The breakout for Hayden Young was tipped to come in 2023. But were we 12 months early? Based on his ownership percentage and a change in team role, he looms as one of the most relevant players in the coming SuperCoach & AFLFantasy season.
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
Hayden Young, known for his precision and composure with the ball, is quickly becoming one of Fremantle Dockers’ most crucial players. As a defender, his elite ball use by foot and ability to read the game has always stood out.
However, his move into the midfield in 2023 truly showcased the breadth of his talent. This positional change allowed Young to demonstrate his versatility and effectiveness in contesting and distributing the ball, with a career-highlight performance of 33 disposals against the Brisbane Lions.
His exceptional season culminated in his first top-five finish in the prestigious Doig Medal, marking 2023 as the year Hayden Young solidified his place as a key component of Fremantle’s future.
In AFLFantasy, he delivered a solid average of 89.2, including seven scores that reached the century mark, with his peak performance being a 119-point game. However, it’s noteworthy that he also registered seven scores below the 80-point threshold, reflecting some inconsistency in his output. Despite these fluctuations, Young finished the year ranked as the 15th-best defender in terms of total points and average, marking him as a valuable asset in fantasy lineups.
SuperCoach saw Young further enhance his credentials, boasting a higher average 93.9. His ability to break into the triple digits was even more pronounced in this format, with ten tons throughout the season, including three standout performances exceeding 120 points. The lower frequency of sub-80 scores, just five across the year, showcased a greater consistency in SuperCoach than AFLFantasy. This consistency propelled him to rank 13th among defenders for average and total points, solidifying his status as a dependable choice for fantasy coaches seeking a robust defender with the capacity to score heavily and regularly.
Late in the season, Young was moved into the midfield. Here, he averaged 74% time at centre bounces and scored 83, 119, 102, 91 & 94 in AFLFantasy, totalling a five-game average of 97.8. He had a bump of almost 10 points per game from his seasonal average. While in SuperCoach, he posted scores of 69, 123, 118, 113, and 111 and averaged 106.8.
The move was a success because of his fantasy scoring uptick and because it quickly became evident that Hayden was the missing piece for this Fremantle midfield. His height, tackle pressure, and physicality enabled a newfound defensive layer. This was evident when he played a tagging role on Patrick Dangerfield. Additionally, his long and skilful left foot added a dynamic delivery inside forward 50 and became an impact for inside 50s and score involvements. He compliments the midfield perfectly alongside Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw.Embed from Getty Images
Navigating the Fremantle Dockers’ midfield dynamics, Hayden Young’s transition from halfback to midfield seems like it could be better for his scoring potential and that of his teammates, Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong. This trio complements each other effectively, promising a balanced midfield unit without apparent statistical drawbacks to Young’s fantasy output. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Rory Laird and Jordan Dawson, who successfully transitioned from premium defenders to uber-premium midfielders, Young has the potential to mirror this trajectory, offering fantasy coaches a best-case scenario reminiscent of Dawson’s stellar 2023 season.
The anticipation surrounding Young is not without its considerations. While his current high ownership in fantasy leagues underscores the community’s confidence, it also elevates the risk for those contemplating betting against his success. This scenario echoes the 2023 sentiment surrounding Nick Daicos, where his breakout performance quickly became a pain point for non-owners that, if not resolved, quickly derailed their season.
The initial fixtures against Brisbane and North Melbourne further spotlight Young’s role versatility, as evidenced by his effective tagging against Lachie Neale last year, yielding impressive scores of 119 in AFLFantasy and 123 in SuperCoach as a midfielder.
Moreover, the prospect of Young gaining dual-position status only amplifies his value, offering strategic flexibility to fantasy squads. The critical Round 13 bye aligns perfectly with strategic planning for the multi-bye rounds, making Young a potential high scorer and a tactical asset for navigating the fantasy season. Considering all factors, the high stakes of excluding Young from your starting side underscore the significance of making informed, strategic decisions in the early phases of the fantasy football season.Embed from Getty Images
Hayden’s burgeoning reputation and preseason hype significantly influence his value. Despite his performance metrics positioning him as a D2 option based on average scores, the demand and expectations surrounding him suggest that fantasy coaches must invest a D1 price tag to secure him.
This discrepancy between statistical output and market value is a testament to Young’s perceived potential and the anticipation of further development. Coaches eager to have Young on their roster must be prepared to act early, as the competition to acquire his services will likely push his draft position higher than traditional metrics suggest. If you’re unwilling to pay a premium, be prepared for someone else in your league to capitalize on his upside.
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