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The Traders' 2014 Fantasy team preview: Lions

Lions midfielder Jack Redden could be a unique choice for your Fantasy squad - ${keywords}
Lions midfielder Jack Redden could be a unique choice for your Fantasy squad
The Traders take a look at every club's list from a Fantasy point of view and give you the inside word on where the bargains are to be found.

THERE are a few players from the Lions' den putting their hand up for selection in 2014.

The biggest lock for the Lions is... Tom Rockliff [MID, $558,800] An extended stint in the forward line last year dried up Rockliff’s scoring through the middle of the season, but a move back to the midfield for the final eight games gave us a glimpse of what we can expect in 2014.

The under-priced vice-captain collected an astonishing 19 Brownlow Medal votes during those eight games and that was reflected in his elite Fantasy numbers where he averaged 123 in that time.

Effectively, Rockliff’s time spent forward dragged his average down to 103 for the season and that creates great value moving into 2014 for a player capable of averaging over 120 for an extended period.

During the final five weeks he pumped out captain-like scores of 139, 140 and 144, which make him hard to ignore. That form continued in his first NAB Challenge game in 2014 where he picked up 32 touches and 130 Fantasy points in just 70 per cent game time.  

Some bargains on the radar include…

Claye Beams [MID, $187,400] is an absolute bargain on the back a season ruined by injury. In 2013, Beams managed just two games, one of which he started as sub, dragging his average down to just 46. 

Beams made his return in the NAB Challenge against the Suns and showed some promising signs. In 75 per cent game time he collected 14 possessions and scored a respectable 57. 

With his heavy discount due to the large number of games missed, Beams is available at a rookie price despite going into his fourth year. In the last game of 2012, he showed great Fantasy potential with 114 points from 26 touches.

Dayne Zorko [FWD/MID, $400,100] played at a premium level for a forward in his rookie year with an impressive average of 94. He suffered a case of the second-year blues in 2013 which resulted in a drop in average to 74 points per game. New coach Justin Leppitsch has been very excited about Zorko’s pre-season and is expecting big things in 2014.

His NAB Challenge form had been solid, with 58 points from 51 per cent game time and 84 points from 67 per cent game time.

A player of difference is... tackling machine Jack Redden [MID, $514,200]. After back-to-back years of averaging triple figures in AFL Fantasy points, including a career best 109 in 2011, Redden dropped off last year to average 95. 

With most of the Lions' Fantasy hype surrounding Rockliff, Redden has become somewhat of a forgotten man for a player capable of averaging an elite score. If his first NAB Challenge game of 2014 is anything to go by, 'Reddo' is on track to return to his best after finishing with 28 disposals, a trademark 10 tackles and a huge 142 Fantasy points.

The pre-season has taught us... that Pearce Hanley [DEF/MID, $463,700], who is coming off a career best average of 86, looks set for further improvement. In his first NAB Challenge hit-out, Hanley looked fantastic sweeping across half-back collecting 27 disposals and eight marks for a score of 101. He looks a certainty to finish the year as top line defender.

Twitter question from @thedavemiester: “@RoyDT: Will the Berger be a fwd/pinch hitting ruck, or the full-time ruckman?”

I am a big fan of Matthew Leuenberger, and who wouldn’t be after he developed into a premium ruck in 2011 where he averaged 93 from 22 games. Last year he was also sensational, returning from serious injury to average 85 including some impressive scores of 117 and 122 through the year. This year I have some concerns though. Rumours have circulated all pre-season about the possibility of Leuenberger playing predominately forward and pinch hitting in the ruck. Trent West has played both NAB Challenge games for 23 and 25 hit-outs while Leuenberger played just the one game for 21 hit-outs and 53 points from 63 per cent time on ground. As a lone ruck, I think he could average 95+, but the risk associated of sharing ruck duties is too great.  Pass.

A change in role for Matthew Leuenberger could have dire Fantasy consequences. Picture: AFL Media

Coach Roy currently has his eye on.... I have Rockliff locked into my midfield, as I think he is capable of averaging more than 115 this year and is therefore heavily under-priced. Beams is on my bench at this stage. As a fourth-year player who is rookie priced and, in my opinion, a member of the club's best 22, he provides a perfect cash cow and bench security. Zorko is someone that I am refusing to rule out as a forward option if he looks like continuing to play more through the midfield under Leppitsch.

To discuss #AFLFantasy on Twitter, follow @RoyDT and the official account @AFLFantasy

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs