For years, Braydon Preuss was the understudy ruck. Now at GWS nobody stands in his way. The big question fantasy footy coaches want to know, is what will he average in 2021?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Braydon Preuss
Age: 25
Club: GWS Giants
Position: Ruck

2020 Highest Score: 
65 Vs Collingwood (AFLFantasy)
85 Vs Western Bulldogs (SuperCoach)

Career Highest Score: 
108 Vs Carlton | AFLFantasy (2019)
140 Vs Carlton | SuperCoach (2019)

2020 Average: 
50 (AFLFantasy) | 62.5 (Adjusted Average)
62.6 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $303,000
AFLFantasy Price: 
$377,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$369,300

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

For the past few seasons, Braydon Preuss has found himself as the ruck bridesmaid behind Max Gawn and Todd Goldstein. However, a November trade to GWS Giants will finally see him lead the ruck division.

With only 18 AFL games under his belt coaches might be justified in feeling the need to not get overly excited. And that may be warranted to some degree, but what has been seen is that at the elite level Preuss is capable of delivering a huge return on investment for potential owners.

Last season he averaged 50 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam (62 adjusted) and 62 in SuperCoach from just 3 matches. The latter format did include two scores over 80, not bad for a guy who played almost exclusively as a forward.

A full season earlier he played 7 games and again the majority of these were spent role sharing with Max Gawn. He ended the year with an average of 56 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 67 in SuperCoach. Certainly, noot great, but again he played predominantly forward. He did get to solo ruck (due to a late out from Gawn) he had a game featuring 15 possessions, 5 marks, 44 hitouts and scored a career high 108 in AFLFantasy and 140 in SuperCoach against Carlton.

When he’s the sole or predominant ruck, he can score more than enough points to justify and reward coaches who select him. Go right back to 2017, and the pattern continues. In round two against the Cats, he was late in for Todd Goldstein, and against the Cats, he scored 105 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 111 in SuperCoach. The week following Goldy returned, but North allowed him to play the lead ruck role instead. He ended the game with another 105 AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and an 87 in SuperCoach.

The VFL stats are insane, but plenty of players at lower levels have dominated at second tier and struggled. The reason for not giving these much or any weighting from me is simple. He has shown at top level he can score when given chances, we don’t need secondary levels to display this.

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MY TAKE

I’m having bad flashbacks. No, it’s not the snap lockdown that I’m experiencing with my fellow Victorians. Instead, it felt like we were in a similar situation at GWS 12 months ago with Sam Jacobs. Didn’t we say the same about Jacobs? I did, but I believe the Giants played Shane Mumford more out of necessity given the rapid demise of ‘Sauce’ rather than preferring Mummy over him.

Braydon Preuss is at a considerably different portion of his career. With the past few seasons shadowing Goldy and Gawn, now is the perfect time for everything to culminate for him and us fantasy football coaches.

At his price point he doesn’t need to compete with the top end premiums to make his selection worthwhile. Does he have the ability to do so? Historically Braydon has shown he can reach the ton on multiple occasions.

Why would you consider a stepping stone ruck? Simple! For one of two primary reasons. Firstly, you lack the confidence (or the finance) to invest in a set and forget ruck strategy. Yes, it’s threatening to opponents to see a Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn combination, but it’s also pricey. Depending on the formats your play that’ll set you back a combined $1.4-$1.8 Million.

The other, is you believe that at his price point he offers significant return on investment and will both increase your overall salary cap capacity while delivering reasonable points scoring on field.

The risk with players in this range is that they need to perform early to make the selection worthwhile. That doesn’t mean he has to average 100 over the first month, but he can’t be spluttering along at 60 after four weeks. Anything from as low as a high 70’s can be enough. Obviously, we all want more, but given his price point even on the lower end of the scale that can be sufficient.

Don’t just look at his scoring in contrast to another premium ruck, view the picture in full totality. For example, someone may have Brodie Grundy and R2 but need to run Dyson Heppell and M5. A perfectly fine combination. However, you’ve picked Braydon Preuss, and with the remaining salary cap, you can now turn Heppell into Josh Kelly. So don’t just view the ‘1 for 1’ scoring, instead, look at what the freed up salary does to your overall scoring.

The great challenge to overcome for potential owners is that he has a somewhat challenging early fixture for rucks. In round one, it’s against a likely role sharing of Marshall/Ryder. While in rounds 3 & 4 he plays Grundy and Gawn. Hardly the perfect start, if anything it’s probably the worst possible fixture.

If you target and time it correctly, he can then be a quick cash grab to a fallen ruck premium or if the pick ‘fails’ can be used as a short sideways move to the firing midprice player. It’s why maybe starting him alongside a Rowan Marshall with his RUC/FWD DPP might be the perfect player to run parallel to your preuss selection.

DRAFT DECISION

Unless you lock away one of the top tiers of ruckman early, you won’t be looking at one until the latter half of your drafts. Guys like Brodie Grundy, Max Gawn, Reilly O’Brien and even Rowan Marshall are all going super early ion drafts. Braydon Preuss will be around for those wanting to draft a ruck late. And who knows? It could be a genius move. He’s shown. From limited opportunities, he can score well.

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