After a stunning 2017 where Dustin Martin won everything except the Coleman Medal, a slight drop off could be understood. Does he bounce back to his fantasy footy best this year? I think he could!

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Dustin Martin
Age: 27
Club: Richmond Tigers
Position: Midfield

2018 Highest Score: 
127 Vs Adelaide (AFLFantasy)
160 Vs Adelaide (SuperCoach)

2018 Average: 

92.9 (AFLFantasy)
103.8 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $563,800
AFLFantasy Price: 
$674,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$664,500

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

It’s not often you have a ‘down’ year and yet get All Australian honours however that’s exactly what happened last year to Dustin Martin. After the dizzying heights of an almost faultless 2017, Dusty’s stats and fantasy numbers drifted back a little. From a fantasy perspective, it was his lowest seasonal average in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam since 2012 while in SuperCoach it was back in 2014.

In 2018 Dusty started just like he left off in 2017 with scores of 110, 127 & 111 in his opening four games of AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 139, 160 & 141 in SuperCoach. However, between rounds 7-15 he scored no AFLFantasy/DreamTeam tons and 2 for SuperCoach. You have to go back to 2011 for him to go that many games in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam for him to have a gap of tons that long. However, from after the bye, we started to see Dustin bounce back towards his impactful and scoring best. Over the final eight weeks of the year, he didn’t drop a score below 80 and posted 4 tons all of which were over 110 for AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. He was even stronger in SuperCoach with six matches reaching the hundred and just the one score under 90. Over the final eight weeks of the year, he ended up averaging 100 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 109 in SuperCoach.

One of the primary reasons for a dip in scoring was his forward role had increased more on the previous years, so much so that I had expected Champion data to award him additional forward status. With Richmond’s off-season recruitment adding a new potent weapon into the forward mix, it should undoubtedly decrease the reliance of Dusty inside forward 50 and free him back more into the midfield.

His previous fantasy seasons can serve as a reminder for us of how strong a fantasy footballer he can be. Last year he averaged 113 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam with 15 games over 100 and just the three scores under 90. For SuperCoach it was even better, with an average of 119, 17 scores of 100 or more and over his final 15 games of the year just once did he dip below 100. In 2016 he scored 14 AFLFantasy/DreamTeam tons and 12 in SuperCoach.

Even if Dustin Martin could only bounce back to his seasonal averages from 2016 and not his Brownlow yeat he’d still jump up 15 points per game to 107 and 5 points to 108 in SuperCoach. For a reference point, averages like that would rank him based on last seasons averages as a top 10 midfielder in every format.

The other often unheralded feature of his game is his durability since his debut back in 2010 he’s only missed just the five possible matches. Compare this to a player like Nat Fyfe who a while has a comparable scoring history and made his debut in the same year and yet has played almost 50 fewer games.

MY TAKE

Depending on who you speak to or the football sites you choose to digest you’ll hear many and varied speculations of the impact of both the effect of the new rule changes and the inclusion of former Gold Coast Sun and fellow 50 Most Relevant inclusion Tom Lynch will make to the game style of Richmond.

If the 6-6-6 starting positions are to make any positive impact for key forwards like Lynch it’ll require sides to win the centre clearances and transition the ball quickly into the forward 50, for Richmond while they don’t lack for midfield options Martin is undoubtedly the best of the bunch at winning the ball in tight for the Tigers. While I do think the inclusion of Lynch should allow the Tigers to use Dustin more as a midfielder, I still believe he’ll be given plenty of time as part of the Tiger forward structure. Dusty is such a difficult matchup and percentage of winning 1on1 match ups over the past few years is among the elite in the game. This is still only a positive because he’ll likely get a favourable miss match given the Lynch and Riewoldt command the needs of the best to tall defenders and many defensive units lack a player that is capable of matching it with dusty in a marking contest and on the deck.

One of the critical variables that makes me extra keen on Dusty is the fixture that is favourable for him to be a Vice-Captaincy loophole year round for SuperCoach, potentially AFLDreamTeam and on designated AFLFantasy rounds. This year Richmond 7 games on either a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday night and he is clear #1 VC option from the Richmond across most of those matchups. With last seasons ‘set and forget’ captain Tom Mitchell unavailable for most of the year, these opportunities to leverage a second bite at the captaincy cherry are hugely beneficial.

For me, I do believe in 2019 we’ll see a boost in his fantasy numbers it’d be closer to that of 2016 than 2017 numbers. Regardless that still would place him in the conversation of a top 10 midfielder. He’s right in the mix for me in SuperCoach and AFLFantasy as a starting squad option.

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DRAFT DECISIONS

For the past few seasons whether it be as a DPP forward or a pure midfielder he’s gone in the opening round of almost every draft so enjoy the fact that to own him it won’t cost you the first round selection. He’s currently ranked as the 47th best midfielder in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam but he’ll get drafted ahead of that. If Dusty were my M3, I’d be thrilled with that, however, if your desperate to own him an M2 selection isn’t out of reach. A choice as M4 is a massive steal given he has the potential to be a top 10 averaging midfielder once again.

For SuperCoach he’s ranked as the 18th best midfielder and will likely be gone by no later than the 4th round and as an M2 selection.

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