AFL Fantasy HQ has kindly given coaches something to start thinking about in the lead up to the January grand opening of the site in the form of some player price tags!
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 | Adam Treloar
The former Giant was as consistent as any last season after his move to the Pies in the 2015 draft period. Fantasy coaches were weary of his position in the deep Collingwood midfield, boasting the likes of Pendlebury, Swan and Adams. They steered clear of the 23 year old in round one, but by season's end he had a tick over 20,000 happy coaches as he racked up the third highest overall total points at an average of 111.5 for the 2016 season.
He went for an incredible 15 100+ scores in his 22 games played in 2016, while his other 7 games were made up of 5 90+ scores, an 85 and a 75. Add that scoring consistency to his impressive injury history of 101 games played from a possible 115 in his 5 year career and you have possibly the biggest premium mid lock in the game. He still has improvement at his age and could potentially give the 115 season average a nudge if Pendles and Adams can give him a helping hand in the midfield. It's a tough choice for coaches choosing between the likes of Dangerfield, Rockliff, Merrett, Hannebery and Treloar as their number one mid, assuming the majority will vouch for those first two names - Treloar could prove to be a great premium point of difference.
The Mid Pricer | Josh Smith
After just 11 games in 3 years at the Kangaroos, Smith found a nice niche for himself during the 2016 season in the Collingwood back half and wings. An elite endurance athlete (third place in their most recent time trial), he was able to use that running ability to rack up 20.8 possessions per game and 4.7 marks to take his 18 game season fantasy average to a respectable 76.3.
Had a high score of 131 versing Gold Coast in round 22 while also having 7 80+ scores as a cheap defender option for coaches. He made coaches a bucket load of cash as a downgrade option initally when he debuted in round 5, while for some coaches he became a mainstay as their backlines fell into disarray once the season unfolded. Now moving into his 5th season on a senior list and at the age of 22, Smith will look to consolodate on his breakout 2015 season in a bid to cement his postion on the wing where he will be against the likes of Oxley, Phillips, Ramsay, Thomas and Aish. At $461k, you would need him to take that next step into an 85 average and i'm not entirely certain he can - though i'm happy to be proven wrong here. It's more likely he hovers around that awkward 80 average at best, where you'll need to upgrade in the future if you want to mix it with the high ranked teams.
The Bargain | Jamie Elliott
In what was supposed to be an early 2016 return from a minor back injury, turned out to be a season ending injury that Elliott just couldn't seem to shake. Now back in full training this pre season, Jamie Elliott will be looking to take back his mantle as one of the league's top small forwards.
A bargain because of his price tag in 2017 of $330,00, Elliott has managed to get himself a full 30% discount on his 2015 fantasy average of 78.2. That price tag puts him at an average of roughly 55, 25 points shy of what he is capable of averaging. So if nothing else, Elliott will make you some quick cash before trading him up to a premium forward option. Prior to his wretched 2016 season, he was a relatively consistent player in terms of injury - playing a total of 57 games in the past 3 seasons from a possible 69. The majority of those games missed has been due to his back issues, so if he manages to sort that out, you could argue a case he should give you 18 games minimum in 2017. As most small forwards, Elliott can be a roller coaster ride in his scoring and will give you some confidence crushing sub 60 point games. Though in 2015, he did manage to go 80+ on 10 occassions from his 20 game season that year. He will be called upon again in 2017 if fit, to play a similar role as to what he has in the past, so don't expect midfield minutes or a high half forward type role. He'll be there to crumb the likes of White and Moore, while also providing another avenue to goal. If he manages to get some games under his belt over the JLT pre season matches, you could certainly consider him as a money maker in the hope of upgraging down the track.
Fresh Blood Stud | Daniel Wells
There were two types of coaches in 2016, those who had Wells and those that didn't. Daniel Wells proved to be somewhat of a pivotal selection in the early stages of season 2016 after a clouded 2015 and pre season due to a nagging achilles injury. If you had Wells from round one, you ended up making a heap of cash and had a handy forward option that pumped out an 86.8 average over 19 games (his second highest career fantasy average). The achilles injury came back late in the season to keep him out for a few matches, but the damage was done by that point and smart coaches cashed him in to upgrade to a premium forward.
