With JLT out of the way and just a handful of days remaining until the real thing starts, it’s time to finish off our research and start finalising our teams with confidence.
So to help you with that, we’ve assembled the Panel yet again and pitched a few categories to see who we’ve been 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 Richmond players on each Panelist’s watchlist right now:
Jimmy: Dusty is the obvious selection here but I also wanted to highlight that Jack Riewoldt averaged 93 in SuperCoach last year, has an elite ceiling, and the common consensus has Lynch improving Jack’s output rather than hurting it. Just a thought.
MJ: Don’t over complicate things. In SuperCoach start with Dustin Martin. I explained here when I wrote about him in the 50 Most Relevant.
Benny: There is no one on this list that screams lock. There is plenty of value though. Dustin Martin presents as an interesting candidate just twelve months on from his legendary 2017. He is one that should be considered by all, if not simply for the fact that prime age champions who drop in average by 20+ should always be worth monitoring.
Rids: Toby Nankervis. Every chance to improve his averages again in 2019 as he completes another preseason. People forget that he is still very young and shouldnt peak for another couple of years. Big chance for top few in the rucks.
Tim: Alex Rance. Premium in SuperCoach, dude is too good to ignore and also Richmond’s fantasy scoring wasn’t great last year but I expect that to improve somewhat.
Fox: Dustin Martin has to be a Super Coach lock, went to the summit in 2017, before dropping 20 points in 2018, 666 and Tom Lynch demand more Dusty clearances and goal assists
Jimmy: Number one ticket holder of the Jack Higgins fanclub right here so take it with a grain of the proverbial. Kid sure knows how to find the ball and is slated for increased midfield time this year. Snag-kicking ball magnet? Yes please.
MJ: More due to price point as a ‘breakout’ which is injury affected but Tom Lynch will dominate the competition at his new home if his body gives him the chance. A combination of the new AFL rules plus one of the leagues elite midfield now delivering him first-class supply should mean be pushing his averages pushing the verges of a top 10 forward.
Benny: Jayden Short – Steadily lifting his average and becoming a reliable option to drive the Tigers forward. Entering his fourth season, Short will continue to push past the likes of Houli and the move of Ellis to the wing may afford him greater opportunity. A speedy runner with a penetrating kick, the rule changes seem to suit him nicely.
Rids: Tom Lynch. Yes I know he has already broken out previously. It is his starting price though. He is currently 71st on the list of fwds in DT for price. I expect him to finish top 10 for avg. That is a massive return.
Tim: Jack Higgins. Would be a big shock if this kid never became a good player so will surely take another step towards that this year.
Fox: Jack Higgins is a guy who could quite easily follow Clayton Oliver with a 2nd year 30- 40 point spike if he plays predominant mid minutes
The Cash Cow
Jimmy: Is there room on the interchange bench for Oleg Markov to finally get a sustained run? The Richmond back six is harder to break into than Fort Knox, but in his fourth year in the system it’s now or never for him.
MJ: He’s fighting an uphill battle but it sounds like Riley Collier-Dawkins is doing everything possible to knock the door down for a round one debut.
Benny: Noah Balta demonstrated his capacity as a forward-ruck throughout the JLT series. Unlikely to receive selection alongside Lynch, Balta may have to continue to bide his time in the twos. The talented youngster will be worth keeping tabs on through ’19.
Rids: Callum Coleman-Jones will be the back up to Nank thru 2019. Was easily the best ruck of the 2017 draft imo. Kid will get games in 2019! Otherwise keep an eye on Bolton, Naish, Ross and Balta thru the JLT.
Tim: Riley Collier-Dawkins. The hype draftee hasn’t had a lot of attention in fantasy circles of late, but he was hyped for a reason.
Fox: One of Balta, Naish or Markov could get early games.
Jimmy: If you can squeeze two underpriced Tigers into your SuperCoach midfield, it’s sure been a long time since Trent Cotchin started a season priced below $490k.
MJ: With a move back to the wing we could see Brandon Ellis bounce back towards his 90-100 averages once again. Scores like that would place him among the top bracket of defenders and be costing you only a fraction of the price.
Benny: A limited preseason has pushed Tom Lynch into a bewilderingly low ownership percentage. The former Sun has entered a much stronger team where the opportunity will only be amplified. Expectations are high and rightfully so, he may prove a worthwhile acquisition in season with greater fitness.
Rids: Jayden Short broke out as expected in 2018. I expect him to continue that in 2019 and take his game to another level again. Has potential to push 90 avg across the formats which has been proven to be a very decent premium avg for defenders.
Tim: Dion Prestia. The Tiges just haven’t had high fantasy scorers in recent days, but Prestia has at least been a premium mid in healthy times at the Suns.
Fox: Toby Nankervis. The new ruck rules should help his scoring, more of a SC pick, you could throw in a handcuff with Coleman Jones as a safety
The Draft Smokey
Jimmy: Load up on Jack Graham with a late pick. Richmond play a lot of Thursday and Friday night games and Graham’s good games have been plenty good enough to warrant a utility loophole. Natural improvement and opportunity should see further consistency enter his game as well.
MJ: There seems to be no love this preseason for Bachar Houli, but he could be the steal of the draft for you. In the three seasons before 2018, he hadn’t dropped his average in any format under 86. Where he’s going in drafts is a steal!
Benny: Unsure whether he’s even in the best 22, but Brandon Ellis does present a classic risk-reward scenario. Playing as a winger, where he established himself as a fantasy behemoth during the formative years of his career, Ellis is likely to enjoy an increase in statistical production. If the planets align, he may be one of the best defenders to own.
Rids: Dustin Martin. A lot will depend if Dusty gains fwd status in UF. He must of been close in SC and AF. If he doesn’t and stays mid only then he will slide.
Tim: Jayden Short. 2018 was a very underrated year in both footy and fantasy terms. Averaged over 80 for large chunks of the season.
Fox: Brandon Ellis looks like he’s been mooted to bounce back on a wing in 2019, been a shadow of his 2014-15 form, worth a late punt.