#49 Most Relevant | Callum Mills

We can get obsessed about the next ‘breakout in the preseason.’ Nothing inherently is wrong with that. But we should also be looking at those who’ve had significant regression that could present the same level of upside. It’s why Callum Mills is still a highly relevant fantasy football prospect in 2024 despite his injury.


2023 was a challenging year for Callum Mills and, understandably, for the fantasy football coaches who had high hopes for him. A midseason calf injury, a juggle of roles, and a post-season marred by shoulder surgery – it was a tough run. Yet, as we stand on the brink of a new season, it’s evident that Mills is a phoenix ready to rise from the ashes.

Despite a statistical dip in possessions, clearances, marks, tackles, goals, and overall fantasy scoring, Mills’ resilience shone through. His AFLFantasy/DreamTeam average was a respectable 84.1, featuring eight scores above 90, while in SuperCoach, his 87.7 average, with eleven scores above 90, highlighted his latent potential.

Dig deeper, and you’ll uncover the hidden gems of his season. Take, for example, his final game of the year: a staggering 30 possessions, 12 tackles, 8 marks, and a goal. This performance alone netted him 155 points in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 143 in SuperCoach, a testament to his undoubted talent.

Mills’ scoring volatility last year can largely be attributed to his fluctuating roles – from being a central player in some matches in the midfield to a peripheral figure in others. Furthermore, in two games where he was forced to don the red vest impacted his averages significantly. His average would likely have been in the mid-low 90s without these injury / vest-affected anomalies.

Flashback to just a year prior, and Mills’ prowess was undeniable. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he boasted an average of 111, outscoring renowned players like Touk Miller, Jack Steele, and Zach Merrett. His SuperCoach performance was equally impressive, with an average of 116.7, ranking him among the top scorers in this format. Fourteen scores over 100 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, fifteen in SuperCoach, with several soaring above 120 and even reaching the heights of 214 against Hawthorn. These numbers aren’t just statistics; they’re a testament to his exceptional ability when playing in the midfield.

As we approach 2024, Mills is not just a player to watch but a goldmine of potential for fantasy football coaches. The discrepancies in his recent performance have significantly undervalued him, making him an irresistible prospect. His proven track record in the midfield positions him as a contemporary fantasy football legend. The message is clear: disregard his recent setbacks. Callum is a player who demands respect and serious consideration for your team. His comeback story could be the cornerstone of your fantasy football success this year.

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One of the great variables in fantasy football relevance is health. We know it intuitively in the community, but a player’s availability is one of their greatest abilities. With Callum Mills, his scoring capacity or even role aren’t the primary reasons nobody is discussing him this preseason. Rather, it’s his availability.

In September of last year, it was revealed that the Swans Co-Captain could miss a large chunk of the coming season after requiring shoulder surgery. While some corners of the AFL community believe he could miss the entirety of the season, since the revelation of his injury, the forecast length of time missed seems to be more promising to be back somewhere in the front half of the 2024 season.

One of the most common mistakes I see coaches make during the preseason is that they spend months thinking about the initial thirty players and little to no time thinking about their team’s trade cadence or player trade considerations during the year. Furthermore, the talk all preseason is about ‘chasing value’ but very quickly goes out the window as coaches start trying to trade and ‘pay up’ to get premiums in.

It’s why Callum Mills, even should he miss the opening round (which sounds all but certain), is still very relevant for us as an upgrade target. It’s the perfect spot to make his season debut in round ten. There, he plays the Blues and the Bulldogs and walks straight into the Swan’s week off on the bye. Then, from round thirteen, should he pass all the eye tests physically, you can get a player with 110 proven potential at his discounted price, which is currently approximately thirty points per game of value.

Targetting him as an upgrade during the season allows you to also look at the Swans structure and to see how John Longmire chooses to use him. Over the past few years, he’s been moved to plug holes across key position defensive posts and the wing. But the off-season inclusions of Joel Hamling and James Jordan should minimise the need to use him as the ‘gap filler’ when he does return.

Barring a miracle, Callum won’t be ready for round one and should be someone you fade in your starting squad because of this. But monitor him during the opening months of the season. If he has confidence in his shoulder and that midfield role receives no volatility, then trading into Mills isn’t just an option. It might be essential!

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Several variables surround the likely outcome of where Callum Mills is drafted. When your league draft is will determine a lot, as will what returning timeline information has been revealed by the club. The other primary variable is the depth of your league’s benches.

The outcomes of these pieces of information will ultimately determine whether he achieves the unfathomable and is left to super late on draft day right through to seeing him get taken inside the first 30 midfielders off the board.

The upside with Mills is that it will eventually become undeniable value on draft day, and the question shouldn’t be, will you take him, but when?


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