He's lost all his sparkle in 2017 however, now only listed as a midfielder and setting you back a hefty $531k, Daniel Wells doesn't seem quite as delicious as he did last year. It would take a brave (albeit silly) coach to take him in 2017, as there are so many factors counting against the smooth moving wingman. He'll be 32 when the season starts and the onset of old man injury has already set in - one with the achilles, now he's had a calf issue over the pre season. You couldn't expect him to improve on his 2016 average by much, if at all, while getting a full season out of seems about as likely as finding what you want on the second page of a google search. If you're reading this, you probably made your mind up after the first sentence, so I won't go any further - just do yourself a favour and keep scrolling down when you see his name. With all respect, Mr. Wells.
The Breakout | Brayden Maynard
The Collingwood back six is as unstable as it has been since it's premiership in 2010. Nathan Brown, Jack Frost, Jonathan Marsh, Alan Toovey and most notably Marley Williams have all departed the Holden Centre from last year. Buckley will be looking to establish a new back six that resembles some sort of consistency and with Maynard playing 20 games last year, he's shown he can be durable and reliable. Pending his pre season form, he seems to be a lock for the running half back role left by Williams, with Langdon more than likely taking the other side. Ramsay poses the only real threat when he returns from injury, he's highly touted within the club and could very well fill a spot in the back six once fit.
For much of the 2016 season, Maynard was forced into lock down roles often having to play accountable footy in the defensive half. There was however a month of football that perked my interest roughly half way through the season (rounds 10-14) where he was let off the leash and played some damaging football across half back while pushing up the wing. During those rounds he went for 113,94,83 and 123! That's huge for a defender and is the main reason why i'm writing this article. He fills the stat sheet pretty well for a defender also, unlike a Birchall who struggles to lay a tackle, in 2016 Maynard averaged 15.5 disposals, 4.5 marks and 3.5 tackles per game. Going into his third season, natural progression should at least push his disposal average up closer to the 20 average.
The Smokey | Jordan de Goey
This kid could be anything. Taken as a ball winning midfielder with pick number 5 in the 2014 AFL Draft, de Goey has had to ply his trade as a high half forward with a stacked Collingwood midfield.
Moving into his third year on the senior list, de Goey will be looking (like so many others) for more midfield time in 2017. This is going to be hard to come by however with Buckley's obvious crusade to recruit as many midfielders as possible under his reign as coach. Never mind the regulars such as Pendles, Adams, Sidebottom and Treloar - the Magpies have waiting in the wings players such as Broomhead, Hoskin-Elliott, Thomas, Oxley, Crips, Greenwood, Smith, Wills, Phillips and Aish just to name a few. As you can see, it looks inevitable that de Goey will once again be relegated to another year playing out of position where he could very well plateau in terms of his development and consequently, his fantasy scores.
Never the less, de Goey had a solid, if not underwhelming 2016 for a number five pick of his calibre. He went for a season average of 75.5, roughly 13 points up on his 2015 debut average. That 2016 average was made up of 18.3 disposals, 4.1 marks and 3.6 tackles - to which you couldn't expect much more from a second year player who didn't see a lot of midfield time in a team that finished outside the top 8. From his 20 games played in 2016, de Goey managed 14 75+ scores, however he only topped the 100 point barrier on one occassion (round 5). With his price at $455,000, it's hard to put a case together for a player that could potentially do exactly what he did this year - perhaps 5 points improvement on average. When you can go and get his team-mate in Jamie Elliott for $120k cheaper and get similar results. I like the look of the kid, but i don't like his role in the team. If I see a change during the pre season games I might consider him on my watchlist, til then however, it's a pass for me.
Which Collingwood players have attracted your attention for 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below.