ST KILDA stepped up the to the AFL Fantasy plate in 2017, producing some impressive numbers.

New recruit Jack Steele (MID, $654,000) was dropped during the year but still dominated thanks to his many tackles. He improved his average by 21 points to 93. Defender Dylan Roberton (DEF, $636,000) showed the same level of improvement, boosting his average by 21 in a breakout season to be one of the best Fantasy defenders in the game.

Sebastian Ross (MID, $718,000) took his game to a new level, surprising many to be the No.1 ranked player at the club with an average of 102.

What will the improving Saints have install for us Fantasy coaches in 2018, and who are the players to watch this pre-season?

After a standout year averaging 95, Jack Billings (FWD, $666,000) will be one of the most sort after players in all forms of Fantasy.

Billings ended the year on fire averaging 117 in his last four games after a slow start where he averaged 75 in his first five games.

If Billings can start from where he left off in 2017, he’ll be set for a massive season.

It’s another Fantasy pre-season and he’s back again on our watch list.

Nathan Freeman (MID, $170,000) can now be classed as a "veteran rookie" as this 22-year-old luckless midfielder tries to crack a game with the Saints in the new year.

Hampered with injuries in the past, the ex-Magpie had a successful year in the VFL averaging 76 from 13 games.

After averaging 107 just three years ago, David Armitage (MID, $459,000) has been on the decline ever since, averaging 86 and then 71 in 2017 from his two seasons. He has been riddled with injuries and hopefully he will return bigger and better after his last season was ruined with a persistent groin injury.

With only three dual-position options, let’s run our eyes over Blake Acres (MID/FWD, $549,000) as a player who could be a sleeper on Draft day against your mates.

Acres enters his fifth season in the AFL and shone in his last four games where he registered two scores in triple figures. He has been increasing his average each year and could be a late pick in your forward line if he slips under the radar.

Logan Austin (DEF, $184,000) joined the Saints from Port Adelaide during AFL Trade period and arrives at the club with an unflattering Fantasy record.

The Fantasy game isn't designed for key defenders and over Austin's 13-game career he carries an average of just 34 and a top score of 76.

Austin is rookie-priced though and will make you a little bit of cash in the early rounds if he can slot into their best 22.

Just like Freeman, Bailey Rice (DEF, $170,000) is another name we have spoken about for the last two seasons, and like Freeman, he also failed to register a game last year.

In round 13, the father-son recruit would have made his debut, if Jake Carlisle had not been passed fit to play.

Rice is not cooked yet and should feature at some point.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes.

Since averaging 112 in 2015, Jack Steven (MID, $661,000) has been on a Fantasy slide. This slide isn’t much fun and very unusual for a player of the calibre of Steven who had a fantastic pre-season leading into last year that saw him average 94.  

The reason for the decline is one of the great mysteries in the Fantasy world. But his low price and ability to score big makes him great value in 2018.

Unless you’re talking about Lance Franklin, key forwards are just like key defenders and should be avoided in Fantasy.

Josh Bruce (FWD, $465,000) has been very durable over the last three years but hasn’t averaged over 68 in that time. Bruce failed to reach triple figures last year and although he’s a key component for the Saints, he won’t be in my team anytime soon.

Oh … and yes, I have deliberately left out Nathan Brown (DEF, $170,000) in this section after he averaged 23 points from 22 games. Some people just aren’t built for Fantasy football.

Check out the latest Fantasy price reveal

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.