Updated: Feb 23
For reasons other than the fact they are just a shit team *cough* cough* North Melbourne. I genuinely dislike the Swans. Being a West Coast supporter the infamous words "Leo Barry you star!" still haunt me to this day. Other than the fact we have built somewhat of a rivalry over the years, the Swans much like North Melbourne are a bit of a bland side from a fantasy perspective. Nevertheless there are still options to consider across all price points so lets dive in.
Big Boys To Consider
The AFL fantasy crème de la crème that is Jake Lloooooyyyyydddddd. This man excites me just as much as he excites BT (Shit maybe not that far). Seeing this man rack up the cheapest possessions along with countless marks across half back is one of the 7 wonders this world has to offer. Jake Lloyd ($873 000 DEF) is fucking expensive to say the least (priced at 114) but he should be there or there about in 2021. Every year in his 7-year career to date Lloyd has managed to improve on his average the previous year. You know what you are going to get with Lloyd and while he will cost you an arm and a leg, he will be a top 2 defender come years end and does provide you with a cheeky captain option. While I don’t usually advocate for picking players who are “fully priced” Lloyd is relatively consistent and there might not be much opportunity to get him much cheaper later in the season. Paired with the fact there is usually more value in the midfield and forward throughout the year so spending your money in defence can be a wise move. At this stage I don’t think I will be starting with Lloyd but I can see why people would. It is going to be painful being a non-owner and watching him pump out 120’s to start the season.
Lance Franklin ($377 000) Priced at 50, he’s just too cheap! Everyone knows how good he can be posting a plethora of 80, 90 and even 100+ averages over the course of his career. After missing half of 2019 and all of 2020 with injury we get some sort of luxury in being given the option to select him so cheap. At age 34, whilst I still believe Lance can play some decent footy his body at this stage isn’t seeming to agree. A recent "minor" calf strain at training is definitely not something you want to be hearing when talking about a guy who has missed 18 months with injuries. Sydney will look to nurse Franklin and therefore limited game time or missing games beckons Franklin early on. I don’t think he'll play Rd 1, regardless Lance is a bargain price pickup at some point.
Players For The Watchlist
The theme with these teams towards the bottom end of the ladder is that they are all enduring some sort of rebuild stage. Young guys coming up look to add experience and exposure to their profile inevitably leading to a potential breakout. Tied with the fact the coach may experience throwing players slightly out of position to work out what works best for the team in trying to find a successful balance. The Sydney list is full of young players who have been exposed for a couple years at AFL level now.
Oliver Florent ($576 000 MID) Priced at 75 and James Rowbottom ($535 000 MID) priced at 70 are two players who fit into this category. Coming into their 5th and 3rd season respectively both look to be key factors in Sydney’s future engine room as Parker and Kennedy get on in age. Excluding rucks Florent attended the 3rd most CBA’s for the swans (52%) with Rowbottom just behind at 50% last year. The more footy these guys play the better they are going to get and I can’t see their CBA attendance going down much if anything it probably increases in 2021. If I had to say, I probably have slightly more interest in Rowbottom as he has played 2 fewer seasons and therefore may be open to a sharper rate of improvement. Either way both are on the watchlist for now although awkwardly priced.
Nick Blakey ($450 000 MID/FWD) is another interesting young prospect for the Swans. Having played a full season bar 1 game in his second year, Blakey should be open to sharp improvement going into his “3rd year breakout” season in 2021. Blakey improved his average from 49 in 2019 to an adjusted average of 59 in 2020. While these numbers are not great Blakey was able to display his potential ceiling with an adjusted 112 in round 12 when playing more up the ground. Blakey attended 0 CBA’s for the first 11 rounds of the season but from round 12 onwards he was thrown in there with longer periods the deeper we got into the season (CBA average 19% from Rd 12-14 increasing to 53% from rounds 15-18). The interesting thing about this is that Sydney’s core midfield group in Parker, Kennedy, Florent and Rowbottom were present for all of these games (Rowbottom missed 1 game). To me this indicates Sydney’s intent to use Blakey up the ground and through the middle. With the current state of the game and with limited rotations there is no doubt Blakey will spend time forward but if he is able to spend a fair chunk on the wing and snag a few CBA’s we could see a genuine 3rd year breakout with Blakey this season.
Players to Avoid
After being drafted in 2012 Sam Naismith ($559 000 RUC) has managed 30 career games. After missing 2 seasons with ACL injuries in 2018 and 2019 Naismith returned to play in 2020. Well kind of… Naismith managed the 2 games at an adjusted average of 96. There is no doubt he has potential to outscore his current price of 73 but with his injury history there is absolutely no way you are picking him in fantasy classic. The recruitment of Tom Hickey ($418 000 RUC) further reinforces the fact you should be looking elsewhere for a Brayden Preuss replacement.
This next one is slightly controversial but I have Isaac Heeney ($603 000 FWD) as a player to avoid in 2021. Priced at 79 there is no doubt that Heeney holds some sort of value in 2021. After all he probably averages 85-90. I just think that this year there are some other potential options at a cheaper price who could average similar to the Swans man. He is also coming off the back of playing 6 games in 2020 and after enduring a hampered pre-season I think that is enough to cross him off the list at this stage. Sydney need goals and Heeney is that X factor type who can kick 2 or 3 consistently. The development of younger mid/wing type players should see Heeney limited to a forward role in 2021 which could hamper his scoring potential.
Rookies To Watch Out For
Unlike some of the other teams towards the bottom of the ladder, it looks like Sydney may not blood as many youngsters this year after having thrown a whole bunch into the team over the past 2 seasons. Nevertheless, some names to look out for that may feature early include: Braeden Campbell ($262 000 MID/FWD), Chad Warner ($196 000 FWD) and Will Gould ($170 000 DEF)
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.