Carlton Blues: Big Boys, Bargains, Rookies and More...

Much like Freo, Carlton really excite me from a fantasy point of view but also for what they could potentially produce in the AFL home and away season. With a good balance of experience and youth Carlton look a force to be reckoned with in 2021 and could potentially scrape their way into finals. Carlton are a side that have a stack of options and are one that should be heavily focused on over the pre-season practice games.

Big Boys To Consider

Carlton looks to be a very relevant team in AFL fantasy this season headed by two genuine stars of the game in Sam Walsh ($739 000 MID) and Patrick Cripps ($718 000 MID). Walsh heads into his 3rd season this year and in that people are expecting a breakout. Walsh has already asserted his name as a future superstar posting averages of 92 and 97 in his first and second season. Known for his phenomenal outside game Walsh was thrown into the middle for the last few rounds having coaches licking their lips at a potential role change in 2021. Walsh was able to average 111 over the second half of the year going at 118 in his last 5. If the talk is true and we do see Walsh used inside more frequently there is absolutely no reason he can’t go to another level and average 110 over the season. Priced at 97, it is awkward but he has the potential to be top 8 midfielder and therefore a keeper at a discounted starting price.

Patrick Cripps for mine is one who is on my never again list. The man is a beast but every year he seems to carry injuries due to his bash and crash style and while he is priced at 94 (15 under his career best of 109) I just don’t think I could do it to myself. I will admit, I don’t think the shorter quarters suited Crippa last year and 2021 sees him land on a contract year. The added support around Cripps through the development of the younger boys and the recruitment of players from other clubs might see Cripps able to carry less of the load and play more freely. Cripps has left me with a sour taste on too many occasions now to start him but there is definitely potential value if he can get back to his best.

Bargain Buys

Arguably the most hyped name this pre-season and first selected in many sides, Zac Williams ($626 000 DEF) provides all fantasy coaches with a gift. There’s really not too much to say here. Priced at 82 While I don’t think he’s super value (100+ or anything) Carlton have come out and said Williams will be playing big midfield minutes this year and having seen what he is able to produce in the midfield at GWS Williams has the potential to be a top 6 defender come seasons end. At his current price you’re getting a potential under-priced keeper. Pre-season practice matches will consolidate how much of a lock he really is. If isn’t getting the midfield minutes in large amounts you could leave him out but at this stage he’s in for me!

Players For The Watch List

As mentioned earlier Carlton this year look to be very relevant in fantasy and therefore there watch list is going to be quite extensive. Firstly, I’ll start with Sam Docherty ($676 000 DEF). I contemplated putting Doch in the must have category but there’s just a few queries I want to see squashed first. With Saad and Williams joining and the departure of Kade Simpson I just want to see how Carlton set up at the back and how they look to play the game as a team. The fact Doch has had an interrupted pre season due to an ankle injury sustained last year means he may be off to a slow start and may be worth just watching to pick up in the early rounds. At the end of the day, you’re getting a guy priced at 89 who has gone 116 before so there is no doubt there is value there. Providing I see what I want from him in the AAMI he’ll be in my side to start the season.

A smoky I haven’t heard any talk about is Will Setterfield ($640 000 MID). Having played 2 games in his first season and missing all of the following year Setterfield essentially played his first year in 2019 where he was able to average 67 over 18 games. In 2020 we saw Setterfield used at a high rate through the middle (CBA 45%) and with natural improvement managed to put up an adjusted average of 84. The most impressive part is that over the second half of the season when he was really able to get settled, he managed to go at an average of 100. In 2021 I predict we might see Ed Curnow spend less time in the middle and while Williams will need to pick up some time in there, I still think Setterfield will be used prominently as an onballer. Essentially going into his 3rd year with 2 solid seasons under his belt and injuries in the past it looks like Setterfield could take a further step in 2021. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an average close to 100 come years end.

I can’t leave Paddy Dow ($323 000 MID/FWD) out. It’s safe to say the high rated prospect has been nothing short of a flop for Carlton so far. Some players do just take more time to adjust to AFL level and after playing just the 3 games last year comes in priced at 42. Pre-season reports suggest he is going super and my suspicion is that Paddy really wants to prove himself this year. Interesting to see where he fits in the Carlton line up and being awkwardly priced (halfway between rookie and mid-price) it does make him awkward to select. Wait and see what he produces in AAMI but he could turn out the be a solid cash maker early on.

Other names to watch out for include: Nic Newman ($542 000 DEF). Although he will miss the start of the season due to another injury setback he could be one to look out for as a stepping stone during the season. The bloke presents value priced at 71 having averaged 93 in 2019.

Recently acquired from Geelong is Lachie Fogarty ($489 000 MID/FWD). I’m not sure he is best 22 and if he does find a spot it’s probably not in the midfield. Might take some injuries to see the full potential of Lachy but if he finds himself in the midfield rotation he certainly can rack up the pill and has handy dual MID/FWD status.

Players To Avoid

Ed Curnow ($739 000 MID) has proved himself to be rather consistent over the last 4 years posting averages of 88, 100, 89 and 96 respectively. Last season we saw Curnow average 89% of CBA’s which is crazy high numbers. My issue with this is that Ed is 31 years old and with the young brigade of midfielders coming through it seems like he could be the first to get pushed out. I see Ed potentially playing roles as a defensive forward or just as a forward in general this year. There is no doubt he will still see midfield time but I’m expecting reduced minutes and therefore a reduced fantasy output.

With where Carlton’s current list is at It’s hard to see how Jack Martin ($608 000 FWD) improves off last year. Martin was able to play through the midfield last year particularly in the first half of the season. Averaging 25% CBA over the first 9 rounds along with a decent chuck of time on the wing. I think in 2021 we see Martin utilised as a forward as Carlton have plenty of numbers who can go through the mid but not many who can go forward and be as damaging as him. Martin only managed a 79 average last year and I expect something there or there abouts in 2021.

The final player to Avoid at Carlton is Charlie Curnow ($347 000 FWD). At his price he could have proven to be a viable option for us this year but as per usual he has gone and injured himself again so we won’t be seeing Charlie for a while.

Rookies To Look Out For

Carlton has a stack of solid rookies who we might potentially see early or throughout this year. Keep a look out for the following names and monitor any pre-season news and information regarding: Liam Stocker ($242 000 DEF), Sam Philp ($203 000 FWD), Corey Durdin ($198 000 MID/FWD), Jack Carroll ($190 000 MID) and Brodie Kemp ($170 000 MID).

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