Adelaide star Patrick Dangerfield reveals his NAB AFL Fantasy team
A BIG part of the build up to the start of every football season is when I pick my NAB AFL Fantasy Dream Team squad, and the same questions pop up each year.
Should I go for proven performers and rookies, or some mid-priced players?
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Thankfully this year, with the introduction of two trades per week in 2013, it makes for some easier decisions. But there are some tougher ones, too.
As with most coaches, my team is formed around a spine of premium players and it all starts in the midfield.
I've selected Gary Ablett and Trent Cotchin as the locked-in midfielders, and I reckon my fellow Crows midfielder Rory Sloane is ready to push up to that level, as is Nathan Fyfe from Freo.
Brendon Goddard and Bryce Gibbs are must-have players in defence because they move through the midfield and get plenty of the ball transitioning from defence to attack. This means big points.
It's hard to go past Dean Cox as the starting ruckman in my squad. He's such a great player either through the ruck or up forward, which is perfect in 2013 as you can have him in either position this year.
My other ruckman is Carlton's Matthew Kreuzer, who came off a knee reconstruction to play 20 games last year. This year you'd expect his performance on the footy field, and in the NAB AFL Fantasy Dream Team competition, to rise to a new level. And at just over $400,000, I think I've found an absolute steal.
It's impossible to ignore Lance Franklin as one of my first-picked forwards, while I've picked Jimmy Bartel and Dustin Martin, two dual-position players.
But it's not all about the players with the big price tags. A good ploy is to look for guys who have changed clubs and those returning from injury.
My former teammate Chris Knights should be able to command a spot at Richmond after being on the cusp at Adelaide, while Brent Moloney enjoyed some great form in the NAB Cup for the Brisbane Lions after crossing from Melbourne. At just over $300,000, he's a valuable pick.
Brent Staker, Josh Kennedy, Jeremy Laidler and Jasper Pittard are others in this category, while it's also important to keep an eye on players who might see more of the ball after positional moves.
My favourite player, Chris Newman, is listed as a defender in 2013 but he's been training with the midfielders at Richmond which should help his points average. My Crows teammate Luke Brown is another who could find himself further up the ground.
No AFL Fantasy side is complete without its rookies, who can make coaches quick cash before trading them out when their price hits its peak.
Of the younger batch I've gone with Lachie Whitfield, Jaeger O'Meara, Jack Viney, Joe Daniher and Troy Menzel.
There's some more seasoned guys in this price bracket too, like Bret Goodes, Sam Rowe and Kane Mitchell, who should all see plenty of action.