West Coast Eagles: Big Boys, Bargains, Rookies and More...

Having made finals 25 times in the 34 years since joining the AFL, they've played 54 finals games for 26 wins and a draw and won four premierships. No club has made more finals appearances in that time. I'm only talking about the best team in the AFL lads in the West Coast Eagles. Let me start by saying fuck is it good being a West Coast supporter. You walk into every season knowing you'll play finals and if it all goes to shit Simmo pulls a miracle and we're back in the next year. Anyway, I digress from the fact this is about AFL Fantasy and while the eagles are a top club they don't offer too much in regards to fantasy options.

Big Boys to Consider

Whilst I love my West Coast boys the reality is, they just don’t have that fantasy prowess about them that other clubs have. West Coast tend to have a very balanced spread of points each year resulting in small improvements and or limited ceilings across the board. The only player to reach the 100+ average at West Coast last year was Andrew Gaff ($831 000 MID). Averaging 110+ for 3 years in a row, you know what you are going to get with Gaff. The man is super durable (Missed 6 games in the last 9 seasons most of which were suspension) which is something to consider when paying top dollar for someone. The downside with Gaff is that we likely see a decrease in TOG% from 95 in 2020 back to the high 80’s posted in 2019 and 2018. Last year was clear that Corona ball really suited players with a big tank as they were able to stay on the park longer and in Gaff’s case stay on for full games, this won’t be the case in 2021. Gaff is priced at his ceiling in 2021 and therefore has to be an upgrade target but definitely one to consider if you see him drop at any point.

Bargain Buys

As much as I really hoped there would be a walk-up West Coast selection for me this year that’s just not the case and like most seasons there are no players from the Eagles that are a must have bargain from round 1 at this stage.

Players For The Watch List

Liam Duggan ($661 000 DEF) is one who saw a role shift in the back end of 2020 and with limited opportunity was able to show what he can produce when utilised as a midfielder. Duggan comes into this season priced at 87 and while I don’t think there is much value in starting with him, he did go at 97 in his last 5 games and I do think West Coast will look to use him through the middle again as Shuey and Redden continue to age and Yeo looks unlikely to play early. Look to see what Duggan’s role looks like as it is always handy having defenders who play in the midfield and with increased opportunity could push for a top 6 defender spot this season.

It’s no secret that Nic Naitanui ($653 000 RUC) is one of the best players in the competition when fit and firing. After multiple knee injuries Naitanui was finally able to put together a bulk of footy last season which saw his TOG% increase from 56 in 2019 to 69 in 2020. Priced at 86, Nic is only 2 points under his career high season average of 88 back in 2015. I think with Kennedy and Hurn likely playing their last seasons along with Shuey, Redden and some others now into their 30’s this really is a last crack at another flag for West Coast. In order for West Coast to win a flag they need Nic on the park for as much of the game as possible and with a full season under the belt last year I’m hoping we can see a significant jump in TOG this year. If Nic can get to 80+% that other rucks seem to manage he could be one to consider as a Preuss replacement.

Players migrating clubs always provide for interesting prospects and Alex Witherden ($653 000 DEF) is no different. A player who scores highly via kicks and uncontested marks now joins the team notorious for that type of play style. While there is talk Witherden possibly doesn’t make the best 22 I don’t think that will be the case and there should be a spot for him in the west coast backline. Witho has demonstrated high scoring potential in the past but with Hurn in the side you would expect him to take the kick ins which might equal out the points he gains from some extra kicks and marks here and there. Witherden will likely be around the same in 2021 but he is one to watch out for as with slight improvement can be challenging for a top 6 defender spot.

Players to Avoid

Coming into this season I was super keen on Elliot Yeo ($679 000 MID). Yeo comes in priced at 89 down from 102 and 106 the two seasons prior. The issue with Yeo is that he is still getting over his groin injury that plagued him last season and as a West Coast supporter I’m unsure we will even see him Rd1 possibly even the first couple rounds of the season. When Yeo does play his workload will be monitored, he will not be at full fitness and may play less TOG resulting in scores likely around what he is priced at, maybe worse. Yeo definitely has fantasy ability though so he’s one to pick up when it looks like he’s fit and firing possibly around the midpoint of the season.

Jack Redden ($554 000 MID) comes into this season priced at 72. While on paper this looks like a bargain having posted averages of 91 and 96 in his two seasons prior, I just don’t think Redden will get enough opportunity inside this season. West Coast like to go with a pretty fixed rotation of Shuey, Kelly, Yeo, Sheed and Gaff which leaves Redden as the last man who gets thrown in at times. While it’s likely Yeo could miss some early games, I think West Coast will use that as opportunity to develop some younger blokes and may opt to use someone like Duggan to fill that void temporarily. If Reddens CBA numbers look good in pre-season you could possibly do it but I just think at that price there are better options who are younger with greater upside.

Rookies to Watch Out For

Not to sure that we will see many young fellas debut this season but as a club we do tend to hand out a few games in and there throughout the season. If given an opportunity I think the main guys to consider are: Luke Foley ($170 000 DEF), Luke Edwards ($170 000 MID), Zane Trew ($170 000 MID) and Isiah Winder ($170 000 DEF/MID).

Who looks to be the main guys you legends are looking at. In all honesty West Coast are pretty dead this year but I'm genuinely considering Duggan and Nic Nat depending on what they can produce role and numbers wise in the pre-season games. Let me know your thoughts below. Cheers Lads.

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