TEAMS on the rise often have players following the same trajectory and becoming the Fantasy stars of our game.

Rising 22-year-old Andrew Brayshaw (MID, $875,000) produced the best numbers of his career, averaging 104 from 20 games. In nine games he scored more than 110 points demonstrating a high ceiling with a top score of 156.

Brayshaw is set to be a staple of the first couple of rounds of Fantasy Drafts in the years to come.

We finally saw Sean Darcy (RUC, $786,000) put together a full season (almost). He missed in round one but played every game since, averaging 94 points per game. He is one of the few rucks in the competition who shoulders the majority of the load.

Some Fantasy coaches have been concerned about Darcy’s body over the years, but even while playing sore, he suited up each week and consistently produced great Fantasy numbers which ranked him third behind Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy for points last season.

Things are looking up as Darcy could be a bargain buy in Fantasy Classic and a steal in Draft if he can average over 100 and stay on the park as he did in 2021.

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Lock them in

The fabled third-year breakout is something that many Fantasy coaches aim to find when piecing together their pre-season teams. Caleb Serong (MID, $691,000) looks set to increase his output significantly if his end of season form is anything to go by. While he did put up 143 in round six against North Melbourne, it was his final three games of 118, 117 and 116 that has Fantasy coaches most excited. Time on ground has been an issue for Serong, but his minutes increased as the season went on and if this trend continues, a triple figure average is on the cards. Could he add his name to folklore like other third-year players in Zach Merrett with his average of 118 in 2016 or Tim Taranto’s 113 average in 2019? Time will tell.

Track their pre-season

We love hearing about a player getting ‘more midfield time’ and Liam Henry (FWD, $317,000) is training with the midfield group with a goal to find himself a place on the wing. There’s a spot up for grabs and from all reports, the speedster is looking fit. If the midfield role is real, Henry could make some early cash as your F5 or F6 in Fantasy Classic.

Bailey Banfield and Liam Henry complete a running session during the off-season. Picture: Fremantle FC

Dual-position tempter

Will Brodie (MID/FWD, $387,000) may prove to be the most Fantasy relevant move of the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period. Although he has just 24 games to his name over the first five years of his careers, Brodie has been on the Fantasy radar when he averaged 88 from eight games in his third season. Since then the former first round draft pick has played just five games with a top score of 67. Justin Longmuir as suggested that Brodie will play as an inside midfielder. This bodes well for the dual-position player priced at 46.

Bargain basement

According to track watchers, Neil Erasmus (MID, $272,000) is the most likely of the new draftees to play in 2022. Although no easy games will be given to the kids as the Dockers climb up the ladders, Erasmus is a tall midfielder who will complement Serong and Brayshaw. He dominated at Colts level in the WAFL averaging 28 disposals, five tackles and 111 Fantasy points. A highlight of his game is his ability to find space, averaging eight marks.

Neil Erasmus poses after being drafted by Fremantle on November 24, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Draft sleeper

A big finish to the year has put Hayden Young (DEF, $543,000) on many watchlists. A hamstring injury in round three saw him miss more than three months of football but to score 93, 86 and 91 in the last three games of the season is good signs as he 12-gamer heads into his third season. For deeper leagues, Heath Chapman (DEF, $408,000) is also worth keeping an eye as a sleeper that you’re likely to be able to pick up in the early rounds as a Free Agent.

Custom stat star

By average, Luke Ryan (DEF, $733,000) ranked second last season for rebound 50s with 7.9 per game. The stat that records moving the ball from the defensive zone into the midfield can be added to custom scoring Fantasy Draft leagues. Statistics like this can add value to defenders. Coupling rebound 50s with spoils, which Ryan averaged a handy 3.1 per game, puts him as a top line defender for leagues that opt to give greater weighting to stats that help out the men down back.

Buyer beware

Could Fantasy days be numbered for Nat Fyfe (MID, $709,000)? There’s no doubting his Fantasy chops, but injuries over the last four years has seen him miss about a quarter of the Dockers’ games. Fyfe underwent a shoulder reconstruction midway through 2021 and had another round of surgery in October when a small crack was discovered. He picked up a bacterial infection which was treated with intravenous antibiotics. While Fyfe will be in full contact training by mid-February and ready for round one, he lost FWD status and is on the ‘wrong side’ of 30 meaning there are possibly better options out there.

Fremantle's Nat Fyfe at training on December 2, 2021. Picture: Fremantle FC

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