AFL Fantasy – tunas
All the research is done and it is just a matter of waiting until the team selections are finalised. I’m pretty much settled here, but last minute adjustments may be necessary depending on selections. Just remember to not throw out all of the research and planning in a last minute scramble. Have some contingencies in place, but try and stick with what you have become comfortable with over the last few weeks.
Initially I was a little hesitant to start with Heath Shaw, but his preseason has been outstanding. Appears likely to continue on his way from last year and should finish in the top few defenders again. Rory Laird doesn’t put up huge numbers and he can be a little bit handball happy. However, he is very consistent and I’m hopeful that he can average around the 85-90 mark. It was a choice between him and KK for this spot. Suckling looked to be as fit as he has been in years over the couple of games that I saw of him in the preseason. His bye round suits and he has the added benefit of DPP to be utilised between Adams and McDonald-Tipungwuti. Very much like Higgins last year, Suckling is probably not going to be considered a premium forward, but has the ability to sneak into the top 10 defenders for the year. When a coach directly nominates a mid priced defender as the person most likely to take a key position in the midfield it would be silly to ignore. Jesse Lonergan was a fantasy beast as a junior and with an opening in the Suns midfield I’m hopeful that he can continue on his way. Harwood and Dea round out the onfield brigade and have both been chosen as players to put up some early scores (anywhere around 60 for Dea and 75 for Harwood would be great) that can then be upgraded as the season goes. Some opportunity should allow the Bombers on my bench to play early games and provide cover if needed, but more importantly generate some cash.
Ablett and Rockliff don’t need much explanation. They are the two premier fantasy scorers in the competition and despite the fact they have had hidden preseasons I feel comfortable in selecting both. Macrae and Adams are two youger midfielders that have already shown the potential to go big. With another preseason under their belts there is every opportunity for these two to finish in the top 5 scorers. In particular, Macrae has added a defensive side to his game and with it will come plenty of tackles and link up work out of the defensive 50. Duncan and Crouch have both had injury interrupted careers so far. Both have also shown the ability to rack up possessions at will. Duncan will slide further down the watchlist for opposition coaches with the addition of Dangerfield and should go 100+. Crouch is a jet. He averages over 90ppg in his 25 games at AFL level and with the loss of Dangerfield the Crows will be looking for this young gun to step up. His price is a little inflated compared to the other formats, but he could very well end the season as one the premier midfielders of the game. Mills is easily the pick of the rookie mids and Macaffer has been elevated to the Magpies leadership group, which means he is highly regarded internally. Good price and job security. Perfect with the lack of quality mid rookies. Teams will dictate the bench.
Just like fantasy coaches, I’m sure the Lions did not expect to get the output out of Stefan Martin that they have since that fateful moment in 2014 when they were forced to play him because they had no other ruckmen. I expect him to be the number 1 ruck this year and have selected accordingly. Leuenberger is not so clear cut. He has been managed through the preseason and does have durability concerns, but at his price and with the added benefit of DPP it is too hard to ignore him. Yes, there is massive risk in selecting him. There is massive risk in selecting the likes of Liberatore and Crouch as well, but coaches seem very comfortable in doing it. If it doesn’t work out I have some plans in place to cover, but the upside outweighs the risk to me. Dan Currie should get a chance to play (hopefully early) and Sam Frost provides coverage and a DPP link to work with Leuenberger down the track. He might not put huge numbers up, but he appears to be a key part of the Demon plans and should play early.
Barlow and Martin have been swapping as my preferred forward premium over the last month, but I have ended up going with Barlow on the premise that he should return to the midfield following Ross Lyon’s comments earlier in the preseason. This is a foward he has averaged over 110 as a midfielder in the past. Too hard to say no to, especially with Bennell in doubt for the early rounds. Preseason hype pair Sam Gray and Aaron Hall both sneak in as I found it very hard to split them. Gray has taken the midfield role in full strength Port sides and looks a natural midfielder. I can’t see any reason why this doesn’t continue. He has a lovely bye round and Port’s draw is huge. There is still some doubt over whether Hall keeps the midfield minutes when the season starts. Again, on reflecting on this I don’t see how he doesn’t. He moves well and uses the ball beautifully, on top of tackling like a demon when he doesn’t have it. Starting (or not starting) these two is one of the calls of the preseason. Kerridge, Wells and Simpkin all offer DPP and the ability to put up numbers that could have them sitting at F6/7 at the end of the season. Each should be a certain Round 1 starter. Even with the inflated starting price, there is value in each of them. The bench of Menadue and Adams should both be named. As discussed earlier, Adams can be moved around with the DPP duo in the backline.
So there it is. The starting tunas line up for 2016. There are a few risky selections and obviously I’m hopeful of a bit of luck with the injury history of some of the players, but there is enough upside in all of them to allow me to start with them. I have gone with a lot more midprice selections in the AFL Fantasy format over the limited trade formats to allow me to continually upgrade the team over the season. The limited earning potential of the basement priced rookies has dictated this. If everything goes to plan I have 10 players that I consider season long keepers and another 4-5 that could get there. Two trades a week should hopefully see a side that is completed by the end of the byes, with room to tweak here and there.