THE SQUEEZE to fit a competitive squad under the salary cap is tighter than ever with fewer basement priced rookies and the top priced premiums are taking up a larger percentage of the total player payments than recent years.

This can mean only one thing … 'Mid-Priced Madness' is no longer a taboo strategy and the hunt for bargains is more important than ever. Here are some of the best bargain priced players worth considering.

DEFENDERS

Zac Williams (DEF, $626,000)
The new Blue has rocketed up to number two on the most selected players list and rightly so. The former Giant is having a great pre-season with the Blues and is ticking all boxes to flourish in his preferred position in the midfield. He is priced at an average of 82 and is every chance to average triple figures in the guts. In the last 14 games of 2019 season including finals he proved to be elite midfielder with eight big hundreds, including 114, 116, 120, 122 and 142.

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Wayne Milera (DEF, $446,000)
Injuries have held the talented Crow back from taking his game to the next level but the ability is certainly there. The 23-year-old is capable of playing multiple positions but the exciting news he has been training with the midfielders. He averaged 91 across the first four games of 2019 which is pretty impressive for a defender priced at just 58.

Isaac Cumming (DEF, $355,000)
Yes, I know what happed last time but this is the year he repays the faith. Crisis creates opportunity and that is just what Cumming has in front of him after the departures of Giant defenders Zac Williams, Heath Shaw and Aiden Corr. He should now get every opportunity to cement himself in the side while also mopping up plenty of those left over +6s. The added bonus is he doesn’t mind a kick in, taking 12 in just three games last year. He has shown the ability to score in the NEAFL (cough) after averaging 87 in 2019 and is priced at just 46. What can go wrong?

MIDFIELDERS

Rory Sloane (MID, $580,000)
Although we have always known the inspirational Crow has been susceptible to a tag in the past, this year he is coming in at a price where that doesn't matter. After averaging 90+ since 2012, last year just wasn’t for him after injury and poor form eventually resulted in an average of just 76. But he is only 30 years old and has averaged over 105 on three occasions in his career and he will need to once again find his best form after the departure of Brad Crouch.

Matt Rowell (MID, $574,000)
The Suns' No.1 pick didn’t disappoint on debut, hitting the ground running at a rare level with adjusted scores of 80, 135, 130 and 98 which gave him a ridiculous average of 111. However, the dream run came to a halt and that has effectively left coaches with one of the biggest mid-priced bargains of recent times. He was injured in round five on zero which dropped his adjusted averaged to 88 and due to only playing five games he gets a further 15 per cent discount. It’s easy to see why the piglet is the most selected player.

Young gun Sun Matt Rowell at training. Picture: Chris Hyde, Getty Images via AFL Photos

Jackson Hately (MID, $486,000)
This is the case of a talented kid with a Fantasy pedigree moving to a club where he will instantly gain job security and an improved role. The gifted midfielder struggled to force his way into the Giant midfield and in the six games he played last year, he didn't attend one centre bounce. Can you believe that? Now I must flag … I am about to talk NEAFL numbers, but regardless of the competition, he certainly showed his ability to score while playing there. In 2019 he averaged 111 including a high of 153. With no Brad Crouch, Hately is sure to soak up plenty of those vacant centre bounces attendances.

RUCK

Brayden Preuss (RUC, $377,000)
The Giants' new big man comes in after a fair apprenticeship, backing up two of the best rucks of the last decade before finally landing at a home where he can make the No.1 mantle his own. Last year he played two games as solo ruck and scored well with adjusted scores of 75 and 81 which is pretty impressive given he is priced at just 49.

FORWARDS

Jaiden Stephenson (FWD, $470,000)
Has moved to the Roos with a point to prove and it appears his new club is excited to give him every opportunity to do it. They have already gone on record regarding their intent to play him up the ground where he enjoyed great success as a junior, which should allow him to become a more consistent Fantasy performer. He is priced at just 62 after averaging 81 in 2019.

New Roo Jaidyn Stephenson at training in January. Picture: Getty Images / AFL Photos

Lance Franklin (FWD, $377,000)
The aging superstar comes with huge risk, especially given his recent pre-season niggle but let’s face it, if we do select him, it’s not with the expectation he plays 22 games anyway. The fact is however, if he is named in round one he is too good to ignore given he is priced at just 49. This is a bloke who has consistently averaged in the 90s and is still a superstar whenever he is fit enough to hit the park. Obviously watch closely, but that is buddy cheap for someone that good.

Jeremy Cameron (FWD, $488,000)
The former Giant will debut at his new club priced at an average of just 64, 24 points short of the 88 he has averaged twice in the past four years. The added bonus is the Cats are very unselfish and will look after their prized recruit with plenty of gifted goals led by the league leaders in goals assists Tom Hawkins and Patrick Dangerfield, while Mitch Duncan isn’t far behind in fourth.

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