Fantasy football began on Friday night, but this week will be defining to whether you have a successful season or not with players from the remaining fourteen clubs needing to be locked and loaded.
The AFL Fantasy competition will see a partial lockout put in place from the beginning of the Richmond/Carlton encounter on Thursday night. This means that you’ll have until the opening bounce of the Dogs vs Brisbane match on Saturday afternoon to finalise the rest of your team. Supercoach gives you a little more flexibility, with the newly implemented rolling lockout giving you the option to make changes right up until the start of each game. I strongly suggest that you have your teams ready by Thursday night, as making changes in between games seriously restricts options of player availability, salary cap space and the overall balance of your squad. The only changes you should be considering will be determined by late outs and sub vests. Eliminating the dangers of a trigger happy trading finger in between games will help you avoid regrets.
Here are some of the names you should be seriously considering.
GARY ABLETT (MID) – $740,500 SC/ $642,500 AF.
Yes he is expensive, but I go by a theory that you pick the highest scoring player as your captain, no matter how expensive they are. You soon forget their price when you are doubling scores of 140-200 each week. He is probably a better SC option, but still an absolute jet in AFL Fantasy.
DANE SWAN (MID) – $675,300 SC/ $688,100 AF.
Lock him in as your AFL Fantasy captain. Produced a career best 187 on Fantasy Grand Final Day last year, leading many to premiership glory. Not as prolific in Supercoach, but an average of 126 proves he is still one of the best.
SCOTT PENDLEBURY (MID) – $667,300 SC/ $568,700 AF.
If Ablett and Swan are hurting your cap too much, Scott Pendlebury is the next best option. Averages of 124 in Supercoach and 110 for AFL Fantasy tell the story. Ultra consistent but isn’t as capable of the massive scores that Ablett and Swan can produce. Still a great option.
JOSH KENNEDY (MID) – $643,000 SC/ $523,900 AF.
I’d only consider Kennedy a great captain option in Supercoach. Stepped it up in 2012, finishing 1st in the competition in clearances and contested possession, key Supercoach stats. It appears he could get even better with huge numbers throughout the preseason.
DAYNE BEAMS (MID) – $657,600 SC/ $599,400 AF.
Beams had a breakout season in 2012 and became a fantasy star. While he has lost his forward link, at 23, he will continue to improve. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was able to average 120+ in both competitions this year.
BRENT MOLONEY (MID) – $362,400 SC/ $309,800 AF
Fell out of favour at Melbourne when Neeld took over as coach, after averaging 99 in Supercoach and 88 in DreamTeam during 2011. Brisbane swooped when he became available, seeing him as the perfect ingredient to help solve their struggling clearance differential stats. He’ll get better opportunities that could see his numbers return to 2011 levels.
TRAVIS VARCOE (MID/FOR) – $268,900 SC/ $234,400 AF.
Cursed by a foot issues throughout 2012, Varcoe managed to play only about a quarter of senior football in 2012. He is fit and ready to go for the 2013 season, with a role off the back flank likely. Expect Geelong to feed him plenty of the ball and take full advantage of his elite foot skills.
PATRICK KARNEZIS (FOR) – $262,200 SC/ $238,500 AF.
Karnezis has scrapped his lead up forward role and become a rangy outside midfielder. He averaged 28 disposals a game in the NEAFL for 2012, including collecting 30 or more disposals on six different occasions. He looks to have broken into the best 22 and judged on preseason form, should produce large numbers throughout the season.
MATTHEW LEUENBERGER (RUCK) – $301,100 SC/ $233,600 AF
A serious bargain if he can get on the field. Only played the first three games last year before developing an achilles injury that kept him on the sidelines for the rest of the season. He has already had a preseason set back, but played a half in the NEAFL reserves last week and is an outside chance for round 1.
ARRYN SIPOSS (FOR) – $316,600 SC/ $325,000 AF.
A superb kick of the footy, Siposs has been earmarked to take over the Brendon Goddard role behind the play. Whether he can produce similar numbers to Goddard remains to be seen. The preseason signs have been solid, but not spectacular, averaging 0.82 points per minute throughout the NAB Cup. Those numbers will improve as he gets more accustomed to the position.
LIAM SHIELS (MID) – $375,900 SC/ $408,900 AF.
