#24 Most Relevant | James Sicily


James Sicily, the Hawthorn defender and captain, is renowned in the AFL for his distinctive style of play and robust strengths on the field. Sicily combines a rare blend of aggression, composure, and football intelligence as a defender, making him a formidable presence in the backline. He is particularly noted for his aerial prowess, often out-marking opponents and intercepting plays with remarkable efficiency.

Sicily’s ability to read the game is exemplary, enabling him to position himself effectively to disrupt the opposition’s forward attacks. Offensively, he contributes significantly through his precise and long-range kicking, often initiating counterattacks and transitioning the ball from defence to attack. His leadership qualities are also evident, guiding the Hawthorn defence with confidence and resilience.

Sicily’s approach to the game is characterized by intensity and passion, which, combined with his technical skills, make him a key player for Hawthorn and a challenge for any opposing team.

His standing in the AFL is underscored by his exceptional statistics, highlighting his critical role in Hawthorn’s defence. His capability to dominate the game, especially in the first half, is evident from his ranking as first in the league for marks. This reflects his aerial dominance and ability to control the play through his marking power, a key aspect of his defensive prowess.

Sicily also ranks second for intercepts, showcasing his exceptional ability to read the game and disrupt the opposition’s forward thrusts. His knack for being in the right position to cut off attacks stymies scoring opportunities for the opposition and sets up counterattacks for his team.

Furthermore, his fourth-place ranking for effective disposals highlights his skill in gaining possession and using it efficiently to benefit his team. This ability ensures that his disposals are impactful, helping to maintain possession and transition the ball effectively from defence to attack.

Lastly, ranking sixth for rebound 50s signifies his crucial role in moving the ball out of defence. Sicily’s ability to launch the ball from the defensive 50 into attack is a testament to his vision and kicking accuracy, making him a vital cog in Hawthorn’s game plan.

In AFLFantasy, Sicily’s average of 104.5 is a testament to his consistent high-scoring ability. He notched up 10 scores over 100, seven exceeding 120, including three scores over 130 and an impressive two scores above 160. Despite having five games where his scoring fell below 80, his overall performance secures him as the second-ranked defender by average.

In SuperCoach, Sicily’s prowess is even more pronounced. He boasts an average of 114, with a remarkable 12 tons. Of these, eight were over 120, seven exceeded 130, and he had three massive scores over 160, including a peak of 172. Though he dropped under 80 in just three games, he ranks second among defenders by average and seventh by total points.

Sicily’s scoring ceiling in fantasy football is almost unparalleled in the defensive line. The frequency of his 160+ scores places him in an elite category. For fantasy coaches, having Sicily as a Vice-Captain (VC) or Captain (C) in those high-scoring matches can be a game-changer, often securing a decisive advantage over opponents in league matchups. His ability to deliver such colossal scores makes him a reliable defender and a potential match-winner in fantasy terms. This rare scoring capacity adds a strategic dimension to selecting Sicily in your fantasy team, especially when considering captaincy choices for maximising points.

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James Sicily’s potential to at least maintain his scoring in fantasy football can be analyzed through the lens of his remarkable marking ability, which is a key driver of his overall scoring.

Marks are a critical component of hus scoring, and Sicily’s dominance in this area is unparalleled. The Hawks ranked 4th overall for marks, with Sicily leading the league with an average of 9.95 marks per game. This figure is impressive in isolation and compared to other players – only five players averaged over 8 marks, and Sicily led by a significant margin of 1.3 more than Callum Wilkie, who was second. Moreover, his 2023 marks average of 9.95 marks per game wasn’t just a career-high for Sicily but also one of the top 20 all-time marks per game averages in AFL/VFL history.

To put this into context, the last time a player averaged over 9 marks per game was Sam Docherty in 2017, with 9.05 marks per game. Before that, the only other instances since 2014 were Nick Riewoldt in 2016 (10.57 marks per game) and 2015 (9.71 marks per game).

In 2023, Sicily had nine games with 10+ marks, four games with 15+ marks, and an exceptional game with 19 marks. This is significant, considering that only 19 times in AFL/VFL history has a player taken 20 marks or more in a game. The emphasis on marks is crucial because it opens up all other fantasy football scoring areas.

While James Sicily’s extraordinary marking ability provides a solid foundation for maintaining his high fantasy scoring, relying solely on historical data suggests that replicating such a high mark tally consistently might be challenging. For Sicily to be a starter in your fantasy team, it implies a belief that his remarkable mark tally will be sustained or that there are other avenues for him to maintain or enhance his scoring. One potential area for increased scoring could be his role in kick-ins.

