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 | Josh Kennedy
Mr. Reliable again got the job done in 2016 as he posted up his third consecutive 100+ fantasy season average. JPK has been one of the most dependable fantasy players since crossing from the Hawks back in 2010, his game style lends itself to a well rounded game as he can fill the stats sheet in all categories.
By the end of the 2016 season, JPK had a fantasy season average of 108.7, which was just one point shy of his 2015 season average of 109.8. Has an impeccable games played record of only missing 3 games during that past 7 seasons! That's an incredible stat considering how hard he goes at it. Kennedy had 14 tons last season and 9 of them came in the second half of the season after what could be called a slow start by his standards. Has a great ceiling as well that can win you league games as his highest scores in 2016 included two scores of 131 and a massive 156 against Freo in round 19. Will become even more valuable in 2017 with the departure of Tom Mitchell to the Hawks as a contested ball winning beast. With his size, Kennedy is super hard to match up on for opposition coaches so he generally gets left alone while Hannebery and Parker cop the tags. At $653k you're getting a player that will rarely drop under 90 points at worst, will score you 15+ tons for the season and play every match. He's like the Tim Duncan of the AFL - ever dependable and always present. Pick him up with confidence.
The Mid Pricer | Callum Mills
Drafted as a midfielder with pick 3 in the 2015 AFL National Draft, Callum Mills was sent to the backline in his first year in the system with great effect. So good was the Sydney youngster that he was awarded with the AFL Rising Star award and AFLPA best first year player award.
He averaged 70.2 fantasy points in 2016 and managed to only miss two games in the 23 round home and away season. He was a staple of the Swans backline and it didn't take Mills long to make a name for himself as a good decision maker with elite skills out of the back half. Though his first half of the season was excellent, it was his final nine games of the season that caught the attention of fantasy coaches as our backlines became decimated, Mills stood tall. He went for an average of 85.4 over those final nine rounds with a high score of 102 and low of 73 - that's super consistent for a defender in their first year. The jungle drums have been beating over the pre season for the 19 (turning 20 in April) old to join the Swan's midfield along with fellow young gun Isaac Heeney. Obviously it is a wait and see scenario, though JPK is endorsing the move while coach John Longmire has spoken about it during pre season interviews. Mills was a magnet during his junior games before being drafted, if he can spend even a small amount of time running through the midfield, his fantasy output should increase dramatically. Natural progression will see his average rise anyhow, and one could expect an 80 average even if he's not playing midfield time. Comes with a price tag of $441k, so could slot in nicely next to Michael Hibberd as your fourth defender.
The Bargain | Nic Newman
The name Nic Newman may escape the minds of some fantasy coaches, though the coaches with a keen eye for bargains will understand what i'm talking about here. Newman spent his 2016 season playing in the NEAFL as a damaging running back who would slide into the midfield when required. Taken with pick 35 in the 2015 Rookie Draft, Newman worked hard last season to be on the brink of a senior call up more than a couple of times throughout the year.
He was super consistent playing for the Sydney reserves side that eventually lost to GWS by four points in the grand final and managed to get named in the best players on 9 occasions from 20 games - including a best on ground performance in that grand final. Averaged 28 disposals per game and was damaging with his raking left boot, delivering into the forward line and across the wings. The Swans could use his silk across the half back line in 2017, particularly with an aging McVeigh, clueless Zak Jones and the possibility of Mills moving further up the ground. Was upgraded at the end of the 2016 season to the senior list, so the 24 year old has a real chance to push his claims for a round one berth over the pre season matches and if manages to perform, could be a steal with a price tag of just $150,000.
Fresh Blood Stud | Robbie Fox
Taken with pick 34 in the AFL Rookie Draft last season, Robbie Fox last played for Coburg in the VFL as a hard at it, in and under type of midfielder.
Fox has a body type that is more than ready for the rigors of AFL football standing at 187cm and weighing in at 87kg. He's a wrecking ball type midfielder that can run all day, in a similar mold to team mate Josh Kennedy. The Swans are talking about him as a depth player, though he could just as easily suit up in round one if they want to swing Josh Kennedy forward at times like they did in 2016. Obviously JPK is the Swan's major contested ball winner with Parker and the departed Tom Mitchell coming a close second, so if they don't want to use a player such as Hannebery on the inside and keep his run - then Fox could provide that option. Fox finished first in the beep test and 20m sprint at the Victoria combine before being draft last year, so he has all the attributes to make it at senior level. Averaged 19.2 disposals per game across 13 games played for the season after a niggly groin injury early on. Had an impressive average of 6.23 tackles per game as well which will prick the ears of fantasy coaches. Is a sneaky chance for a round one spot in the Swan's line up - don't dismiss him at the lowly price of just $150,000 for your benches.
The Breakout | Isaac Heeney
Possibly the biggest hype player of this pre season, if Isaac Heeney doesn't play in the midfield for 2017 - coach John Longmire might have more than a few fantasy coaches knocking at his door.
From day one, Heeney had obvious talent after being taken with pick 18 in the 2014 draft. Now moving into his third season of senior footy, the stereotypical Sydney Swan with blonde hair/surfer look is giving himself a chance at cracking into the elite Swan's midfield for 2017. After a 78 season fantasy average across 20 games played, Heeney didn't come into fantasy calculations until he was unleashed into the midfield during the Swan's finals series. The semi, prelim and grand final showed fantasy coaches what he was capable of when released up the ground and out of his typical roller coaster scoring forward role. Heeney had fantasy scores of 116, 132 and 89 for a three games average of 112.3 and almost single handedly got his team to a grand final in the prelim against the Cats. Prior to this breakout role late in the year, Heeney had just the four 100+ scores in season 2016 with some stinkers in there as well, including a 37 and two 47 scores. Reports coming out of the Swan's camp this pre season have captured some rather impressive body shots of the 20 year old looking ripped and with a few more kilo's on his frame. Still not in the league of a JPK in term of size, Heeney is obviously pushing hard for the hole Tom Mitchell has left in the Swan's midfield. Will be one of the highest players picked in the forward line for round one if he manages even one good game during the pre season matches - fantasy coaches are ready to pull the trigger. I want to see him cement that spot first before I jump on board however because I can't bring myself to trust Longmire, watch this space.
The Smokey | Shaun Edwards
The ex Bomber has shown glimpses of his potential over his first 24 senior games in four years, first of all at the Giants and then at Essendon. Now at the Swans, Longmire is looking to put the flexible forward to use as an instant replacement for the outed Xavier Richards. Super athletic and lightning quick for a player his size, Edwards could very well play a high half forward role moving up the ground and taking those +6's that fantasy coaches enjoy. He hasn't exactly set the fantasy scene alight over his four year career, with a highest season average of 56 across three games in 2016. Prior to that, had 47, 41 and 49 averages with a top single game score of 88 in 2015 v the Giants where he had 16 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles and a goal. At 22 years old, he still has plenty to offer and we all know what Longmire can do to players coming from other clubs into the Swan's system. Hopefully Horse can work his new recruit magic with Edwards, give him a chance and take his game to the level which reflects his potential. A watch and wait.
Which Sydney players have attracted your attention for 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below.