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 | Gary Ablett Jnr.
The man, the myth, the maestro - GAJ needs no introduction to fantasy coaches. Though with all his fantasy prowess and credentials, coaches are still weary of the once captain lock and fantasy stud.
It's been a tough few years for Gary, you have to wonder how many Brownlows he'd have next to his name if Brent MaCaffer wasn't born... damn him for robbing us of watching potentially the Michael Jordan equivilant of the AFL! It's been well documented that Gaz's shoulder is shot to pieces, then it's come good, then it's fallen off again - now he's apparantly all good to go for season 2017. That's great news if you can believe it, or will it be a case of one Jack Viney tackle and the little maestro is gone for the season again?
Hmm, still this is Gary we are talking about here - the man who from 2007 to 2014 didn't dip under a 100+ fantasy season average! With a career high 124.7 average in 2012. Despite his ridiculous numbers over the years, Jnr has only played 35 games from a possible 69 in the past three seasons. Coming in at $611k, which is pracitcally 100k cheaper than your Dangerfields, Rockliffs and Merretts...can coaches trust the champ to weave his fantasy magic once again?
The Mid Pricer | Kade Kolodjashnij
He was all the rage after his second year onslaught in 2015, when others were suffering second year blues, Kolo was pumping out crazy consistent fantasy numbers in the backline (he had 13 85+ scores in 2015). In 2016 however, he suffered with his form mainly due to a digestive condition that seemed to aggrevate him enough to affect his form, but not enough to stop him playing entirely. Kolo still managed to crawl to 19 games played for the season surprisingly, but the quality at which we were used to as coaches wasn't up to his lofty standards.
To refresh your memories, Kolo went for an 84 average in just his second year in the system. A running defender who managed to rack up a 22 disposal average, 5.6 marks and 2 tackles per game. His numbers in 2016 diminished as a direct result of the digestive issue as his fantasy average for the season plummeted to 72.4. He's on a new diet now and Kolo seems to be back on track, literally, as he took out the Sun's most recent time trial to prove to fantasy coaches he's ready to return to his 2015 form. If he's healthy, which it seems as though he is, then Kolo priced at $437k just about selects himself as your D3 or 4 based purely on what he did in 2015 and the fact he enters his 4th year breakout season.
The Bargain | David Swallow
Come round one 2017 when the Suns play Brisbane in their opening game, David Swallow will not have played an AFL match for pemiership points in 623 days!
Swallow had just announced himself as a fantasy prospect in 2014 with a season average of 94, then 6 games into 2015 he was struck down with a lingering PCL injury that had further complications in 2016. Prior to his 2014 season of 21 games, Swallow was still hit and miss in terms of his durability and suseptibility to injury. 2013 he played 18 games and in 2012 he managed just the 12, so it's a tough call still depite his bargain price of $355k for fantasy coaches. He's just signed a new two year deal that will tie him to the club til the end of 2018, so the Sun's heirachy must be happy with his injury progress. Though its comments such as this from the former 2010 number one draft pick that don't fill me with a huge amount of faith...
Swallow is on a modified training plan for the next year while he is resigned to the fact he will need to manage his knees that will have “a little bit of instability” for the rest of his career.
Rocket has spoken to him about playing a more defensive role at times next season while floating through the midfield - so it could be a case of watch his role during the pre season matches. Though at that price, you have to consider - even if it is simply to make some quick cash before offloading him to a premium midfielder.
Fresh Blood Stud | Jack Bowes
I've been talking this kid up for a while now, in fantasy terms he is the best chance of making my round one squad provided he is named for the Suns. Jack Bowes and the car manufacturer Rolls Royce have been mentioned in the same sentence ever since scouts caught eye of his U/18 championship performances. He averaged close to 20 disposals over his 6 games played and tallied 3.4 marks as well. What is most interesting about Bowes is the fact he has played against men in the NEAFL and handled the bigger bodies in his stride. The only thing that deters me from Bowes was the fact he was taken in the draft after Will Brodie, another midfielder in a similar mold. It may come down to who performs over the summer months as to which gun GC recruit gets the nod for a round one berth. Given the Suns lack of midfield depth with their off season departures, Eade may choose to blood these young guns early - and given Bowes NEAFL performances and experience, he could very well get first crack at it. Has been given DPP status as a mid/fwd and at 232k could be worth the punt as your F5.
The Breakout | Touk Miller
Out of any forward this coming season, Touk Miller excites me the most. When the DPP leaks were released and Touk flashed up as a mid/fwd, I mentally locked him in my forward line already - and at $493,00, if you paid attention to what he did in the latter half of 2016, you would know that he stands as a genuine breakout contender for savvy fantasy coaches.
In 2015 he was primarily used as a high half forward, pinch hitting when needed through the guts ending the season with a respectable 70.1 average in his debut fantasy season. However, out of necessity, Eade has had to fast track his project's midfield minutes and with some handsome results. After a slow start to 2016, fantasy coaches could have been fooled into thinking Touk was destined for the second year blues. Then the midfield plague struck the Suns, Miller went in as a full time mid and from rounds 16-23 got on a roll for scores of 135, 84,111,87,75,139,105 and 98 (ave 104.25). Those of you who play Draftstars will know how good it was having Touk in your team every week at a bargain price - he was a lock in that format for those rounds. He ran the show in that midfield and for the majority was producing these scores in a losing team (2 wins/6 losses from rounds 16-23).
Stay tuned Boxing Day for my 'Other Guys' article that features Touk Miller!
The Smokey | Jack Martin
Taken with pick number one in the 2012 'mini draft' as he was too young to be eligible for selection in the real AFL Draft, Jack Martin has had to live up to a lot of hype in his first few years of senior footy. I still remember his first match in 2014 - he was terribly small in comparison to most debutants, let alone seasoned AFL players and probably shouldn't have been played. As a result, he suffered some injury setbacks and his form fluctuated during his first two years in the system. The knockers came.
But the critics were silenced in 2016 as Martin became a regular, more consistent contributer in the injury ravaged Suns outfit to end the season with a solid 75 fantasy average. Out of necessity, he played more midfield minutes and took his disposal average from 12.8 in 2015 to 16.3 and improved in both his marking and tackle averages. Playing a career high 21 games (previous best was 12 in 2015), Martin had 8 scores of 90+ with his opening three rounds of the season looking like 91, 112, 94 - before crashing back to earth with a 43 in round four. He had a high of 116 in round 16 against the Lions with 29 touches, 9 marks and 4 tackles playing predominantly on the wing. He's now picked up def/fwd status and is a viable option as a defender this coming season as natural progression and a fit body means Martin shoud be pushing for an 82-85 average. Awkwardly priced at $453k, it will take a brave coach to back him in - just prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride if you do.
Which Gold Coast players have attracted your attention for 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below.