The 2023 AFL Fantasy Classic champion, Darren Carr.

WHO BETTER to help you pick your AFL Fantasy Classic squad and get tips from than last year's champion?

With the Fantasy season starting in round one, Classic squads are beginning to take shape as players chase the huge prizes on offer again in 2024.

Whether you're a newcomer or a seasoned player, advice from last year's champion, Darren Carr, is hugely valuable.

The coach of Wise Ocean PODs joins Warnie from The Traders to talk through everything Fantasy.

Pre-season preparation…

"It's a lot of consuming content. There's a lot of content out there that we need to consume that really gives us a lot of base on the picks that we're trying to get to. But my main philosophy when it comes to what I'm looking for and what team I'm starting is really looking for some value. It's a salary cap game, we want our players to jump up in value as quick as possible to give us as much team value as possible. At the end of the day, we really want our players to jump up in value so we can trade them out and get the best of the best players in and score the most points on field."

Darren's early mainstays…

DEF: Hayden Young (DEF, $805,000)
Zak Butters* (MID, $898,000), Jack Steele ($884,000), Colby McKercher (MID, $297,000), Ryley Sanders (MID, $285,000), Jeremy Sharp (MID, $284,000)
RUC: Max Gawn (RUC, $831,000)
FWD: Zac Fisher (FWD, $623,000), James Jordon (MID/FWD, $454,000)

*depending on the severity of the ankle injury he suffered on Friday night


Chasing value…

"You don't want to spread yourself too thin. The way I see it, value picks are high risk, high reward. If they do pop, it can give you a leg up, obviously they've jumped up in price, you can then trade them out to get the best pick. If they don't go as well, it's sort of like they're a dud pick in your side, they're not making you any money, they're sort of just scoring at the same average rate and they're not really doing a whole lot for you."


Opening Round…

"It definitely is a cheat code. In previous seasons, we really haven't had a proper look at our teams, we've only had the pre-seasons where what we've seen is a lot of those teams are throwing a lot of rookies in and we're not seeing the full structure. With Opening Round, we're going to see eight teams that are playing their full structure because it's four premiership points. It really gives us a proper look of what they're going to line up as.

"I've always had this hard rule that my uber premiums are not going to have an early-round bye. I think it's nearly impossible for one player that has a bye that is going to score the exact same amount that someone that doesn't. When you're picking that top-line player, the point difference is very minimal to the point that they're not going to make up that 100 or 110 points that that other player is going to have on top of that game. That's been my rule going in and I've been pretty consistent with that all pre-season. The only caveat with that is my value picks and rookies is a bit different. I'm happy for them to have an early bye but I'm still trying to avoid them ideally."

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Picking captains…

"There's a lot that goes into picking the best captains. I thought I had a pretty good run last year, I think I averaged 120 at the end of the season from captain picks. A lot of that relies on their form, but mainly I focused on their fixture, so if they're coming up against West Coast or North Melbourne that really allow those points to be scored, whether it's from a ruckman or a midfielder. History or form can come into that. The other thing I like to keep an eye on when it comes to these important decisions is focusing on who's your VC loop going to be, make sure you have your emergency set correctly and look at where the games are structured so you can make your plans correctly."