Having put out a trade guide for you guys covering the basics of good trade principles, I thought I would go a little bit more in depth into some more "left field" blokes and some potential mid price options to target or at least monitor. As I've stated on other occasions I intend to be very transparent with guys in order to offer the best advice and maximum value in order to provide the most improvement in your journey to becoming a top coach. These guys I'm about to mention are just some of the names I've noticed in the early part of the season and at least have my eye on. I have provided some insight and stats to why I think they are a good options along with the potential downsides where applicable. There's a huge amount of quality information here and by the end I hope you have learnt a trick or two about identifying good options in fantasy classic. Lets jump straight into the players!
Ben Keays ($627k MID)
CBA: 68.5% over the first two rounds. This is an increase of 20.5% on last years average of 48%
TOG%: 85% which is down 1% on last year
Priced at: 84
Injury interuptions to Keays in 2018 and 2019 meant a stunt in his progression from a fantasy perspective. Having put together an almost full campaign last year in what would be his 3rd genuine season (excluding 2018/19) Keays looked to have built himself a good platform to build from. Having increased his average last year by 20-25 points I was bullish we could see further improvement this year as he naturally gets better with time and experience. Keays has boosted his CBA attendance up 20% on last year which is a key indicator for scoring improvement and we've seen this reflect in his average of 92.5 over the first two rounds. My main concerns with a guy like Keays is that Matt Crouch back in the side may see his CBA usage drop back down to numbers similar to last year and therefore limit some of his upside. He's also never really shown he has a huge ceiling also and for these reasons I think there are better guys on this list but I do think he can maintain a 90+ average for the season.
At this current moment I'm looking to avoid Brisbane midfielders as they seem to have a large number of guys rotating through the middle. This has resulted in the point distribution being relatively spread which isn't ideal when targeting someone to bring in. Teams with more stable/clear roles allow more confidence when selecting a player.
Jack Crisp ($733k DEF)
CBA: 43% average over two games which is up 39% on last seasons average of 4%
TOG%: 90.5% which is up 3.5% on last season
Priced At: 98
Crisp this season looks to be running through the middle a lot more. With the further development of Quaynor and Noble covering down back along with Treloar leaving and opening up some midfield opportunities, it looks like Collingwood are set on using Crisp more up the field this season. Crisp packs all attributes needed to be an elite scorer as he fills all stat lines consistently. With Elliot now injured it looks likely that De Goey will spend more time forward which opens up more time inside and possibly further consolidates this role for Crisp. If you don't have Laird he's still the number 1 target in defence but this guy is the next best option.
John Noble ($597k DEF)
TOG%: 82% which is up 1% on last year
Priced At: 80
At 24 years of age coming into his third season Noble was one I was eager to watch early and flagged him in the pre-season as someone to potentially watch. After averaging 77 last year it was clear to me he was only going to get better with more experience. He looks to be spending his time rotating between wing and half back and he's always willing to get involved in the switch play and ball movement out of the back half. With the current state of the game he looks well suited and has a result has averaged 84.5 points. I think he can average 85-90 for the season which sees him present a little bit of value at the price. If you're desperate for an upgrade he could be an option at a cheaper price but it's probably smarter to save the money and try get to a crisp or another premium type.
Taylor Adams ($825k MID)
CBA: 77.5% which is up 1.5% on last year
TOG%: 78% which is down 2% on last year
Priced At: 111
After a slow return in his first game Adams looked back to his best with a 121 last week. Due to a poor performance in round 1 Adams has been dropping cash and potentially could drop a little bit more in the next 1 to 2 weeks. We know what Adams is capable of and should be around a 115 average at the end of the season. He looks to bottom out in 1 to 2 weeks and opts for a great upgrade target and one that I'm looking to bring in then.
Darcy Parish ($602k MID)
CBA: 42.5% from his two games which is down 5.5% on last years average of 48%
TOG%: 83% which is up 5% on last year
Priced At: 81
If you read my round 2 review you may be a little confused about this. While I've hung shit on Parish this season (I currently own him) I think with injuries to Caldwell and Shiel we may see Parish step into the role I originally thought he would get. I thought at the start of the year we would see Parish as the second most used mid at the bombers (behind Merrett) and therefore thought he could average close to 100. With midfield opportunities open, surely he has to be the guy that takes this with both hands. His TOG is up 5% which is also a good sign. Although, this could be because he's been sitting forward more and if he was to go into the middle more often this may drop back down to numbers similar to what he put up last year. I expect a spike in Parish's CBA's over the next few weeks and therefore I'm willing to keep him. I didn't start with him for no reason so monitor his role and if he looks the goods he could be an option at the price. Priced at 81 we could see him average 90-100 while these other blokes are on the sidelines.
