MORE THAN 60 per cent of AFL Fantasy Classic coaches own Richmond superstar Dustin Martin and they are left wondering what to do with him with lockout approaching. 

Rib soreness will keep him out of Thursday night’s clash with Hawthorn

Since debuting in 2010, Martin has played all but seven matches to be one of the most durable players in the competition and a reliable option for Fantasy, especially Draft. 

Fantasy Draft

Fantasy Draft coaches shouldn’t even consider dropping him to free agents or even think about trading (unless you get an uber-premium in return). 

Hopefully you’ve got someone coming off your bench that will be suitable. If you need to hit the available free agents, there could be some great options still available depending on your league size and structure. 

Brandon Parfitt (MID/FWD) should certainly be considered if undrafted. He’s currently available in 59 per cent of leagues and considering he scored 94 last round, he should be picked up regardless. Similarly, Jy Simpkin (MID/FWD) is averaging 80.5 (equivalent to more than 100 in full-length games) and appears in just 58 per cent of leagues. 

Further down the Draft ownership list with 31 per cent ownership is Martin’s team mate Josh Caddy (MID/FWD). The premiership player scored a serviceable 67 in round one. If it is a Tiger you’d like, Jack Higgins (FWD) was a ball-magnet as a junior and scored an impressive 79 in his long-awaited return last weekend.

Also consider Zak Butters (FWD) coming off 114 last round who is surprisingly only in 25 per cent of Draft leagues. 

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Fantasy Classic 

The big decision in Fantasy Classic is to hold or trade.

Generally if it’s a one-week injury and you have bench cover, the default decision is to hold on to your premium players. Dusty looks like being one of the top ranked FWDs for the year and you will eventually want to get him back.

With the same ownership as Martin, Connor Buderick (MID/FWD, $213,000) is the second most selected ‘rookie’ forward and if he can post a score similar to his 63 last weekend, you’d take that as cover for the week. The Suns take on Adelaide this week and it has been a Fantasy scorefest against the winless Crows in the first two rounds.

But this could be the season could be the year that rules can be broken.

The shorter season has amplified the importance of points on the ground. Making aggressive moves, especially up until round five where three trades are available for coaches, could be the way to make your mark.

Dusty is the second most expensive player at $728,000. An easy move is a sideways trade to Michael Walters (MID/FWD, $716,000). The Docker is averaging 93 and is scoring as well as ever in his midfield/forward role.

Where coaches can make the best of a bad situation is to jump on board the value picks they may have missed.

Pocket $100k by going to the form Fantasy forward of the competition in Christian Petracca (FWD, $622,000). The Demon has a breakeven of 13 due to his epic average of 99. If his 25 per cent ownership is too much, maybe a look at the 14 per cent owned Bailey Smith (MID/FWD, $577,000) could be the go. An average of 94 has seen the second-year Bulldog already increase $64k and has a lot more growth with a breakeven of 11.

At or below the same price point as Smith, you could look at Connor Rozee (FWD, $577,000), Brandon Partfitt (MID/FWD, $564,000) or Jy Simpkin (MID/FWD, $543,000). Any one of this trio could be a solid option if you believe they can maintain their current form with the added bonus of considerably low ownership.

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