Comin' straight outta... Hypeton. AFL Fantasy coaches are a funny breed, especially the ones as tragic as us, who have been preparing our squads and watch lists since August 28. We come up with these 'hype' players who we think are the next big thing to breakout or are a must have. Because we are constantly listening, watching, lurking around for so long before the season starts, we begin to manifest these hyped players into genuine options, when perhaps they really shouldn't see the light of day in our teams. Given, some of these hype players have a tendency to slip through and produce the goods, take for example Lachie Hunter or Seb Ross from 2016 who were both much hyped and delivered breakout seasons. 'Don't Believe The Hype' is all about picking out the most talked about and hyped players this pre season and putting some doubt, or as I like to call it, common sense, back into the minds of the tragic fantasy coaches out there. Enjoy!
The previously winged Crow Curtly Hampton is second cab off the rank in our Don't Believe the Hype series. Hampton found a new home in Adelaide after being traded over from the Giants at the end of the 2015 season. 2016 was a complete write off for the zone selection player after a foot injury derailed what was meant to be a fresh start. Likened to Crow's legend Andrew McLeod during his AIS Academy days when he was captain, things haven't exactly gone to plan for the 23 year old defender.
Fantasy coaches have been frothing over the prospect of having this bloke in their squads over the pre season, 16.2% currently have him in their dtlive.com.au Drawingboards which is not all that surprising seeing as though there are limited names around the 200k price tag. The next best you would be looking at is team mate Jake Kelly at 210k with 0.1% ownership, followed by Matty Scharenberg at 234k with 9.3% ownership. Though realistically, if you're looking at blokes in that price bracket starting in your best 22, you need to reconsider your back six setup.
Hampton made his debut in round one of 2012, the Giant's very first game in the league. He played 17 games that season, but since then has only managed 51 senior games in 5 years on a senior list - roughly 10 games per season, that's poor. It's been a combination of injuries and poor form, plus dropping in the ranks over at the Giants as he didn't quite develop as quickly as the rest of the youngsters there. Consequently, Hampton fell out of favour and decided a fresh start somewhere else could be the answer. Instead, he encountered a crippling foot injury over the pre season in 2016 and didn't register a senior game. He's been training for the majority of this pre season however, though his injury history speaks for itself and spells warning bells. Hampton has never managed 20 games in a season, while his last three seasons combine for a total of just 16 games.
His ability to be a consistent, worthwhile fantasy scorer is also questionable at best. His best output was in 2014 when he played just 11 games for a season fantasy average of 68. Even if he is priced at a 35 average, I still have my doubts over his value to make fantasy coaches money in a short time span. Realistically, if you are looking at a player in the 200-300k range for your backline, you only want one of them - and there are other options who have a greater potential to become a quick cash grab and upgrade. Given, those fantasy averages seen in previous years are when he was a full time backline defender, sometimes playing a lock down role in a team that lost more games than they won, so you can cut him some slack there i suppose.
Let's now take a look at his position in the Adelaide team, if in fact he does manage to play in 2017.
As you can see, I currently have Hampton sitting on the bench, though there are a number of players who are in line for positions from Adelaide's 18th-22nd spot on the list. Kelly, Mackay, Wigg, Knight and Cheney are all probable players who Hampton will be fighting it out with to nab a spot as a running defender or wing. The talk of Hampton playing a midfield role to me is somewhat wishful thinking however. Just take a look a who is in there already, and more so, have a look who isn't. It wouldn't surprise me the least to see Hampton have the dreaded letters 'EMG' after his name come round one when the team lists are named. Far too risky, when you can have a player such as number one pick Andrew McGrath (for roughly 50k extra) guaranteed a spot in round one as long as he is breathing and in an upright position. You don't need that kind of worry as a fantasy coach, you want players who are firmly entrenched in their team's best 18 at the very least.
Lastly, Hampton has never shown any real consistency in his fantasy game over his five years in the system. I looked back over his four actual playing years and his best string of games was in 2014 when he had scores of 108, 93 and 86 for a 3 game average of 95.6 - that's good, though only over three games. Other than that there was a whole lot of average 70 scores mixed in with 40's and 50's every other week. As a cash cow in the early rounds of a season you ideally want two things, 1. a player that is going to play in the best 22 and 2. a player that can string together an average of 70+ over at least 6 games to generate you enough cash to get rid of them for someone decent by round 8-9. I have my doubts that Hampton can provide fantasy coaches with that type of stability going on his history.
Do you believe the Curtly Hampton hype? Vote and comment below.