Welcome to 2022 AFLFantasy coaches. As a special new year’s treat, I decided to share my current AFLFantasy team and tell you why I’ve picked every player. Enjoy!
AFL FANTASY TEAM REVEAL
D1) Jake Lloyd
Every year of Jake Lloyds career saw an upward trajectory in fantasy scoring culminating in an adjusted 114 average up until 2020. However, in 2021 we saw a dip of 16 points averaging (a still very impressive) 98, ranking him the equal 4th highest averaging defender to have kept their status in 2022. I believe two factors contributed to this. One was playing with knee soreness throughout the year, and the other the breakout of Jordan Dawson who was cruelly shipped off to the Adelaide Crows. With both of these factors now in the past; 2022 is a new season and it’s not often a perennial top 6 defender begins a season with potentially 10+ points upside. One of my first picks.
D2) Lachie Whitfield
A preseason injury affected Lachie Whitfields ownership percentage to start the 2021 season. He eventually returned in R7 and went on to average 94.8, brought down 5 points by a concussion affected game in R17. This was his lowest seasonal average since 2016, his fourth year. Despite all this, in over half his games he still notched up scores of 110+ (8/15). For these reasons his value in 2022 is undeniable which is why he will remain a lock in my team barring any preseason mishaps.
D3) Braydon Maynard
A player that was never in any of my initial plans for 2022, Brayden Maynard has since soared into my calculations off the back of messaging coming out of Collingwood this preseason. A new coach often brings new opportunities, and for Maynard that appears to be his wish to finally enter the midfield mix which he himself has spoken about since as early as 2017. At 25 years old, a big body and with a hole in the Pies midfield rotation – it appears he could be set to fill it and with that build on his 2021 average of 81 playing predominantly as a medium defender. Even with that role he was no stranger to ceiling games notching up 5 scores above 105 including a huge 133 in R13 2021. Maynard first raised the eyebrows of fantasy coaches everywhere after an impressive 2020 season (including an adjusted 146 ceiling!), but this time I’m backing him to have coaches stand up and listen. A preseason watch no doubt, and at his price point there is still enough room to pivot to other options – but right now I’m loving the look of him in my defence (and hopefully some DPP flexibility later!)
D4) Wayne Milera
A very straightforward pick given his starting price point. A return to a 65 average (he’s averaged 75+ twice), will be 20 points upside which is more than enough to make a stack of cash. As long as he stays on the park this preseason, he’ll be another mainstay of my starting team. Fingers crossed.
D5) Josh Sinn
Port has a propensity for playing their early draft picks immediately or very early on so for this reason Josh Sinn is every chance to line up R1. I’m not expecting large scores with this pick, but am expecting enough job security to be a viable cash cow option at D5 provided he’s named. Regardless, at his starting price I should be able to pivot to a similarly priced rookie before/during the season as there’s a few options priced similarly.
D6) Garrett McDonaugh
A mature age draftee from the 2021 draft class. At 26 years old and an average of 90 in the VFL in 2021 – I’m hoping he can make an immediate impact at the bombers and provide some decent scoring at a basement price.
D7/8) Will Gould/Nathan O’Driscoll
Placeholder rookies that are interchangeable for my D6 position. They have been in the system a couple years but yet to be handed a debut.
M1) Jack Steele
Besides his exorbitant price tag (over 1 million!), there’s just nothing negative to say about Jack Steele. After an impressive breakout in 2020 averaging an adjusted 113, he went on to totally eclipse this in 2021 averaging a huge 121! He never slowed down either – averaging a massive 133 post bye and boasting a ceiling of 162 in R20. If you flip this around to pre bye and have history repeat itself, you quickly start to see the writing on the wall that he could be extremely hard to obtain again until late in the season, not to mention the captaincy scores missed. He has quickly become one of the most reliable players in the competition for the way he goes about filling every stat line with part of this being attributed to what he does when he doesn’t have the ball. No player in the competition since 2017 has had more tackles than Jack Steele – and now at just 26 he’s hitting his straps from a ball winning perspective as well. I find it hard to look past him as a genuine captain option each and every week and for this reason comfortably sits at M1 for me with no sign of leaving anytime soon.
M2) Jack Macrae
Any fantasy coach that hasn’t been living under a rock the last 5 years knows who and what Jack Macrae is capable of. A player with a career lowest seasonal average of 104 (*excluding debut season) and a highest of 122 should come as no surprise for being a captain option every single week. Coming off the back of a 116 average in 2021 and a huge ceiling of 159 (as well as going 100+ 18/22 times), Macrae is showing no sign of slowing down. Concerns of time spent on the wing have been silenced and the Dogs should be hungrier than ever going into 2022. Now that every week allows a captaincy loophole, it’s now more than ever that your great captain option also needs a more than capable vice captain. And guess who plays game 1, round 1?
