A huge trade period for Melbourne yielded a lot of new faces at the club, many of which will be competing with established guns for spots in the best 22. It’ll be fascinating to see how they gel and whether the hapless Dees can finally go one step further this year.
Meanwhile for each coach, we pitched a few categories to see who we’re all keeping an eye on this preseason – a player to lock in now, an expected breakout contender, the best cash cow, an interesting left-field option, and a sneaky name to file away for a value draft pick.
These are the Melbourne players on each Panelist’s watchlist right now:
Jimmy: He’s unique, but I’ve had Angus Brayshaw locked into my RDT all preseason and he’s not going anywhere.
MJ: Some may have concerns over him due to offseason shoulder surgery, but I’m having none of it. Clayton Oliver is a top 5 midfielder in every format.
Rids: Clayton Oliver has already gone to uber status in just 3 seasons of footy. Imagine what he could average if he kicked a little more.
Tim: Clayton Oliver. One of the best young talents in the league in a team on the up. Viney back too hopefully.
Fox: Clayton Oliver. 16 Super Coach tons at an average of 114 in just his 3rd season, has that been done before?
Jimmy: Jack Viney is priced at about 82 in both DreamTeam and Supercoach but could easily nudge premium territory when fully fit.
Rids: Christian Petracca. People jumped on him maybe a year early I think. It is 2019 that is shaping as the year he will push that average close to 100. Still working on the tank but the Dees really need his skills around the ball if they are going to take the next step.
Tim: Kade Kolodjashnij. Hard to pick a breakout as such but KK’s reputation has stalled in recent years so with a fully healthy season and a good role he could remind us all what he could be.
Fox: Kade Kolodjashnij. Could this be the year he finally puts all his problems behind him, mooted for a spot on a wing in a decent team should be conducive to a 20 point rise
The Cash Cow
Jimmy: Tom Sparrow has shown a little something this preseason. Definite watchlist.
Rids: Marty Hore. Dees always seem to pluck someone from the VFL. Fritsch and Hannan were the last 2 and they got used a lot. Dees would not have selected him for depth so keep an eye on him during the JLT.
Tim: Marty Hore. If he gets games, which is the big uncertainty. Mature age defender from the Pies’ VFL.
Jimmy: Astonishing to think that Max Gawn is being largely overlooked across all the formats and even sliding out of the first round of most drafts. Load up.
MJ: In SuperCoach Tom McDonald is a worthy top 10 average forward and given he averaged over 97 his ownership numbers are scarily low. The departure of Jesse Hogan does mean he’ll now get the #1 defender, but I doubt any scoring fall short will be substantial.
Rids: Angus Brayshaw. Had an amazing 2018 going from VFL first 3 games to entering uber premium status running his own game on a wing. Kid just knows how to find the ball. There is even an argument his price tag represents value due to his first few games.
Tim: Jack Viney. Was notably listed at #18 in keeper rankings on another site a couple of years ago and is now fully fit. Has some huge games and some small ones but will be unique.
Fox: Angus Brayshaw as a pure mid, coaches hate seeing dpp being stripped but this guy is special, after a slow start we saw a 25-28 point increase across the formats and he’s likely to add half of that again in 2019, pick him and let him reward you
The Draft Smokey
Jimmy: Bayley Fritsch has mid-only status going into round one but a very strong chance to be granted DEF in the first round of new position allocations in both Ultimate Footy and AFL Fantasy. If he can improve on his 75 average from last year, the best case is that he becomes a clear starting defender for you and worst case he’s handy mid depth.
Rids: Michael Hibberd. Had a shocking fantasy footy 2018 due to a lack of tall defenders at the Dees. The acquisition of May should mean Hibberd becomes the running half back general again. He will drift big in drafts. Handy d3/d4 option with massive potential to be a top 10 defender.
Tim: Steven May. Pretty solid defender in draft leagues in recent years. Has averaged mid-70s to mid-80s over the past two in large patches of the season, ignoring injury games. Well worth having and should be available slightly later than he should be.
Fox: Bayley Fritsch with his skill set and precise kicking he could well be the go to guy in defense, worth a late punt