Injuries have been cruel to Stephen Hill in the past few seasons. Is 2020 the year the former #3 draft pick bounces back into fantasy relevance?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Stephen Hill
Age: 29
Club: Fremantle Dockers
Position: Defender/Forward

2019 Highest Score: 
51 Vs Hawthorn (AFLFantasy)
53 Vs Hawthorn (SuperCoach)

2019 Average: 

37.6 (AFLFantasy)
39 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $190,600
AFLFantasy Price: 
$428,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$245,100

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

Safe to say it has been a difficult past few seasons for Stephen Hill. He suffered back-to-back calf and quad injuries. The talented wingman also sustained a minor hamstring strain just as a return to AFL was close. Sadly for Freo and Hill, he managed only three matches in 2019 after playing thirteen the year prior.

Like many players that have featured in the 50 Most Relevant, while injuries are not wished upon anybody, they do create potential value for money selections. And for SuperCoach and AFLDreamTeam especially, that’s certainly the case.

When a player misses alot of football, we the footy fan and fantasy coach can quickly forget about just how quality the player is. Stephen Hill, when fit is a sublimely talented player. He offers a rare combination of elite speed, classy ball user and an elite decision-maker.

Between 2014-2016 we saw the scoring potential of Hill. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he averaged 84, 90 & 91. While for SuperCoach he averaged 96, 95 and 89.

The positive news for coaches is that he’s currently enjoying an injury-free preseason. Before going on Christmas break, he told reporters that he’s been getting through training well. 

HIll said to the club website that “Throughout the pre-season, I’ve been doing a lot of sprint work and I feel like my running hasn’t changed too much. “I’ve still got my speed and my endurance, so I feel fine, and hopefully, I can bring that speed into games.”

This is the sort of news potential owners have wanted to see. Here’s hoping he keeps having an injury-free and robust preseason.

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MY TAKE

Stephen Hill offers us two things that most cash cows priced under $250,000 cannot. Firstly, he provides us with job security. Say what you wish about the need for the Dockers to blood youth, but that will not be at the extent of a Hill if he’s fit. He offers experience and a class in the midfield that is desperately crying out for it. If he’s healthy, even under a new coaching regime, he plays

Secondly, he offers us proven scoring potential. Often players under $250K are players that have played less than a handful of games and there scoring potential is predominantly unknown. It isn’t the case with Stephen Hill. He’s capable of averaging in the 80-90 range.

The beauty of him at his price is he doesn’t need to do that to be worth starting. AFLFantasy it’s a little higher and is priced awkwardly. AS such you’ll want to feel more confident in his scoring potential than in other formats.

Twelve months ago, one of the best cash cows we had was Connor Rozee. One of the things that made him so valuable was the flexibility of being able to select him in either your forward or defensive lines. While you don’t choose someone based on having FWD/DEF DPP it certainly adds a higher value to him.

The risk with selecting Hill isn’t about job security, or for the most part, scoring potential. Instead, it’s about whether his body will allow him enough games played to be a good cash cow for us. With Freo having the round thirteen week off, he can be held up till this point and then using his DPP move him onto a forward or defensive premium.

Honestly, a minimum of 6-8 games at the 60+ range will mean he’s more than done his job as a cash cow for DreamTeam and SuperCoach. Getting him until the bye round would be excellent, but you may not need him that long.

The reason for not picking Stephen Hill is relatively apparent. His durability of late has been weak. Just three games last year and has only played sixteen of a possible past forty-four matches available.

Hill is an injury risk, but so too are many players. At his price point, the risk is almost non-existent. Remember, he doesn’t need to score like a premium to make his selection worthwhile. You could build a case that it’s riskier to start Docherty than Hill.

In SuperCoach and DreamTeam if he’s fit, I find it very difficult to build a case not to start him. In those two formats, I have him in my side. AFLFantasy, at this stage, I’m more than likely to pass and look elsewhere.

DRAFT DECISION

A very, very, very late selection. And that’s at best. Maybe his DPP is enough to get you over the line if you need some versatility with your benches.

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