Starved of opportunities at the Giants, Jackson Hately (MID, $486,000) finally finds himself a club that will give him a go after only playing 13 games across the last two seasons. The key here is, when he plays he scores, just like he did in the NEAFL in 2019 where he averaged 111.
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.
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.
No new established players at the Pies, but a wise man once said, "Crisis creates opportunity", and with Tom Phillips and Adam Treloar moving clubs, the door has been left open for Brayden Sier (MID, $402,000). Sier has been knocking on the door for three years and may get the opportunity he has been looking for. Coincidently, he was used to replace Treloar when he injured his hamstrings back in 2018 and went on to average 76 from eight games. So he might be used to fill the void again.
After playing 11 games in two seasons at the Giants, Jye Caldwell (MID/FWD, $502,000) looks set to get the midfield role he craves at the Bombers. Likely to play as an inside midfielder, the 20-year-old carries dual-position status making him a mid-priced option with upside to pick in the forward line. Caldwell's numbers at AFL level have been modest. In his nine NEAFL games, Caldwell averaged 83.2 points which included an injury-affected score of 11. His opportunity looks to have arrived, and there will almost certainly be an uptick in scoring output.
No new established at the Dockers so we'll look at draftee from a few years back. Drafted in 2018, Fremantle and Fantasy fans alike have been waiting to see Luke Valente (MID, $170,000). At the age of 20, surely he is ready to make his mark. He dominated as a junior averaging 117 in the Under-18 NAB AFL Championships and in 2019 he averaged 63 playing in the WAFL. Watch him closely this pre-season because we will need all the $170,000 players we can get.
WHO IS MR POPULAR? The most selected players in AFL Fantasy
Often we avoid selecting forwards that rely heavily on goals as opposed to possession accumulation but every now and again a genuine option arises that is too good to pass up. Jeremy Cameron (FWD, $488,000) 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 forward line is very unselfish and they will want to make him feel at home sooner rather than later with some free snags.
BARGAIN HUNTING Cheap Fantasy options you must consider
Rory Atkins (MID, $510,000) is another out-of-favour Crow who is keen to follow in the footsteps of Greenwood and dominate with increased responsibility at the Suns. The 26-year-old, 101-game veteran is in the prime of his career and comes in well underpriced after a disastrous season in which he recorded four games at an average of 36. He has averaged 80 or more on three occasions and should push those heights once again. He is priced at an average of 67.
New ruckman Braydon Preuss (RUC, $377,000) was one of the most popular selections when AFL Fantasy opened, but not now. The ex-Demon and Roo will miss half the season after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction. If you like taking risks then Jesse Hogan (FWD, $459,000) could be a boom or bust selection. He only averaged 61 and 66 in his two seasons at the Dockers, but he could return to the form he showed at Melbourne where he had averaged 89.
When Tom Phillips (MID/FWD, $602,000) is running a wing his Fantasy scores are elite. Prior to 2020, Phillips had two standout seasons where he averaged 91 and 95, which drastically overshadows his 63 (79 adjusted) he averaged this year. With Isaac Smith moving to Geelong and Tom Scully retiring, the wing will be all his, and for the cherry on top … he can be selected as a forward!
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, but it is very hard seeing him hitting those numbers again, especially given that he will miss the start of the season with a knee injury.
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.
Orazio Fantasia (DEF/FWD, $353,000) finally made his way to the Power after seven years of service at Essendon. During his time at the Bombers, his personal best average of 79 was hit in the 2018 season. He is currently priced at an average of 46 and sits as the fifth most selected Port player, with those coaches hoping he can get back to his very best.
No new established players at the Tigers, but after playing two matches last season, expect Thomson Dow (MID, $192,000) to add to his games tally in 2021. Although his scores were modest – 37 and 16 – being priced at under $200k, he's a must-have cash cow if he's a regular in the team.
Brad Crouch (MID, $708,000) is a star who at his best is in the truly elite bracket. He is coming off a solid season which saw him average 93 from his 12 games but after averaging 108 in 2019, he could be considered under-priced. The issue with selecting the ball magnet is that he will miss the first two games of the season through suspension, but on the flip side, this may also result in a massive Draft slide.
Tom Hickey (RUC, $418,000) made his way to his fourth club during the Trade Period. If he becomes the No.1 ruck option for the Swans, the former Sun, Saint and Eagle presents value. Hickey averaged more than 70 in four of his six seasons at St Kilda and is priced $180,000 cheaper than his best return. As a sole ruckman, Hickey is an option, but if he’s sharing the role with Callum Sinclair, it’s a hard pass.
Alex Witherden (DEF, $654,000) fell out of favour at the Lions in 2020 but was producing career-best Fantasy numbers in the six games he played, averaging 78 (97 adjusted). Witherden burst on the scene when he made his debut in the second half of 2017, averaging 88 from his nine matches and backed it up with similar numbers in his sophomore year. A move to the Eagles should be positive for his Fantasy game as seen by Shannon Hurn's figures in recent seasons. Witherden will enjoy playing at Optus Stadium and should rack up plenty of +6s (mark and kick) as the Eagles control the ball in their back half.
Adam Treloar (MID, $812,000) comes to the Dogs as one of the most highly credentialed players in the game. His numbers speak for themselves with averages of 112, 108, 108 and 114 leading up to last season where he was below his best and still averaged an adjusted 110 from his eight games. It's certainly an interesting situation given he didn't want to leave the Pies, but if you are ever going to walk into an environment to succeed from a Fantasy perspective, this is it.