AFL Fantasy HQ has kindly given coaches something to start thinking about before Christmas and in the lead up to the January grand opening of the site in the form of some player price tags!
We got to check out the top player prices from the premium players of the 2016 season earlier this month thanks to Warnie over at dreamteamtalk.com. But the latest price reveals give us a greater insight into our potential cash cows, fallen premiums and the risky mid pricers.
Each AFL team's player prices will be revealed over the coming weeks and The Tragic is here to break down each team to give an insight into which players we should be shortlising on our watchlists for season 2017. I'll include the must have rookies, debutants, mid pricers as well as the premiums and 'smokeys' you need to keep an eye out for during the JLT Community Series matches.
Keep a watch on the Tragic Talk blog as it will get updated when the teams get leaked - and don't forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below or over at our Facebook page.
The Blue Chip | Tom Rockliff
The beast is back. The only current playing 'pig' of fantasy after Sir Dane's departure last season, Tom Rockliff has a mantle to take back from Patrick Dangerfield. It's almost a given that fantasy coaches require at least two reliable captain choices to choose from each round - if you have Tom, then you'll only need one. Rocky's fantasy averages need no introduction to coaches, but just in case you've forgotten over the pre season here they are for the past four seasons:
The Mid Pricer | Allen Christensen
Track Burner Alert! Christensen, like several hundred other pre season heroes this off season has been reported to be training the house down. Christensen's 2016 was effectively ruined in round 11 against Carlton when he busted his collarbone which ruled him out for the rest of the season after one of his more consistent seasons in 2015. That year he averaged 83 and finished in the Lion's top 5 for their best and fariest award. From 2013 to 2015 Christensen was consistent from a fantasy scoring perspective with averages of 84, 82 and 83 - so you can understand that if he's fit, you'll be looking at a player who can average you at least 82-85 for the season. That's a 16-18 point increase on his 2016 average of 67, so you'll be making some money on him if nothing else. He won't be a keeper, so I don't know if he is relevant at this awkward price - possibly not. Particularly after he came out this week and said he will more than likely play predominantly forward after speaking to new coach Fagan - see here. With that in mind, he's a pass for me but could be a handy cash grab for those coaches willing to take a punt on the established 25 year old.
The Bargain | Dayne Beams
Just the two games in 2016 for Beams after being struck down with chronic knee tendonitis, the premium midfielder now comes with a handy dicounted price tag for coaches in 2017. Prior to his injury riddled 2016 season, Beama went for a four year streak of 100+ averages from 2012 - 2015 with a high of 115. It's been reported that Beams is nearing full training loads which has coach Chris Fagan excited, let alone fantasy coaches. Obviously durability is the big question mark here for selection in our teams, not only from his 2016 season, but over the past four seasons Dayne has only played 45 of a possible 92 games - that's a worry. Beams will have to prove himself here before selection as it would take a brave coach to take him for round one, no matter how good his pre season games are. Upgrade target for mine.
Fresh Blood Stud | Hugh McCluggage
The number three pick in this year's draft and was touted all year as the number one pick before McGrath snaffled it from under his nose on draft night. The all round midfielder can play inside and out while having the ability to be an aerial threat and kick a goal when required. Averaged 21 touches and 4 marks over the U/18 championships, cleaned up at the TAC Cup winning the Morrish Medal and was named MVP for Vic country at the carnival. Possibly the biggest lock for a round one berth given Brisbane's lack of talent and silk - in which McCluggage has oodles of. He comfortably sits in their best dozen players and provided he gets a good run at it over the pre season, he'll slot in nicely as a high half forward come winger when the season starts proper.
It's hard to justify paying anything above 200k for a player that has yet to play a game in this year's pricing structure. McCluggage at $246,000 has good job security and will give you some respectable scores, but there are so many options through the midfield that are cheaper and will give you a similar output - see David Myers from yesterday's Essendon write up for example. Could be a viable option as your F5 or 6 however with his DPP status - watch how he handles himself in the JLT Community series.
The Breakout | Lewis Taylor
It was a case of the third year blues for the pint sized 2014 NAB Rising Star winner. Lewy struggled at the hands of a Brisbane side that was down on confidence for much of the 2016 season and he wasn't alone. After averaging 74.7 in 2015, it looked like Taylor was on his way up. Leppa ended up keeping him forward however for long stints and as the ball didn't travel down that end of the ground all that often, it was an obvious effect on Taylor's output. Now moving into his 4th year in the system, Lewy will look to playing more midfield minutes as Chris Fagan tries to build a supporting act around his premium midfield stars like Rockliff, Beams and Zorko. I can see Taylor playing a high half forward role in a similar vein to someone like Caleb Daniel for the Bulldogs last year. Taylor's price tag sits him at an average of 60, which could potentially be 15-20 points less than what he is capable of producing in 2017. Durabilty is a big tick as he's played a total of 62 games from a possible 69 since the start of his career back in 2014. Could be a quick cash grabber at your F5/6 position - keep an eye out for his role in the team during pre season matches.
The Smokey | Tom Cutler
The 2013, number 33 draft pick Tom Cutler seems to have given some glimmer of hope in bridging that gap between Brisbane's best and worst line up. Cruelled by injury for much of his short career, he managed to string enough games together in 2016 (15 total) to justify the faith his team have shown in him since debuting in 2014.
A +14 ppg from 2015 to 2016 for Cutler is something that should interest coaches in their quest for player breakout value, it's not out of the question that he could push that average up another 10 points to over the 80 mark in 2017. What was most eye catching was Cutler's round 12 effort against Fremantle last season where he put his full fantasy scoring potential on display. He went for 28 touches, 13 marks and 2 goals that game playing predominately as a midfielder that pushes forward, collecting 139 fantasy points (yes, you read that correctly!). If new Brisbane coach Chris Fagan likes this version of Tom, we could see more performances like this rather than the stifling roles Leppitsch put him under. Could provide a great point of difference for coaches that are will to take a punt on a defender that could potentially move into the midfield on a more regular basis in 2017 and maybe be that stepping stone to an elite player.
Which Brisbane players have attracted your attention for 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below.