WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
Lachie Whitfield stands out as one of the most skilled players in the AFL, a beacon of talent in the Greater Western Sydney Giants lineup. His elite running capacity and precision with the ball make him a standout player not just for his team but for the league as a whole. The AFL community recognizes that when Whitfield is at his best, he elevates the entire game.
In 2023, Whitfield’s stats were nothing short of impressive. He was ranked in the top 15 for effective disposals, rebounds from 50, and kicks per game. These figures aren’t just numbers; they’re a testament to his impact on the field and his ability to deliver high-quality plays consistently.
In AFLFantasy, Whitfield averaged 94.7, with a notable nine scores over 100. His consistency is further highlighted by the fact that he only dipped below 80 in two games. In the season’s final eight games, he ramped up his performance, averaging a commendable 100.8 and ranking 9th among all defenders for average.
Similarly, in SuperCoach, Whitfield’s average was a solid 92.9. He notched up seven scores over 100, and impressively, post the GWS bye, he averaged 107.1. His rank of 14th by average among all defenders underscores his reliability as a high scorer.
An important aspect to consider is Whitfield’s scoring ceiling. Across both formats, he’s shown the capacity to hit multiple scores above 130, indicating he can be a game-changer on his day.
One area of concern for potential selectors is Whitfield’s injury history. While it’s varied and often attributed to bad luck rather than chronic issues, it’s something to be mindful of. In 2023, he missed two games – one due to concussion protocols and the other through suspension.
Despite this, Whitfield has proven to be one of the most reliable performers in terms of scoring. Since 2017, he has consistently scored over 90 in AFLFantasy, and in SuperCoach, he has had just one season averaging under 92.
Whitfield’s ownership percentage is relatively low, but savvy AFLFantasy and SuperCoach players should not be caught off-guard. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he possesses all the attributes of a top-tier premium defender. Seeing him reach these heights again in 2024 wouldn’t be surprising.
Based on his skills, consistency, and scoring potential, Whitfield is undoubtedly a player to consider in both AFLFantasy and SuperCoach this season. His injury history, while a consideration, is consistent with his potential for high-scoring and game-changing performances. Disregarding Whitfield could mean missing out on a player with the skills, consistency, and potential to be a top-line premium defender in 2024.Embed from Getty Images
The offseason has seen significant discussions about the loss of premium forwards. Equally noteworthy, however, is the shake-up in our backlines. With the shift of Jordan Dawson, Will Day, and Sam Docherty to midfield-only eligibility, we’ve lost key defensive staples. This opens up a broader examination of potential defensive options.
The premium end of the defensive line is more complex than ever. How fantasy players structure their D1, D2, and D3 will be intriguing. There are numerous questions to ponder:
- Will we see a regression from interceptors like James Sicily and Tom Stewart?
- What level of attention will Nick Daicos attract?
- How will the role of Harry Sheezel evolve?
- What plans do St Kilda have for Jack Sinclair and Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera?
- Can Jayden Short adapt and thrive in a new system?
- Will Luke Ryan dominate again as he did previously?
- Is Hayden Young capable of sustaining his form for a full season?
While somewhat exaggerated, these questions are valid and contribute to the complexity of decision-making in AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach.
In this changing landscape, Lachie Whitfield’s case becomes increasingly compelling. His historical averages of over 90, his recent ceiling-scoring ability, and his impressive averages in the final eight weeks of 2023 (100.8 in AFLFantasy and 107.1 in SuperCoach) make him a player to consider seriously.
The Giants early bye round poses a strategic challenge. Whitfield’s round 1 and 2 matchups against North Melbourne and West Coast are ostensibly favourable. However, he’s out for round 3. This requires careful team balancing if you’re considering starting him. Additionally, with a second bye in round 12, managers need to weigh the impact of Whitfield missing two of the first 12 rounds.
Starting Whitfield will influence your strategy during the best 18 weeks of the first six weeks, but this isn’t necessarily negative; it’s just an additional factor to consider. If he delivers high-scoring games early in the season, he could be a pivotal starting squad pick, potentially setting the tone for a winning season.
The ‘injury-prone’ tag often attached to Whitfield shouldn’t be a deterrent. Starting with such players can be strategic; if an injury occurs, you’ve already banked their high scores and only need to use one trade. Conversely, if his injury history concerns you, it’s a factor to consider throughout the season, not just at the start.
Regardless of the approach, Lachie Whitfield’s relevance in the 2024 preseason is undeniable. His skill set, scoring potential, and the evolving dynamics of the game make him a player that cannot be overlooked. Whether you start with him or trade into him later, Whitfield remains a key figure in the AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach landscape.Embed from Getty Images
Lachie Whitfield stands out as a strategic choice. In AFLFantasy, he is a strong contender for a D1 position, reflecting his consistent high scoring and the ability to turn games in his favour. His skill set and performance, especially in the latter part of the previous season, underscores his value in this top-tier defensive role.
In SuperCoach, Whitfield fits comfortably into the D2 slot. While his scoring average is slightly lower in SuperCoach compared to AFLFantasy, his potential for high-scoring games and his versatility on the field make him a valuable asset for any team. His ranking in both formats indicates his overall prowess as a player, and he should be a prime target in the drafts for fantasy managers looking to build a strong defensive line.
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