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Top of the pops: The Fantasy players everyone's picking

Ask the Fantasy Coach Calvin, Warnie and Roy answer your questions

UNTIL now AFL Fantasy coaches have used past performances, training reports and speculation to piece together their Classic squads.

Premium players have picked themselves while others have been highlighted as value and cemented in teams such as the discounted gems or the hyped up draftees.

But with the JLT Community Series kicking off this weekend, thousands of teams could be set for an overhaul as we keep one eye on the pre-season games and another on the Fantasy numbers ticking over in the AFL.com.au Match Centre.

Defenders

Many Fantasy pundits believe Jake Lloyd will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the new kick-in rule. The Swan took the responsibility after a behind the most times in the League last season. If he runs it out of the square, there could be a bump in numbers that will see him as the No.1 Fantasy defender this year.

It appears that coaches have generally picked their backline with the tried-and-true 'guns and rookies' strategy. The most popular are either the premium options or the sub-$270k bargains, with the exception of Zac Williams.

Williams has received a 30 per cent discount on his price as he didn't play in a home-and-away game last year.

The 37 per cent of coaches with Harrison Wigg currently residing in their squads will need to look at another option following the 22-year-old's ACL injury.

Player

Club

Price

Ownership

Jake Lloyd

Syd

$738,000

41.8%

Harrison Wigg

GC

$170,000

36.6%

Rory Laird

Adel

$782,000

34.9%

Zac Williams

GWS

$421,000

34.9%

Chris Burgess (FWD)

GC

$170,000

34.1%

Lachie Whitfield

GWS

$726,000

31.3%

Hugh Goddard

Carl

$170,000

27.4%

Alex Witherden

BL

$639,000

25.6%

Sam Collins

GC

$246,000

23%

Connor Rozee (FWD)

PA

$262,000

19.8%

Midfielders

Last year's No.1 pick in the NAB AFL Draft is the must-have midfielder for Classic coaches. Sam Walsh averaged 115 Fantasy points in the Under 18 Championships; the most of all draftees.

Alongside the Blue in plenty of teams are mature-aged recruits Brett Bewley and Nick Hind as well as Charlie Constable, who is yet to debut for Geelong.

It's not only the basement-priced players who offer value in the engine room. Dan Hannebery, Tom Liberatore and Anthony Miles are mid-priced players that coaches are keen to take a punt on. If they can produce their best, they are some of the most under-priced players available for selection.

Player

Club

Price

Ownership

Sam Walsh

Carl

$270,000

41.3%

Brett Bewley

Frem

$170,000

35.5%

Jack Macrae

WB

$890,000

32.9%

Charlie Constable

Geel

$170,000

31.2%

Nick Hind

StK

$170,000

29.7%

Dan Hannebery

StK

$434,000

29.1%

Patrick Cripps

Carl

$793,000

27.8%

Tom Liberatore

WB

$392,000

25.3%

Zach Merrett

Ess

$736,000

22.1%

Dustin Martin

Rich

$674,000

21.4%

Anthony Miles

GC

$425,000

18.5%

Josh Kelly

GWS

$787,000

17.3%

Rucks

More than half the coaches in the competition have locked in Brodie Grundy as their first ruck after his 120 average last year.

While Max Gawn is slotted in as the most popular second ruck, there are multiple strategies being employed for R2 in 2019. The big Dee is likely to be sharing his load with Braydon Preuss and looking across the numbers, there are a range of options at various price points being selected for that second on-field spot.

Most benches are made up of Darcy Cameron and Darcy Fort; the two basement-priced players with the best chance to play this year.

Player

Club

Price

Ownership

Brodie Grundy

Coll

$871,000

52.3%

Darcy Cameron

Syd

$170,000

38.9%

Darcy Fort

Geel

$170,000

37.2%

Max Gawn

Melb

$808,000

18.6%

Justin Westhoff (FWD)

PA

$740,000

12.8%

Zac Clarke

Ess

$270,000

11.6%


Forwards

It is no surprise that Patrick Dangerfield is the most selected player in Fantasy Classic.

Not only does he have forward status, his 2018 numbers were a long way from his first two years as a Cat and therefore, he is cheaper than what many predict his output to be.

Will Setterfield leads a bunch of other bargains that coaches are keen to start with. Josh Corbett is ones of these from the Suns, but a plan B may need to come into play as he is racing the clock to be available for round one.

Player

Club

Price

Ownership

Patrick Dangerfield (MID)

Geel

$771,000

58.6%

Will Setterfield (MID)

Carl

$251,000

47.2%

Chris Burgess (DEF)

GC

$170,000

34.1%

Devon Smith (MID)

Ess

$774,000

30.9%

Ben Cavarra

WB

$182,000

30.4%

Chad Wingard (MID)

Haw

$598,000

27.6%

Josh Corbett

GC

$170,000

25.2%

Izak Rankine

GC

$266,000

23.8%

Josh Dunkley (MID)

WB

$695,000

23.2%

Isaac Heeney (MID)

Syd

$658,000

21.7%


Most popular team

You can't fit the 30 most popular players in your team due to salary cap issues. $32k is remaining from the $12.8m available and follows a typical structure to many coaches who have been playing with their squads during the last month.

Rory Laird (third most popular defender) has missed the cut to trim some cash to bring in Lachie Whitfield (sixth most popular defender) while the midfield has both Dan Hannebery and Tom Liberatore at M4 and M5. Hannebery's stocks are falling as he is currently battling a hamstring issue.

There could be a few dollars saved in the ruck department but the Grundy/Gawn set up looks the preferred option by more coaches than any other combination.

Forwards may change a lot over the next three weeks leading into round one. Currently, plenty are backing in Chad Wingard to perform better than his price suggests at his new club and No. 3 pick in last year's draft, Izak Rankine, is worth his inflated price.

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