Kyle Langford ($629k MID/FWD)
CBA: 7.5% which is roughly the same as last year where he spent 8% inside
TOG%: 79% which is down 4%. His round 1 game was at 73% which is abnormally low for him so I would expect his TOG% to be roughly the same as last year over the course of the year.
Priced At: 84
Dyson Heppell ($572k MID)
CBA: 0% (Looks to be used at half back)
Priced At: 77
These are just a couple more candidates that could see some more time inside with the injuries at the Bombers. Heppell is an interesting one as he looks to be set to play half back this year. He's 50/50 to play this week having suffered a back spasm injury. If Essendon decide to use him through the middle to fill the void left he could be an option priced at 77 for a bloke who has averaged 100+ multiple times in this role.
Injury creates opportunity for others and with midfield minutes up for grabs this is an area which I'll be watching closely this weekend.
Jordan Ridley ($693k DEF)
TOG%: 100% which is up 9% on last years average of 91%
Priced At: 93
Kick In%: 89% average over the first 2 rounds
A rebounding/intercept defender with 100% TOG over two rounds is exactly what you want in a fantasy player. Defenders typically have higher TOG but 100% is absurd. He looks to be an almost sole kick in taker (89% of kick ins) at the bombers and as a result will rack up plenty of free points because of this. Super consistent and a great upgrade target in defence if you need someone on the unique side.
Andrew Brayshaw ($756k MID)
CBA: 69% from two games which is up 27% from last years average of 42%
TOG%: 82% which is up 7% from last seasons average of 75%
Priced At: 101
One that I outlined in the pre-season articles as one to potentially start with. I backed myself in and what I saw and hence started with him. A healthy increase in CBA's along with a decent TOG increase along with the fact Brayshaw will naturally improve in his 4th season are all factors to why he's started the way he has. If he maintains these numbers which I expect he will, there is no reason why he can't average around 110 this year.
Adam Cerra ($658k MID)
CBA: 63.5% from two games which is up 39.5% on last years average of 24%
TOG%: 74% down 6% from last year
Priced At: 88
Cerra is a bloke that has always had super ability averaging 115 at state league level as a junior. The problem with Cerra is he's always been that guy Freo throw around where need be. This year it looks like Cerra is well and truly entrenched in the midfield rotation and as a result we've seen him get off to a great start. His TOG is a little bit down on last year but this could be due to the fact he had that calf niggle just before the start of the season and they are managing him slightly. It may also be because he's running through the mid more and needs more rest. Regardless the huge uptick in CBA's means I think a player of this calibre can average 100 for the season and at his current price if he's all you can afford I think he's a great smoky.
Isaac Smith ($651k MID/FWD)
CBA: 3% up 2% on last year
TOG%: 88% which is up 6% on last year
Priced At: 87
Isaac Smith certainly presents an interesting option. He's playing a wing role for Geelong like he has throughout his whole career at Hawthorn. His ability to cover the ground is elite and with the new rules he looks one to have benefited from a fantasy point of view. Geelong look to give him the ball whenever they can and his running ability is something they'll continue to utilise to break games open. His TOG% is up a decent amount on last year which indicates a little bit of upside. Geelong do have names to come back (Duncan, Danger, Menegola) which could impact his role slightly and he could play more half forward. Geelong have stated they will intend to rest some of their older guys throughout the year. Smith fits into this category and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw him rested once maybe twice throughout the year. This is a turn off for me as I'd be looking to hold Smith as a premium type and wouldn't want that headache in the future.
Tom Atkins ($408k FWD)
TOG%: 86% which is up 11% on last years average of 75%
Priced At: 55
Tom Atkins looks to be one of those forwards who has seen a role switch to half back. His new role sees him land in a way more favourable ability to score from a fantasy perspective. His ability to utilise space isn't top notch and so his mark tally may be lower than other defenders but his ability to tackle is great and makes up for it. If he could give away less free kicks (9 in the first 2 games) it would certainly help his average. His TOG is up significantly which is enough for me to suggest him as a good option with plenty of upside. I can see Atkins averaging 75 in this role which sees him provide plenty of value.
