#4 Most Relevant | Rory Laird

Discover why Rory Laird’s unparalleled consistency, strategic Round 15 bye advantage, and resilience amidst Adelaide’s evolution make him an indispensable top-tier midfield choice in SuperCoach & AFLFantasy for 2024.


Rory Laird is a quintessential example of consistency and excellence in the AFL. Known for his tireless work rate, precise ball use, and exceptional ability to read the play, Laird has established himself as one of the competition’s premier midfielders. His prowess around stoppages and high disposal count, often at elite efficiency rates, make him a critical cog in the Adelaide Crows’ engine room.

Beyond just gathering possessions, Laird’s defensive background affords him a robust tackling game, ensuring he contributes significantly on both offence and defence. In 2023, Laird’s performance continued to shine, underpinning his reputation as a player who can consistently influence the outcome of a match through his relentless pursuit of the football and his ability to deliver it effectively to teammates.

In the 2023 season, he further cemented his status as one of the AFL’s elite midfielders, showcasing his exceptional ability to impact games across multiple statistical categories. His prowess in the midfield is underscored by his ranking in the top five for handballs and centre clearances. It tackles per game, illustrating his ball-winning capability, tenacity, and defensive effort. Additionally, Laird’s significance in Adelaide’s midfield dynamics is highlighted by his top-ten ranking in disposals, contested possessions, and effective disposals, demonstrating his efficiency and reliability in possession.

Regarding fantasy football, Laird’s performance in AFLFantasy and SuperCoach was strong. In AFLFantasy, he averaged 109.2 points per game, delivering 17 tons throughout the season, with seven scores over 120 and a peak score 142, showcasing his ability to hit high-scoring ceilings. Remarkably, apart from an anomaly in round one, where he scored a 57, Laird consistently delivered high scores, underpinning his reliability as a premium fantasy option.

His fantasy prowess was equally evident in SuperCoach, where he averaged 116.8 points per game, amassing 17 tons, including ten scores over 120 and two spectacular performances over 150. Like AFLFantasy, Laird’s scoring was remarkably consistent, with only one score under 80, further highlighting his status as a top-tier midfielder in fantasy formats. His impressive rankings in total points and average across both AFLFantasy and SuperCoach affirm his essential role in fantasy teams, making him a coveted player for fantasy coaches aiming for success.

Rory Laird’s exceptional consistency and high-scoring potential make him a compelling option for any AFLFantasy and SuperCoach starting squad. His ability to consistently score well, evidenced by his numerous tons and minimal scores under 80, highlights his reliability week in and week out. This reliability is valuable in fantasy football, where consistent high scorers can be the difference between winning and losing matchups.

Moreover, Laird’s involvement in the midfield, particularly his top rankings in handballs, centre clearances, and tackles per game, ensures he is heavily involved in the play. This involvement increases his scoring potential through disposals, contested possessions, and defensive actions like tackles, which are highly valued in both AFLFantasy and SuperCoach scoring systems.

Laird’s role in Adelaide’s midfield is consistent despite the movements of other players around him, like Matt Crouch and Jordan Dawson. Suggesting his scoring should remain robust. His scoring isn’t just about gathering possessions; his effective use of the ball and his ability to contribute significantly to Adelaide’s play makes him a valuable fantasy asset. Given his track record of elite fantasy performances and his crucial role for the Crows, Laird is the type of player who provides a solid foundation for any fantasy team.

Starting with a player of Laird’s calibre allows fantasy coaches to set and forget a premium midfielder, enabling them to focus on other areas of their team that may require more attention or carry more risk. With Laird, you’re not just investing in a player but inconsistent, high-level performance that can anchor your fantasy team throughout the season.

