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Essendon Fantasy: Prices, locks, bargains, who to avoid

Zach Merrett is a must-have for the Bombers in Fantasy - AFL,Fantasy,Essendon Bombers
Zach Merrett is a must-have for the Bombers in Fantasy

THE BOMBERS have been busy in the last two off-seasons, reeling in some big fish via the trade period. Dylan Shiel (MID, $647,000) landed at The Hangar in October and hopes he can show the same improvement in his game as fellow Giant-turned-Bomber Devon Smith (MID/FWD, $774,000), who produced his best numbers in his first year donning the sash.

Essendon supporters are hoping Shiel's recruitment will not only help his new club climb the ladder, but give Zach Merrett (MID, $736,000) some much needed support, and subsequently see his numbers rise.

The name on the lips of Fantasy coaches over the pre-season has been Zach Merrett (MID, $736,000). While the addition of Shiel to the line-up is one factor, the value he offers is the big reason he is likely to be a popular choice in 2019.

Merrett has missed just one game in his last three seasons and averaged more than 117 points in 2016 and 2017. This year his average of 101.4 was significantly under his recent output due to a slow start to the year.

In round one, Merrett was concussed early in the game for 23 points. As we have seen with many players dealing with the effects of concussion, he followed up with scores of 78 and 60, seeing his price drop dramatically. Merrett found his mojo as the season progressed, averaging 114 from round 10 and posting multiple 120+ scores.

PAY UP Top-priced players revealed

In 2017 Joe Daniher (FWD, $560,000) looked on track to be one of the premier key forwards in the competition kicking 62 goals and averaging 85 from his 22 games.

The 24-year-old is still recovering from osteitis pubis that held him to seven games this year and the club hopes that he will join in training with the main group in January.

While there is a lot of risk in starting him in Fantasy Classic, Draft coaches should keep an eye on him as a late-round steal as he will be ranked alongside other forwards that should be taken much later.

Last season's best available forward has retained dual-position status. Devon Smith (MID/FWD, $774,000) was the pick of the 2018 Fantasy season.

After two seasons averaging approximately 80, some coaches were bullish on what Smith's output would be in the red and black. Not even his biggest fans would have predicted him to play every game following several injury interrupted seasons and to average 106.6 – a 12-point-plus improvement on his previous best.

Smith tackled his way to some big scores, averaging 8.5 a game. His finish to the season, an average of 121 from his final eight matches, could see him once again be the best Fantasy forward.

DOUBLE DELIGHT Check out the full DPP list

Dylan Shiel (MID, $647,000) is the marquee recruit and there is an argument that he is under-priced.

Last year was his first season-return of less than a 90 average since 2013, well below the 98 average of two years ago. The knock on him is that he doesn't have the ceiling that many Fantasy stars exhibit. Shiel has only scored more than 120 points five times throughout his 135-game career.

There will be a bit of buzz around Irving Mosquito (MID/FWD, $196,000) if he makes his debut next season. Essendon grabbed him with pick 38 in this year's draft ahead of Hawthorn, which elected not to bid on its Next Generation Academy prospect.

Without swatting away all hopes of him playing, the Bombers have said he will take some time as he'll be completing year 12 in 2019. Mosquito averaged 48 points in the TAC Cup.

Although not a first-year player, keep an eye on Dylan Clarke (MID, $250,000), who played one match last season for 46 points. His VFL numbers were impressive, averaging 27 disposals and eight tackles for 108 Fantasy points.

BIGGEST BARGAINS Check out Warnie's early picks

Zac Clarke (RUC, $270,000) last played for the Dockers in 2016 and has made his way to the Bombers via the pre-season supplemental selection period.

The 28-year-old is at a bargain price and if given games to ruck alongside Tom Bellchambers (RUC, $577,000), there will be plenty of cash to be made. Clarke averaged more than 70 in four of his eight years at Fremantle, with his best return being an average of 84.8 from 14 games in 2013.

Some pundits are declaring Essendon's breakout player of next season will be Aaron Francis (DEF, $401,000), but this may not necessarily translate to Fantasy points… just yet.

After forcing his way into the team for the final five rounds, Francis enjoyed his best return in round 23 against the Power, with 19 disposals and 11 marks to rack up 94 Fantasy points.

There is no doubt that Francis will improve his game this year and make a few dollars, however coaches are encouraged to follow the guns-and-rookies strategy in Fantasy Classic. Look to take Francis as a late-round selection in Draft if you're keen to back in his breakout.

Player

Position

2018 Average

2018 Games

2019 Price

Smith, Devon

MID/FWD

106.64

22

$774,000

Heppell, Dyson

MID

101.64

22

$738,000

Merrett, Zach

MID

101.45

22

$736,000

Zaharakis, David

MID

97.06

17

$704,000

Shiel, Dylan

MID

89.19

21

$647,000

Hurley, Michael

DEF

83.75

20

$608,000

Langford, Kyle

MID/FWD

80.19

16

$582,000

Bellchambers, Tom

RUC

79.55

20

$577,000

Fantasia, Orazio

FWD

79.46

13

$577,000

Myers, David

MID

78.13

16

$567,000

Daniher, Joe

FWD

63.86

7

$560,000

Parish, Darcy

MID/FWD

74.73

15

$542,000

McKernan, Shaun

FWD

74.2

10

$538,000

McGrath, Andrew

DEF/MID

71.4

20

$518,000

Hooker, Cale

DEF

70.27

22

$510,000

Stringer, Jake

FWD

69.35

20

$503,000

Brown, Mitch

FWD

67.29

14

$488,000

McDonald-Tipungwuti, Anthony

FWD

65.64

22

$476,000

McKenna, Conor

DEF

65.06

18

$472,000

Guelfi, Matt

MID

63.07

15

$458,000

Baguley, Mark

FWD

62.85

20

$456,000

Redman, Mason

DEF

81.5

2

$450,000

Stewart, James

FWD

60.82

11

$441,000

Saad, Adam

DEF

59.18

22

$429,000

Francis, Aaron

DEF

65

5

$401,000

Dea, Matt

DEF

54.83

12

$398,000

Laverde, Jayden

FWD

59

7

$390,000

Begley, Josh

FWD

40.2

5

$355,000

Mutch, Kobe

MID

60

3

$344,000

Long, Jake

MID

62

2

$342,000

Ambrose, Patrick

DEF

44.43

7

$331,000

Gleeson, Martin

DEF

0

0

$329,000

McNiece, Ben

DEF

46.88

8

$324,000

Hartley, Michael

DEF

53.5

4

$318,000

Ridley, Jordan

DEF

54

3

$310,000

Clarke, Zac

RUC

0

0

$270,000

Clarke, Dylan

MID

46

1

$250,000

Mosquito, Irving

MID/FWD

0

0

$196,000

Zerk-Thatcher, Brandon

DEF

0

0

$170,000

Houlahan, Jordan

FWD

0

0

$170,000

Lavender, Luke

FWD

0

0

$170,000

Mynott, Trent

MID

0

0

$170,000

Draper, Sam

RUC

0

0

$170,000

Ham, Brayden

FWD

0

0

$170,000

Gown, Noah

FWD

0

0

$170,000

Jok, Thomas

MID

0

0

$170,000

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