WELL, here it is. This masterpiece has been under construction for many months and sleepless nights. The team you see before you today is the team I would go into round one with, if lock-out was tonight.
However, my pre-season has consisted of a million trades a day based on wild new strategies I develop in my head, and therefore some players may change before the weekend.
One of these strategies, and one I still might adopt, is my “defenders are pretenders” approach.
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Why spend money in a position with so much uncertainty? In my current backline, I have three players under $200,000 on my field. Over the course of the pre-season, I have had many more. Why pay the big bucks for the likes of Elliot Yeo (DEF/MID, $436,000) or Matt Rosa (DEF/MID, $411,000) when their scoring output can be as unpredictable as a rookie.
With that said, playing rookies on your ground comes with a huge risk. Expect low scores and drama on selection night.
When teams are named this Thursday, some Fantasy teams (like this one) may be taken back to the drawing board or even burnt.
Heath Shaw (DEF, $532,000) had a fantastic 2015 and an even better NAB Challenge. Unlike many defenders, Shaw cares about his Fantasy scores and will do every trick in the book to boost his score on game day.
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A Fantasy team doesn’t look complete without Scott Pendlebury (MID, $615,000) who steals his spot from teammate Taylor Adams (MID, $560,000). Adams has occupied this position since Fantasy opened and hasn’t put a foot wrong all pre-season. It’s a cruel game though and sometimes there’s just not enough room. However, when lock-out approaches and I need a little extra cash, I will make the switch once again without hesitating.
Daniel Hannebery (MID, $613,000) picks himself after being my best player last year, but went against my instructions and dominated the Blues with 153 in the final NAB Challenge game. This unnecessary effort made other Fantasy coaches take notice and therefore his ownership doubled, making him not as unique as he originally was.
Last year, I was scared every time I played against Tom Mitchell (MID, $593,000) and I’m not going through those feelings again. So Mitchell joins team Calvinator alongside the popular picks of Tom Rockliff (MID, $579,000) and Gary Ablett (MID, $581,000).
Ablett’s fitness has been questioned after he never set foot on a ground during the NAB Challenge. However, he has declared himself fit and ready for round one where he plays the Bombers at Metricon Stadium, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out how that will unfold.
Over the NAB Challenge, Matt Crouch (MID, $396,000) scored at 1.38 points per minute, the highest of all players. Off the back of Dangerfield’s departure and the abolished vest rule, he and is set to have a break-out season.
My ‘set and forget’ ruckman should hold me in a good position for the entire year. Stefan Martin (RUC, $631,000) does come at a cost, but has an average I feel he can uphold over the course of the season. Max Gawn (RUC, $509,000) has crept into 16 per cent of Fantasy teams after an electrifying pre-season that has seen him score at will, and all while wearing facial hair that puts every hipster’s beard to shame.
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My forward line is all about value. Sam Kerridge (FWD/MID, $299,000) has shone at his new club and, although his numbers weren’t as convincing over the NAB Challenge, Johnathan Simpkin (FWD/MID, $226,000) did enough in his final NAB Challenge game to hold his position in my team at his cheap price.
Daniel Wells (FWD/MID, $293,000) proved he was back to his very best and Jordan De Goey (MID, $342,000) has made the most of his midfield opportunities with the Magpies and looks set to stay there for the rest of the year.
All the best to every Fantasy coach this year. The pre-season has been long and hard but it should set us up for an amazing season of enjoyable frustration and heart ache… for me anyway!
Good luck, and for more AFL Fantasy updates and for any questions across all forms of the game, make sure you follow @CalvinDT.