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Fantasy Face-off: Knights v Byrnes

Ben Guthrie  March 1, 2013 8:30 AM

Fantasy Face-Off: Chris Knights v Shannon Byrnes The recycled Tiger forward or the ex-Cat goalsneak - who do you choose?


  CHRIS KNIGHTS
 
SHANNON BYRNES
 
Fantasy position
 
Forward Forward
2013 price $254,500 $229,300
2012 average 49.4
44.5
2012 high score 80 points (vs his new club Richmond in round 14)
74 points (vs his new club Melbourne in round 6)
Age 26
28
X-factor, Rising Star or Mr Reliable? X Factor. Knights is elusive and can produce a big goal when his team needs it. His long kicking can split the opposition's  defence. At different times, he can get on a hot streak and have a profound impact on games.
 
X Factor. Byrnes is a premiership player and has 108 games to his name. His experience and general football nous allow him to get in to dangerous positions and finish in front of goal.
 
Value for money Knights fell out of favour at Adelaide last year, but will benefit from a change of scenery. He averaged 88 points from 21 games in his third season, which shows he is capable of quality AFL Fantasy production.
Byrnes was immediately placed in Melbourne's leadership group after transferring from Geelong via free agency. His opportunities were few and far between in 2012, but he was often amongst the best in the Cats' VFL team. A  cheap and experienced forward option.
Job security The Tigers brought Knights to Melbourne for a specific reason. They needed to create more scoring options, and take some of the pressure off Jack Riewoldt. He fits the Tigers' system and should have every chance to prove himself. Byrnes' experience will be crucial to a young Demon team. He has impressed with his work ethic during the pre-season and is a lock to play in round one and beyond.
 
Where he'll play With the Tigers' midfield overflowing with talent, Knights can expect to spend the majority of his time as a high half-forward. He will push up the field and try to shake his opponent on the way back to goal.
Byrnes will act as the crumbing forward the Demons have been crying out for. With Chris Dawes and Jeremy Howe as the focal points, there should be plenty of crumbs to work with.
Injury history After starting his career in strong fashion, Knights hit a road hump with a stress fracture in his foot in 2010. It started a horror run of niggling injuries between 2010 and 2011. Still, he was fit for most of last season and looks set to go in 2013. Byrnes was fairly durable in his early career at Geelong. But he started to show  wear and tear in 2011 with knee and calf injuries. At 28, durability has to be considered.
The case for Now with a clean slate, Knights has every chance to cement himself in Damien Hardwick's side. He uses the ball effectively and he's a clever mover when out in open space. Much of the attention will be placed on his teammates, which may allow him to fly under the radar.
 
Byrnes' seniority in a young team will allow him to be a key member of the Demons in 2013. The 28-year-old has tricks in his game, puts pressure on the opposition and has great goal sense. His experience will be telling in a new look Melbourne forward line. Five goals in an intra-club match recently is a positive sign.
The case against Injuries. Knights has had to deal with them in the past. Fantasy players have been burned by Knights before - could it happen again?
 
Byrnes parted ways with the Cats for a reason - he couldn't crack it in the senior team. Is his form still good enough to warrant AFL Fantasy selection?

The verdict
Knights gets the nod due to his superior kicking and more complete game. Presents strong value as a 'bargain' AFL Fantasy selection.
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