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Your AFL Fantasy guide to forwards

Ben Guthrie  January 31, 2013 6:19 PM

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Mark LeCras is hoping to recapture his best form after missing all of the 2012 season

THE FORWARDS are the marquee names of your fantasy team and the players who are paid the big bucks.

Picking agile forwards who can play in multiple positions seems to be the best formula, but worth can still be found in selecting the traditional power forward.

Here are 10 players who, based on price, talent and predicted development, may demand a place in your fantasy team this season.

1. Mark LeCras (West Coast)
2012 points average:
N/A
2012 total points: N/A
2013 price: $355,400 (FWD)
Why? LeCras' missed all of 2012 thanks to a knee injury in February. He was a huge loss for the Eagles and fantasy players alike. Now, he's back in full training and looks set to return in the NAB Cup. He is a proven goalkicker and, once at full fitness, he may even push in to the midfield. A must have forward for all you fantasy players.

2. Travis Varcoe (Geelong)
2012 points average:
9.0
2012 total points: 9
2013 price: $234,400 (FWD/MID)
Why? Varcoe managed just one game late in the 2012 season, after battling a persistent foot problem, only to re-aggravate it in the same game. He now seems to have finally shaken the niggling injury. The Cats have trialled using Varcoe as a springboard from defence during the 2013 pre-season, meaning he may have the flexibility to play in a number of positions. If he can recapture some of the form he showed in the 2011 Grand Final against Collingwood, then he demands fantasy consideration. Still only 24, Varcoe could be ready for a fantasy explosion.

3. Travis Cloke (Collingwood)
2012 points average:
74.5
2012 total points: 1,638
2013 price: $383,600 (FWD)
Why? Cloke endured an interesting, to say the least, year in 2012. He found himself in the spotlight, as debate swirled about his contract negotiations and whether he would leave the Magpies. Now that he's committed to the Pies, things should start to settle down a fair bit. His marking, particularly in one-on-one contests, makes him one of the premier forwards in the competition. Begins the season underpriced, so he's definitely worth finding a spot for in your starting team.

4. Michael Hurley (Essendon)
2012 points average:
65.4
2012 total points: 1,046
2013 price: $336,800 (FWD)
Why? There is no doubt that Hurley is a gifted player. The 22-year-old has shown he is capable of kicking bags of goals and taking towering pack marks. Hurley booted 26 goals last year, but was cut down by three separate hamstring injuries, which affected his consistency. He's now at that stage in his career where he can become a genuine star. Hurley has all the tools to take fantasyland by storm.

5. Michael Walters (Fremantle)
2012 points average:
64.13
2012 total points: 513
2013 price: $330,400 (FWD)
Why? Walters' stark maturation culminated in him playing every match in Freo's lineup from round 16. A former star junior, Walters responded to Ross Lyon's ultimatum – after he was banished to the WAFL and told to shape up or ship out – in kind. He became a dangerous proposition in Fremantle's forward line, impacting on the scoreboard and fitting in to the team's system. With another pre-season under his belt, Walters may be ready to flourish.

6. Angus Monfries (Port Adelaide)
2012 points average: 68.4
2012 total points: 1,231
2013 price: $352,300 (FWD/MID)
Why? They say a change is as good as a holiday. So a move back home may allow Monfries to recapture his best form, after 150 games with the Bombers. The 26-year-old comes to the Power as a free-agent, and with a point to prove. He booted 18 goals for Essendon last year, after registering 31 majors in 2011. He can create match-up problems for the opposition, and impact the scoreboard. Expect more midfield time too. An astute fantasy selection.

7. Joe Daniher (Essendon)
2012 points average:
N/A
2012 total points: N/A
2013 price: $143,200 (FWD)
Why? If he wasn't a father-son selection, there's every chance Daniher would have gone before Lachie Whitfield in last year's draft. He is one of the best junior players to come out of the TAC Cup system for some time and may see senior action early in the season. James Hird has talked in glowing terms of his young recruit, saying he may get more opportunities than even he was expecting. There are few who have the reach and the marking capacity of Daniher, even in the primitive years of his career. Still may take time to develop, but he's worth a place on your bench (at the very least).

8. Mark Nicoski
2012 points average:
N/A
2012 total points: N/A
2013 price: $236,000 (FWD)
Why? A serious hamstring injury in the 2012 NAB Cup Grand Final, and then a related injury in his recovery ruled Nicoski out for the entire 2012 season. He had just come off a career-best season in 2011 and improved out of sight. He kicks the ball without hesitation and generally finds targets. On top of that, Nicoski is dangerous around goal and can push up the field on occasion. Dirt cheap, so he's a no-brainer if he can stay fit.

9. Tom Lee (St Kilda)
2012 points average:
N/A
2012 total points: 1,815
2013 price: $108,500 (FWD)
Why? Lee was a standout for Claremont in the WAFL last season, after spending a year at Adelaide in 2009. He averaged four goals a game and was unstoppable for the Tigers up forward, finishing second in the best and fairest. He is strong above his head and is sound in front of goal. Likely to debut early in the year and could create some match up headaches for opposition teams. Could be one of the steals of AFL Fantasy, considering opposition teams will focus on stopping Nick Riewoldt.

10. Sam Mayes (Brisbane Lions)
2012 points average: N/A
2012 total points: N/A
2013 price: $152,200 (FWD/MID)
Why? Mayes is an outstanding talent, who had a prolific junior career for South Australia. He made people sit up and take notice by earning Under-18 All-Australian honours as a forward in 2011, as a bottom aged player. He then shifted in to the midfield in the 2012 championships, and averaged 18 disposals per game. He also made an impact for North Adelaide at SANFL level, averaging the third-most disposals of any underage player in the competition last season. Mayes is strong overhead, agile at ground level and finds the goals. Could turn out to be one of the best players in last year's draft.

Others to consider: Patrick Karnezis (Brisbane Lions), Ben Kennedy (Collingwood), Josh Mellington (Fremantle), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Chris Knights (Richmond), Ricky Petterd (Richmond), Gary Rohan (Sydney Swans), Jake Stringer (Western Bulldogs).

Ben Guthrie is a reporter for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter- @AFL_BenGuthrie