The job of picking your premium players can sometimes be a tough one one for fantasy coaches. Ideally you want these players to be high scoring, durable, reliable and feature in the top dozen averaging players across their positional line - in other words, we want them to be our 'set and forget' players.
But what happens when you have two premiums on your mind, you can only afford one and it seems impossible to split them? The Tragic is here to help. In the lead up to round one, The Tragic will be pitting some of the best premium players against one another to help coaches make the tough decision.
Welcome to the Head 2 Head series... So, who will you choose?
Today's Head 2 Head brings us a couple of creative forward types who, in a less competitive team would most likely be full time midfielders. Yet, fantasy coaches have the luxury of snapping Dahlhaus and Greene up as dual position players that you can set and forget in your forward lines for season 2017.
Remember when Luke Dahlhaus stepped on the scene for the Bulldogs back in 2011? He was this scruffy, dreadlocked kid who had zip and flair but needed to find more of the ball to have an impact. Fast forward to season 2016 and Dahlhaus has developed his game into one of the more consistent high half forwards in the game that has the ability to roll through the midfield when called upon. In 2016 he managed a fantasy season average of 95.2, which in actual fact should have been 96 if you take away the 32 he scored in round 12 when he went down early in the game with a knee injury. That injury kept him out for the follwing 5 weeks as the Doggies wanted to make certain he was ready for their finals campaign. The previous year he managed a 97 average for the season, which is not quite the uber elite forward option like Dustin Martin - but just remember, we won't have players of Dustin's calibre in our forward lines to start the season anyway, so consistent types like Dahlhaus are the ones you should be targeting. Speaking of his consistency, Dahlhaus has been relatively reliable over the past 4 seasons, only missing one game in the three seasons prior to his 2016 campaign. His scoring is also a feature as he rarely puts in an absolute stinker like most players in his postion can do every few games. Take away that injury affected score of 32, and Dahlhaus' next lowest score for the year was 75 - you would cop that as a coach. He'll generally give you scores in the range of 85-105 most weeks, though will rarely go huge many times during the season, i'm talking 120+ scores, unless he plays extended midfield minutes as he did in the elimination final against West Coast for a score of 132. The Bulldogs have a strong midfield as it is, and they will no doubt require Dahlhaus' creativity and ability to set up his team mates in the forward half again in 2017, so expect him to play a similar role as he has done for the last couple of seasons. Though, there is the possibility that coach Luke Beveridge may use him to replace the injured Mitch Wallis in the early part of the season as he's expected to miss the opening rounds.
I'll warn you now - I have a slight bias on Toby Greene, for two reasons. Firstly, his debut season in 2012 was something that may never be repeated again from a drafted first year player in the fantasy realm. And second, his final five games of the 2014 season will forever be etched in my 'greatest coaching moves of all time' moments. Let me elaborate first on season 2012 when Greene went for a 96 fantasy average while crunching an incredible 28.4 disposals, 3.8 marks and 3.3 tackles per game playing as an unleashed midfielder. Add to that to the fact the Giants only won two games that season and it makes for impressive reading. In 2014, the fabled final five rounds of that season saw Toby (fresh off a club imposed suspension for public brawling) reek havoc for fantasy scores of 116,127,126,165 and 125 for a five round average of 131.8! That's Rockliff territory. It's that type of form I so dearly hang onto, as one day I hold onto the hope he can return to his full time midfield duties. I'll tell you now though coaches, it's unlikely to happen any time soon. Leon Cameron has managed to somehow subdue the ball hunting beast that lies within Toby Greene to restrict him as a high half forward come part time midfielder that plays defensive roles from time to time. Yet for all his role uncertainty week to week these days, Greene still managed to post up a respectable 93 fantasy average in 2016 that came with 8 100+ scores. Add that respectable average to his impeccable durability over the past two seasons (one game missed) and you have another reliable forward option playing in a team that will win games more often than not in 2017. At only 23 years of age, there is still development in Greene's fantasy game, even with the role he is currently playing in at the Giants. Though, even with Whitfield out of the team, Greene will still struggle to gain midfield minutes again in 2017 with names such as Shiel, Ward and Coniglio playing the bulk of the time in there and Griffin, Hopper, Deledio, Kelly and Scully all hovering around like gulls to a chip. I envision he will get a similar gig up front as a high half forward, but can't see him dropping under his 2016 average - though, I also can't see him averaging anything over 95 for the season. Value he is not, you'll be picking him as a keeper if you so choose.
It's a tough call with the history I have with Toby, though i'm going to have to go with my head on this one and say Dahlhaus wins out if you are looking at one of them for round one. Dahlhaus has the consistent factor on his side, plus his role in the team is favourable to the fact he is inclined to more mid time than what Greene will be. Greene can have a tendency to go missing in games, even when the Giants are dominating matches. If for some reason Leon Cameron takes up the game of AFL Fantasy however and has a gander at Greene's last five games of 2014, then we'll be in business. Until that time arrives, just stick with 'dependable Dahlhaus' and keep one eye on the Giants to see if the Greene monster comes out later in the year as an upgrade option.