AS SOMEONE who would have no trouble finding AFL Fantasy relevancy in a player's Instagram post, it was easy to incorporate AFLX games into my pre-season research.
My main areas of focus were the youngsters, fast finishers in 2017, and players who were returning from injury.
Here are a few statistics and observations from the three nights of action. Thanks to Champion Data and Fantasy Freako for the all-important statistics.
Allen Christensen (FWD, $331,000) did more than enough to stay on a JLT watch list, finding the scoreboard on a number of occasions and looked great doing it. He had no trouble finding the ball against the Tigers with nine possessions and collected another nine and two goals in the Grand Final against the Swans, in which he racked up 22 more Fantasy points than any other player on the ground.
Luke McDonald (DEF/MID, $603,000) did nothing to deter coaches who have picked him as a defender based on the hope he will play predominantly through the midfield. He had no trouble getting his hands on the ball, with 11 possessions in game one which included eight kicks, before backing it up with 13 disposals and seven marks.
Paddy Dow (MID, $266,000) fell off the radar due to an injury interrupted start to the pre-season but it appears he has well and truly caught up. His speed was notable as he collected seven possessions in each game. Add him to your mix of starting rookies if he isn’t already there.
James Sicily (DEF/FWD, $523,000) Many coaches who have Sicily in their team have been questioning whether he is worth the risk. Following his appearance in AFLX, the decision looks easy after he looked great with 11 disposals, four marks and a couple of goals.
Paul Ahern (FWD/MID, $170,000) was quiet with just seven disposals across his two games.
Angus Brayshaw (DEF/MID, $462,000) has many coaches tempted to throw him in the backline after consistently showing his ability to score in the 80s last year throughout five games. He only appeared in the second game and was serviceable with six disposals.
Bayley Fritsch (FWD, $210,000) has thrown himself into contention with a great performance against the Roos with eight possessions, five marks and three goals. The mature-age recruit has been mentioned as a possible starter for the Dees in round one so keep a close eye on him.
Matthew Kennedy (MID, $485,000) is on many coaches' watch list after chasing increased opportunity through the midfield at the Blues. Although awkwardly priced, he reinforced that he is in fact under-priced, with prominent performances of nine kicks and seven marks to go with nine disposals and three marks in the two games.
James Worpel (MID, $182,000) has been gathering momentum as a potential starter in our squads over the last couple of weeks, but unfortunately he didn’t set the world on fire with a couple of quiet games. He did bring good intensity, however, which was a positive.
Luke Dunstan (MID, $617,000) looked like picking up where he finished last season, leading the Saints' possession count against the Bombers with nine disposals, four marks and two goals. He is an interesting mid-priced option and one to watch as a Draft slider.
Tim Kelly (MID, $224,000) looked very comfortable with six possessions and a goal for the Cats. Keep the popular mature age recruit in your squad.
Andrew McGrath (DEF/MID, $496,000) is certainly a player of interest with his defender status and indication from the Bombers that he is set for more midfield time. The jury is still out as to whether he is worth a mid-priced punt after collecting five and six disposals across his two games.
Tom Doedee (DEF, $170,000) remains a lock for your bench. He looked right at home intercepting possessions and had seven disposals with 100 per cent kicking efficiency against the Cats.
Hamish Brayshaw (MID, $170,000) was impressive with nine possessions against the Pies and is certainly one to watch given his fine junior pedigree and the fact he is older than the majority of draftees.
Mitch Robinson (FWD/MID, $542,000) looks in a great place. With some luck on the injury front I think he is set for a career-best season. He was everywhere, kicking goals, laying trademark tackles and looked fully recovered from injury.
Willie Rioli (FWD, $170,000) is already in most teams and he certainly did enough to stay there. He was a constant threat around goal and seems to have improved his tank considerably.
Jack Higgins (FWD/MID, $238,000) was solid against GWS with seven possessions and remains in the mix if he can break into the premier's round one line up, which sounds unlikely at this stage.
Lachie Whitfield (MID, $690,000) firms as a bolter this year with a couple of great games, leaving him one of the most impressive performers over the tournament. Against the Tigers he had a game-high 16 possessions, and collected 15 against the Lions.
Will Setterfield (FWD/MID, $265,000) remains on my shortlist for a spot on the ground in the forward line after impressing with 10 possessions against the Lions.
Kade Kolodjashnij (DEF, $604,000) looks to have put his concussion woes behind him, with a helmet the only evidence there was an issue. He was as smooth as ever, with typical time up his sleeve while gathering 13 possessions against the Dogs.