The pre season is upon us! In the lead up to round one i'll be covering one player from each team that you may have otherwise not given a second thought to for your squad in 2017. Any fantasy coach can pick an established elite, but it's 'the other guys' that will inevitably decide your team's fate. Today we focus our fantasy thoughts on...
He's back! Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past four years, you'll know the story - so I won't bore you with the details. Let's just focus on the positives as to why Brent Stanton needs consideration for your teams in 2017. He's a past elite player on the comeback - but I couldn't resist the value he represents, so I've labelled him as one of 'the other guys'.
The running man from Windy Hill has been a prolific fantasy scorer now for many years. Debuting in 2004, he's racked up 258 games and 12 seasons of senior football while being a picture of consistency along the way - well, by season's averages anyhow. At times he's been questioned about his high ceiling and low basement scoring ability during the season - which is not ideal as a fantasy coach. However, if you take a closer look at his score over a whole season, you start to wonder why he hasn't featured in teams as often as other premium midfielders. He's often neglected by coaches and for those clever enough to jump aboard in the past, Stants has been a great point of difference.
Since 2009, Stanton has averaged a whopping 103.21ppg. His stats line and averages over those seven seasons read as:
Let's look next at his position in the Essendon team and in particular the midfield. We have Jobe, Heppell, Goddard, Merrett, Parish, Zaha and maybe Hocking if they get desperate. Now from those seven players, you would still stick Stanton comfortably in the top 4-5 of that group, meaning he should still see plenty of midfield time. There is the possibility of both Goddard and Stanton playing a more defensive role throughout the year, especially with the departure of Michael Hibberd. I would like to think that Woosha may need Stanton's skills across a half back line (+6 party!), which could mean he plays a defensive wing type role, with Goddard being the quarterback. Watch this space during the pre season matches.
I had a look at Essendon's possible round one best 22 the other day and on paper they seem more than capable of pushing for a top eight position in 2017. They have quality across all lines and Woosha's game style was undoubtedly favorable for fantasy scoring despite getting pummeled most weeks, the team still managed to score prolifically. So will Woosha change the game plan now he has all his cattle back in the pen? Or will we see the fantasy friendly scoring style play out again in 2017 with a touch more polish?
Stanton has reached veteran status during his time off, although the year away I think will be a good thing for both him and the rest of the banned bombers. It's given him time to rest the body and clear his mind of the stress that they all played under for four years. He'll be 31 mid way through the year, which with the year off you could make an argument he's really only 30 in footy years. As mentioned, he's a durable type and has played through injury in the past, in fact Stanton hasn't played under 20 games in a season since 2005 when he played 19 games - impressive.
Despite his age, it's not out of reach for Stants to crack the fantasy ton average again in 2017. Though even with his 10% discount and $574,000 price tag, do you just go for the $26,000 cheaper option of Dyson Heppell and ride the consistency train? While Stanton pumps out 120+ match winners, with some 60 point match killers...I'm not as confident that he can go a 105+ average again, but more likely around the 100-105 mark.
Where does the running man stand for you as a coach?