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Believe the hype: AFL Fantasy's best from the NAB Challenge

AFL Fantasy: It really is child's play Fantasy’s youngest players reveal their strategy for the coming season
Dan Hannebery notched the best score in AFL Fantasy during the NAB Challenge - ${keywords}
Dan Hannebery notched the best score in AFL Fantasy during the NAB Challenge

THIS is the calm before the storm.

The weekend between the NAB Challenge and the 2016 AFL Premiership season is a chance for everyone to relax for the year ahead. 

For AFL Fantasy coaches, it is time to cram - lockout is only a few days away.

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Pre-season games are an opportunity for clubs to trot out their draftees and get some match fitness into their stars. 

As the NAB Challenge went on, line-ups were getting closer to full strength and the best 22s were shaped.

Plenty of mid-priced players put their hand up for selection. 

Despite the success of the tried and true ‘guns and rookies’ strategy for Fantasy Classic, coaches have been keen to include the mid-pricers in their sides.

A happy medium: Best mid-priced options

Matt Crouch (MID, $396,000) has been a standout over the last month and as a result, appears in 18 per cent of teams. 

Before the NAB Challenge, Matt’s broth Brad was one of the most selected players due to his discounted price after missing last season. 

The 81, 105 and 100 points that Crouch jnr scored in the NAB Challenge came at a rate of 1.38 points per minute.

Bulldog Lachie Hunter (MID, $433,000) looks to be a better option than teammate Tom Liberatore (MID, $443,000) based on the NAB Challenge. 

Fourth-year Carlton player Nick Graham (MID, $353,000) hasn’t put a foot wrong and was one of the most consistent pre-season performers racking up 93, 90 and 122 points.

 Top 20 NAB Challenge Fantasy scores
Dan Hannebery Sydney Swans MID $613,000 153 Carlton
Sam Mitchell Hawthorn MID  $574,000 142 North Melbourne
Aaron Hall Gold Coast FWD/MID $422,000  130 Adelaide
Josh Gibson Hawthorn  DEF  $472,000 129 North Melbourne
Jason Johannisen W. Bulldogs DEF  $426,000  129 Collingwood
Dayne Zorko Brisbane Lions  FWD/MID  $500,000  127 GWS
Bachar Houli Richmond DEF  $481,000  125 Port Adelaide
Michael Barlow  Fremantle FWD/MID  $515,000  125  Richmond 
Matt Priddis  West Coast  MID  $570,000  124  Essendon 
Jordan Lewis  Hawthorn  MID  $613,000  123  Carlton 
Nick Graham  Carlton  MID  $353,000  122  Sydney Swans 
Anthony Miles  Richmond  MID  $485,000  120  Hawthorn 
Ed Curnow Carlton  MID  $442,000  119  Sydney Swans 
Steele Sidebottom Collingwood MID $565,000 119 Geelong
Jack Steele GWS FWD/MID $342,000 119 Brisbane Lions
Stefan Martin Brisbane Lions RUC $631,000 118 GWS
Heath Shaw GWS DEF $532,000 118 Brisbane Lions
Jake Lloyd Sydney Swans MID $407,000 118 Port Adelaide
Mark LeCras West Coast FWD $464,000 117 Gold Coast
Jack Steven St Kilda MID $618,000 117 Melbourne

In the last two weeks, Aaron Hall (FWD/MID, $422,000) posted scores of 107 and 130 to be one of the biggest movers on the ownership charts. 

Filling the midfield void at the Suns, he has thrived with the extended time through the centre, tackling his way to some impressive Fantasy scores. 

Port's Sam Gray (FWD/MID, $427,000) put his hand up to be a forward option following his 107 against Richmond.

Both Sam Kerridge (FWD/MID, $299,000) and Daniel Wells (FWD/MID, $293,000) look set for big seasons and are bargains with very hand dual-position status.

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In the backline, Heath Shaw (DEF, $532,000) and Bachar Houli (DEF, $481,000) are the reliable premium options based on NAB form. 

However, it will be getting the value picks right that will separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to Fantasy success. 

Tom Sheridan (DEF, $359,000) and Daniel Howe (DEF, $265,000) sprung onto the watch-list as they look to cement their places in their respective club’s best 22.

The team below has been put together featuring players who have had smashed the pre-season and on paper, looks to be quite competitive. It may not suit the structure that some coaches are employing this season, but there is upside in most players - especially in the midfield.

With Patrick Dangerfield (MID, $589,000) as skipper and $28,000 left in the bank, this hype team would have racked up plenty of points in the NAB Challenge and I reckon could be huge in the opening rounds of the season proper.

Warnie's NAB Challenge hype team