Hugh McLuggage celebrates a goal for Brisbane against Sydney in the AAMI Community Series in 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THE WEEKEND before round one has traditionally been the most popular time for leagues to host their AFL Fantasy Draft.

This year is slightly different with Opening Round, but it hasn't stopped thousands of leagues from scheduling their draft day (or night) over this upcoming weekend. For some states, it's the long weekend which allows for some to fully focus on the best day on the Fantasy calendar.

FANTASY DRAFT KIT Click here to download your draft bible  

Drafting with the footy on TV? Why not!?

To have a successful drafting experience, commissioners (the coach that organises the league and is in charge of the settings) and participating coaches have a few jobs to do in the lead up to the draft.

Tips for commissioners

As the boss of the league, tick these off the to-do list:

Check your settings: Make sure you've got the right number of coaches and the squad size is how you want it. Draft time is scheduled for when you want it. Consider checking out the Pro subscription that allows advanced settings including custom scoring and other commissioners' tools.

Add some extra fun to your league: Firstly, plan an event. If you can all get together, do it! If not, hook up a group video call. Don't forget to get a group chat going so the banter can fly around all season. Also think about mixing up your draft order based on something fun. You can change the draft order by going into Settings > Manage Draft Order. While there might be prizes for the winner, maybe you can consider a punishment for the wooden spoon?

It is important that you get your league members in the league with plenty of time before the scheduled start. Once they're all in, navigate to Settings > Manage Teams and hit 'finalise participants'. This will allow the Draft to commence.

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

Tips for coaches

It's the big day. Set yourself up for success with some prior preparation.

Download the Draft Kit: This 31-page document provides plenty of information to help you get ready for draft day … and to use as a companion throughout the draft. It features rankings for each position, a mock draft, draftee stats and sleepers/busts/keepers from each club.

Set your pre-draft rankings: Before the draft you can set your ranks. This means you can save yourself some time when you're on the clock by having the players you prefer to be taking at the top of your draft list. Use the Draft Kit to help compile your rankings. Current ADP (average draft pick) data can be handy to see where players have gone in previous drafts this year. Don't forget to hit 'ignore' on players with long-term injuries. You don't want to be drafting Bailey Smith as he is out with an ACL for the season or Angus Brayshaw following his retirement.

Angus Brayshaw during a photoshoot on January 29, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Sort out your technology: Most coaches like to draft on their laptop. There's more screen space and it's easy to quickly hit up for the latest news. Make sure you have access to power and, more importantly, Wi-Fi. Having your phone with the AFL Fantasy app installed is a handy back up. If your phone is your only device, the drafting experience is just as elite from your hand!

Android app 

iPhone app 

Drafting strategy

Every draft is different, and each pick will see the draft take different twists and turns. However, there is one thing that has been commented on by just about every coach who has finished a draft … "forwards suck".


Whether it's a shallow league with under 150 picks, or something that is pushing out well over 250 players drafted, being across the depth for each position is important.

As you can see in the table below, there is more depth when looking at the top scoring midfielders and defenders when comparing to the forwards. Those nailing the top forward who will average around 100 or more may have an advantage over those picking forwards later in the draft.









































You can always get good midfielders later in the draft. But locking one away early with captains on in your league settings can be beneficial.

Drafting experience this year has shown that punting rucks (ie. Not selecting them until late) works if you've got 10 or fewer coaches in your league. If you miss one of the big guns (ie. Tim English, Rowan Marshall or Max Gawn), you may find some value later on. You don't need to get involved in a ruck run too early. Don't stress if you miss out on a star forward. Confidence is low on predicting the best of the line and there are some you can certainly move up your draft order like Nat Fyfe, Alex Sexton and James Harmes. As for defenders, lock away one or two big ones, but also keep an eye on the MID-only players that may pick up defender status. Riley Bonner, Nic Martin, Max Holmes and Karl Amon are among the AAMI Community Series stars who could add dual-position status after round six.

Understanding your league settings and calculating when you should pick certain players based on position is recommended.


Value picks based on ADP

Leaving your draft to as close to round one is a good call. We have all the information from the practice matches, mostly up-to-date injury news and a good idea of who is going to be suiting up for their teams in round one. If you can hold it after Opening Round, that is even better as there's data from eight teams who have played games for premiership points.

The ADP is the average draft pick. This data is made up of the thousands of drafts that have already been completed this pre-season. Currently, Tim English is No.1 which is no surprise based on being the top averaging player last season. Marcus Bontempelli and Rowan Marshall follow, mirroring the averages from last season, but Nick Daicos comes in at No.4. The Pie is tipped to be the best of the defenders and it could be by a margin.

>> See up-to-date average draft pick data by navigating to 'Players' and sorting by 'ADP'

Generally, the players at the top won't win/lose you the draft. Sure, there can be some clangers, but barring injury, most are reliable.

The true value is finding the diamonds in the rough later in the draft.


Players being taken from pick 100 onwards that you could consider based on their potential upside and pre-season scores include:


85 – Keidean Coleman
94 – Jordan Clark
116 – Christian Salem
132 – Liam Baker
180 – Connor Budarick
204 – Marcus Windhager


66 – Hugh McCluggage
84 – Jordan De Goey
102 – Ollie Wines
138 – Jacob Hopper
149 – George Hewett
154 – Tom Atkins
164 – Jason Horne-Francis
169 – George Wardlaw


47 – Brodie Grundy
117 – Tristan Xerri
161 – Ivan Soldo


104 – Zac Fisher
113 – Alex Sexton
126 – James Jordon
171 – James Harmes
185 – Elijah Tsatas
198 – Cam Mackenzie

Adjust your ranks based on where you would be happy to take them and get set for a great draft day. Don't sleep on your forwards. Happy drafting!