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 | Dyson Heppell
It's hard to look past Heppell's value here, especially with his 10% discount as one of the returning banned bombers. Priced at $548,000 which equates roughly to a 90 average, he is obviously more than capable of eclipsing that average in 2017 - somewhere in the ballpark of 100-105 is not out of the question. Will be a popular choice though and if you want that point of difference, you should be looking elsewhere. Not sure if he will end the season as a top 8 mid, but he will make you money that's almost a guarantee. Will be eager to build on his stalled career as leader of this club.
The Mid Pricer | Tom Bellchambers
If you're looking to go with a premium/mid price ruck combo, then Bellchambers could be your man. Has averaged 80 in the past (2012) from 16 matches and backed that up with a 74 average in 2013 from 18 matches. Comes with a price tag of $342,000 which sits him at an average of roughly 55, so as long as he is getting his body on the park he'll be making you money in an effort to trade him up to a premium later in the season. May play second fiddle to Luey in the ruck but his flexibility as a forward is his biggest assett which should see him get solid time on ground percentages. He has durability issues with his best return being the aforementioned 18 games in a season, but then again Luey isn't much better in this regard.
The Bargain | David Myers
The forgotten utility is back with a 10% discount as another of the banned bombers. In a stroke of good fortune, Myers ended up with a 36.5 average from 2 games in 2015 which luckily for fantasy coaches equates to a starting price of $197,000 in 2017. That makes him $53,000 cheaper than the number one draft pick and he's been listed as a midfielder as well. Myers had some injury issues in 2015 but by all reports is back on track and fully training again. In 2013/14 he had some solid fantasy seasons averaging 77 and 81 respectively while putting together a total of 38 from a possible 46 games during that time. If the reports are accurate and Myers is getting a full pre season under his belt, then he's almost considered a lock for your M7/8 position as he's considerably cheaper than the top draftee choices. I have him sitting at half back in my Essendon Best 22 at the moment and he'll get some midfield minutes no doubt, giving the likes of Heppell, Watson, Stanton and Merrett a chop out.
Fresh Blood Stud | Andrew McGrath
The number one pick in this year's draft, Essendon have likened their new Canadian born prized recruit to former club and Port Adelaide brownlow medalist Gavin Wangerneen. Big wraps for McGrath, although looking over his TAC cup games it's a worthy comparison. The midfield come small running defender averaged nearly 25 disposals and 3.3 marks over the U/18 championships, so he knows how to find his own ball while also having a great outside game as well. Looking over Essendon's starting 22 for round one, they are relatively strong across each line. Though he will have to show his worth, you could comfortably put McGrath ahead of Laverde, Langford, Colyer and possibly Francis. This would leave him a best 22 spot available and potentially see him as a midfield chop out player for Essendon's elite and filling a back pocket/half back flank role. Comes at a hefty $250,000 though and if I were tossing up between him and the aforementioned Myers, I would lean toward the cheaper Myers and spend my spare 53k elsewhere to strengthen the squad.
The Breakout | Ben Howlett
A mature age pickup back in the 2009 rookie draft, Howlett has since been a reliable member of the bombers midfield and forward line. I went to university with Ben back in 2008/09 and what excites me the most about his upcoming season is knowing that John Worsfold is going to absolutely LOVE the way he goes about his footy. Howlett is a coach's dream as he'll always give you 110% with whatever task he's given on game day. He's been super consistent across his 6 years with Essendon both with his fantasy scores and his games played with a 84.6 average being his best output in 2012 while his games played history reads 15, 23, 19, 19, 21 and 20. Rarely has Howlett had any injury issues in this time so his durabilty is amicable. I've put him on a HFF in my Best 22 for round one - as I think Woosh may use him as a high half forward that moves up the ground while giving forward pressure inside the 50. His tackling numbers are elite - averaging 6.2 tackles across his 6 year career, if he can bump up his disposal average then there is no reason he can't push for a 90 average in 2017. Has DPP flexibilty and priced at $404,000 (66 average) he could be a great point of difference for your forward line.
The Smokey | Kyle Langford
A first round draft pick back in the 2014 AFL Draft (Number 17 overall), Langford took his opportunities in 2016 to establish himself in the bombers best 22 to play 17 games. Was likened to Bontempelli when he got drafted and came out in October this year to say he is trying to model his game on Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe. He averaged a solid 70 fantasy points this year and his stats line read 15.3 disposals, 4.8 marks and 3.8 tackles - not bad for a second year player. His best fantasy score came in the final game of the season as he went on to score 107 versing the Blues while booting 3 goals to go along with 14 touches, 9 marks and 5 tackles. Priced at an awkward $422,000 as a DPP Mid/Fwd option, Langford might be too much of a risk for some fantasy coaches to snap up in round one - he's a wait and see for mine during the JLT Community series.
Which Essendon players have attracted your attention for 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below.