In the previous season, Sicily took 41 kick-ins and remarkably played on 93% of the time. However, Blake Hardwick had a more significant share, with 82 kick-ins and a play-on percentage of 79%. Notably, during the preseason, the club has experimented with Hardwick in the forward line. While preseason trials can sometimes be poor indicators of regular season roles, this shift could potentially open up opportunities for Sicily to assume a more central role in kick-ins.

Increased involvement in kick-ins for Sicily could directly contribute to higher scoring in fantasy football. The role would offer more frequent possession and the chance to initiate play from the back, accruing additional points for disposals and effective play-making. Thus, if you’re considering starting Sicily in your team, it’s worth watching Hawthorn’s approach to kick-ins during the preseason and early rounds. A shift in this dynamic, with Sicily taking more kick-ins, could bolster his fantasy scoring potential and justify his inclusion as a starter in your team.

The statistics for James Sicily, particularly when considering his performances in different team contexts, reveal significant differences in his fantasy scoring in both AFLFantasy and SuperCoach formats. These differences highlight the impact of team composition and game outcomes on individual fantasy scores.

Impact of Playing with James Blanck:

  • In AFLFantasy, Sicily’s average score in the 11 games played with teammate James Blanck was 114.5, compared to an average of 90.8 in the 8 games without Blanck. This results in a notable difference of 23.8 points.
  • Similarly, in SuperCoach, Sicily’s average with Blanck was 123.9 versus 100.5 without him over the same number of games, showing a difference of 23.4 points.

These statistics indicate that when playing alongside Blanck, Sicily’s fantasy performance was significantly better. This could be attributed to various factors, such as team dynamics, defensive structures, or even the roles assigned to Sicily in Blanck’s presence.

The difference in Team Wins vs. Losses:

  • In AFLFantasy, Sicily’s average score in Hawthorn’s 7 wins was 123.0, while in the 12 losses, it dropped to 93.8, showing a difference of 29.3 points.
  • In SuperCoach, the difference is also evident, with Sicily averaging 124.9 in wins and 107.8 in losses, resulting in a difference of 17.1 points.

These stats reveal that Sicily scores higher in games where Hawthorn emerges victorious. This could be related to the nature of the games, Sicily’s role in successful strategies, or increased opportunities to impact the game in positive scenarios.

Sicily’s scoring in fantasy football is characterized by its volatility, presenting both a high ceiling and a noticeable basement, with as much as a 100-point difference between his best and worst performances. In the 2023 season, Sicily played 19 games, but his history of multiple suspensions early in his career and after playing all 22 games in 2022 raises concerns about his reliability. While his talent is undeniable, his tendency to miss matches is a factor that fantasy coaches need to consider.

Another strategic consideration is the likelihood of opposition coaches targeting Sicily with a tag to limit his impact. Such a tactic, aimed at curbing his intercepts and ball use, could significantly affect his scoring. Fantasy coaches need to be prepared for games where Sicily might score lower due to these restrictions, hoping he can still manage scores in the 70s rather than dropping to the 50s or 60s.

The key question for fantasy coaches is determining the optimal time to have Sicily in their team. Starting him from round one lets you capture his maximum scoring potential and benefit from his ceiling scores. However, this approach also carries the risk of encountering his basement scores. On the other hand, opting to upgrade to Sicily later in the season could mean acquiring him at a lower price following a dip in form. Yet, this strategy comes with the risk of missing out on his highest-scoring games, as he has the capability to deliver exceptionally high scores against almost any opposition.

In summary, owning Sicily at some point in the season seems like a wise decision, but the timing of when to bring him into your fantasy team requires careful consideration. Balancing the risks and rewards of his volatile scoring pattern is crucial in maximizing his benefits to your fantasy football lineup.

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James Sicily is solidly positioned in fantasy football drafts as a D1 defender. Given his high-scoring potential and the significant impact he can have on games, it’s expected that he will be taken off draft boards anywhere from the second to the third round.

Coaches drafting Sicily should do so with the understanding that, while he has the capacity to win matches with his high ceiling scores single-handedly, there’s also a notable risk associated with his volatile scoring. This volatility means that for every match he wins for your team, there’s a possibility he could cost you in others, especially if he encounters targeted opposition tactics or disciplinary issues.

Consequently, selecting Sicily requires a balanced approach, weighing his match-winning abilities against the potential for lower-scoring games.


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