WHEN Fantasy opens, it can be quite a daunting task with 30 blank spaces staring you in the face and $13,000,000 to fill them. So… Where did I start? And where did I go from there?
This year I started by identifying my 'must-haves' and locking them in.
Sam Docherty (DEF, $653,000) - An easy first pick for me. Not only is he one of my favourite players, but we can't forget prior to missing the last two season he averaged a whopping 117 with five scores over 140.
Tom Mitchell (MID, $671,000) - After missing all of last season, I did not hesitate to take the 30 per cent discount on the little Pig. Set a new record in 2018 for most points in a season while averaging 129.
Brodie Grundy (RUC, $906,000) - Speaking of Pigs, there were no second thoughts about selecting the most expensive player in the game and making him captain in round one. He had eight scores over 145 last year including a massive 181.
Lachie Whitfield (FWD/MID, $844,000) - With slim picking in the forward line, Whitfield is a no brainer after averaging 114 last year. He is clearly the best forward, so you might as well have him from the start.
Then I identified some premium players in their respective positions that I think are priced well below my projected output for them.
Stephen Coniglio (MID, $769,000) - The newly crowned Giants skipper is a genuine star who has found himself in the bargain category given his season-ending injury while on zero last year. If you take that out he would have averaged an elite 111.
Joel Selwood (MID, $585,000) - The Cats captain is priced at the lowest average of his career. Despite rehabbing a hamstring complaint, he should be straight back into the middle this year after dominating in the finals series inside the centre square with 113 and 116.
Rory Laird (DEF, $719,000) - Priced at an average of 11 points lower than his 2019 starting price following a disappointing season for the underperforming Crows. Should have no trouble racking up some +6 action across half-back with Bryce Gibbs on the other flank.
Zac Williams (DEF, $688,000) - Although his numbers are inflated by increased midfield time last year, his average of 106 in the second half of the season is hard to ignore.
Then I looked at breakout potential and some sheer value.
Andrew Brayshaw (FWD/MID, $516,000) - I like to take a punt on at least one breakout player and at this stage I like the fact Brayshaw is coming into his third year and set to play significant midfield minutes.
Callan Ward (MID, $539,000) - Priced at 73 after injuring his ACL. Prior to that he hasn't averaged under 90 for seven seasons as a Giant.
Dylan Roberton (DEF, $327,000) - Early pre-season reports are positive which is great news all round. From a Fantasy perspective he averaged an elite 90 in 2017 which makes him a bargain.
Sam Jacobs (RUC, $514,000) - His last year at the Crows was ruined by injury and sharing ruck duties. Back in 2017 he averaged 99 and looks likely to be solo ruck at the Giants.
Jacob Townsend (FWD, $266,000) - Has eight years of experience at the top level and has been earmarked for a midfield role at the Bombers. Averaged 91 in the VFL last year.
Get a reliable midfielder and take advantage of some DPP options.
Jack Macrae (MID, $858,000) - You get what you pay for here. A durable star with back-to-back elite averages of 123 and 116. He also has a huge ceiling and is capable of captaincy on any given week.
Dustin Martin (FWD/MID, $721,000) - A forward that went over 128 on five occasions last year is a lock in my eyes.
Jack Steven (FWD/MID, $653,000) - Was training really well before Christmas until being slowed by a calf complaint in recent weeks. He should be back to full training soon. Don’t forget he was the highest averaging player in 2015.
I left enough money to pay up for the rookies that I think are most likely to get a R1 berth with the No.1 pick Matt Rowell (MID, $270,00) leading the way as the most expensive. Anyone who has junior numbers comparable to Sam Walsh has to be selected.
Fellow first-round draft picks Sam Flanders (MID, $250k), Lachlan Ash (DEF/MID, $264k) and Hayden Young (DEF, $258k)
In the mix:
The four players that were unluckiest to miss out at this stage are Dan Houston (DEF/MID, $596,000), who will replace Laird if I need a cash grab, Reilly O’Brien (RUC, $709,000) is beating the door down to replace Jacobs for the second time in two years, tackling machine Hugh Greenwood (FWD/MID, $581,000) is on standby to replace Steven unless he is back on the park very soon and I need to find room for Dogs jet Josh Dunkley (MID, $824,000) because I love that guy.
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