HAPPY New Year everyone! Hopefully, this article finds you without a hangover as the silly season winds down and we start to remember what day it is. The turning of the calendar is always exciting for AFL Fantasy coaches, reminding us all a new season is just around the corner. Remember to take the ‘more midfield time’ comments with a grain of salt as plenty can change over a few short months, however, nailing your rookie selections is as crucial as ever for fantasy success. As you start your preparation for season 2020, here are my favourite cash cows to add to your watchlist and keep a close eye on once preseason kicks off again!
IF you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest AFL articles and follow my fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action!
Matthew Rowell, Suns
2019 Average: 123.6 from 7 NAB League games
102.2 from 4 U/18 Championship games
FOR the second straight season the No. 1 overall pick is shaping up as one of, if not the most important rookie in fantasy. Matt Rowell isn’t Sam Walsh, but his numbers are just as impressive, leading to Gold Coast snapping him up at the top of the 2019 order. In the NAB League premiership decider, Rowell separated himself from his peers in emphatic fashion, posting 176 fantasy points with 44 touches, eight marks, nine tackles and a pair of goals. Rowell will be given every opportunity to shine for the Suns and the possession heavy mid is worth paying top dollar for again. Lock.
Trent Bianco, Magpies
2019 Average: 103.5 from 11 NAB League games
75.7 from 4 U/18 Championship games
ROWELL’S NAB League teammate Trent Bianco isn’t as hot a fantasy prospect, but the elite ball user could emerge as a surprise packet in 2020. Collingwood rated the Oakleigh Chargers skipper highly and would have been chuffed to land him with pick No. 45, deflating his price for fantasy coaches at the same time. Bianco has his work cut out for him to cement a slot in the Magpies 22, but his leadership and top-end decision-making could see him find a home in the back-6 and piece some AFL games together in year one.
Hayden Young, Dockers
2019 Average: 84.7 from 12 NAB League games
85.1 from 4 U/18 Championship games
FREMANTLE’S first of three consecutive picks Hayden Young is poised to have an instant impact at the Dockers. Widely regarded as the best kick in this years draft class, Young will look to give Freo some stability coming out of defense along with the likes of Luke Ryan and Nathan Wilson. Having shown his prowess as an intercept defender in the air, a lot of +6’s should be coming Young’s way, boosting his scoring floor and giving fantasy coaches a stable source of production in defense – most likely starting Round 1.
Jacob Townsend, Bombers
2019 Average: 17 from 1 AFL game
88 from 18 VFL games
RECYCLED premiership Tiger Jacob Townsend lands at Windy Hill eager to string together weekly AFL games after featuring in just 16 senior matches over the past three seasons. Townsend hasn’t shown the greatest fantasy pedigree in the past and he isn’t as cheap as some other potential fliers in the forward line. That being said, if he can find a place in Essendon’s lineup, the regular games he appears in may make him an appealing cash cow worth taking a punt on.
Jeremy Sharp, Suns
2019 Average: 118 from 1 WAFL Colts game, 68 from 6 WAFL League games
83.4 from 4 U/18 Championship games
HAVING sacrificed pick #11 in next year’s draft to secure Jeremy Sharp’s services, you’d expect the Suns to give him every chance to play regular AFL footy in 2020. The West Aussie moves to Queensland with a penetrating long kick and speed to add another twist to the Suns’ ever-developing core. Don’t expect Sharp to chalk up 22 appearances in his first pro season, but much like his fellow draft peers, as Gold Coast works on finding a winning formula for the future, everyone on the list will be competing for a starting slot.
Izak Rankine, Suns
2019 Average: 60 from 3 NEAFL games
65 from 10 SANFL games (2018)
SIGN. Me. Up. I’m all in on picking Izak Rankine who should be in line to play as soon as the season commences. The No. 3 overall pick from 2018 struggled with injury woes a year ago and while he failed to make his AFL debut last season, Rankine is ready to be a big factor for the Suns. With hip and hamstring injuries holding the excitement machine back, a fit and firing Rankine won’t be scoring regular tons, but given his basement price, he still warrants a spot in your team once he does make his highly anticipated first appearance in Gold Coast colours.
Josh Worrell, Crows
2019 Average: 65.1 from 4 NAB League games
57.3 from 4 U/18 Championship games
THE departures of Alex Keath and Josh Jenkins leave some gaping holes at key positions for the Crows, opening the door for the likes of Josh Worrell to have an immediate impact. Worrell arrives in West Lakes as a versatile tall, capable of playing at both ends of the ground having won Vic Metro’s goalkicking award in the U/18 champs. Clocking in nearly $40k cheaper than his draft peer Fisher McAsey (who looms as his biggest competition for games early on), Worrell is one to keep an eye on.
Lachie Ash, Giants
2019 Average: 96.0 from 10 NAB League games
83.2 from 4 U/18 Championship games
GWS may have found their Heath Shaw succession plan in Lachie Ash, but it’s unclear how much he’ll play right away. Ash possesses the talent to slot straight into the AFL system, but the Giants are oozing with star players, making things hard for the rookie especially if Shaw and Williams hold down the half-back flank roles respectively. Boasting a fantasy-friendly kick-to-handball ratio, if injuries strike and Ash’s number is called then his scoring potential makes it worth paying a little extra to bring him in.