Shiels went backwards in 2012, having averaged numbers of 91 Supercoach and 102 DreamTeam points for 2011. Greater opportunities with injuries to key personnel should see him become prolific again. Let’s not forget, he is still only 21 and has plenty of development to come. He looks a good option.
BRETT GOODES (DEF/MID) – $128,200 SC/ $121,300 AF.
The younger brother of Adam has finally been given an opportunity at the tender age of 29. After a successfully VFL career with North Ballarat and Williamstown, Goodes has followed the path of the likes of James Podsiadly, Ian Callinan and Orren Stephenson by getting drafted in the late twenties. He has already been named the nominated rookie for the Dogs and had a great preseason. Lock, lock, lock.
LEWIS STEVENSON (DEF) – $115,900 SC/ $108,500 AF.
Lacking opportunities at West Coast, the Claremont premiership player was traded to Port Adelaide and will play many senior games. A flexible, rebounding defender, Stevenson has shown throughout the preseason that he is capable of scoring well. He will make us plenty of cash.
DEAN TERLICH (DEF) – $109,500 SC/ $102,700 AF.
Ended last season a Norwood premiership player and was best on ground in the SANFL Grand Final. He originally spent some time on Sydney’s rookie list. He is a big bodied, rebounding defender who will have an immediate impact for Melbourne. He finished the preseason with a promising 104 Supercoach score.
JASPER PITTARD (DEF) – $128,000 SC/ $132,600 AF.
Another cheap defender. Make sure you load up on them. Pittard endured a horribly injury interrupted 2012. He first succumbed to a hamstring, before returning and having a large collision with Chad Wingward. That impact resulted in broken ribs and bleeding in the lungs. Highly rated at Port, he’ll be a regular this season.
KANE MITCHELL (MID) – $126,200 SC/ $119,300 AF.
Prolific ball winner and reigning Sandover medallist in the WAFL, the long haired midfielder looks like he’ll play a defensive role at Port Adelaide. Just ensure he gets promoted off the rookie list during the week before committing.
JAEGER O’MEARA (MID) – $115,900 SC/ $108,500 AF.
He is seen as a potential superstar of the future and is already racking up big numbers. He has an elite mix of endurance and pace and is dangerous both inside and outside the packs. He has already had a year of senior football in the NEAFL which will see him comfortable around the bigger bodies early.
JACK VINEY (MID) – $109,500 SC/ $102,700 AF.
The son of Todd is a hard and aggressive type who will add some much needed grunt to Melbourne’s midfield. Played senior football with Casey last year and is expected to play round one for the Dees. He averaged 17 possessions in the shortened games of the U18 National Championships last year.
OLIVER WINES (MID) – $169,500/ $156,700 AF.
A little more expensive than the other midfielders, but he will play games and make you some decent profit. He is an aggressive midfielder and a clearance expert. You won’t find too many 18 year olds who will come into senior football with a more mature body than Wines. One of the highest clearance winners of the NAB Cup.
DANIEL CURRIE (RUCK) – $109,500 SC/ $102,700 AF.
He spent many seasons on Sydney’s list before being delisted and having a great season for North Adelaide in the SANFL. He has arguably out played Todd Goldstein throughout the preseason and is a chance for a round one call up. Brad Scott has indicated he’ll only take one ruckman into the game, so ensure he isn’t starting on your ground just in case he misses out. He will play throughout the season though.
SAM ROWE (FOR/RUCK) – $115,900 SC/ $108,500 AF.
With forward cash cow options being a rarity, Rowe provides a handy link with the rucks. Another who spent time on Sydney’s list as a rookie. Rowe didn’t get an opportunity to play a senior game in his first season with Carlton after being diagnosed with cancer. He has now fully recovered and his strong marking will be a welcome addition to an inexperienced Carlton forward line.
I’ve been a supporter and follower of AFL for as long as I can remember. Having been born into a family with deep football history and tradition on both sides, you can say it runs through my blood. I’ve got a keen interest in the stats and analysis of the game, which helped me finish in the top 100 of fantasy competitions DreamTeam and Supercoach last year. While my own local football career was cut short due to injury at 22, it has created an opportunity for me to frequently watch and build a deep knowledge of the sport at its highest level. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and views throughout the season.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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