Over the past four years, Clayton Oliver has been one of the most durable and reliable premium midfielders. In 2020 he found another scoring gear, can he deliver another season like it in 2021?

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Clayton Oliver
Age: 23
Club: Melbourne Demons
Position: Midfield

2020 Highest Score: 
131 Vs Adelaide (AFLFantasy)
205 Vs Adelaide (SuperCoach)

Career Highest Score: 
161 Vs Gold Coast | AFLFantasy (2019)
205 Vs Adelaide | SuperCoach (2020)

2020 Average: 
91.7 (AFLFantasy) | 114.6 (Adjusted Average)
122.2 (SuperCoach)

SuperCoach Price: $656,700
AFLFantasy Price: 
$875,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: 
$846,800

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WHY IS HE RELEVANT?

Ever since Clayton Oliver broke out in his second AFL season, he’s been among the elite performing midfield premiums across all formats of fantasy football. At times in 2020, he faced media criticism that he didn’t ‘impact’ games, as much as he could. However, by seasons end, many of those perspectives were silenced due to his strong season.

By the end of 2020 season, he ranked first in the AFL for clearances, stoppage clearances and contested possessions per game. Added to this he ranked 5th per game for centre clearances, 9th for disposals and effective disposals per game.

From an AFLFantasy/DreamTeam perspective, he ended the year with an average of 91.7 or an adjusted average of 114. His season consisted of 5 tons, 2 of them were over 120, plus an additional 8 scores between 80-99. Last year, he had just one score under 74 all year.

‘Clarry’ ranked 2nd for total points and was just 107 points of overall leader Lachie Neale. He also ranked 6th for averages. But that includes both Luke Dunstan (1 game) and Lachie Hunter (9).

For SuperCoach he averaged a career high122 from his 17 games. It consisted of 15 tons, 8 over 120 and an insane 2 over 170 including a 205 against the Crows. He ranked 3rd for total points, 4th for averages with Only Lachie Neale and Jack Steele of midfielder with a stronger average.

Looking into his AFLFantasy/DreamTeam scores from 2019 he scored 100 or more in fifteen games of his 22 games. Ten of those hundreds were higher than 110, and he had only four scores that were below 90 all year. His seasonal average of 105 ranks him as the eleventh best by averages for all midfielders. For overall points, he was the tenth highest last season across all lines.

SuperCoach was another excellent season even if it did see a marginal scoring dip. He posted 14 tons across the season, ten of them were 110 or higher and a strong return of four scores over 140. In addition to his stable frequency and ceiling of tons, he had only four scores all year that he dropped below 90. If you were to contrast him to others seasons, he ended up ranked 10th for overall points, seventh for midfielders and eleventh by the average for all midfielders.

Over the past four seasons he has 100% durability and an incredible consistency of conversion of games to hundreds. In his previous 83 matches he delivered 64 SuperCoach tons. That’s a triple figure score in 77% of games played. While in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam he’s score 43 tons at a conversion of 51%. If you wish to use ‘adjusted’ scoring from his 2020 season included then that percentage leaps up top 61%/

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MY TAKE

What is the perfect combination of traits you want from your premium players? Availability, high scoring ceiling, healthy scoring basement, minimal scoring deviation, and someone you can throw the captaincy on. Over the previous four seasons, Clayton Oliver has shown that he is a tick in every one of those considerations.

At his price point as a premium midfielder, you’re not paying for value. Instead, the reason you choose him over others is that you believe that what he delivered last year will be near identical in this upcoming season.

For some they see the scoring bump of last season and put it down to the SuperCoach points weighting of shorter quarter. While you can build a case for that I think there are a number of factors to consider.

His time on the ground didn’t drastically change. Between 2018-2020 he’s played 83% of the game time every season. Contrast this to Lachie Neale who had his ‘TOG’ balloon out to 92% over the year. A percentage that not even some key position players have that high.

Secondly, the scoring boost isn’t a momentous shift from another season. Before 2020, his best SuperCoach season average was 114, while in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam it was 109. That’s only an increase of 8 points per game in SuperCoach and an adjusted 6 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam. A career season? Absolutely! An outlier? That’s harder to argue.

What’s most exciting for potential owners is that last season Clayton Oliver developed a ceiling. He’s always been consistently hitting the triple figure marker, but he found a new level of ceiling last season. A 125 & 131 for AFLFantasy is adjusted well north of 155, while his 177 & 205 in SuperCoach is right alongside the best fantasy players in the game.

If you’re forking on big cash on a premium early, you need the scoring to pop straight away. Looking at the Demons fixture, it’s certainly friendly for him. The opening two rounds are against Fremantle and St Kilda. Round three against GWS and the dreaded Matt De Boer is unsettling, but does Christian Petracca now receive that tag after his breakout season? A compelling case can be made that preventing the Demons to win is more intricately linked to stopping Christian than Clayton.

The following 7 weeks Melbourne play, Geelong, Hawthorn, Richmond, North Melbourne, Sydney, Carlton and then Adelaide. Not a bad run for midfield opponent

Across all formats of the game, I have Clayton Oliver locked in as a top 10 midfielder. So if you don’t have him as a starting squad option currently only 6% of AFLFantasy, 14% DreamTeam and 25 of SuperCoach players do, he’s one to keep an eye on for an upgrade.

DRAFT DECISION

Clayton Oliver is the perfect M1 in your draft side, regardless of the format you play. Having not missed a game in four seasons that availability is of critical value. I could see him going very late in the first round in some leagues, but more commonly, I see him as an early round 2 selection.

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