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Examining Rory Laird’s scoring patterns over the past two seasons raises an intriguing question about the relationship between his scoring ceiling and the overall improvement of the Adelaide Crows. In SuperCoach, while Laird’s total number of tons remained relatively consistent (18 in 2022 and 17 in 2023), there’s a notable decrease in the frequency of his scores above 120, dropping from 14 occurrences in 2022 to 10 in 2023. Similarly, in AFLFantasy, Laird matched his ton tally in both years with 17, but the instances of crossing the 120-point threshold decreased from 12 in 2022 to 7 in 2023.

This trend prompts speculation about whether Laird’s slightly diminished ceiling is a byproduct of Adelaide’s collective improvement. As the team’s performance enhances, scoring opportunities become more equitable among players, potentially reducing the need for Laird to shoulder as much of the fantasy scoring burden. While his ability to consistently hit ton figures demonstrates his reliability as a fantasy asset, the slight dip in his higher-end scoring outings might suggest normalising his fantasy output as the Crows’ midfield depth and overall team capability increase.

Yet, it’s essential to consider that despite these shifts, Laird remains an elite fantasy option due to his high floor. The consistency of his scoring and his integral role in the Crows’ setup ensures he’s still among the top fantasy picks. The observed changes might not indicate a “drying up” of his scoring ceiling but rather an adjustment phase as Adelaide evolves into a more balanced team. For fantasy coaches, while Laird continues to be a cornerstone player, strategic considerations around Adelaide’s growth and its impact on Laird’s ceiling may influence decisions on leveraging him as a captaincy option or when aiming for those big, game-winning scores in tight fantasy matchups.

The question of whether Laird is a slow starter can be dissected by analysing his performance in the first six rounds compared to the rest of the season over the past three years. Looking at the numbers, a discernible pattern suggests Laird does indeed ramp up his scoring as the season progresses.

In AFLFantasy, Laird’s averages in the first six rounds of the past three seasons (2023: 100.6, 2022: 109.6, 2021: 105.1) demonstrate solid performance but are noticeably lower than his averages for the remainder of each year (2023: 112.4, 2022: 124.9, 2021: 114.1). Similarly, in SuperCoach, the trend is evident with his early season averages (2023: 111.5, 2022: 119.6, 2021: 104.6) compared to his averages for the rest of the season (2023: 118.8, 2022: 131.3, 2021: 120.5).

The case for selecting Rory Laird in your fantasy football team hinges on several key factors, including his consistent improvement as the season progresses, his role within an evolving Adelaide Crows lineup, and the strategic advantage his bye-round offers.

Laird’s fantasy output has historically increased as the season unfolds, indicating that he warms up to peak performance, making him a reliable asset for the long haul. This trend suggests that initial patience with Laird could pay dividends, particularly as he’s priced closely to his season average. The concern that Laird’s output might diminish as the Crows improve is valid but unfounded.

Laird has proven himself capable of maintaining high scores regardless of the team’s overall performance. His role as a central figure in the Crows’ midfield, especially in contests and clearances, underpins his scoring potential.

Including Matt Crouch in the Crows lineup could be seen as a threat to Laird’s scoring opportunities. However, the statistics from the last five games they played together show Laird maintaining a high scoring rate, suggesting that Crouch’s presence may not significantly detract from Laird’s fantasy output.

Laird’s Round 15 bye is another strategic advantage, as it allows fantasy coaches to utilize him during the crucial early and mid-season rounds without worrying about finding a replacement. This availability, coupled with his history of high scores, makes him an attractive captaincy option, offering consistent, high-point returns each week.

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Rory Laird holds an M1 status in AFLFantasy and SuperCoach, presenting himself as a top-tier first-round draft option. Laird offers a compelling choice for coaches holding a mid to late first-round pick, bringing a blend of consistency, scoring potential, and reliability that is hard to match.

His proven track record of high fantasy scoring and his central role in Adelaide’s midfield make him an asset that can anchor any fantasy midfield from the outset. Choosing Laird in the draft is about securing a player and investing in a cornerstone to build a competitive fantasy team for the season ahead.


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