M3) Lachie Neale
Coming off the back of a brownlow, and a 2020 seasonal average of 122 – many thought Lachie Neale would pick up where he left off for the 2021 season. However, an early bout of uncharacteristic bad form, general soreness, and a string of injuries which in part contributed to a lack of match fitness, meant that it wasn’t to be and he finished the season averaging just 94. Incredibly, you have to go back to 2014 in his 3rd season for when his average was last below 100. One positive note last season was a ceiling game of 145 and posting scores of 120 and 110 in his last two games to prove he still has his fantasy chops. What all this means though is we get to pick an undervalued Neale in 2022. All preseason reports say that he is fitter than ever and training all houses down which I’m sure no fantasy coach is sick of hearing. Ultimately, your starting team is about predicting upside and for all the reasons above, Neale will sit comfortably in my midfield in R1.
M4) Elliot Yeo
There’s a few notable value picks this year and Elliot Yeo is well and truly part of that club. Averaging 106 and 102 in ‘18 and ‘19 respectively – a persistent groin injury has limited Yeo to just 22 games since, and falling far short of his usual fantasy scoring abilities. Notoriously an injury of high concern for coaches, a glimmer of hope of is well and truly shining that he can return to his best – reaffirmed by his string of 12 games in a row to finish season 2021. Although with just 3 tonnes to show for it, we did see a return of his tackling best of which he led the league for back in 2019. Tackles generally point to a high floor, and this coupled with the very obvious hole in the Eagles midfield, winning more ball can only be a good thing for his fantasy output. Barring no groin setbacks before the start of the season, he should very well be part of my R1 line up.
M5) Matt Crouch
Speaking of groin issues…After averaging an adjusted career high seasonal average of 110 in 2020, Matt Crouch has not taken the field since missing the whole of the 2021 season because of it. For this reason he comes in priced at just 77! An absolute lock and load pick if fit, so monitor his preseason closely. That being said, groins can be a funny thing so I’m still slightly undecided if I follow through with this selection, especially when there’s a far safer guy coming off a fractured back priced similarly /s.
M6) Matt Rowell
There’s a small handful of players that just about pick themselves this year and Matt Rowell is one of them. Priced at 55, I dare say this will be the cheapest we ever get an opportunity to select him. Rowell started off with a bang in 2020 before a R5 injury put him on ice for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately in 2021 injury struck again this time in R1, before returning in R13 to underwhelming results given the small sample we quickly grew accustomed to. I’m not worried about it – I saw a young inexperienced senior footballer returning from a couple injuries with a lack of match fitness and confidence. Don’t overthink it. My first selected when fantasy opened and he’s going nowhere.
M7) Finn Maginness
A bit of a premium rookie pick – I’ve selected Finn Maginness at M7 in part due to his price tag allowing me to pivot to any in form rookie priced player during the preseason games. There has however been a bit of a wrap on how he’s approached his preseason and a couple years in the system has always been a pretty good sign for a better immediate fantasy output. And if COVID is anything like chicken pox, he’s already had it anyway (only joking).
M8) Nick Daicos
This guy averaged 136 in the NAB champs, has trained with Collingwood for a couple years, been around that same football club since he was a kid, comes from the purest Collingwood blood and by all reports will be a walk up start in a rebuilding Pies team. Nick Daicos should debut R1 and hit the ground running. Lock.
M9/10) Greg Clark/Jackson Mead
A mature age 24 year old draftee to a club in need for more midfield depth, Greg Clark who averaged 27 disposals in the WAFL should be a R1 walk up start. I’m not exactly going out on a limb here but he could be cash cow of the year. A lock on my bench and may even snag a field position if a reshuffle facilitates it. Jackson Mead has had a few years in the system now and looks ready to play senior football. He should be a good selection if a debut comes his way but is still very much a placeholder at this point.
R1) Brodie Grundy
One half of the top ruckmen in the comp for the best half of 6 years now, it’s no surprise Brodie Grundy heads up my ruck division. A slightly inconsistent year, an injury/soreness and a negative shift in sharing the ruck time saw Grundy dip his long standing 110+ seasonal average streak to a pathetic 106 – his lowest since 2016. Despite this abysmal effort though, I’m absolutely backing him to climb back up above 110 off the back of a strong preseason in which many reports have mentioned him trimming down. This is great news as one of Grundys greatest strengths has been his ability to cover the ground, building each stat line as he roams from contest to contest. At this stage I’ve cooled on him being the set and forget captain option he’s been in years gone by, but with 7 scores of 120+ his ceiling days appear far from over and I’m predicting him to be the highest averaging ruckman in 2022. Another mainstay in my side.
R2) Braydon Preuss
Not a lot can be said for Braydon Preuss. After all, 18 games in just 7 years is quite unremarkable. That being said, he has been a victim of circumstance being stuck behind #1 rucks Todd Goldstein and Max Gawn before a preseason injury meant the Giants, having recruited Preuss to be their #1 ruck, had to reanimate the corpse of Shane Mumford. Never having a proper run at things, it’s hard to predict Preuss’ prospects but from what little games he has played, he has shown glimpses of fantasy potential – certainly enough at his starting point of 43 anyway. Ultimately Preuss was brought to the club for a reason and before his preseason injury was said to have been tearing up the track, as well as training houses down. If I find out he’s also fitter than ever it may be all too much for me not to select him. There is the concern of Flynn and Briggs going okay in his absence but I won’t be overthinking this one just yet.
