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Believe the hype: Fantasy's most popular picks

Warnie from The Traders (AFL Media)  February 13, 2017 11:18 AM

AFL 2017 Portraits - Western Bulldogs

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 7: Jack Macrae of the Bulldogs poses for a portrait during the Western Bulldogs team photo day at the VU Whitten Oval on February 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

The pre-season games are just around the corner and study sessions for AFL Fantasy coaches are intensifying. Tens of thousands of coaches have already signed up for 2017 and the smart bunch appear to be making good choices.

The early birds have hunted out the bargains to help pick their squad of 30 players under the $11,000,000 salary cap. These value picks could go a long way towards getting that worm, otherwise known as a Toyota Hilux, part of the major prize for winning Fantasy Classic.

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Who are the most selected players so far? Let’s break it down by position and get inside of the heads of coaches who think they’re in the know!

Defenders

New dual-position player Taylor Adams heads the list in defence and is also the most selected player in Fantasy Classic at this point of time. Averaging more than 100 points per game in the last two seasons, it’s easy to see why coaches are keen on him, despite not playing a full season during his five year career.

According to the ownership figures, Michael Hibberd and Jackson Thurlow are the discounted players of choice. Both are priced below their projected output this year as they return from suspension and injury.

NAME

CLUB

POSITION

PRICE

OWNERSHIP

Taylor Adams

COLL

DEF/MID

$622,000

44.3%

Mitchell Hibberd

NM

DEF/MID

$150,000

44.1%

Andrew McGrath

ESS

DEF/MID

$250,000

35.2%

Luke Ryan

FRE

DEF

$150,000

31.4%

Sam Docherty

CARL

DEF

$609,000

27.2%

Michael Hibberd

MELB

DEF

$428,000

23.7%

Jackson Thurlow

GEE

DEF

$282,000

23.5%

Jason Johannisen

WB

DEF

$563,000

21.4%

Rory Laird

ADE

DEF

$584,000

19.4%

Heath Shaw

GWS

DEF

$614,000

17.8%


Midfielders

The engine room is where the majority of Fantasy points are scored.

Two of the top scoring players of last season, Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Rockliff feature, however towards the top most coaches look to be after value.

Dyson Heppell, Nat Fyfe, Dayne Beams and Marc Murphy are popular selections as many believe they have plenty of upside and could produce premium scores for a bargain price. The same goes for Jaeger O’Meara and David Swallow. We may or may not see O’Meara in the opening rounds, and as a result it would be suggested to keep him out of your side until he makes his debut for his new club.

NAME

CLUB

POSITION

PRICE

OWNERSHIP

Dyson Heppell

ESS

MID

$548,000

42.8%

Nat Fyfe

FRE

MID

$595,000

36.5%

Nathan Freeman

STK

MID

$150,000

35.5%

David Myers

ESS

MID

$197,000

33.8%

Tom Rockliff

BL

MID

$704,000

30.1%

Patrick Dangerfield

GEE

MID

$712,000

29.9%

David Swallow

GC

MID

$355,000

26.7%

Marc Murphy

CARL

MID

$482,000

24.3%

Jaeger O’Meara

HAW

MID

$364,000

23.7%

Dayne Beams

BL

MID

$519,000

20.9%

 

Rucks

Judging by the numbers, the most common starting ruck combination might be Max Gawn and Patrick Ryder.

But things are not always what they seem.

The popular cheap ruck selections, Lewis Pierce and Mitchell King, both have RUC/FWD status. Some coaches may have placed Ryder in the forward line and may use the magic of DPP to link the players when needed.

The under-priced Stefan Martin is in more than 22 per cent of teams. The Lion was the highest averaging player in 2015.

NAME

CLUB

POSITION

PRICE

OWNERSHIP

Max Gawn

MELB

RUC

$642,000

30.5%

Lewis Pierce

STK

RUC/FWD

$150,000

28.5%

Patrick Ryder

PA

RUC/FWD

$411,000

25.7%

Stefan Martin

BL

RUC

$538,000

22.7%

Mitchell King

MELB

RUC/FWD

$150,000

18.2%

 

Forwards

Like Adams in defence, Jack Macrae’s newfound forward status was a blessing in the off-season and coaches are jumping on the Macrae-train. As someone who went at over 104 in his second and third seasons, he is a chance to be the best forward this year.

The forward line could be a gold mine for cash cows with some under-priced players. New Hawthorn captain Jarryd Roughead received a 30 per cent price discount following his year out of the game. If can average in the mid-80s or higher, like he achieved in his five seasons prior, he is an absolute steal.

One of the most hyped players of the pre-season is third-year Swan Isaac Heeney. In the mix for more midfield time this year, two in five coaches have selected the 20-year-old in their starting line ups.

Expect Harley Bennell’s ownership to drop before the first lockout. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon revealed the former Sun won’t be playing in round one.

NAME

CLUB

POSITION

PRICE

OWNERSHIP

Jack Macrae

WB

MID/FWD

$596,000

44.1%

Isaac Heeney

SYD

FWD

$442,000

40.9%

Jarrod Pickett

CARL

MID/FWD

$150,000

34.9%

Jarryd Roughead

HAW

FWD

$373,000

34.5%

Hugh McCluggage

BL

MID/FWD

$246,000

34.4%

Harley Bennell

FRE

MID/FWD

$388,000

24.3%

Luke Dahlhaus

WB

MID/FWD

$557,000

23.9%

Brett Eddy

PA

FWD

$150,000

21.6%

Kieren Lovell

HAW

MID/FWD

$195,000

18.9%

Aaron Black

GEE

FWD

$150,000

18.8% 


The hype team

Using the ownership data from the Stats Centre on the Fantasy website, the most popular players have been put into a team that squeezes under the salary cap.

Harley Bennell wasn’t included as our starting squads should include players available for the first weekend.

Looking at the mix of players, we can gain an understanding of what some coaches are thinking for their structure. This squad had a mix of premiums, mid-pricers and 'rookies'. As there is a range of viable mid-priced players this season, not all coaches will be loading up with as many as this team has but it gives an idea.

Team structure is as follow (premiums, mid-priced, rookies):

  • DEF: 2-2-4
  • MID: 4-3-3 
  • RUC: 1-1-2
  • FWD: 2-2-