Nick Daicos celebrates a goal during the match between Port Adelaide and Collingwood at Adelaide Oval in round 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

WHAT a season the Magpies had and with a new season right around the corner, the big question is… can they back it up?

Collingwood now has one of the oldest lists in the AFL, however, it doesn’t stop the likes of Scott Pendlebury (MID, $794,000) getting the job done. The 35-year-old averaged 88 last year, his best Fantasy season in the last three years.

Josh Daicos (MID, $855,000) had a career-best year, improving his average by 17 points to 95 and joins his brother at the top of the Magpie list based on last year’s averages.

Rucking solo for the first time, Darcy Cameron (RUC, $758,000) also enjoyed his best season, averaging 84 despite missing games due to injury. If Cameron can remain fit and healthy, expect his average to climb once again which makes him someone to consider, especially in Draft.

So… from the black and white, who is catching your eye this pre-season and who are some of the other options worth considering.

Listen to the AFL Fantasy Podcast with The Traders at Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

Lock them in

The third-most selected player in AFL Fantasy this year is of course Nick Daicos (DEF, $982,000). He currently sits in 53 per cent of teams, just behind top recruits Harley Reid and Colby McKercher.

Daicos averaged 108.8 and started the year on fire, averaging 122 in his first six games.

An injury ended his season early in round 21 before he returned in the AFL Finals Series where he scored 100 and 110.

We all need Daicos in our team at some point this season and if you’re happy to ignore his early bye, then lock him in from the start!

Track their pre-season

Known as the 'better brother' in the Collingwood circles, will this be the year for Finlay Macrae (FWD, $310,000)?

Drafted in 2020, Macrae has spent the majority of his time playing in the VFL where he has averaged 94 and 92 over the last two years. Even though he has 12 games next to his name at the top level, Macrae has always been knocking on the door of their best 22, but to this point, no one has let him in.

With any luck, this could be his year!

Finlay Macrae is tackled during a Collingwood training session on December 4, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Dual-position tempter

Nathan Krueger (RUC/FWD, $261,000) has now played five games at Collingwood since joining them in 2022. The 24-year-old could be used as a replacement for Daniel McStay who will sadly miss the entire season with a knee injury.

Our ruck bench position can sometimes be a “throw away” position. If that’s the case in 2024, Krueger could be the one we need. He comes with the handy RUC/FWD status and also with the possibility of getting a handful of games.

Bargain basement

Let’s go shopping in the "$200k bargain bin" and see what we can find…

Charlie Dean (DEF, $200,000) has had a luckless run with injuries since being drafted. He returned last season in the VFL Elimination Final for his first game of the year, scoring 67 from 15 disposal.

Father-Son prospect Edward Allan (MID, $200,000) is another name to keep an eye on as well. Allan played 18-games in the VFL last season where he averaged 18 possessions and 68 points a game.

Jakob Ryan (DEF, $200,000) played one game for the club in 2023, debuting in round 23. Unfortunately, he was subbed off in the second quarter due to injury and his day ended on 19pts.

The fact that both Krueger and Ryan played last season is promising, and with their aging list… maybe it’s time to inject in some youth.

Jakob Ryan in action during Collingwood's training session at Olympic Park Oval on June 7, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Draft sleeper

Unfortunately, Jack Crisp (MID, $748,000) can only be selected as a MID on Draft Day, but there is a big chance he could changed to a DEF/MID when positions get updated in rounds five, 11 and 17. Crisp only attended 29 per cent of the centre bounces for Collingwood last season where he finished the year averaging 83, a long way down on his previous seasons where he averaged 94 and 102.

Bump him up your rankings on Draft Day due to those two factors. One, he could become a dual-position player, and two, he is coming off an uncharacteristic low average.

Custom stat star

No one had more handballs in the game in 2023 than Tom Mitchell (MID, $829,000). Now, Mitchell is a Fantasy Pig and a ball-winning machine, so you would think he would know better than this.

Mitchell had 400 handballs and 250 kicks last season… which means he left a lot of points out there on the field. We all know kicks (+3) are worth one more point than a handball (+2), and maybe Mitchell needs to be reminded of this to boost his scores.

Tom Mitchell takes a mark during the 2023 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Buyer beware

Late on Draft Day, it’s tempting to select a big name player like Steele Sidebottom (MID, $711,000). It’s true, he is a big name player but he is entering his sixteenth season at Collingwood and his average is no longer hitting the heights it used to.

Sidebottom is a future Fantasy Hall of Famer. However, hold your nerve and find someone else.

Get expert advice from The Traders during the pre-season in the Fantasy Hub. Follow AFL Fantasy on Twitter and 'like' the Facebook page to join in the conversation.