R3) Sam Hayes
Drafted in 2017, Sam Hayes is still yet to debut. He’s got a few kilometres on the legs and added some KGs now, so with the added departure of former chop out ruckman Peter Ladhams – Hayes should be a decent shout to make his debut in 2022.
F1) Tim Taranto
One of my favourite modern day fantasy players. Tim Taranto started the 2021 season off with a bang averaging 113 up until R18 before a late season role change with the absence of Toby Greene. A forward eligible player that can average 100+ is a gift, a player whose 23 and done it twice is a dream. The only concern is that Toby Greene remains absent until after R6 meaning Tarantos role could once again be up in the air. Adding salt to the wound is that Leon Cameron has stated how well he plays there as well (keeping in mind he is a terrible coach, though). Regardless, I still think Taranto is a 90+ averaging player at a minimum even in this role, and I personally think he’ll be in the middle going well above that anyway as GWS have more than enough depth to cover any holes up forward.
F2) Mitch Duncan
An ever reliable scorer as much as he is injured. This is why Mitch Duncan is in my starting team. A fantasy scorer of his calibre with his injury history is fraught with danger either which way, but I’d much rather start him and burn 1 trade moving him on than target him and burn 2 if he goes on to get injured. Duncan comes in at an average of 100, which if you exclude his injured R14 game of 8, rises to 110. He also managed to score above 130 four times proving his ceiling is far from behind him. Geelong look like they’ll be having another tilt at a flag this year so I expect Duncan to be right in the thick of that and scoring accordingly. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
F3) Josh Dunkley
Formerly a promising young forward, then ruckmen, forward again, now midfielder Josh Dunkley was one of a couple of players that scored above 100 up until R6 in 2021. Most coaches would be familiar with his fantasy abilities after a breakout 2019 seasonal average of 111, including going at an average of 123 post R7 after a most permanent move to the midfield. Since then Dunkley has managed just 22 games, only showing glimpses of his fantasy best. Because of this he comes into 2022 priced at a lowly 91 presenting plenty of potential upside. I’ve got slight concerns over his body and less so for his role but after a failed trade request a couple years ago, and coming out of contract at the end of next year – I think we could see him back to his footballing and fantasy best. I’ll be hard pressed not to start him, especially when he’s demonstrated before how frighteningly high his ceiling can be.
F4) Isaac Heeney
Every year I say I won’t do it and then I do it again. Stupid sexy Heeney. Isaac Heeney has never had any troubles scoring in fantasy comfortably averaging ~90 since 2017 as predominantly a forward. This year though, John Longmire has come out and said that in 2022 Heeney will be splitting his time between midfield and forward closer to 70/30
Like an ex-partner, this time it’s different and things are going to change. Heeney is this year priced at 76, already potentially 10+ points underpriced in his predominantly forward role, let alone the role that has been speculated. I’m quite bullish on him, though I would like to see the role in the preseason. Luckily if I’m wrong, he can be straight swapped out for Zak Butters as they’re the same price.
F5) Charlie Curnow
A lot has changed for the Blues in just a couple of years. One of these things is the emergence of Harry McKay who won the 2021 Coleman medal. This means forgotten man Charlie Curnow, who averaged 71 and 73 in ‘17 and ‘18 respectively (65 in ‘19) now takes the second best defender. He returned late in 2021 and failed to set the world alight, but showed promising signs of easily outperforming his 2022 starting price of 41. This combined with job security for just a little bit of extra pocket money has me keen on taking the punt.
F6) Elijah Hollands
Currently the third most selected player in fantasy and it’s no surprise why. Touted as a possible number #1 draft pick in his draft year before a knee injury, the former #7 pick has yet to debut and thus comes in at basement price for 2022. He would have been a lock in most teams regardless but his forward eligibility puts a nice little bow on top of it all. One of the easiest starting picks if selected.
F7/8) Charlie Parker/Joel Jeffrey
As with (most) of my bench players, these two are mostly place holders at this point. I’ve heard some very good things about SA product Charlie Parker taken in last year’s rookie draft. Despite being contenders the Dogs have shown they’re not shy to blood their youth as well as back them in if they perform. Joel Jeffrey was a pre-selection for the Suns in 2020 and managed to sneak 4 games in last year. Preseason reports suggest he’s training with the defensive group which could bode well for fantasy scoring, and handy DPP status.
Literally any DPP
Coaches should now know that this position provides plenty of flexibility and helps facilitate trades that previously wouldn’t have been possible. Closer to the season start I’ll assess where my rookies sit and do my best at being able to cover any line in the event of a forced trade.
FULL TEAM // LIFES ROZEE