North Melbourne: Big Boys, Bargains, Rookies and More…

Updated: Feb 23


Surely I can't be the only one who severely dislikes North. It's got nothing to do with rivalries or anything footy related aside from the fact that from a fantasy perspective they suck. Like really suck. There's nothing worse than getting home after work, flicking on the TV to watch some Friday night footy and those blue and white fuckers show up. Fortunately, North only has the 1 Friday night game this year so this pain will only have to be endured the once. Dog shit can not be polished and therefore I considered skipping North altogether but they do have a couple of players of slight relevance.


Firstly, We'll start with the big boys


Yeah nah, not much to write about here. All jokes aside, Jed Anderson ($795 000 MID) must be commended for his stellar effort last season going on to post an average of 104 (Increase of 25 from previous year). Anderson is a beast who tackles hard and attends lots of CBA's, two key stats to becoming a top shelf midfielder in Fantasy. My issues with Anderson lie with the fact that North have a young list with a new coach and that spells for a recipe of change. With young players such as Phillips, Davies-Uniacke, Stephenson seeking potential rotations along with Cunnington coming back into the side we may see Anderson see more time outside than last season. Anderson does have phenomenal points per minute (PPM) numbers though and a new coach could see Jed spend more time on field. Having averaged 70% TOG last year if he could get to 80% he becomes a real intriguing option. Due to the nature of Anderson being so unique you possibly couldn't start with him but he's definitely one to keep the eyes peeled for if he keeps the same role and bumps his TOG%.


Finally, delivering to his potential, 2020 saw Luke McDonald ($692 000 DEF) storm home to average 111.8 (adjusted) in his last 9 games to finish the season. These are huge numbers and would make him 20 points under if he was able to maintain this going into 2021. Over the past 4 years Luke has averaged 85, 70, 56 and 90 being his most recent. Last season Luke was able to demonstrate that when he's on he can punch out ceiling scores to match it with the best defenders. The only problem is he tends to match those highs with many lows showing a poor level of consistency. He comes into this season priced at a career high average (90) and while there may be potential merit in picking him based off his second half numbers I think I prefer to wait and see.


Bargain Buys


Little hint but this next bloke currently sits in my side and goes by the name of Ben Cunnington ($503 000 MID). While never being an out and out Fantasy star Cunners is a contested beast of the competition. An injury affected season last year meant he was only able to put together 3 games and therefore comes into 2021 ripe for the picking priced at 66. North have said they intend to use him forward at times but with limited interchanges in 2021 you'd think most midfielders will spend time there at some point. There is no doubt Cunnington is the number 1 inside mid at the Roos and I expect him to feature there heavily this season. Providing he stays healthy an average in the high 80's can be expected and therefore I think there is enough upside to lock and load.


This next bloke is one who seems to be completely off everyone's radar this season and potentially with good reason but I think Dom Tyson ($410 000 MID) can provide a decent option for those looking left field. Priced at 54 for a guy who has produced an average of 90+ on 3 occasions seems absurd to me. I understand the bloke has missed almost 2 years of footy in a row which is a huge concern but from all reports he seems to be travelling all good at this stage of pre-season. Tyson is still only 27 years of age and having not shown much for the Roos I think he will be eager to prove himself to the club and I think the club still have plans for him going forward. Does Dom potentially get Shaun Higgins vacant role? I could be potentially wrong on this but he's one I'm keeping an eye on particularly in the AAMI series as a smoky option.


Players For The Watchlist


LDU or Luke Davies-Uniacke ($522 000 MID) seems to come up in this list every year. After missing the first half of last year through injury Uniacke was able to put some decent games together among the back half. In rounds 9, 11 and 16 he was able to post adjusted scores of 98, 89 and 91 respectively. Excluding Goldstein and Cunnington (hardly played 2020) Uniacke was the 3rd most used player (1st Simpkin 73% and 2nd Anderson 62%) at centre bounces with a 60% attendance rate. Taken at pick 4 in the draft North have always shown a lot of faith in him and I expect that in 2021 they will continue to use him through the midfield in large amounts. 2021 could be that official breakout year for Luke, priced at 68 we could see him notch that up close to the 90 mark. He is at an awkward price and there are plenty of options that present value this year so it’s just a watch at this point in time.


Another player potentially chasing a role more up the ground this year is Tarryn Thomas ($372 000 FWD). Another super unique option that has not been really talked about. There is no doubt Thomas is a talented young individual who has showcased this on many occasions in small spurts. After looking to build of his first season average of 55 (20 games) the injury curse struck and meant Thomas would only manage the 6 games at an adjusted average of 48 last year. With another pre-season under his belt, I can see Thomas having some sort of a break out in 2021. If he is able to accumulate more of the footy (probably his biggest weakness) consistently which he could do if playing a high half forward/wing role, we could see Thomas improve his output (priced at 49) by 20+ points in 2021.


Hype recruit Jaiden Stephenson ($470 000 FWD) provides heavy interest for Fantasy coaches this pre-season. Stephenson presents as a high risk high reward type of play coming in priced at 62 down from 81 the year prior. A new club might be what Jaiden needs to gain some confidence back and with a young, developing side such as North they could look to use his leg speed and agility in the middle. I don't think an average of 80+ is out of the question but Stephenson just has that impact player feel about him and is one that I can't personally see being enough of an accumulator to score consistently. Strong showings in the AAMI and pre-season matches could possibly sway me to selecting him in 2021.


Others I have on the watchlist but have slightly down the pecking order include: Jy Simpkin ($676 000 MID) and Bailey Scott ($453 000 MID/FWD).


Players to Avoid


It is North Melbourne and therefore most of the team is going to come under this category… In all seriousness though Todd Goldstein ($760 000 RUC) is just too much. Priced at 100 Goldstein is there or there abouts and won’t be going anywhere in 2021. There isn’t even merit in selecting him as a point of difference (POD) as there are better options above such as Reilly O’Brien (68k more) and better options below with more value such as Jarrod Witts (145k cheaper).


Rookies To Watch Out For


As mentioned earlier I think with a new coach we are going to see a lot of things different at North this year. I think the potential to find value is high as mentioned in some of my watchlist players above but we could also see a bunch of fresh faces named early on. These are some names to look out for: Lachie Young ($276 000 DEF), Will Phillips ($266 000 MID), Tom Powell ($246 000 MID), Connor Menedue ($242 000 DEF), Atu Bosenavulagi ($206 000 FWD) and Phoenix Spicer ($188 000 MID/FWD).


As always comment below any players who I might have glanced over and that you think hold relevance this season. I'll be sure to get back to you with my opinions and viewpoint.

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