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Lock-out is looming: The Traders reveal their round one Fantasy team

AFL 2016 NAB Challenge - Collingwood v Western Bulldogs
Taylor Adams is a late bolter into The Traders' round one Fantasy team

AS THE resident Fantasy experts here on AFL.com.au, we've had our best pre-season ever – training the house down, tearing up the track and hitting PBs.

We’re now hoping these clichés will translate to some premium scores when the season kicks off!

As the first lock-out of 2016 approaches, we have been burning the midnight oil to not only help Fantasy coaches, but to create our own teams.

Don’t forget that partial lockout will be in effect at 7:20pm AEDT on Thursday, March 24 with Richmond and Carlton players unavailable for selection once the game begins. You can edit your Fantasy team and make unlimited moves for all other players up until the start of the Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney game at 1:40pm AEDT on Saturday, March 26.

One of the big jobs is to put together our combined team.

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You’d think it would be an easy job, considering we chew the Fantasy fat daily, but it was a tough task to agree on which strategy to implement and which players to invest in.

Calvin threw out a crazy amount of left-field suggestions while Warnie was keen to have a crack at a range of mid-priced players whose excellent form during the NAB Challenge warranted selection. 

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Roy, as the back-to-back champion in the Bacon Cup Fantasy Classic League, had the final say, keeping the boys level-headed.

We agree that picking value was the key to success this year and almost every player offers some form of upside. 

Heath Shaw (DEF, $532,000) and Stefan Martin (RUC, $631,000) are priced well and truly at the top end, however we believe they are worth every cent. 

Shaw especially, as he seems to be the most reliable of the premium defenders. Something we didn’t think we would be saying a couple of years ago.

- Warnie's team
- Calvin's team
- Roy's team

The way Patrick Dangerfield (MID, $589,000) started his new life as a Cat made him an easy choice to lead the midfield. 

Despite not playing a game in the pre-season and doubt surrounding their round one chances, Gary Ablett (MID, $581,000) and Tom Rockliff (MID, $579,000) take their place in the leadership group of The Traders’ team.

Taylor Adams (MID, $560,000), Max Gawn (RUC, $509,000) and Michael Barlow (FWD/MID, $515,000) are priced nicely considering they are likely to be among the top group of premium players in their position at the end of the season.

We are suckers for some NAB Challenge hype and a few guys coming off big pre-seasons have made the squad.

Roy has been all over Sam Gray (FWD/MID, $427,000) and Aaron Hall (FWD/MID, $422,000) following their form at the end of 2015. Both look set for big seasons with extra midfield minutes. 

 Top 20 Most Popular Fantasy Players
PlayerClubPositionPriceOwnership
Daniel Wells North Melbourne FWD/MID $293,000 43%
Dustin Martin Richmond FWD/MID  $573,000 43%
Tom Rockliff Brisbane Lions MID $579,000 41%
Gary Ablett Gold Coast  MID  $581,000 40%
Michael Barlow Fremantle FWD/MID  $515,000  38%
Sam Kerridge Carlton FWD/MID $299,000 38%
Patrick Dangerfield Geelong MID  $589,000 38%
Daniel Currie Gold Coast RUC $125,000 38% 
Mason Cox Collingwood  RUC  $125,000 36% 
Callum Mills  Sydney Swans  MID $227,000  31% 
Nick Kommer Essendon  FWD  $125,000  31% 
Mitch Brown Essendon  FWD/MID  $194,000  30% 
Heath Shaw GWS  DEF $532,000  29%
Nathan Broad Richmond DEF $125,000 28%
Tom Liberatore Western Bulldogs MID $443,000 26%
Connor Menadue Richmond FWD/MID $138,000 26%
Nat Fyfe Fremantle MID $581,000 25%
James Aish Collingwood DEF/MID $293,000 24%
Elliot Yeo West Coast DEF/MID $436,000 23%
Stefan Martin Brisbane Lions RUC $631,000 22%

Lachie Hunter (MID, $433,000) gets the nod over his popular mid-priced teammate Tom Liberatore (MID, $443,000). Again, Roy was the man behind this move.

Warnie will take credit (or maybe the blame) for Jordan De Goey (FWD/MID, $342,000) in the midfield. The dual-position link with every other on-field forward in the side will be gold, especially with other mid-priced players such as Sam Kerridge (FWD/MID, $299,000) and Daniel Wells (FWD/MID, $293,000).

Down back, we have gone mid-price at best. We are tipping Tom Sheridan (DEF, $359,000), Jesse Lonergan (DEF/MID, $346,000) and Daniel Howe (DEF, $265,000) to have breakout seasons. 

This is a big risk and none of us are going this nuts with our own teams in defence, except Calvin. 

It could pay off as in the backline, scoring can be sporadic, even from the premium options. Our fingers are crossed that this strategy will work, and that Shaw will keep the points flowing.

Hopefully Howe survives the cut for the Easter Monday game after excelling through the NAB Challenge.

The bench positions have been filled with players who we believe, at this stage, could get a game. This may change when the round one teams roll out on Thursday night.

The Traders' final round one team

Follow @AFLFantasy for news, advice and game updates throughout the season. Join The Traders' official Fantasy league with the league code: 6VHTPD4L