Over the past two seasons, Daniel Rich has been one of the most undervalued and consistent defensive premiums. It’s time to shine a light on potentially one of the best low ownership premiums of 2022.

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Daniel Rich
Age: 31
Club: Brisbane Lions
Position: Defender

2021 Highest Score: 
131 Vs Fremantle (AFLFantasy)
138 Vs Fremantle (SuperCoach)

Career Highest Score: 
131 Vs Fremantle| AFLFantasy (2021)
149 Vs Fremantle| SuperCoach (2009)

2021 Average: 
98 (AFLFantasy)
107 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $582,700
AFLFantasy Price: 
$823,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$836,400

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

Daniel Rich has found himself flying under the radar for the past few seasons as a consistent top-end defensive premium in fantasy football. However, his elite kicking has long been lauded since his debut back in 2009. Last year he ranked first in the AFL for total kicks, rebounds 50’s and metres gained. He also rated 11th for effective disposals and 17th for intercepts. These stats highlight that Rich isn’t just a beautiful kick but arguably among the most elite rebounding halfbacks in the AFL today.

From a fantasy footy perspective, he delivered personal best averages across all game formats. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he scored nine tons, including a career high 131. He had an additional seven scores of 90+ and just once, his scoring dipped below 80. He’s now ranked as the third best defender based on points scored and sixth for average.

Across in SuperCoach, he was even more prolific with his points scoring. From 22 games, he registered 13 tons, with 7 of those being above 120. In addition, he had six games between 90-99 and only failed to score over 80 in just two matches. By the close of the season, he ranked fourth amongst all defenders by average and was the top scoring defender of 2021 in SuperCoach.

Last year was undoubtedly a career season, but he’s been building his scoring towards this over the past few. In 2020 from thirteen games, he averaged 90 in SuperCoach, scoring four tons and an additional four games over 90. While in AFLFantasy, he averaged an adjusted 84.25. Back in 2019, he averaged 97 in SuperCoach, which featured 10 tons and eight more scores of 80+. While in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he scored six tons, ten additional 80 performances and an average of 88.

So is Daniel Rich relevant? You bet! He’s a super consistent performer, and while he may lack the ceiling scoring of others in specific formats, he’s a reliable and durable premium candidate. If you’ve loved owning Tom Stewart and his low scoring deviation over the past few years, then Rich is someone in a similar vein. In some formats, he’s even better than him.

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MY TAKE

Whenever a player knocks out a personal best season at the age of 31, I always have a level of scepticism. Daniel Rich, who turns 32 in June, had a personal best in disposal number, AFLFantasy & SuperCoach averages. Many at his age believe regression is the only possible outcome for his fantasy scores. And that opinion is undoubtedly justified but by no means a certainty.

I see a world where not only does Rich’s monopoly of the footy in the half-back continue, but it could also increase. The retirement of Grant Birchall could further open up him being not just the preferred, but even the sole rebounder of the football from the Lions back half. The experiment with Callum Ah Chee hasn’t worked, and despite Keidean Coleman growing in a role down back, I can’t see him clipping the scoring off Daniel. The most likely inclusion into the Brisbane backline is the new draftee Darcy Wilmont. His dashing run and carry could add another elite sting to the Lions bow, but as a first-year player, it won’t affect Rich drastically. As you can see, the world where he holds his scoring and ball distribution monopoly can easily remain.

Every fantasy coach plays with specific strategies and views. For some, a player with high scoring ceiling is seen more favourably, while others will accept a lower ceiling for scoring consistency and fewer basement scores. It’s the age old Ceiling Vs Consistency debate. For coaches wanting to start Daniel Rich, it would be because you highly value his low scoring variation. The theory would be that for what he doesn’t provide for you in regular 125+ ceiling games, he makes up for it with minimal sub 80 performances. By osmosis, you can build you a side of consistent performances and then target other players that might boast the ceiling scores you require.,

To start the season, the premiums you select not only do you want guys that you believe will be in the top handful for the year but. I also believe you should pursue players that could hurt opposing coaches. Premiums can create separation between you & the pack and make others ‘chase’ to own them. A player like Daniel Rich, who doesn’t have a frequency of ceiling in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, is someone I’d feel comfortable taking on, knowing that his scoring ceiling won’t see his price increase too drastically start with. There is a greater ceiling capability in SuperCoach, given the seven 120+ performances last year, but I still believe he won’t shift too far off his starting price.

To go with Rich’s scoring consistency across the formats is an equally dependable ‘games played’ column. Since 2015 he’s missed just ten games and has only missed multiple games in a year for two of those seasons. I believe 2022 is his last hoorah as a premium defender. I think the regression comes in 2023. The only format I think you can start with him is SuperCoach, but I’ll be looking elsewhere based on my structure and preferences.

DRAFT DECISION

How people choose to draft in the first and second rounds of a draft is fascinating. Ultimately, it’s partially dictated too by your drafting position. Without question, Daniel Rich will be a D1 for a coach, but how early will some coaches jump for him? Potentially in some SuperCoach formats, he could go as early as the later portions of the second round. More commonly, I think he’ll go inside the third round across the formats but could be a fourth-round option in AFLFantasy scoring if a league doesn’t value defenders and instead is more prominent on the midfielders.

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