Jhye Clark warms up before Geelong's clash against Richmond in round nine, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

NO PLAYERS reached triple-figure averages at Geelong and only two tallied over 90, which included veteran Mitch Duncan (DEF, $824,000), who maintained his defender status after playing 16 games for an average of 91.

On the bright side, the Cats are likely to inject some youth this year and it's hard not to be excited about their first selection in the draft, Connor O'Sullivan (DEF, $270,000). The talented Murray Bushrangers product was drafted on the back of his impressive intercept marking skills but those who have followed his junior career know he is more than capable of playing multiple positions and having an impact all over the ground.

The Allies defender was an All-Australian at under-18 level and instantly became a fan favourite on draft night. Hopefully we can sit him on our bench in round one if he gets the call up.

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Lock them in

Tom Stewart (DEF, $869,000) maintained his streak of 90-plus averages, recording his fifth on the trot with an equal career-high 96. He once again showed an elite ceiling for a defender, recording 12 hundreds which included nine scores over 110 and three over 120 with a high of 133 from 30 disposals and 13 marks in round 23. He is an elite marker, recording double figure +3s on seven occasions which often saw him rack up huge points late in quarters which is beautiful to watch as an owner.

Tom Stewart in action during Geelong's clash with St Kilda in round 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Track their pre-season

Cam Guthrie (MID, $762,000) is priced at 84 following a season derailed by a toe injury, managing just six games which is his lowest total since his debut campaign. Within those games, however, he showed he still has what it takes with scores of 96, 98 and a season-high 111 from 28 disposals and seven tackles. For the majority of Guthrie's career, he has avoided the Fantasy radar, but an untraditional 11-year breakout in 2021 rightfully turned heads after averaging 110, which he backed up the following season with 96 from 20 and 22 games respectively. The Cats are hopeful the former best and fairest will be leading the midfield brigade back to their best which would in turn make him under-priced.

Dual-position tempter

The Cats have a good success rate when drafting mature-aged players and Shaun Mannagh (MID/FWD, $200,000) is every chance to be their latest tick. He played 21 games in the VFL last season, averaging 25 disposals, four marks and six tackles for an impressive average of 110. At the very least throw him in your pre-season team but I have a good feeling we will be able to leave him there for round one and beyond.

Bargain basement

The 2022 No.8 pick, Jhye Clark (MID, $237,000) made his highly anticipated debut in round nine when he lived up to expectations after being subbed on, collecting six disposals and laying five tackles in just over a quarter of footy. Unfortunately, a season-ending foot injury derailed his season, but on a positive note, he is cheap as chips this year. The buyer beware is he was still training in a 'non-contact' hat prior to Christmas but if he is good to go in round one, lock and load.

Jhye Clark at Geelong training in November, 2023. Picture: Geelong FC

Draft sleeper

Tom Atkins (MID, $721,000) is a name that will still be on the board late in a draft and he could serve as a handy depth/bench option. He has great durability, recording 22 and 23 games in the last two seasons and has worked hard during the off-season to improve his 'flaws' despite finishing second in the best and fairest. Although averaging just 80 for the year, he finished in impressive form, averaging 102 in his last three which included a score of 122 which was his third 120-plus score of the season.

Custom stat star

Jeremy Cameron (FWD, $749,000) started the year in a blaze of glory with impressive scores of 101, 137 and 138 coming in his first four games. Unfortunately, he fell away, with injury playing a role in that which included a score of -3 after he was subbed out prior to getting a touch. As we know, he is an elite goalkicker, once again topping 50 for the season with a nice bag against the Pies in round 22 when he kicked seven and scored 112. If your league rewards goalkickers, this guy can win you match ups off his own back.

Jeremy Cameron celebrates a goal during round 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Buyer beware

Patrick Dangerfield (MID, $721,000) is a champion of the game, but his best Fantasy days are well and truly behind him. His last two seasons have returned his two lowest averages since 2011 and he has reached a point in his career where he is managed throughout the season which holds him back from scoring at the heights we know he is capable of, given he has averaged 100-plus on six occasions. He is still in play as a depth player in a deep draft and capable of providing good cover as we saw in round 23, when he had 18 disposals, nine tackles and a goal against the Dogs for 104.

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