Elliot Yeo has been a dependable and consistent premium for multiple years. However, an injury derailed his past two seasons. Can he bounce back for us in 2022?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Elliot Yeo
Age: 28
Club: West Coast Eagles
Position: Midfield

2021 Highest Score: 
118 Vs Sydney (AFLFantasy)
117 Vs Melbourne (SuperCoach)

Career Highest Score: 
152 Vs Fremantle | AFLFantasy (2017)
150 Vs Gold Coast | SuperCoach (2018)

2021 Average: 
83 (AFLFantasy)
86.5 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $470,800
AFLFantasy Price: 
$696,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$707,700

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

Whenever you don’t see someone play to their potential, sometimes it can be easy to forget what they are like when fully fit and uninhibited. Elliot Yeo is a powerfully built midfielder who, at a stoppage, is the perfect midfielder. He’s offensively a beast at getting the clearance, he’s defensively a menace, and his workrate is elite. In addition, Yeo is athletically gifted an excellent overhead mark and has shown incredible resilience over the past two seasons as he’s battled through multiple seasons hampered with groin injuries.

Of the twelve games we saw from him last season, he averaged 89 in AFLFantasty/DreamTeam. It consisted of three tons and four additional scores of 80+. The scoring trend is similar in SuperCoach he averaged 86.5, delivering five tons and two more scores over 90. Amazing scores? No! But remember, he did this under immense physical duress where his ability to generate power through his body was near impossible. So if he can score like this with limitations, what can he do when finally fit and free?

Every game he did play in 2020, Elliot was under increasing physical duress as he tried valiantly to play. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he averaged 71.5 (adjusted 89), scored 1 ton and had six additional scores between 67-80. If you want to play the ‘adjusted averages scores’, that’s a scoring range between 83 and 100. SuperCoach was a more favourable result. He scored a ton in 5 of his ten matches, had just two scores below 70 and ended the season with an average of 89.9.

As the year went on, it was obvious that his ongoing groin issue impacted his ability to get around the ground. The Eagles tried to rest him up for finals, but eventually, they couldn’t get him back and took a long term approach in the hope to get him right for 2021 and beyond.

Between 2017-2019 we saw Yeo at full flight and saw his scoring pedigree on fully display. He missed just two games in these three seasons and averaged 98.3, 106.7and 102.7 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. While in SuperCoach, he averaged 102.1, 107.8 and 107.6. In these seasons, he scored in every column imaginable and was one of the most underrated fantasy premiums going around. Yes, it’s multiple years since he’s delivered scores like this, but the ability to score like this is proven, not a forecast hope like others around his price point.

We’ve been robbed over the past few seasons of seeing Yeo at full flight. So while he’s yet to resume full training, the month of January is about being open to the possibilities and viewing the possible scenario outcomes. There’s a very real world where Yeo can and does return to his full scoring power in 2022, and if he does, he’ll supply coaches with some of the best value.

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MY TAKE

The question has never been can Elliot Yeo produce fantasy scores? 2017-2019 scoring history demonstrates his ability. Instead, the uncertainty comes around can he get through the preseason and 2022 home and away season without a hiccup? Yeo has talked about how the challenges of the past two seasons have made him mentally stronger. That’s positive to hear, but the challenge is he’s still on limited duties. He is still returning from his groin injury and has yet to participate in the full running drills. With the community series just weeks away, that starts to become concerning if he’s not playing in these games; you need to rule him out as a starting squad candidate.

That doesn’t make him irrelevant for the year, not at all. While Yeo is closer to being a 100-105 midfielder than 110+, his past few years shows us that he’s capable of going on 6-8 week stretches where he averages north of 115. As an in-season trade, you’ll get a high volume return on a low financial investment if you can time the run correctly. If he gets through the preseason and has a hot start, he’ll give you a substantial value return. The only reason you’d not consider him as an in-season trade is if you disregarded him because of the durability.

At his price point, he’s in a similar range to Caleb Serong, Patrick Cripps and teammate Tim Kelly. As discussed with these other players, at his price in DreamTeam and SuperCoach, he’s priced too high to be considered a stepping stone. But that’s what a Matt Rowell is. At his price point in the early ’80s, he must become a premium for you and be someone you intend to retain for the entire season. To do this, he needs to average a minimum increase of 20 points per game of growth to warrant it. Can he do that? History says yes, but the durability concerns are there. If you were to contrast him to Serong, both have question marks. Yeo isn’t around scoring potential; that’s proven. But can we get sufficient games from him?

His bye round in 13 is a solid space to be in. Especially in AFLFantasy, where you get multiple trades a week, he could easily be traded to a round 12 premium coming off the bye. Turning Yeo into Jack Steele, Josh Kelly, Ollie Wines, Sam Walsh, Darcy Parish, or even Zach Merrett has an excellent play to it.

I currently have Yeo on my preseason watchlist. If he can have a faultless rest of the preseason, play in the community series and move freely, then he’s got 15-20 points of value in him. And he’s good enough to be an M8 by seasons end. If not, then he’ll be on the watchlist as a trade target for midseason.

DRAFT DECISION

Where Elliot Yeo goes on your draft day will be determined by two things. One when you host it in contrast to the season starting. And secondly, how Yeo is travelling. I believe this season that if you don’t land some quality forwards in the draft early, you could be in trouble. Given the lack of topline depth in this line this year, we might prioritize them more than usual.

Because of this, a player of Yeo’s scoring potential, regardless of injury concerns, will slide later than he has for the past few seasons. So if you want to own him, you’ll probably have to use an M3 position on him. However, that’s a worst-case scenario regarding how early he goes. What’s more likely is he’s an M4 off the board, maybe even five if people have low confidence in his body.

I’d love to take him at M4 and then support this pick by drafting an extra midfield bench depth spot if he struggles early on.

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