THE EAGLES surprised the whole competition last year with a stunning run to the Grand Final. Equally impressive was the improvement in the Fantasy scores of a developing midfield.
The curly-haired ball magnet, Matt Priddis (MID, $570,000), was at his consistent best, playing every game and delivering a triple-figure average. Although this was down on his Brownlow Medal year, he served his Fantasy coaches well. Once again Priddis will be a reliable selection in Fantasy Classic and especially in Fantasy Elite as a first-round midfielder.
Luke Shuey (MID, $524,000) and Chris Masten (MID, $471,000) look to be slightly under-priced if you think they can have their best seasons.
Speaking of personal bests, Nic Naitanui (RUC, $489,000) made his coaches some cash and finished with the sixth-most points of all ruckmen.
More Fantasy prices:
> Carlton: Will Brendon play the kids?
> Brisbane Lions: Fantasy Pig and friends
> Gold Coast: Sunshine and Fantasy points aplenty
> Essendon: Don't you know about the Bird?
> St Kilda: Big four won't come cheap
> Melbourne: The devil is strong in these youngsters
> Collingwood: Midfield delight but thin front and back
> GWS: Can Stevie J wind back the clock?
> Geelong: Danger in making Paddy a lock
> Port Adelaide: More than one shade of Gray
> Western Bulldogs: Young pups to score freely
> Richmond: Roll the dice on Dusty?
> Adelaide: Crouch-ing mids pounce on Fantasy points
> Sydney Swans: Buddy and the mids
> North Melbourne: Build your team around Goldy
> Fremantle: Hop on board the Harley
Playing every game of the last four years, Andrew Gaff (MID, $579,000) is not only durable, but he has proven he has a Fantasy game to boot. In 2015, the 23-year-old was West Coast’s highest averaging player and increased his own output by almost 12 points per game. From round eight to round 17, Gaff didn’t register a score under 100 while gathering an average of 32 disposals. He is showing all of the signs of taking his game to the next level this year. If he lasts past the second round of your Fantasy Elite draft, jump on!
When taking in the NAB Challenge games, keep a close eye on Dom Sheed (FWD/MID, $389,000). He is priced at his 2015 average which included three substitute vests but he managed to score more than 85 on seven occasions. If you’re looking for a third-year breakout player, Sheed could be your man.
Last year we saw some terrific Fantasy numbers from Elliot Yeo (DEF/MID, $436,000). The former Lion enjoyed a Fantasy friendly role that saw him average 96.7 points between round four and 17 that included five tons. Provided the key defenders return and Yeo is given the freedom to run, he will improve on his 78.7 average.
In his third season back in 2011, Jack Redden (MID, $537,000) stamped himself as a Fantasy player of the future, posting an average of 109.2 from 22 games. Redden has contributed consistently high Fantasy numbers since. At his new club, the 25-year-old is hoping to compliment the star-studded West Coast midfield and increase his 97 average. An adductor injury may slow him down, but the Eagles remain confident he will appear in the NAB Challenge.
The Eagles aren’t likely to throw a first-year player into the action as they look to go one better in 2016, but Tom Cole (DEF/MID, $163,000) could step up if required. Cole uses the ball well off half-back as proven in the NAB Under 18 Championships and his three matches for Geelong’s VFL side. Even though his Fantasy numbers aren’t spectacular, his dual-position status could make him a valuable prospect in 2016, given the opportunity.
Eric Mackenzie (DEF, $205,000) ruptured his ACL in last year’s NAB Challenge and is tracking for a round one return. He has received a discount that could see him as one of your last defenders on the ground or even on your bench. Don’t expect too much coming off a knee injury and keep in mind his highest season Fantasy average is 68.1. Still, at just over $200,000, there is value in the former John Worsfold Medal winner.
It’s time that I break up with Xavier Ellis (DEF, $342,000). For many years, I have sung his praises and enjoyed (some of) the highs but the relationship must end. Sadly, those highs are all too infrequent and with continuous injuries, the X-Man is now on the never again list … permanently.
WEDNESDAY: The Traders are back to reveal the final batch of Fantasy prices for 2016 - Hawthorn's.