CHASING the 'next best thing' or 'breakout' player as they are commonly referred to in Fantasy circles can be the difference between winning and losing. Predicting when a player is going to make a significant jump in their scoring output is not an easy thing to do, but if you nail it, the rewards are huge. There are many factors to consider when looking inside the Fantasy crystal ball and they are all considered when discussing the following candidates.

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Angus Brayshaw (DEF/MID, $462,000)

The highly touted No.3 pick from the 2014 NAB AFL Draft has missed a total of 14 games due to concussion over the past two seasons which is obviously a concern, but it’s also the reason the young gun is so fairly priced. He looked great in his round 21 return to the senior side where he embraced a role across half-back with scores of 89, 83 and 86. He comes at a discount price after playing just five games and his average off 77 is well below what I project leading into his fourth season. I think he goes 85+ no sweat. 

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Callum Mills (DEF, $488,000)

Was tipped to make a significant jump and build of the impressive foundations he built in a great debut season in which he averaged 73. Unfortunately, he succumbed to the old second-year blues, but the good news is he is now a prime candidate for a third-year breakout after averaging just 69 last season. Although the Swans love his work across half-back, he may see an increase in midfield time which should assist an improvement in Fantasy. I think he averages over 80.

Rory Lobb (FWD, $467,000)

Has never turned the heads of Fantasy coaches, that is until the finals series last year where he assumed the No.1 ruck mantle in the absence of Shane Mumford. Over those two games, Lobb embraced his opportunity and basically locked himself into the same role in 2018 after recording scores of 90 and 83 from 39 and 31 hit-outs respectively, well above the 66 he is priced at. I think he can average 85.

Christian Petracca (FWD/MID, $500,000)

Had a reasonably consistent season and looks poised to experience a traditional third-year breakout with the word going around he will be spending more time through the midfield where he was a prolific scorer as a junior. Last year he managed nine scores over 80 and I expect that to increase significantly in 2018. His price is nicely reduced thanks to five disappointing games for the year which included a 39 and 33. Those shockers will be a thing of the past and the 81 and 87 he scored in the last two rounds should be his new benchmark.

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Ryan Clarke (DEF, $484,000)

Embraced a role change in the back end of the season which resulted in an average of 90 in his last five games and considering he is priced at 69, a projected average of 85+ is breakout material. In his hot finish to the season, he averaged 28 possessions and eight marks.

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In a sentence

Andrew McGrath (DEF, $496,000)
Outstanding debut season and will be unleashed in the midfield.

Luke Dunstan (MID, $617,000)
Finished the year like a steam train with six straight tons. 

Jake Stringer (FWD, $403,000)
Preparing to play as an inside mid and has been mentioned as Jobe Watson’s replacement.

Charlie Curnow (FWD, $502,000)
Standard thirdyear breakout and more mid time for 'young Kouta'. 

Matthew Kennedy (MID, $485,000)
The NEAFL Pig will embrace the increased opportunities at the Blues.

Others to consider

Jordan De Goey (FWD/MID $560,000)
Aaron Young
(FWD, 387,000) 
Brendon Ah Chee
(FWD/MID $392,000) 
Darcy Parish
(FWD/MID, $551,000) 
Toby McLean
(FWD/MID, $603,000) 
Tom Phillips
(MID, $587,000)