Jack Bowes ($671k DEF)
TOG%: 90.5% which is up 7.5% on last years average of 83%
Priced At: 90
Kick In%: 58% of Gold Coast kick ins
Bowes is one who always had great fantasy ability as a junior. It looked like we needed to see Bowes move into the middle to unlock his true potential but with the shift in how the game is being played defenders look more able to score this season. Gold Coast and playing a high kick mark game out of defence this year and Bowes looks to be the main distributor down back along with the #1 kick in taker. I don't expect him to maintain a 113.5 average but somewhere between 90-100 is reasonable. He's pricey now and there are other more proven options around the price (Daniel, Short, Stewart...) He's unique which could be a selling point later in the year but I think I'd prefer others at the price at this stage in the season.
Jack Lukosius ($627k DEF)
TOG%: 80.5% which is down 2.5% on last year
Priced At: 84
Lukosius is arguably the best field kick in the AFL and if he's not the best he's right up there. Due to this he looks to have benefited this season. Lukosius is still young and has more improvement in him. He seems to be playing more up the field this year on a wing opposed to the half back flank we have seen him in years prior. This kid is a star of the future and I can see him average 90 this year. I'd probably rate him higher than Bowes due to the price difference.
Noah Anderson ($581k MID)
CBA: 59% which is up 42% on last years average of 17%
TOG%: 81% which is up 5% on last year
Priced At: 78
After a huge debut season Anderson looks to continue on his path to improvement. We've seen other players in the past take massive steps in their second season (Oliver and Taranto) and I expect we could see Anderson do the same. His season average of 70 last year saw him attend 17% CBA's but in the last 5 games he attended 42% for an average of 89. No Rowell means an inside mid spot has opened up and Anderson looks to take most of those minutes. His average of 59% CBA along with an increase in TOG by 5% makes him look a great mid price option in my eyes. He could be 90+ this year but I don't want to limit the heights he can achieve as this kid will be a star for many years to come and we've seen Oliver in the past go 100+ in his second year.
Isaac Cumming ($415k DEF)
CBA: 0 TOG%: 82% which is down 3% on last year
Priced At: 56
Kick In%: 62.5% of GWS kick ins
Isaac Cumming was a name that floated in and out of my starting side and is now one I wish I had started with him. Cumming is the #1 kick in taker at the Giants which gives him a good baseline of free points each week. His role along with kick in duty should continue with Whitfield still being a while away. His scoring may dip in games he gets less kick ins but his role at half back is good and he should continue to score well enough to generate some money for you. Priced at 56 he's a great value pick in defence.
James Worpel ($675k MID)
CBA: 45.5% which is down 20.5% on last years average of 66%
TOG%: 72% which is down 9% on last year
Priced At: 91
Decreases in CBA's and TOG has resulted in a poor start to 2021 for Worpel. I expected that Worpel would average 100+ this year after back to back averages of 97 in the past 2 years. He is young and still has room to grow. The fact Hawthorn is playing him on the wing a lot more when he is clearly more of an inside bull, couple with the significantly lower TOG indicates they may be nursing him back from a minor injury similar to what the Bulldogs are doing with Treloar. Keep an eye on his role and if he returns back to a role similar of last year and the year prior he's one to jump on as he'll get pretty cheap.
Harry Morrison ($541k DEF/MID)
TOG%: 82% which is up 2% on last year
Priced At: 73
Scored well in the AAMI series (109) and has continued that form with 89 and 94 in the opening two rounds. Splitting his time between wing and half back. Hawthorn defenders are something that interest me as we've seen them take a heavy kick mark approach in their backline which is leading to big mark numbers across the board. Priced at 73 there is value here and dual position status is handy.
Blake Hardwick ($531k DEF)
TOG%: 84% which is up 1% on last year
Priced At: 71
Kick In%: 40.5% of Hawthorn kick ins
Hardwick has never been a fantasy scorer in the past with an average of 72 being his highest over the past 5 seasons. At 24 years old Hardwick is hitting his prime as a player and with Hartigan, Frost, Jiath it looks like Hawthorn have opted to free Hardwick up opposed to him playing more of a lockdown role in previous years. He is currently the #1 kick in taker at the Hawks with Will day being second (now injured). This may mean Hardwick picks up more kicks ins or they may get given to a bloke like Scrimshaw who looks to come in and fill Day's role. Certainly an interesting one that I probably wouldn't do based of his past numbers. He's not the worse option and he should be able to maintain 70+ scores at half back which can generate you some value but he's far from a keeper.