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Fantasy Face-off: Lee v Macaffer

Michael Whiting  March 19, 2013 7:00 AM

Fantasy Face-Off: Tom Lee v Brent Macaffer St Kilda's beanpole goalkicker or the injury-prone Magpie " who do you choose?

  TOM LEE
 
BRENT MACAFFER
Fantasy position
 
Forward Forward
2013 price $108,500 $132,600
Age 22
 
25
X-factor, Rising Star or Mr Reliable? Rising Star. Lee has two seasons under his belt for Claremont in the WAFL and proved himself to be a consistent goalkicker. Bagged 60 goals last season, and kicked six in the Foxtel Cup final to stamp himself as an AFL prospect. Rising Star. Macaffer is a little older than your average rising star, but after two years in the wilderness with injury, is almost like a rookie again. Has proved he can mix it at AFL level as part of the Magpies' 2010 premiership team and is fit and ready to reclaim a regular senior berth.
Value for money You've got a bargain basement price for a player who is more than likely to see some action in 2013.
 
Macaffer was a valuable member of that Pies premiership team, playing 21 games, averaging 15 disposals, five tackles and one goal per contest, proving he could be a solid Fantasy contributor. The past two years have seen his price plummet to well below what he's capable of.
Job security Is in the frame for a forward's role but will likely be duelling with Beau Maister for a spot alongside skipper Nick Riewoldt. If he gets a chance, Lee has a conditioned body that should hold up to the demands of AFL. While Macaffer is versatile, he will mainly be used in the forward line where places are competitive. Started the NAB Cup well, and if he can sneak his way in for round one – which he looks a big chance of – the spot is then his to lose.
 
Injury history No problems as yet for Lee. He's had a good first pre-season with the Saints. Has had a disastrous past two years. A knee injury wiped out most of last season, while foot and back problems limited him to just four games in 2011. Macaffer is well and truly over those injuries now, and Magpies' forward coach Matthew Lappin recently said his pre-season had been in the two or three best at the club.
The case for He's cheap and he has the talent to impact. Despite playing at a level below, Lee has shown he can kick goals against mature bodied opponents. He may be playing a more difficult position, but Lee comes into the league at around the same age as Michael Barlow and Dayne Zorko, who both made big impacts first up after a solid grounding at a lower level. We've already seen what he can do. Is a good hit-up forward, finds the goals, and importantly for AFL Fantasy coaches, loves to tackle. His fine pre-season and NAB Cup form have put him right on Nathan Buckley's radar to get that all-important early season opportunity. Once in, you'd expect a good string of consistent scores.
The case against Unproven against the big boys. Playing as a marking forward is a tough gig in the AFL and generally the talls take a year or two to develop, despite the fact he comes in as a mature rookie. Lee will also battle for a spot early in the season and may have to wait his turn. The past two years have not only shuffled him down the pecking order, but left question marks over his durability. Knee injuries in particular are never great, and watching early rounds will be important to ensure he hasn't lost any of the spark that made him so crucial in 2010.

The verdict
Although neither player is guaranteed of a start, Macaffer looks the safer bet. The Magpies have faith that he is in their best 22 when fit, and after a terrific pre-season, he ticks that box. Lee's goalkicking ability has the potential to deliver big scores if he fires, but getting into the team will be a big enough hurdle for him. The Magpie gets the nod here and would be a valuable pick-up for your team.

Pick your NAB AFL Fantasy team now.