whether that be to use as one of your correctional trades in the opening few weeks. Or as a fixture/role runner for a month or two.
Most club watchers of the Dockers believe they’ll have a narrow rotation of midfielders. Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong, Will Brodie and Jaeger O’Meara will be the main four, with potential cameos from Aish, Erasmus or Johnson if they get into the 22. It’s not the most experienced midfield; all it can take is one injury to one of the main four, and Fyfe HAS to become a lead midfielder rather than a supporting one. While you don’t wish injuries on anyone, he is one variable change away from sliding back into that first midfield grouping.
All a player with his injury history can do is get through the preseason unscathed; if he does, he still needs to be considered. He’s not currently in my side, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be ruling him out of my side considerations in 2023. In SuperCoach especially, I’ll be watching his role closely. If the chips fall his way, he is one of only a few known forward options in SuperCoach who could outscore most people’s #1 scoring candidate in Josh Dunkley.
Players with high fantasy legacy possess name appeal in coaches eyes, and Nat Fyfe’s name carries some significant weight. So much has been made of this pre-season about how good the top-end forward is, but then how quickly the division depth falls away. With this and his scoring potential, his ‘brand’ will become a heavy reason coaches want to draft him. I see him heading off draft boards as an F3 in SuperCoach and a positional spot later as an F4 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam scoring formats.
At that point of the draft, there is no risk on him, and If you’re worried about injuries, then protect that selection of Fyfe by drafting deeper in the forward lines. Always protect each pick with the subsequent picks.
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