WHENEVER a player who has averaged more than 100 multiple times and is available as a forward, AFL Fantasy coaches must consider them.

The Bulldogs have two such players in Josh Dunkley (MID/FWD, $767,000) and Adam Treloar (MID/FWD, $731,000).

While Fantasy coaches have often been concerned about the midfield squeeze at Whitten Oval, the Fantasy points still flow with the Dogs. They ranked as one of the highest scoring teams last season, including posting four scores of 100 or more per game, the equal most in the competition.

Eight Western Bulldogs averaged more than 85 points per game, the most of all 18 clubs.

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Lock them in

There are very few players in the league who have the Fantasy scoring game of Jack Macrae (MID, $972,000). In just his second season, he averaged 104 and has produced three seasons with 115-plus averages. Macrae’s personal best was 122.6 in 2018. His 2021 season included just one score under 90, making him a safe captain option. Macrae may go outside your league’s top five selections on Draft day and if he’s available after that, then you could have yourself a steal!

The Western Bulldogs' Jack Macrae handballs during the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Track their pre-season

In his 10 years since being drafted to the Giants, Adam Treloar (MID/FWD, $731,000) has been one of the best Fantasy players in the competition. It only took him until his third season to average more than 100 and he continues that trend in his time at the Pies to average 111 across his five years. While his first year at the Dogs was his worst from a Fantasy standpoint since his debut, there’s value in Treloar as a FWD he was averaging close to the Fantasy ton prior to his ankle injury last year. If he’s getting midfield clock during the AAMI Community Series, don’t hesitate in locking him in.

Dual-position tempter

We’re lucky enough to still have Josh Dunkley (MID/FWD, $767,000) available as Fantasy FWD. He proved to be a fantastic starting pick last year with six straight tons, at an average of 116, before a shoulder injury saw him miss the next dozen rounds. On return, Dunkley averaged just 63. Role certainly has an impact on Dunkley’s scoring, but if he has the opportunity to gain 25-plus disposals and lay five or more tackles, the most popular Bulldog in Fantasy Classic is a sure thing to outperform his starting price.

The Western Bulldogs' Adam Treloar (left) and Josh Dunkley at a training session on September 24, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Bargain basement

It’s going to be an uphill battle to see many sub-$300k players have a Fantasy impact for last year’s grand finalists, but Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (FWD, $299,000) has the best chance of being out on the park. The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft played five games in his debut season for a modest average of 42. Ugle-Hagan starts 2022 only slightly more expensive than what he was at the beginning of last year. While he should be better in his sophomore season, don’t expect him to be a super relevant player this season.

Draft sleeper

We saw Tim English (RUC/FWD, $673,000) spend increased time as a forward last season which has given him handy dual-position status. He ranked as the 12th best ruck by average, but if he was able to back up his efforts from 2020, he would have been 4th. Stefan Martin’s inclusion in the squad adversely affected English’s scores as hitout numbers were significantly lower due to the 24-year-old playing second fiddle to the veteran. Coaches looking to punt rucks on Draft day could do much worse than English when it comes to the later rounds, but for those in a start up Keeper League, you should consider the 207 cm ruck/forward as he’ll be among the best players available as a ruck in the years to come.

The Western Bulldogs' Tim English in action during the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Custom stat star

2021 was a Fantasy breakout season for Bailey Dale (DEF, $700,000). He averaged a career high 83.5 and played every game. Dale made a switch to the backline last season and earned a spot in the Therabody AFL All-Australian team at half-back. He’s set to be a top 20 defender in the standard Fantasy scoring system, but if you are keen to reward defensive efforts in your custom scoring Draft league, then Dale can provide even more value. He averaged 5.7 rebound 50s a game and was among the top 30 players in the league for effective disposals; another advanced stat leagues choose to add to their scoring system.

Buyer beware

Before you think I’ve gone crazy, hear me out. Marcus Bontempelli (MID, $905,000) is, without a doubt, one of the stars of the game. In the last three seasons he has become a reliable Fantasy performer averaging 105 in that time. Up until round 15, the Bont was averaging 114 and was proving to be in the top handful of Fantasy midfielders that were must-haves. After that point he averaged 98. Now, this is where the buyer beware comes in. In the 10 games Josh Dunkley was out injured, Bontempelli averaged 118.5. When Dunkley was playing, he averaged 96.3; a 22.2 point differential. Something to consider when compiling your Draft rankings and a stat that makes Bont an upgrade target in Classic.

Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli celebrates a goal during the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

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