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?
Two young gun midfielders who are both in line to take the mantle as their club's captains in the near future go at it today in our Head 2 Head series. Dyson Heppell comes off a 12 month ban and attracts a 10% discount on his 2015 average, while The Bont decimated opposition teams in the latter half of the year to steer his team to a flag and career best fantasy season.
Still only 24 years of age, it feels as though Dyson Heppell has been around for longer such is the maturity and way he goes about his game. He had leadership written all over him as soon as he stepped into the club with their number 8 pick in the 2010 AFL National draft. During his last season before his 2016 ban, Heppell managed a respectable 101.8 season fantasy average - which was 6 points down on his 2014 output of 107.4. He endured hard tags in that 2015 year as opposition players locked down on him through the midfield once he 'broke out' in 2014. The taggers will no doubt come for him again in 2017, though the game has evolved during his season out and there are less and less hard tags happening from opposition coaches. In that 2015 season he had 10 scores above the magical ton and managed another 6 scores in the 90's. Compare that to his 2014 career best season where he had 13 tons with 9 of those tons being 120+ scores and a season high of 152! His $548k price tag is an absolute pittance in comparison to what he can offer fantasy coaches if he can manage to get back to that 2014 form - or even somewhere close to it. Will be interesting to see how the Dons set up in the midfield with the return of Watson and Stanton in the mix again - plus the fact Zach Merrett is a bonafide superstar of the game now. There has been whispers that Jobe might play more forward, which would mean Heppell and Merrett play full time offensive roles in the midfield while Hocking and Howlett play defensive roles. It would surprise if Heppell was to dip under a 100 fantasy average by the end of the 2017 - everything is pointing in his favour, he's still young, has a lucrative scoring role in the team, Essendon will be around the mark for a top 8 position and he'll have plenty of desire pushing him to make up for lost time on his career.
The Bont's rise to fame has been meteoric over his first three years in the system. It only seems like yesterday he kicked THAT goal from the pocket and established himself as a player of the future to everyone who witnessed it. Two years later and he's got himself more accolades than 15 year veterans do in their playing careers:
From a fantasy coach's perspective, you could have been excused if you traded him out by the end of round 6 last season. Bontempelli started the year in less than impressive fashion with scores of 80,66,55,59, 80 and 80 for a six round average of just 70. That's what makes his 2016 season fantasy average of 98.3 so impressive. After round six, he went on a scoring rampage as he racked up 12 100+ scores in the final 16 games of the season - and the other 4 scores were not far off either: 91, 98, 85 and 92. That form was a major driver for the Dog's creating premiership history and taking home the flag in 2016. Of those 12 tons in 2016, 7 of them were 110+ scores with a season high of 137 against the Pies in round 21 when he went for 26 disposals, 8 marks, 8 tackles and 2 goals. He's missed only two games in his past two seasons, so durability is solid as he moves into his fourth season in the system. There is no doubting that The Bont attracts the attention of the opposition's best tagger as he's clearly the team's most damaging midfielder. It was evident the tag was bothering him at the start of 2016, though like a true champion, he managed to develop his game to a point where he became untaggable in a similar fashion to Nat Fyfe. His long limbs, elite running capacity and ability to read the contested ball in the air before anyone else around him has made him into an extremely hard match up for opposition coaches. At only 21 years of age, he'll be called upon again to step his game up into the uber elite of the competition if the Dogs want to go back to back and if his latter half of 2016 is anything to go by, he'll have that challenge covered. With fantasy season averages of 69, 93 and 98 in his first three seasons, the natural progression of The Bont says that he will crack the 100 fantasy season average in 2017. He will need to improve on his disposal average of 24.3 in 2016 and add some outside run to his contested game style in order to produce some more cheap marks if he wants to give a 105 fantasy average a nudge. The possession average i'm quietly confident he can achieve, though his outside game may suffer due to the needs of the team. The Dog's will be without Mitch Wallis for the start of the season, another contested ball winner, so the in and under game styles of both Bontempelli and Liberatore will be required at the stoppages. A 102.5 average over his final 16 games says to me he can do a 105 fantasy average in 2017.
Difficult to split these two apart, though i'm going to have to go with the cheaper, proven performer on this occasion. Heppell has the runs on the board and comes in with a discounted price tag - he's serious value. Add that to the fact his pride will be driving his performances after missing a whole season, Heppell could very well push for uber elite status in 2017 and average in the 108-110 range. The Bont will be no slouch however and won't be far behind him, though I think his best is still 3-4 years away for fantasy coaches - he'll do 110+ one day, but it won't be in 2017.