2017 Crystal Ball Predictions – Defenders

In this mini series we work our way through each line and ask the panel to complete the sentence. This is all done in isolation to every member of the panel and it’s very interesting to see what they come up with. Today we discuss the defenders. 



Tim:Taylor Adams – can anyone pass on him? Highest ceiling in the backs.

Rids: Sam Docherty. Ball will be in the backline a lot in 2017! Can’t see why this guy doesn’t back it up.

Hammer: Curtly Hampton. When he arrived at the Crows I suspected he was recruited to add some class and speed through the midfield. Things didn’t go his way last year, making him crazy cheap.

Scrads: Taylor Adams. Injury is the only concern here, otherwise he should easily be the top-scoring defender.

MJ: Heath Shaw. Over the past few seasons his scoring ability in the backline has been unmatched. The giants love getting the ball in his hands (well foot, he hates to handball) he’s also got arguably the biggest ceiling of all defenders. Lock & load!

Jimmy: Jake Lloyd. His run home last year gave us a good taste of what to expect and his preseason has given me no reason to jump off. Plays a very fantasy-relevant role and knows how to find the ball and importantly given risks in other positions, he has missed only two games since his debut.

Kane: Bernie Vince. Tailed off in the second half of 2016 with a shin injury, which only makes him a better option this year with his newly added defender eligibility. Scores well whatever role he plays and has fantastic durability, having has played at least 21 games in the past four seasons.

Fox: Heater and Adams, its a coin toss for me, heads to go Heath Shaw, tails to go Taylor Adams but like the little Mexican girl in the Old El Paso add would say……”Why don’t we have both”

Ben: Taylor Adams. The fact of the matter is the former Giant is suited to the DT scoring format like few are. He has the potential to be a captaincy option in 2017, and we are buying him under the 100 threshold. I think the question marks over durability are overcome by the value this guy offers.



Tim: Curtly Hampton – Seems to be on the up and up and is priced very cheaply for us.

Rids: Zac Tuohy. New club and has impressed so far in the JLT series. The real stuff starts soon. Not sure I am 100% confident on him to start him but will watch with interest.

Hammer: Not a fan of this year’s breakout candidates. Trent McKenzie is one who could have a 2nd breakout, similar to a few years ago.

Scrads: Zak Jones has a clearly defined change of role which should see him increase his average significantly. Not sure I can start with him but I’m definitely tipping a breakout year.

MJ: Josh Smith. Late last year this Collingwood youngster established himself as a key cog in the Magpie back 6 and this JLT Series has further confirmed it. Priced awkwardly in salary caps, but is perfect in draft leagues as people often gravitate to selecting ‘names’ over numbers.

Jimmy: Tom Cutler. Brisbane appear to be playing a possession-heavy game this year with the ball being shared around the backline. I’m a big fan of this kid and it looks like he has given himself the best opportunity to assume a key accumulation and distribution role.

Kane: Kade Kolodjashnij. Couldn’t reproduce his sensational sophomore season due to variety of health reasons and the Suns poor form. Gold Coast are a much more settled side heading into 2017 and as they improve I think Kolodjashnij will too.

Fox: Kade Kolodjashnij or KK as he’s more affectionately known ,struggled last year in trying conditions, has what it takes to be a future Top 10 defender on a permanent basis, let’s hope he’s up and about and firing on all cylinders in 2017

Ben: Callum Mills. The Swans youngster had an incredible debut season and he looks rather likely to take the next step in his gradual progression toward the elite performer he will become. His attack on the contest and contested nature of his play lends itself enticingly to the Supercoach format.


Tim: Rory Laird – seems a fairly safe bet.

Rids: Rory Laird. Just does what he does. Nothing will change!

Hammer: Hamish Hartlett. More relevant in SC, but I reckon he can sneak into the top 10 in all formats. Legitimate value option.

Scrads: Rory Laird is probably one of the safer names going around. If you’re the type that can stress over your players then I recommend him!

