UNDER Luke Beveridge, the Bulldogs have enjoyed greater success with a finals appearance and, more importantly, increased AFL Fantasy prominence.
Young midfielder Jack Macrae (MID, $579,000) has been stellar in the last two seasons, averaging 104 points and establishing himself as a future Fantasy champion.
Liam Picken (MID, $559,000) was injected into the midfield last season increasing hit output by 27 points, and increasing his price by $100,000. He has lost defender status for 2016 as he has gained the freedom to win the ball in his own right.
Picken wasn’t the only Bulldog to be named MID only after carrying dual-position status.
Marcus Bontempelli (MID, $511,000), Koby Stevens (MID, $462,000) and Lachie Hunter (MID, $433,000) were some of the improvers in the forward line, but due to their presence in the centre of the ground, can only be selected as midfielders this season.
A change of role last season saw Matthew Boyd (DEF, $578,000) pick up defensive eligibility. This move didn’t seem to change his Fantasy output, posting an average of 104.4 from 18 games. A number of premium defenders are MID only in 2016 and there are few opportunities to select a player who scored more than 110 on nine occasions last season.
Picking up a discount due to missing 2015 with a serious knee injury, Tom Liberatore (MID, $443,000) comes in under-priced and is a very tempting option for starting Fantasy squads. The son-of-a-gun was brilliant in his third and fourth seasons averaging 97.2 and 98.6 while playing every game. If Libba’s body is right to go, he will not only score you some good points but make you some dollars early on.
As the third-most expensive available forward, Luke Dahlhaus (FWD/MID, $540,000) still has plenty of upside as he heads into his sixth season. Playing through the midfield as well as up forward, the 23-year-old has improved his Fantasy output thanks to his ball-winning ability that saw him average 28 disposals in the last eight weeks of 2015.
The first player to switch clubs via free agency in October’s trade period was Hawthorn premiership player Matt Suckling (DEF/FWD, $444,000). Now a Bulldog and looking to cement a place in the back six, Suckling’s numbers may improve under the Fantasy-friendly style of play at The Kennel.
Of all of the Western Bulldogs draftees, Josh Dunkley (MID, $162,000) is the most likely to make an impact Fantasy-wise. The 189cm midfielder is a good chance to figure early but as the Bulldogs look to climb into the top rungs of the eight, they may not play the kids as much as previous years.
On the outer for most of last season, Will Minson (RUC, $384,000) is priced below his capability. From 2012-2014 the 30-year-old played at his Fantasy best, averaging 97.4 to place him amongst the top echelon of ruckmen. If Minson can once again become a regular and hold down the No.1 ruck mantle, then he may save you cash in 2016.
It is going to take Tom Boyd (FWD, $280,000) some time to not only find his feet at AFL level, but to become a strong Fantasy player. Key forwards take time to develop and it might be a slow build before Boyd is a walk-up start in our squads.