Port Adelaide aka the pig pen home of the second greatest fantasy player to ever play the game. Based off the list they have and their efforts last year it looks as though Port are in for another big year and with some of their midfield super stars getting on in age we could see plenty of opportunity handed to some of the younger lads. Port look to be an interesting team this year from a fantasy perspective and I couldn't fault anyone for having up to 3 or 4 Power players as things stand at the moment.
Big Boys to Consider
It would be rude to start this article with any other name other than the fantasy pig himself that is *oink oink* Tom Rockliff ($873 000 MID). This man has done some miraculous shit over the past years with the highlight being 2014 where he posted an average of 134. Yes... that was his average score and not just over 3 games but 18. It's actually funny thinking about it but not only did he go 134 for the season but had an average of 160 over his last 5 games and managed 150+ 7 times in one season *oink oink*. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and after already having to say farewell to the greatest man to ever play in Dane Swan, at age 31 Rocky's time to play in the mud may be drawing to a close. Priced at 114 I think it's a big ask for the pig to maintain an average that high but he isn't the pig for no reason so you can't right him off just yet. Port will be hunting again for a flag in 2021 which he will no doubt play a huge role in.
With Boak approaching 33 and Rockliff 31 years of age Ports mainstay midfield will need a shake up sooner rather than later. At 26 years of age and in his prime I think Oliver Wines ($729 000 MID) is ready to take charge in the middle and take his game to the next level. Having traded in Wines last year to receive a return average of 112 I do have a little love for this man and I will admit I probably have favouritism syndrome when it comes to him. Whilst he has only been in that 90-100 range for the past 7 years I genuinely feel like for no other reason than I just have the vibe that he can be a 110 guy in 2021. For my reason being that "I have the vibe" he currently sits in my side and will probably fuck me and my chance at winning the Hilux let alone a hat this year. At the same price point as so many others; Walsh, Cripps, Coniglio, Tarranto and McCluggage to name a few it's a real wait and see at the stage as all of these blokes seem like potential options and you can't have them all.
Now this may clutching at straws here saying he's a bargain but Orazio Fantasia ($353 000 DEF/FWD) is bloody cheap this year priced at 49 for a guy who has gone 73 and 79 before in his career. Watching the intra club scratch match Fantasia looked in great order pushing up the wing for plus 6's while also being an option inside 50. If Fantasia was able to put up numbers 70+ playing forward for the Bombers (who lets be real aren't fantastic) then he should get even more opportunity at Port and there's no reason why that at 25 and in the prime of his years why he can't go 70+ again. At least 20 points unders with DEF/FWD dual position makes him an interesting prospect.
Players For The Watch List
Coming into their 3rd season many predict a breakout from both Connor Rozee ($518 000 FWD) and Zac Butters ($595 000 FWD) in 2021. It's been well documented that both players have been phenomenal since stepping into the AFL and with both Rockliff and Boak aging it's time these boys see some midfield development. Recent intra club footage showed both players spend significant minutes in the middle although butters did spend more time there and for the stronger of the two sides. At this stage it looks like Butters could be the one who see's more midfield time with Rozee being such a threat around goals. While I see both of these guys improving this year we'll have to wait to see other pre-season matches to determine how much upside there really is. At the moment I have Butters slightly ahead but he is also 77k more and at that price is awkward to start.
Somewhat forgotten about after a poor run of injures Ryan Burton ($485 000 DEF) comes into this year priced at 64. After averaging 84 from 20 games in his second season it was shaping that Burton could be a future fantasy premium. 2019 saw Burton average 20 points less and 2020 Burton spent a lot of time injured. If Burton can find his way into the side I think there is potential to score well and having a stack of quality players around him should help with that. I'm not too sure what 2021 has in store for Burton but if he's gone 84 before he has the potential to do it again. 20 points under makes him a watch for sure.
Players to Avoid
Going on 33 years of age and the fact he's played well forward before suggests that Travis Boak ($799 000 MID) will be the first name out of the midfield rotation to make way for the younger blokes. Most players tend to hit their peak around their 6th season and maintain that for a couple years. Boak bucks this trend having posted career highs of 105 and 104 in his 13th and 14th season respectively showing that while being a bit older he can still score. Boak will be good again this year and play an integral part in Port Adelaide's success but more forward time beckons so an average of 95-100 seems reasonable. As a mid only there is no merit in picking him and therefore should be avoided but hopefully we see him pick up dual position later in the season as he could be handy as a forward.
Rookies to Look Out For
Whilst port pose a strong list and a real threat in 2021 there are a few names floating around in line for an early debut. As it stands Lachlan Jones ($240 000 DEF) looks likely to play round 1. At the inflated price you would have to be willing to play him on field and with plenty of mid price options down back it might be hard to find a spot for him depending on your structure. His scoring and job security should be decent so it might be a good option to drop someone down to him and use that coin elsewhere. Miles Bergman ($170 000 FWD) is the other name who looks in line for early games. Whether that is round 1 or not we will have to wait and see but at basement price you pick him if he's selected. The last name is Jackson Mead ($170 000 MID). I haven't heard too much about Mead this pre-season so I'm not sure how he is tracking but if he gets selected at some point during the year he could be worth picking up.
As it's such a talking point this pre-season let me know in the comments if you're rocking out with Rozee, Butters or both and while you're down there chuck out a prediction for what the little piglet produces this year. As always, cheers for reading legends.