ONE month of fantasy footy is in the books and we are being reminded once again just how bumpy this ride can be. Some coaches can accredit their early success to educated gambles on a handful of players who have lived up to the hype, while those on the other side of the bracket can point to the individuals who have not delivered. AFL Fantasy is sometimes compared to the stock market and through the first month of the season, there are some stocks/players soaring and some plummeting into the red. Who falls into which category?
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Travis Boak – Power, FWD, $758K
HAVING already added $148K to his starting price, you’d be kicking yourself if you missed the Travis Boak train. He threw up two scores over 135 in the first fortnight of the season and it’s hard to see a world where he isn’t a top-6 forward by seasons end. Must have property.
Tom Stewart – Cats, DEF, $664K
TOM Stewart isn’t residing in many Classic teams right now, with just 6% of coaches currently owning the Cats rebounding defender. There’s no reason why Stewart can’t keep putting numbers on the board with relative ease and in turn, increase his ownership while scoring at a high clip. Only two players have recorded more kicks than him in the first month of the season, which is always a good sign for fantasy scoring.
Lachie Neale – Lions, MID, $809K
IT’S no secret that Lachie Neale is good at scoring in AFL Fantasy. Besides, the former Docker hasn’t gone under a triple-figure average in any of the last four seasons. However, his arrival in Brisbane has seen him turn it up to another level, posting three consecutive scores over 135 to lead the entire AFL in disposals. Just try and stop him.
Rowan Marshall – Saints, FWD, $599K
MORE Draft relevant, Rowan Marshall has started 2019 at a torrid pace. Going from an unowned fantasy nobody (no offense mate), the Saints tall has thrived as their go-to ruckmen, chalking up 89 hitouts in three contests, scoring at an average of 104.3. With a new batch of DPP’s (dual-position players) set to be announced next week, added ruck status is surely on its way for Marshall, making him all the more tempting.
Ben McEvoy – Hawks, RUC, $667K
THERE aren’t many coaches rolling with Ben McEvoy right now, but the 3.5% who are will be rubbing their hands together. He isn’t exactly a fantasy scrub, having averaged 85+ in each of the past two seasons, but no one expected his hot start to include a 127 against a noteworthy foe in Todd Goldstein. Take a bow Big Boy.
Sam Walsh – Blues, MID, $758K
YES, I’ve checked and Sam Walsh definitely hasn’t played in the AFL before. With just four career games to his name, Walsh isn’t playing like a rookie, rather displaying the composure and scoring capacity of a 10-year veteran. He’ll stay in our sides for a LONG time this season.
Lachie Whitfield – Giants, DEF, $830K
I couldn’t leave Lachie Whitfield off this list, even if we entered the season with high expectations from the young Giant. No player has scored more points across the first four rounds of the year and with his price on set to balloon further, 64% of the competition will have to rob a bank to acquire the fantasy stallion.
Dustin Martin – Tigers, MID, $606K
THOSE of us who thought Dusty could return to his fantasy glory days were sadly mistaken. He may still turn things around somewhat, currently going at a miserable 69.3 points per outing, but it’s hard to find someone who’s had a worse start to the season than Martin, with bad form and suspension severely hampering his first month.
Lance Franklin – Swans, FWD, $547K
ONLY two players have dropped more in value than Buddy to start the year. Neither Mark Hutchings or Tom McDonald are known for their fantasy relevance, so their decline is understandable. Lance Franklin’s? Not so much. He bounced back slightly last week, but Buddy looks very 32 years old, off to one of his slowest starts in recent memory.
Justin Westhoff – Power, RUC/FWD, $630K
A year ago Just Westhoff was hot property averaging 100+ for the first time in his career. It’s not exactly stunning to see him slide with Scott Lycett and Paddy Ryder at full health, but an average that is barely pushing 70 is enough to make all 14.7% of his owners tear their hair out.
Toby McLean – Bulldogs, MID/FWD, $579K
MCLEAN was flagged all preseason as a player who would be returning closer to the sticks this year, making him a somewhat irrelevant fantasy player. He still has the ability to score when he’s near the ball, but playing a more permanent forward role has seen the young Pup lose out on midfield minutes, posting three scores in the 70’s from four contests. Pass.
Josh Dunkley – Bulldogs, MID/FWD, $606K
HIS teammate Josh Dunkley isn’t much better. After lighting the fantasy world on fire with his second half of the season a lot of coaches (including yours truly) were sucked in to start 2019 and he has well and truly failed to fire. With Tom Liberatore and draftee Bailey Smith stealing a lot of the midfield duties, if you are in the 8.8% of owners, you know what to do.
Stefan Martin – Lions, RUC, $628K
WHILE the Lions are delivering on their preseason promise, Stefan Martin hasn’t exactly been the catalyst. I’ll give it to him he’s been consistent, with just a three-point difference in his last three scores. However, 80’s aren’t going to cut it from someone who we expected to contend for a top-2 ruck spot, or at very worst stay in touch with the creme of the crop.
Sam Menegola – Cats, MID/FWD, $638K
LAST week’s numbers against the Giants summarise Menegola’s start to the fantasy season in a nutshell. 14 disposals, two tackles, zero marks and just 37 points. This behaviour isn’t even acceptable from a rookie, let alone a ‘premium’ calibre player. He’s got to go, and I can’t blame coaches if they want to throw him in the never again category.