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 | Sam Docherty
Docherty's move to the Blues was an absolute blessing for fantasy coaches in 2014. The running defender/wingman always had a name for himself as a player with great potential, elite skills and a great engine. He has since come good on this potential, and in 2016 had a breakout year that put a smile on his fantasy owner's faces that were willing to take the punt.
His fantasy average of 101 as a defender eclipsed his previous season average of 82 (an 18 increase) and 79 in 2014 (his first year as a Blue). This increase came as a result of Docherty moving up the ground more often to play as a defensive winger under the reigns of new coach Brendan Bolton. In 22 matches played last season, Docherty managed 90 points of above on 15 occasions, with 12 of those 15 scores cracking the magical ton. He was a picture of consistency both with his games played and scoring. You'll be paying top dollar for him this season at $609,000 - but you get what you pay for here with Docherty. At only 23 years of age, he's on the incline still in terms of his development and could potentially increase that average if given more time on the wing. I wouldn't expect anything less than a 100-103 average by the end of 2017 as your potential D1 or 2 to start the season.
The Mid Pricer | Jacob Weitering
The cool headed, prized number one recuit of the 2015 draft, Weitering had a solid first year in playing 20 of a possible 23 matches while being heavily relied upon in the Blue's back six.
He averaged a less than appealing 57.4 fantasy points for his first season, with running defenders Kde Simpson and Sam Docherty hogging the cheap possessions - Weitering found it hard to join in the party. What's appealing here for fantasy coaches is firstly his natural progression going into his second year and secondly a potential move to the forward line. With the addition of some backline talent over the off season - Caleb Marchbank could allow Weitering to play a forward role in 2017. Of course its a wait and see type scenario during the pre season matches, but Carlton are in desperate need of someone to help out Casboult and Jacob could be the man. If this happens, I can potentially see Weitering impriving his season fantasy scoring average to somewhere in the 70-75 vicinity, depending on how much time he spends forward. Priced at a reasonable $347,000 he's been named as a defender only, but don't be surprised if he gains DPP status by round six - which could come in handy over the bye rounds.
The Bargain | Marc Murphy
It seems so long ago that Marc Murphy was hailed as one of the top fantasy prospects by coachs - it's only been 5 years since his 2011 season average of 111. Struck down with an ankle injury in round 10 last season against Geelong, Murphy couldn't return to the park and managed just the 10 games for the season. Now he comes at a bargain price of $482,000 (80 point average), which could entice some coaches to take a chance on the once premium midfielder.
Prior to his injury in 2016, Murphy was a consistent performer with 19 (2015), 20 (2014) and 23 (2013) season game totals in the previous three seasons. During those three seasons he also average a respectable 98 (2015), 96 (2014) and 86 (2013) fantasy points. So there is some value there if you think he can climb his way back up to a 95-100 average in the likely scenario that you upgrade him to an elite mid later down the track. It's been reported that he's back to full training and should get a good run at it leading into round one next season. This is good news for fantasy coaches, but does his price tag fit our structures for 2017? It might be hard to see him sitting as your M3/4/5 when there are much cheaper options with similar risks and scoring potential such as GCS David Swallow.
Fresh Blood Stud | Sam Petrevski-Seton
The Claremont kid hailing from Halls Creek in WA's Kimberley has come a long way to make his AFL dream a reality. Has a good head on his shoulders, knows what he wants and isn't afraid to work hard to get it. Only played the two games at the U/18 championships where he averaged 18.5 disposals with a fantasy friendly kick to handball ratio along with 2.5 marks. Wins a lot of outside ball with his electrifying pace, but it's his tackling pressure that would have won over the Carlton recruiters. In a similar mold to Cyril, Petrevski-Seton could very well be the best small mid/fwd since Rioli made his debut in 2008. Bolton will no doubt want to use his tackling inside the forward 50 to trap the ball in, while at the same time give him a run through the guts when the Blues need that spark. Carlton's best 22 says to me that he should debut come round one.
The Breakout | Patrick Cripps
The baby-faced bulldozer took the fantasy world by storm in 2016, in what could be considered a 'mini-breakout' season for the 21 year old Blue. I say mini-breakout, as the future captain has the potential to break through the 100+ season average banner and post up something that is worthy of 'premium mid' status for coaches in 2017.
In just his third year, Cripps averaged 99.5 fantasy points - which backed up his 2015 average of 86. An pure inside midfielder, that still has plenty of development left in terms of his outside game, Cripps monsters players when it comes to contested ball and tackles. In 2016 he averaged a huge 6.6 tackles per game to make up for his below average marking effort of 3.2. He also set a career best average in disposals, racking up 27 per game across 21 matches. In only gripe on his disposals is the lopsided kick to handball ratio, while he gets a lot of the pill - Cripps tends to be very handball happy. As fantasy coaches, we like to see our players kicking more often than not!
Take note - he's had an interrupted pre seasonin the build up to 2017. A stress fracture of the back will keep him out of full training action until March - so buyers beware. Although team mate Sam Docherty has come out earlier in the week and said Patrick will be fine for round one. Priced at $601k, it may be a case of wait and see with Cripps and his injury. Upgrade option.
The Smokey | Rhys Palmer
Third club, third time lucky? The career of new Carlton recruit Rhys Palmer has been an intriguing one to say the least, will season 2017 be the one where he returns to fantasy consideration for coaches? Most know about his first year in the system, picked up at number seven in the draft by Fremantle and going onto win the Rising Star award for best first year player. He averaged 87 that year in what is still his best output in his seven year career, that was 2008. Since then it's been tough going for the midfielder/forward/tagger, with 2016 his most disappointing year to date at an average of 59.2.
He was initially recruited as a ball winning midfielder with an elite engine, he can run all day. That debut year he was played as a pure midfielder, since 2008 however, his role has changed every week he goes out to play. Fremantle lost faith in him, giving him a reputation of not having enough skills (in particular his kick) to mix it with the best mids on his way out the door in 2011. The Giants then snapped him up, taking him with the thought of getting an established player who could help their young brigade of talent laden kids. Those same talented kids inevitably pushed Palmer to the side, where he once again found himself on the outer, out of position and consequently out of the team. He played the majority of his time in the NEAFL during his five years with GWS, racking up ridiculous numbers playing as a pure midfielder - especially in 2016, check this out:
Round 11 (vs. Sydney Swans): 39 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, seven inside 50s, 2.0
Round 12 (vs. Canberra): 52 disposals, seven marks, nine tackles, 11 inside 50s, 4.1
Round 19 (vs. Gold Coast): 23 disposals, six marks, four tackles, six inside 50s, 2.1
Round 20 (vs. Redland): 40 disposals, five marks, four tackles, 12 inside 50s, 1.2
Round 21 (vs. Brisbane Lions): 36 disposals, six marks, eight tackles, 11 inside 50s, 6.1
Round 22: (vs. Sydney Uni): 35 disposals, eight marks, 12 tackles, 11 inside 50s, 4.3
Now pick your jaw back up off the ground. The point here is Palmer hasn't played in the right position since 2008, he's been a forward tagger, a midfield tagger, an off the bench midfielder and full time gap filler for the majority of his career. Now, the only reason you would be looking at Palmer as an option in 2017 is if he's named as a forward - no one in their right mind would take him as a mid. So the question here is, what role does Brendan Bolton see fit for the 2008 Rising Star?
Which Carlton players have attracted your attention for 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below.