Injuries create opportunities, but they also create future value. After missing most of the 2023 season with a shoulder injury, Fremantle’s Heath Chapman provides the fantasy football community with supreme value in our defensive line for 2024.
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
Heath Chapman is a key player for Fremantle, known for his effectiveness both in aerial contests and when initiating attacks. His role is crucial in generating scoring chances as he skillfully transitions the ball from defence to offence. Chapman stands out as an offensive-minded defender with a keen ability to anticipate and intercept plays. Once he gains possession, he quickly progresses the play and excels in distributing the ball accurately with his footwork.
Despite playing just three games last year, Chapman’s fantasy scoring power was still evident in his opening two matches. He went at 85 & 72 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 90 & 70 in SuperCoach.
In 2022, for AFLFantasy and SuperCoach, Chapman’s statistics showcase some notable performances. His best games in terms of fantasy scores were against Melbourne and North Melbourne. Against Melbourne, he achieved his highest AFLFantasy score of 100, while against North Melbourne, he recorded his best SuperCoach score of 136. Chapman’s performance against St Kilda also stood out, scoring 90 in SuperCoach and 85 in AFL Fantasy.
In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, alongside his career-high score of 100, he posted six additional scores above 80, including two scores of 95. For SuperCoach, he posted three tons, including the above 136 and an extra three scores 80+. By the season’s closing, he ended with an average of 69.2 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 75.8 in SuperCoach.
These high scores reflect Chapman’s potential as a valuable pick for fantasy teams. His ability to score highly in certain games indicates that he can be a significant contributor in form. Fantasy coaches looking at players for their future teams could consider Chapman, especially considering his reduced price point following his injury-affected season.
Heath Chapman faced significant injury setbacks in 2023. The first was a hamstring injury, which happened at training and was confirmed by fellow defender Luke Ryan on WA radio station 6PR. His second, and much more severe, injury was a shoulder injury during the Derby. It was later identified as requiring shoulder stabilisation surgery. This injury occurred in the early minutes of a game, and despite Chapman playing through the match, scans later revealed serious damage. This injury was severe enough to end his season prematurely.
Nobody likes to see someone injured, but players like Chapman come into the future season with a reduced price point as a presult. This is because either their previous season’s statistics, a key determinant of their initial value, are lower than usual, or the format has awarded an injury discount due to missing many games. Heath’s playing just three games in 2023 has created a situation where he can be picked up at a bargain compared to his shown potential.
Priced at 45 in SuperCoach, 42 in DreamTeam, and 55 in AFLFantasy, he presents strong value compared to his average in the low 60s of 2023. If you’re looking for an upside proven in your defensive line, then Chapman must be considered for your starting squad in 2024.Embed from Getty Images
Selecting Heath Chapman in SuperCoach, AFLFantasy, and DreamTeam is a strategic choice that requires careful consideration of his pricing and potential for the upcoming season. It’s crucial to understand that players in Chapman’s price range are not typically reliable as season-long keepers, though it would be a bonus if this occurs. His situation can be compared to Jayden Hunt, who was similarly priced in 2023 and averaged 81 in AFL Fantasy and 78 in SuperCoach over the first 12 weeks. Like Hunt, the key with Chapman is to time your trade to capitalize on the peak of his price increase.
There are three ideal moments to consider trading Chapman. The first opportunity is after Round 6, where you can aim to trade him for a premium defender coming off a bye. Another strategic moment is after Round 10, coinciding with the Dockers’ easier fixture against teams like the Bulldogs, Tigers, Swans, and Saints, which historically offer better scoring matchups for halfbacks. The final window is just before Round 12, right before the bye, targeting a premium defender from teams like the Lions, Giants, Kangaroos, or Swans, with Lachie Whitfield or Harry Sheezel being ideal.
Heath Chapman’s evolving role with the Fremantle Dockers is poised to become more significant in the upcoming season, especially in light of recent team changes. With Brennan Cox and Alex Pearce solidifying their positions as key defensive players and Luke Ryan focusing on intercepting and initiating plays, Chapman’s role is set to undergo a strategic shift.
Chapman, known for his impressive marking and aerial abilities, is expected to fill a critical halfback role alongside Jordan Clark. This becomes increasingly important considering Hayden Young’s transition into the midfield. Chapman’s ability to control the aerial space and contribute to the Dockers’ defensive strategies will be crucial in compensating for Young’s move.
Moreover, Chapman’s progression into his fourth AFL season suggests a maturity and readiness to take on more responsibility within the team’s defensive setup. His enhanced role, combined with the gap left by Young, indicates a potential increase in his scoring opportunities. With more play likely to come through him, Chapman’s impact on the game could be more pronounced in terms of defence and contributing to the team’s transitions into attack.
Chapman’s pricing is similar to Nic Coffield of the Western Bulldogs and Zac Williams from Carlton. Having one or more of these three in your starting squad offers the flexibility to switch to another if needed. However, depending on the format of toy play, selecting all three poses too much risk. But starting with at least one of these players is structurally important as all three have historical scoring that exceeds their current salary output.
The final decision will also depend on the availability of defender cash cows; a higher number of these could reduce the need for lower-middle-priced defenders, regardless of their scoring history. I’m starting Heath in all game formats; all the known variables indicate him as a sensational starting pick.Embed from Getty Images
In fantasy drafts, selecting Heath Chapman requires a strategic approach, especially given the hype around him in the salary cap community. Chapman’s potential and role at Fremantle suggest he’ll likely be picked within the top 50 defenders. For a balanced and strategic draft, the ideal position to pick him would be as your D4 (fourth defender), where he offers good value without overcommitting early in the draft.
However, if you’re particularly keen on securing Chapman, you might need to adjust your strategy. Given the competition and interest in him, it could be wise to select him a round or two earlier, positioning him as your D3 (third defender). This move ensures you get him on your team, but it does mean prioritizing him over potentially higher-rated defenders. Therefore, while Chapman is a valuable pick, it’s important to weigh his potential against the overall balance and needs of your team.
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