CARLTON has had an active off-season, highlighted by the hugely relevant acquirement of former Giant half-back Zac Williams (DEF,$626,000).
What thrusts Williams to the top of my priority list is the understanding that he will return to his preferred position as a junior, a midfielder, a position he also demonstrated elite success when given the rare opportunity at his former club.
I may be biased but the Blues are on the way up, I am talking top-eight stuff here and if that happens, their Fantasy scores are going to trend in the same direction with relevant players on each line.
>> See all the Carlton prices and positions by registering now for AFL Fantasy
Lock them in
Patrick Cripps (MID, $718,000) appears to offer some value this year after the combative beast dropped off enough last season to be considered underpriced. Once again carrying a huge workload in the middle for the Blues, Cripps averaged 75 (94 adjusted), well down from 102 in 2019 and 109 in 2018 despite leading the League in centre clearances. He is in great shape following off-season shoulder surgery and has been flagged to spend stints in the forward line to add a few +12s to the tally.
Track their pre-season
Sam Docherty (DEF, $676,000): The heroic Blues co-skipper had an outstanding season given he was coming off the back of two knee reconstructions. He started in a blaze of glory with scores of 95, 88, 97, 110 and 80 before copping some attention back there and understandably slowing down after missing such a large chunk of footy. Track his pre-season following the off-season removal of a testicular tumour but the star will be better for the run last year and will be priced at an average of 89, a far cry from what he is capable after averaging 117 in 2017.
Also keep an eye on Caleb Marchbank (DEF, 301,000) who may be worth a look after missing the entire season. He is priced at an average of 39 after averaging 56 and 54 the two previous seasons and will come with good job security for that price.
Corey Durdin (FWD/MID, $198,000) became a Blue with pick No.37 in the NAB AFL Draft. The young South Australian is capable of playing both up forward and as a mid, as he did to perfection in the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships in 2016 where he was awarded the best player. He has clocked up 10 games in the SANFL and will likely start his career as a forward with the Blues.
New stripes, right price?
Zac Williams (DEF, $626,000) will be one of my first selected players this year as I have full faith he will be unleashed in the midfield, a position I enjoyed watching him dominate in the back-end of 2019 when injury created opportunity at the Giants. In that 14-week period, he proved to be an elite mid with eight big hundreds, including 120, 122 and 142. He is priced at just 82, 11 less than his previous average.
Jack Carroll (MID, $190,000) is widely considered one of the best young midfielders in the country so the Blues were delighted when they were able to call his name at pick 41 in the draft. The young West Australian is a classy ball user who can win the footy on both the inside and outside, as demonstrated in the WAFL Colts, averaging 23 possessions a game.
Also keep an eye on the progress of former pick 17 Brodie Kemp (MID, $170,000) who didn't play a game last season after tearing his ACL while playing for Geelong Grammar in his draft year. The former Under-18 All-Australian will be keen to make up for lost time and his ability to play all over the ground might fast-track him into the team.
Nic Newman (DEF, $542,000) will likely be a forgotten man on Draft night following a season cut horribly short by injury, managing just two games at an unitising average of just 29 (36 adjusted). With names like Adam Saad, Zac Williams and Sam Docherty floating around, Newman may slide nicely for a player who averaged 93 in 2019.
Custom stat star
If running bounces were an option, Adam Saad (DEF, $632,000) would be a lock, but the new custom league options do allow coaches to show some respect to the contested marking beasts which will bring an otherwise irrelevant Fantasy player like Levi Casboult (FWD, $511,000) into the mix. Regularly a top 10 in that category, he no doubt will be elite once again given he has some of the best hands in the business.
Marc Murphy (MID, $634,000) is a Fantasy legend who historically would be considered a bargain if he was priced at an average of 83. Unfortunately, he has been on a steady decline statistically and although he is still very serviceable for the Blues, his Fantasy best has past him.