MJ: Sam Docherty. The ball is going to be in the Carlton backline an awful lot in 2017 which should give him plenty of opportunity to rack up the numbers.

Jimmy: Jason Johannisen. The Dogs love getting the ball into his hands for his run and carry. Might cop some attention at times but his ceiling in other games will more than make up for it.

Kane: Kade Simpson. In the last 11 seasons Simpson has missed just five games. Couple that with his consistent scoring nature you can see why year after year this guy is among the top defenders at seasons end.

Fox: Haven’t been as big a Rory Laird fan as i should have been in previous years, more midfield time and the way he consistently racks them up has won me over.

Ben: Jake Lloyd heads into season 2017 being one of the more reliable options. Highly durable and able to provide consistency of scores, I have little doubt that he’ll end up being in the top bracket with regards to total points and around the mark with his average.



Tim: Kade Kolodjashnij – a lot of people have been red hot on him since the Suns plucked him from Tassie, however I’m just not convinced enough on him to be able to start him, plus there seem to be a lot of top-end premiums in the backs this year to have to try and average close to.

Rids: Kade Simpson. Yes he will score well and yes he will feature high again but I can’t go 2 Carlton backs in my team! As a Richmond supporter it is wrong!

Hammer: Matthew Boyd. He’s a proven fantasy jet, but I just can’t trust those old man legs.

Scrads: Sam Docherty. I’m not sure he has it in him to improve again so I think we’d be paying more for what we’ll get.

MJ: Midprice defenders. Given the strength of our defensive coach cows and the genuine lack of cash cows in our midfield and forward lines it means you can’t run too deep in this line otherwise you’ll miss out on the cash generation. For me that means a pure ‘Guns and Rookies’ approach down back.

Jimmy: Rory Laird & Sam Docherty. I have no doubt these two will be top ten defenders by the end of the year but in starting them I just see no value and no hurt factor in leaving them until later. Much preferring to roll the dice here and choose options with higher ceilings and/or better price tags and look to pick this duo up later instead.

Kane: Leigh Montagna. Won’t make Round 1 with a calf injury and I can’t see myself trading him in the future as his chances of another injury seem too high.

Fox: My love for Sam Docherty has waned, especially at that 2017 price, surely he gets more attention in 2017, still a Top 10 defender but priced out of my starting squad.

Ben: Luke Hodge. The Hawthorn legend arrives at an enticing price and just eighteen months prior was coming off his best fantasy ever across the formats. The issue is not his potential scoring, but the accumulative risk of a Hodge + Adams, along with the various midfield options. Will he score well? Yes. Can I pick him? Not for me.



Tim: A lot of overhyped defense-eligible youngsters will momentarily gain huge value in keeper leagues throughout the year only to fall into obscurity again soon after, while at the end of the day the top scoring backs will be the same old same olds.

Rids: Defensive cash cows look very deep in comparison to the other lines. Make sure you allow enough spots to generate the cash required to complete the team.

Hammer: Guns and Rookies are the way to go down back this year. Again we have some good rookie options, and there’s also some great top end guns, if you nail the right ones.

Scrads: Callum Mills will have a breakout year and average around 90, but it won’t be enough as there will be 8+ other defenders going 95+ and 100+

MJ: Taylor Adams will be a top 10 averaging DreamTeam/AFLFantasy player and be almost 10 points clear of the next best averaging defender.

Jimmy: At least four or five of the top ten averaging defenders won’t be amongst the top ten for overall points this year due to games missed. The choice about if/when to chase those high averages could well define your season.

Kane: With a ton of quality scorers in defence this year capable of scoring around 100 it’s important you wipe away previous seasons view that guys in the 80-85 bracket will be enough. You’re losing to many points in your completed side if you settle for these sort of scorers.

Fox: How many premo defenders do we start with in 2017, that’s the big question.

Ben: The old blokes are likely to be the highest scorers once more. Simpson, Hodge, Shaw, Boyd and Montagna will once again be in the top bracket of scorers.

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