The arrival of Tim Taranto has two significant impacts. One is for Richmond’s chances of delivering another premiership in this era. The second is for the fantasy football community, as we could have one of the best scoring options available as a forward.
Name: Tim Taranto
Club: Richmond Tigers
2022 Highest Score:
128 Vs Sydney (AFLFantasy)
121 Vs Fremantle (SuperCoach)
Career Highest Score:
156 Vs North Melbourne | AFLFantasy (2019)
144 Vs Carlton | SuperCoach (2019)
SuperCoach Price: $503,100
AFLFantasy Price: $846,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: $867,000
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
The trading for Tim Taranto is excellent news if you’re a Richmond fan. Not just because he’s a high-calibre player but because it means the club should buck the trend of embracing a full rebuild after a successful premiership era. Taranto’s arrival is significant because it stalls any talk of rebuilding. Still, it also adds some significant strength that all too often depended on Dion Prestia’s health. Last year, Jayden Short and Shai Bolton were the club’s third and fourth most-used players at centre bounces. Now Tim, alongside the addition of Jacob Hopper, adds a significant change of personnel and squad depth through the midfield.
This isn’t just great news for Tiger fans but the fantasy AFL community. Over multiple seasons at the Giants, the scoring pedigree of Tim Taranto has been on full display. But only when he’s been allowed to play heavily as a centre-bounce midfielder has he shown over numerous years he can score.
He first emerged as a genuine premium when as a MID/FWD in his second season, he averaged 90 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 88 in SuperCoach. The following season in 2019, he emerged as a genuine premium when her averaged 112.5 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 102 in SuperCoach.
During this 2019 season, he scored fifteen AFLFantasy tons, seven of which over 130 highlighted his ability to deliver a scoring ceiling. That same season in SuperCoach, he registered a ton in thirteen matches. His 2021 saw him in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam average of 107.7. He scored fourteen tons, seven of them were above 120, and in an additional five games, he scored 90 or above. That’s him scoring 90+ in 86% of matches. By the year’s closing, he’s ranked 15th for total points. For SuperCoach, his year returned twelve tons, three of them over 120 and an additional four scores over 90. Positively, one of his most significant scores came when he played a 100% forward role and scored a 130+ against the Tigers.
We haven’t even spoken about his 2022 year. From his sixteen games, he scored seven tons in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, four of those were over 120. He had three additional scores over 90 and four scores under 80. He averaged 95.5 and is currently ranked third amongst all eligible forwards.
While in SuperCoach, he posted six tons, with the highest being 121 against Fremantle. He had two additional scores between 90-99, and his scoring dipped under 80 on five occasions. His average of 91.3 places him as the ninth-best forward by average.
Here’s the crazy thing, he only attended over 50% of centre bounces in eight of his sixteen games last year and never attended more than 59%. There was also no correlation between those games where he attended 50% or higher CBAs related to a stronger score. Tim had three games where he averaged under 40% CBAs but still scored tons across the formats.
It’s quite simple if Taranto is allowed to be a centre-bounce midfielder, he should be on our radars. However, he still presents some value in the Richmond, largely fantasy football purgatory system. Why? Because Tim is a strongly-rounded midfielder. Not only is he a high-volume accumulator, but he’s also a powerful tackler and a damaging forward of the ball in front of goals. His disposal efficiency is an area where he can be criticised, but in the Tigers system, where a ‘surge’ mentality of moving the ball forward is the focus, he should only succeed.Embed from Getty Images
Richmond wasn’t great last year. The aura they once had of being impossible to defeat started to fade. Why? Because the players, the roles and the game style that had served them so well for the previous few seasons were now starting to get picked apart and exposed by opposition teams. It’s why the Tigers identified, prioritised and paid a heavy price in contracts and draft capital to secure Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto.
The club has identified and now secured centre bounce specialists and clearance bulls who will aid the midfield immediately. Without hesitation, Taranto will be played as primarily a centre-bounce midfielder. His addition allows them to play the likes of Dustin Martin and Shai Bolton as impact midfielders, but predominantly in the forward half, where their possession impact can be at its most.
One of the things I often preach through the fifty most relevant is narrative consistency. For example, some preach that Tom Mitchell at Collingwood is a certainty to go 110+ because he’s got a proven scoring history and now a defined midfield role. But that same crowd say Tim Taranto cannot score well despite a comparable situation. I don’t see how you can take the same narrative in two potentially comparable situations and come up with opposite outcomes unless you allow confirmation bias to filter into your statistical narrative. Stay consistent with your processing. If Taranto is volatile, so is Mitchell.
Ownership can and does play a factor. Once a player hits a certain threshold, the risk is no longer on those owning but those going against a popular premium. Normally I have the threshold at about 50% format ownership. When premiums have that percentage level, there’s only pain and very little to gain by going against the crowd that sharply. At the time of writing, Taranto’s current ownership is 49% in SuperCoach, 57% DreamYeam and 49% AFLFantasy. To me, he’s hit that tipping point and going against him presents a significant risk.
What’s the upside with Tim? I believe in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam; he’s got between 10-20 proven points per game of upside. In SuperCoach, he’s got the upside of 10 proven points per game. He is one of only three forwards capable of matching Josh Dunkley’s scoring. What’s the downside? He holds his current scoring range and stays top 5-10 forward. Yet again, the upside outweighs any downside to me.
Over the past few years, we have seen Taranto suffer multiple injury concerns. In just 2022 alone, he struggled to overcome a back complaint while also suffering a concussion. Additionally, in his six seasons of AFL, he’s had only two where he’s played a full season and just three seasons where he’s played 20+ matches. And while injury history is a concern, he’s currently having an uninterrupted preseason, and ultimately, that’s all we can ask from him.
Remember what we always preach about any player’s injury history. If anything, such concerns are why to consider him in your starting squad and not as an upgrade target. If you start with them, you can bank all the scores they deliver. And with every passing game, the likelihood of injury will only increase. However, suppose you trade into an injury ‘risk’. In that case, you run the gauntlet of not just missing his good scores that attracted you to make them an upgrade, but rather your likelihood of trading into that injury is higher with every game past. Starting these ‘injury-prone’ players is the best way to offset the risk. If an injury does occur, you have banked every good score available but also spent just one trade, not multiple, on removing him from your side.
If you can’t tell, I’m bullish on Tim this year, and barring an injury, he’ll be in my starting squad across all formats.
The first forward off the draft boards will be Josh Dunkley. Across the formats, he’s my consensus #1 overall pick. But where Tim Taranto goes will depend on two variables, the format you play and if you have captains ‘on.’
In AFLFantasy, he’s a natural first-round selection but will go later in the opening round if captains are on, as people will elect to go for a ‘safer’ midfield guy. For SuperCoach, I have him heading off draft boards early in the second round.
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