AFTER years of hardly even dipping a toe into Fantasy relevancy, the appointment of David Noble at the helm of North Melbourne gives us hope that things are on the improve.
Although he places great emphasis on defending, he has also been very vocal in regard to kicking more goals which, of course, will require a more attacking style of play which usually provides players more opportunity for players to rack up stats and points.
Last year Jed Anderson (MID, $795,000) led the way with an average of 83 (104 adjusted) from his 15 games. Projecting forward, him and a cast of youngsters like Luke Davies-Uniacke (MID, $522,000) will look to benefit significantly from the hole left by departing veteran Shaun Higgins through the midfield.
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Lock them in
Luke McDonald (DEF, $692,000) flicked a switch in round eight which triggered a run of games to show he can score with the best defenders in the League. His hot form over the next five weeks returned an average of 102 (128 adjusted) and included scores of 118, 123 and 121, all despite playing shortened quarters. McDonald thrives when attacking out of the back half and he could play a key role for Noble.
Track their pre-season
Durability is always a concern for Jed Anderson (MID, $795,000) but last year he showed he is well-equipped to be a Fantasy stud if his body holds up. 2020 was his seventh year in the system and despite the shortened quarters he managed to return his best season average of 83 from 15 games. The most games he has played in a season is 21 in 2018 and he has only reached double figures on three occasions. He is, however, a workhorse who can not only find the ball, but loves a +4 (tackle).
Lachie Young (DEF/MID, $276,000) was acquired during the trade period from the Western Bulldogs after playing eight games at his former club, including two last year. The former No.6 pick in the 2018 NAB AFL Rookie Draft is poised to slot straight into the side after being identified for his ability to intercept and rebound. He is priced at an average of 36.
New stripes, right price?
Jaidyn Stephenson (FWD, $470,000) comes to the Roos with the hope he can not only match the potential he displayed in his second season in the black and white stripes, but build on it in the blue and white … while hoping last year was just a bad case of the third-year blues?! What excites me most here was Noble's identification of the former sixth pick's versatility, which opens the door for a potential midfield move following the departure of Higgins. Noble has gone on record identifying Stephenson's skillset as a talented wing due to his speed, carry and decision-making. He is priced at 62 after averaging 81 in 2019.
Tom Powell (MID, $246,000) comes at an inflated rookie price after going at pick 13 in the draft but the ball magnet is every chance to play early if he can impress in the pre-season. The 183cm South Australian is a ball magnet who averaged 35 disposals at under-18 level and is renowned for his clean hands around stoppages.
Due to his age, Todd Goldstein (RUC, $760,000) is unlikely to go in the first 'ruck run' that commonly occurs in a draft as coaches panic at the prospect of landing a big man. Despite his veteran status, Goldy's durability, stamina and scoring potential remain elite and he is every chance to have a little spike in form under the new regime.
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Jy Simpkin (MID, $676,000) had an outstanding season and despite playing midfield, held the invaluable forward status that ensured he was a popular selection. Despite only being available as a midfielder, he will no doubt continue to improve and thrive under Noble's guidance but a red flag for coaches is his clanger rate after recording the fifth most in the competition last season.
It has been hard to read where Jared Polec (MID, $686,000) sits in the pecking order at the Roos and last year's form demonstrated a drop-off from his best footy despite averaging a respectable adjusted score of 90. Despite Noble identifying the former Power player's defensive deficiencies, he is excited by the upside in regard to his run, carry and delivery inside 50. He would be a high-risk selection but will be given every chance to succeed.