BRISBANE'S midfield group were among the most exciting Fantasy players in 2020 headlined by the Dane Swan Medallist (AFL Fantasy MVP), Lachie Neale.
Along with Neale's personal-best return, Jarryd Lyons (MID, $817,000) posted career-high numbers. After averaging 94, 95 and 98 the three seasons prior, Lyons averaged 86 (107 adjusted) to rank as the 10th-highest scoring midfielder.
Hugh McCluggage (MID, $708,000) showed some good signs with three Coronaball tons with increased time as an inside midfielder while Jarrod Berry (MID, $680,000) demonstrated his Fantasy chops as he improved his year-on-year output by 10 points per game.
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Lock them in
Last year's Brownlow Medallist enjoyed his best Fantasy season to date. Lachie Neale (MID, $935,000) averaged 98 (123 adjusted) to be the top scoring player of 2020, an impressive 135 points clear of Clayton Oliver. After scores of 164 and 91 in the pre-season games, coaches who saw those numbers and started with Neale were handsomely rewarded. Five Coronaball tons on the trot (143 adjusted average) to start the season saw his price sky rocket. Although a score of 37 in the Fantasy preliminary final leaves a sour taste in the mouth of many, the high-scoring Neale could be here to stay. Most will look at him as an upgrade target, but based on last year, it could take some time to gather the coin to buy him!
Track their pre-season
A fresh start for Nakia Cockatoo (MID/FWD, $243,000) at the Lions has him firmly on the radar as a potential cash cow this season. Cockatoo has played just 33 games for the Cats since making his debut in 2015 and failed to play a senior match in the last two seasons due to knee and soft tissue injures. If the speedy and versatile 24-year-old get on the park, then he will make some quick cash early on while producing serviceable scores.
After gaining DPP last year, Dayne Zorko (MID/FWD, $753,000) has retained it for 2021 and will be in the top group of forwards available. Despite missing a couple of games last year due to an Achilles issue, the 32-year-old has been durable player after being drafted as a mature aged pick almost a decade ago. The Lions captain is likely to spend more time forward this season but judging by his career average of 95 and ability to score in a variety of positions, Zorko should still be one of the first five forwards taken in Draft.
New stripes, right price?
Joe Daniher (FWD, $432,000) played just 15 games in the last three seasons with a modest Fantasy return. Looking fit at his new club this pre-season, the 26-year-old will be keen to capture 2017 form that saw him earn All-Australian honours, kick 65 goals and average a career-high 85 Fantasy points. Daniher has received a discount that priced him equivalent to an average of 57 and has plenty of upside. If he's too awkwardly priced for you in Classic, consider as a bench option in Draft.
Youngster Tom Fullarton (RUC/FWD, $170,000) made his debut last season and was injured early in his second match. The former basketballer has DPP and is basement priced. Worth having on your bench at this stage of the pre-season. More than 20 per cent of Fantasy Classic coaches have Deven Robertson (MID/FWD, $186,000) in their teams. He made his debut in round one last year as a late replacement for Grant Birchall, but failed to play another game. As a junior, Robertson averaged 113 Fantasy points for WA in the 2019 Under 18 Championships.
The departure of Stefan Martin will mean Oscar McInerney (RUC, $550,000) will be the No.1 and likely sole ruckman for the Lions. When rucking solo, Big O averaged 68 points (85 adjusted) which ranks him in the top 10 of available rucks based on last year's numbers for someone whose average is equivalent to the 18th best.
Custom stat star
As the commissioner of the Lions' Fantasy Draft league, Harris Andrews (DEF, $428,000) will be keen to add spoils to their scoring … and in turn, making himself a more relevant player! Andrews averaged nine spoils per game last year, the most of any player in the competition. Adding three points for the defensive play would see the key defender averaging 85 points and for the first time, selected by one of his teammates in their Draft league.
If you look at Mitch Robinson's (MID, $550,000) 2020 numbers in isolation, you might consider the 31-year-old as somewhat of a value selection this year. With only one score over 80 last year, Robinson's Fantasy days are limited with so many other prolific midfielders in the side. Robinson could be an option for a deep Draft league, but there were too many sub-50 scores to play him on field with confidence.