AFL Fantasy 2018 Preview

I have been pretty silent in the lead up to the 2018 AFL Fantasy season, but no more! After months of dissecting JLT scores/preseason news/role changes/injuries/player movement and everything in between, we are finally here. Tens of thousands of Fantasy coaches are both nervous and excited for the 2018 competition to get underway and if you are in full panic mode have no fear, I’ve got you covered for all your basic fantasy needs before Carlton and Richmond kick things off on Thursday night.

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My Team

AS it stands right now here is my Classic team a few days out from the start of the season. A few of the rookies may change around pending team selection, but most players are locked into a place for the Large Fry’s & Coke.

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LIKE any good preseason coach my team has changed look and shape about 1,903 times, but I’m fairly happy with how things are set now. I’ve opted for the traditional guns and rookies strategy across the board with a healthy crop of youngsters coming into the AFL.

IN the back line I was considering Shane Savage for D3 to save some coin in another area, but in the end went with Laird, Lloyd and Hibbo. The only change I could make to the final five places is Doedee (Crows, $170K) coming in for one of the bench guys. The midfield is loaded with the creme de la creme paying top dollar for the likes of Titch and Zerret. Matt Crouch, Lachie Neale and Luke Parker are underpriced and I expect each of them to push close to 105-110.

I was in two minds about who to choose out of Parker, Lachie Whitfield and Patrick Cripps and to be honest, Whitfield still might make a move into the team. However, I think Parker has a higher ceiling so he well and truly earns his spot. Just quickly, the absence of Rocky makes me queasy but after what he has dished up in the last few years and starting at a new club I would rather not start with him and get him later than have him burn me. Rounding out the rest of the mids are a bunch of rookies with high upside. Banfield may be swapped for Dom Barry if he is selected, but overall there are popular, mainstream picks.

OPTING to stay vanilla with the rucks, I’ve played it safe choosing Max Gawn and Sam Jacobs. I considered Stef Martin, but after last season I can’t trust him to hold down the solo ruck role. Finally, in the forward line, I opted for the two guns everyone likes choosing both Heeney and Billings. Petracca seems poised to explode and I love him at F3. The rest of the forwards though, I’m not so sold on. Rayner should get every chance to play, but I think at his price there are better choices. In fact, a similar thing can be said for all the rooks in the FWD line, with team selection going to play a big factor in who stays and who goes.

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Start With

Allen Christensen, Brisbane (FWD, $331K)
COMING at a massive discount ‘Bundy’ Christensen is one of the most popular mid-priced players in the comp. After missing the entire 2017 season he comes with a 30% discount from his average of 67 in 2016. The three seasons before that he averaged over 80 points and seems poised to push numbers close to that again this year.

Dustin Martin, Richmond (MID, $800K)
OVER a quarter of Fantasy coaches are all in on Dustin Martin dominating again in 2018. The reigning Brownlow Medalist is one of the safest choices in the league and provides you with a ‘set and forget’ player that will help you sleep at night. At nearly $100K cheaper than Tom Mitchell he is a great M2 or M3 choice priced a few dollars cheaper than the ‘top dogs’.

Andrew Brayshaw, Fremantle (MID, $268K)
BRAYSHAW is shaping up as of the locks of the year. After being taken with the No. 2 pick by Fremantle in last year’s draft, Brayshaw impressed in the preseason with JLT scores of 66 and 82 recording a combined 15 tackles in those two games. While JLT doesn’t tell us all we need to know, the rookie hasn’t placed a foot wrong since arriving at the club and as a result, he is the 8th most selected player in the comp.

Adam Treloar, Collingwood (MID, $761K)
WITH an ownership under 10% Adam Treloar might be the perfect POD player in the midfield. Set to average around the coveted 110 mark, the Pies on baller is being slightly overlooked by coaches. Those who make the investment though seem set for another 20-22 games of magic from Treloar.

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Start Without

Darcy Fogarty, Adelaide (FWD/MID, $248K)
AT least for now. While Fogarty looked extremely impressive in the JLT, I have fears for his job security even if he is named for round one. The 12th pick in last years draft might take Tex Walker’s place in the Crows outfit against the Dons and score well, but I think his stay in Adelaide’s 22 is sketchy.

Elliot Yeo, West Coast (DEF, $692K)
ONE of the most polarizing AFL Fantasy players ever is also one of the most expensive defenders entering the new season. We still aren’t quite sure what Yeo will average or in fact what role the Eagles utility will play in 2018. What we do know is that Yeo will cause more headaches than highlights for your team this year despite his high ceiling. Avoid.

Jaeger O’Meara, Hawthorn (MID, $438K)
HIS history just scares me way too much to seriously consider starting with him. O’Meara has been on fire this preseason posting 61 and 85 in Hawthorn’s two games in the JLT. While he seems to be back at 100% fitness, a guy that has played in only six games since 2014 is too risky for mine.

Brodie Grundy, Collingwood (RUC, $748K)
THE Cox effect is real. Over the preseason I wrote about the pros and cons surrounding Grundy for the DT Talk boys and it can be summarised quite easily. When Grundy plays with Mason Cox he averages over 20 points less compared to games when he is the team’s primary ruckman. With Nathan Buckley telling us that Cox will play more this upcoming year look to spend your money elsewhere.

Draft Leagues

IF you haven’t already make sure that you sign up for a draft league or two. Last year was the first season that I took part in an AFL Fantasy draft and it was a lot of fun. Draft leagues have just one of each player available so instead of competing against the nation you are given a chance to compete against a smaller group which makes things a lot more competitive. Get a group of your mates together or join a random league by clicking here.

Dates/Times You Need To Know

THE all-important team announcements this week will shape a lot of squads before lockout hits us. At 6:20pm (AEDT) on Wednesday the teams for Carlton vs. Richmond are announced and at the same time on Thursday we will find out the rest of the teams for Round 1. The Sunday teams will initially release a squad of 25, with the final 22 announced on Friday at 5:00pm AEDT, a few hours before the Bombers and Crows match.

BE wary of the rolling lockout for the start of Round 1. As Carlton and Richmond play on Thursday night, any Blues or Tigers that you have in your team will be locked in at 7:25pm AEDT. You can still make changes to the rest of your team before Friday night’s Essendon vs. Adelaide fixture, but make sure that you haven’t got any Richmond or Carlton players in your team you aren’t happy with on Thursday night.

Final Thoughts

THE AFL Fantasy season isn’t won in the first round, but it can be lost. Stick with the players you had in your sights over the preseason and don’t let the team announcements disrupt your train of thought too much. Be sure to double and triple check your teams as lockout approaches and make sure you have your captains and emergencies set for what should be a great start to a memorable season.

Best of luck!

Peace ✌

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