Fucking Freo... As a West Coast supporter my love for these blokes wears pretty thin. Luckily for me, Freo have been pretty shit for a long time creating good banter over the season with the lesser half of WA footy fans. I wouldn't call it bullying... yeah nah that's exactly what it is but fuck em!
On a serious note, all jokes aside, Freo for me shape as one of the most interesting teams from a fantasy perspective this season and are one that I'll have my eye on intently over the pre-season. Over to the big boys!
The Big Boys
Yeah probably just skip onto the bargain buys... It’s not just because I'm a West Coast fan but Freo genuinely have no players who fit into this category. Yes, Nat Fyfe ($720 000 MID) is a great player in real life but he just doesn’t have that X factor in fantasy and until we see him potentially get forward status later in the year, he doesn’t show much relevancy at this stage. I guess based off his price tag you could place Andrew Brayshaw ($729 000 MID) in this category. Touted to have a stack of ability, last season we saw Brayshaw breakout and show us some of that potential taking his average from 70 to 95 in 2020. Based off his junior numbers Brayshaw still has further room to improve and with an average of 42% CBA attendance in 2020 I can see this improving in as Freo look to run with a younger midfield in 2021 (Mundy 64% and Fyfe 60% probably see slight decreases). The key stat with Brayshaw is TOG% (time on ground). If Brayshaw can boost his TOG from 75 to 80+ which is possible considering he has increased this stat each of his 3 years in the AFL we could see Brayshaw get to a 105+ level. With the experience from last year along with age on his side I think Brayshaw will definitely improve again in 2021, whether that is enough to select him as a mid-only I am not sure and is something we will have to wait and see on. At the moment there are others I have slightly ahead.
At a current ownership of 23% I expect this to rise by the commencement of the season. Hayden Young ($337 000 DEF) in my opinion is a must have in 2021. After having his season cut short with an ankle injury Young managed an adjusted average of 51 over his 5 games. If we are to take out his injury affected game of 3 it then puts young at an adjusted average of 64. Playing the 5 games last year grants Young a 15% discount which has him priced at 44 going into this season and therefore priced 20 under his “real” average. Being a high draft pick with high scoring potential, another pre-season under his belt should be enough to see Hayden increase to around the 70 mark. 25 points of value is just too much to be leaving on the table at the start of the season and therefore is someone you should be making room for in your defence.
Players For The Watch List
Fremantle have a young inexperienced list and with that comes room for improvement. I think the midfield brigade is where we are going to see a lot of this improvement come with multiple names being relevant if the right circumstances present themselves. Caleb Serong ($636 000 MID) is one I am super keen on going into 2021 and is someone who currently sits in my classic side. If we look at some of the previous high rated draft picks it seems to be that they take a huge leap into their second season (Oliver went from 69 to 102 and Taranto went from 61 to 91 as some examples). Serong attended the most CBA’s out of any Freo mid last season I expect the same again this year. If he can bump his TOG% from 70 somewhere closer to 80 natural improvement should see Serong average very close to the 100 mark this season.
Pick 5 in the 2017 draft Adam Cerra ($631 000 MID) looks prime to bump his average up in 2021. Breaking out in his 3rd season Cerra increased his 2019 average of 60 to an adjusted average of 82 in 2020. The exciting part about this is that While Cerra managed to increase his average by 22 points, he wasn’t all that prominent in the midfield only averaging 24% CBA for the year. The last 4 rounds we saw Cerra thrown into the middle more frequently bumping his CBA to 49%, a number closer to what I think we can expect in 2021. Cerra has shown in the past averaging 115 in state league as a junior that he certainly has scoring potential and with a more prominent midfield role beckoning this season he could be one who looks to push that 100 mark also.
Sean Darcy ($493 000 RUC) was one that looked to be a serious breakout contender this year but recent news of an injury setback means he is likely to get off to a slow start in 2020 and for that reason I can’t see starting with him an option. Could be a nice option if fit although I think most will opt for a more stable ruck approach now that Preuss is injured.
Darcy Tucker ($525 000 MID) is another one to watch as he should be used a decent amount through the midfield and priced at 69 presents value. Could see an average around 85 this year but there are lots of options in and around the same price who can potentially do the same. One to add to the watch list and after the AAMI game we might have a better idea where he sits in the mid-price pecking order.
Players To Avoid
Nat Fyfe ($720 000 MID) whilst being an absolute weapon and highly regarded as one of the best in the game he just doesn’t quite tick all the boxes in AFL fantasy. Priced at an average of 94 Fyfe is there or there abouts and will not see much if any improvement going into this season. With the younger generation coming through it looks as if Fyfe is set to assert his dominance up forward this season pinch hitting in the middle. Look for Fyfe to receive dual position status later in the year but definitely one to avoid starting with in classic.
For the same reasons as Fyfe, Michael Walters ($698 000 MID/FWD) is one I would avoid starting with as I can see him sliding a decent amount in 2021. Priced at 91 an average closer to 80 is expected this season in my opinion. With so many genuine young options to run through the midfield I expect Walters to spend more time forward this year hindering his fantasy output. Last season Walters was used through the middle in the first half and as a result had an average CBA of 65% up until round 9 (adjusted average of 104 over this period). From round 9 until the end of the season Walters was used twice in the middle (27% and 7% CBA) and as a result only managed to average 74 in the back end. Walters has potential to score when used in the middle but unfortunately this season I don’t see him getting enough opportunities in there to make him an option. Definitely not one to start with but if Freo receive injuries he may get more opportunities later in the year and could be one to pick up at a discounted price.
Rookies To Look Out For
Unlike previous seasons Freo don't look to have much in the likes of fresh faces coming through. Freo have a young list with a heap of potential and I think the next couple years consists of them building on that and getting the club into a position to play competitive finals footy. As always though injury and other circumstances can open the door for certain guys with Lloyd Meek ($170 000 RUC) being a potential chance early with the injury setback to Sean Darcy. Another name to look out for is Heath Chapman ($244 000 DEF) who looks to be a nice pick but may be down the pecking order as Freo have a few options in that position. Look out for when he does crack that side.
All in all, Freo, as much as I hate to say it are a team I'm super excited to watch this year. With potential and opportunity everywhere I do believe some of the better breakouts lie within this team this season. As always leave a comment below letting me know what you think and name drop some other players you would like my opinion on. Cheers legends.