WITH EVERY trade, there's new opportunity for players. Not just those who made the move, but others around them and potentially, those they left behind.
In AFL Fantasy, coaches look for players with upside. Trade Period is all about upside. The greener pastures come with promises of a superior role – such as the favourite phrase of Fantasy coaches, 'more midfield time' – or just simply, the opportunity to be a member of their new club's best 22.
There are plenty of implications from the 2020 AFL Trade Period that saw 33 players find new homes. Warnie looks at 10 of the trades that has adjusted our Fantasy thinking for the upcoming season.
1. BRAYDON PREUSS TO GWS
This time last year we thought that Sam Jacobs' move to the Giants would make him a lock as a Fantasy ruck. He ended up only playing seven games with some modest returns as Shane Mumford was the preferred big man. Jacobs went on to retire. A 25-year-old Preuss should be a different story as he looks to finally get his opportunity to make the No.1 ruck role his own at GWS. In Preuss' second and third games, he managed back-to-back Fantasy scores of 105 and has continued to score highly in the games he's been the sole ruckman. Although Mumford is still on the Giants' list, if Preuss is named as the main man in round one, then he'll be a popular bargain ruck in Fantasy Classic and plenty of coaches will look to start him in Draft.
2. ZAC WILLIAMS TO CARLTON
The first 'more midfield time' call of the pre-season came shortly after Williams made his way to the Blues via free agency. The former Giant is set to come in a bit cheaper in 2021 following an injury-affected season. This, coupled with the mooted midfield role, will see Williams as a savvy option in defence. In the last six rounds of 2019 he was used through the midfield and averaged a whopping 109. There is some risk as he's never played a full season and is coming off an Achilles injury, but with a discounted price and the potential midfield clock, the risk will be limited as plenty of coaches will be keen to get on board.
3. TOM PHILLIPS TO HAWTHORN
Hawthorn got an absolute steal adding Phillips to their squad. They lost Isaac Smith to the Cats, so Phillips should slot straight onto the wing. He was used as a forward for the Pies this season and gained FWD status in the round six rollout of dual position additions in Fantasy. If he retains his MID/FWD status, his Fantasy stocks will be at an all-time high in 2021. Prior to this year, Phillips returned averages of 83.3, 95.4 and 90.4. This year's forward role wasn't conducive to high scoring and he will naturally be underpriced next season, especially if he's back around the ball increasing his disposal and mark count.
4. ADAM TRELOAR TO WESTERN BULLDOGS
Treloar was the biggest Fantasy gun traded during the Trade Period. He averages an impressive 102 in his nine-year career with a PB in 2019; 113.6 from 22 games. The issue is that he's been added to a midfield mix with plenty of other Fantasy guns. How will his scoring be affected? The Dogs boast an impressive engine room that consists of Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Josh Dunkley, Bailey Smith, Lachie Hunter, Tom Liberatore… and more. There are only so many Fantasy points to go around, so picking a Bulldog midfielder might wait in Fantasy Classic. The major beneficiary of Treloar's move will actually be back at his former club Collingwood. Taylor Adams could be a good options as his numbers are significantly better when Treloar isn't in the side.
5. BRAD CROUCH TO ST KILDA
Averaging 92 on debut, Crouch has been in the conversation for Fantasy coaches over the years. His best season, an average of 107.8, was off the back of a whole year out of the game which resulted in a price discount and saw him as one of the most successful mid-priced midfielders. How Crouch fits in with Jack Steele, who was outstanding this year averaging 91, as well as Jade Gresham and Seb Ross, will be something to watch before jumping on. Where he gets selected in Fantasy Draft will be an interesting prospect as he will miss the first two rounds through suspension.
6. ALEX WITHERDEN TO WEST COAST
Since his debut, Witherden has been a Fantasy favourite. The defender averaged 88 in his first two seasons. This year, he was in and out of the Lions' side but when he played, his numbers were impressive. Witherden ranked fourth on average of all defenders. The move to the Eagles should be a positive one as he potentially takes some of Shannon Hurn's marks and kick-ins in a defence that controls the ball well at Optus Stadium. Coaches should consider Witherden as a top 10 defender when compiling their Draft rankings.
7. LACHIE YOUNG TO NORTH MELBOURNE
The Kangaroos saw more players exit their club in the off-season than any other so there will be plenty of new faces in their best 22 when round one rolls around. Young hasn't set the world on fire in regards to scoring, but with a role across North's half-back, points may flow as we saw with Luke McDonald this year who averaged 100 in a six-game run. While we shouldn't expect huge numbers, opportunity should be presented to Young and his price should be equivalent to the higher priced draftees.
8. JACK HIGGINS TO ST KILDA
As a junior, Higgins racked up some big numbers. In the 2017 Under 18 Championships, Higgins averaged 120 Fantasy points to go with his 110 average in the TAC Cup and was likened to ball-magnet Tom Rockliff. While he has played as a small forward, he has ambition to play in the midfield and could see a spike in his scoring if given the opportunity to get up the ground more. One to watch over the pre-season.
9. JEREMY CAMERON TO GEELONG
Cameron posted his worst Fantasy numbers since 2014. This makes him some value at his new club as there could be 20-plus points upside in comparison to his previous seasons that has included two years averaging 88. The real relevance is what it means for Patrick Dangerfield. His role in 2020 was that of a midfielder-forward, where he spent increased time in the forward-line playing alongside Tom Hawkins as a marking target. Dangerfield may be listed as a MID/FWD in Fantasy and likely to be back playing more midfield minutes as a result of Cameron's addition to the side.
10. NAKIA COCKATOO TO BRISBANE LIONS
Two full years out of the game will mean Cockatoo will receive a hefty price discount that may see him close to rookie priced next season. It's a big if, but if Cockatoo can get his body right and force his way into the Lions' best 22, then we will have a bargain on our hands. Track his pre-season and if all is looking good, we will have ourselves an option as an on-field forward in Fantasy Classic.