MELBOURNE is the only club to have three players listed inside the top 20 averaging players in AFL Fantasy last year.

The Demons' elite players are exactly that. Led by Max Gawn (RUC, $944,000), Clayton Oliver (MID, $875,000) and Christian Petracca (MID, $825,000), these three have mastered the Fantasy game in recent years.

However, they drop off very quickly from there as they equal North Melbourne with the fewest players averaging over 75.

In 2021, what can the Demons offer? We know what their elite will bring to the table, but can others step up around them?

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Lock them in

With an adjusted average of 124 next to his name, you’re going to need to be very crafty with your cash if you want to start with the best ruckman in the game and the most expensive player available. Max Gawn (RUC, $944,000) had a phenomenal season and demolished his previous best averages of 111. By locking Gawn into you team early, you will not only secure 120+ scores each week but a reliable captain option that scores you double points.

Track their pre-season

Is James Harmes (DEF, $474,000) a defender or a midfielder? Prior to last year, Harmes spent two years in the Demons' midfield where he averaged 94 and 83. However, in 2020 he spent the majority of his time across half-back with the occasional stint in the middle. This saw his average drop to 50 (62 adjusted), the lowest it has been in five years. Monitor his pre-season and take note of his role for the year ahead.

Dual-position tempter

After averaging 77 and 74 in his final two years at the Giants, a move to Melbourne in the 2020 season was always going to be a tough one for Adam Tomlinson (DEF/MID, $493,000) who went on to average 52 (65 adjusted). He should bounce back to his best in 2021, and if you believe this is the case, then he is potentially 10-15 points under-priced.

FANTASY The big guns who’ll cost you big money in 2021

New stripes, right price?

'Yes' … Ben Brown (FWD, $532,000) has new stripes after he found a new home at the Demons. However, the answer is 'no' when we consider his price. Brown did average a career-high 72 in 2019 with the Kangaroos and although he is as durable as they come, it is very hard seeing him hitting those numbers again.

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Bargain basement

In the NAB AFL Draft, Melbourne selected Jake Bowey (MID/FWD, $230,000) and Bailey Laurie (DEF/FWD, $228,000) with their back-to-back picks. They averaged 67 and 68, respectively, in their NAB League games and could feature early in the year.

Draft sleeper

He might be on the 'Never Again List' for some, but for others Angus Brayshaw (MID, $603,000) also presents as a late draft steal, based on what he is capable of. Let me remind you that Brayshaw averaged 105 in 2018 and although he hasn't been close to that mark since, he did show glimpses in 2020 when he had back-to-back scores of 100 (125 adjusted). He finished the year with an average 63 (79 adjusted) and in draft, he is still worth a late gamble.

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Absolutely top drawer from booming Brayshaw

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Custom stat star

He's durable and elite, Clayton Oliver (MID, $875,000) is an outright Fantasy gun. He finished the season in the top 10 averages for disposals (25), AFL Fantasy (115 adjusted) and effective disposals (18) and claimed the No.1 title for contested possession (13). Oliver has missed only one game in the past four years and on Draft Day, he is a walk-up first round selection.

Buyer beware

What a breakout season Christian Petracca (MID, $825,000) had! He boosted his 2019 average by a massive 32 points to 108 (adjusted), which means that you will be paying top dollar for the star this year. We need to make sure we are spending our salary cap wisely in the season ahead and selecting players at top dollar after a breakout season isn't a recommended strategy.

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