Mitchell Hibberd, Bombers
2019 Average: 0 AFL games
84 from 16 VFL games
SIMILARLY to Jacob Townsend, Mitch Hibberd will want to be much more than a depth piece for the Bombers after playing just four games as a Kangaroo in 2017. Having averaged 23 touches a game for Williamstown last year, there is still plenty of time for the 22-year old to carve out a notable AFL career, but he might not burst onto the scene right away to start next season. Should he piece some strong VFL form together, there’s every chance Hibberd can be a relevant cash cow in 2020.
Image from foxsports.com.au
Sam Flanders, Suns
2019 Average: 90.1 from 12 NAB League games
97.5 from 4 U/18 Championship games
HE doesn’t come cheap, but Sam Flanders is another early draftee that could be worth coughing up for. Having posted the 5th highest average from the U/18 championships, Flanders is in the mix to be handed his AFL debut early in the year and rack up serious numbers. I’m on the fence whether to start with Flanders or not, but there is a lot to like about the powerful line-breaker, making him one worth monitoring intently in the coming weeks/months.
Deven Robertson, Lions
2019 Average: 120.0 from 2 WAFL Colts games
113.1 from 4 U/18 Championship games
WAITING until day two of the Draft to hear his name called may have hurt Deven Robertson’s ego, but it did wonders for his starting price. An elite inside midfielder, Robertson’s disposal efficiency caused some clubs to pass on the talented WA captain, but as long as he gets the footy in his hands fantasy coaches won’t be too worried about where it goes. I do wonder how well he’ll slot into a midfield with Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lyons and Dayne Zorko, but if Robertson can provide the inside grunt and accumulate a ton of the footy, he’s shaping up to be one of the highest-scoring rooks in the upcoming season.
Marlion Pickett, Tigers
2019 Average: 73 from 1 AFL game
69 from 6 VFL games
MARLION Pickett is poised to be one of the most selected players in the comp with his Grand Final heroics last year a story that we’ll share with the next generation of fantasy coaches. After arriving at Richmond via the mid-season draft, Pickett averaged 69 points from his six games in the two’s, including 20 disposals and nine tackles in the VFL decider. That performance led to Pickett being picked to make his AFL debut in the 2019 Grand Final, where the 27-year old barely put a foot wrong for his score of 73 – fuelled by 22 touches. If he’s in Richmond’s Round 1 team, he should be in yours too.
Caleb Serong, Dockers
2019 Average: 100.0 from 5 NAB League games
114.8 from 4 U/18 Championship games
NO player scored more fantasy points than Caleb Serong during the Under 18 carnival and the Vic Country talent will aid a Freo unit that has seen some serious talent walk out the door recently. Losing valuable midfielders like Bradley Hill, Lachie Neale and Ed Langdon over the past 24 months there are more than a few holes to be plugged in the Dockers’ engine room. Serong is widely expected to step into one of those positions, having averaged 23.8 disposals across all his games last year and he could be a valuable cash cow if he finds a regular home in Fremantle’s midfield.
Noah Anderson, Suns
2019 Average: 108.1 from 7 NAB League games
84.5 from 4 U/18 Championship games
THE fantasy community is somewhat divided over Noah Anderson, but the No. 2 pick from last year’s draft can undoubtedly play. His inflated price tag is scaring off a few potential buyers, but there weren’t many players that impressed more than Anderson in his final season as a junior. The makeup of Gold Coast’s midfield will dictate just how impactful Anderson can be in his first season, but he has the same opportunity as other Suns youngsters to be a major fantasy factor.
Max King, Saints
2019 Average: 0 AFL games
43 from 5 VFL games
SEEING young talls sustain serious knee injuries is never a good thing, but Max King made a successful return from one late last year. Kicking 11.5 from five VFL games saw King push for senior selection, but luckily for AFL fantasy coaches, he failed to earn a gig, leading to a significant piece drop for 2018’s 4th overall pick. Taking a flier on King in one of your forward bench (or utility 👀) spots could be on the cards if he impresses over the preseason, but don’t expect him to regularly churn out high scores.
Remember the name…
THERE are more than 15 AFL Fantasy cash cows that demand our attention this preseason. While I don’t expect the following 10 players to be as prominent for a number of factors, it’s important to remember their names…
Jay Rantall, $192K, MID, Magpies – MUCH like Bianco, Rantall has his work cut out for him to entire the Pies 22, but he has come a long way in a short amount of time. Boasting a basketball background always makes rookies a better footballer too right?
Finn Maginness, $214K, MID, Hawks – IF I was picking one player on this list to have the biggest impact in the upcoming season it’d be Finn Maginness. An average in the mid/high 80’s showcases what he can do and I’ll be picking him if he earns games in a talented Hawks engine room.
Image from foxsports.com.au
Fischer McAsey, $260K, DEF, Crows – A sub 65 average from 11 games across all comps doesn’t scream pick me, but McAsey should play games for the Crows in 2020. There’s every chance he holds down a regular spot, but key position players aren’t usually what fantasy coaches covet.
Tom North, $170K, MID, Dockers – WITH the Dockers’ midfield undergoing a serious makeover, Tom North may be one to keep an eye on. With a WAFL average of 73.8 from the past two years, do yourself a favour and watch North closely.
Toby Wooler, $170K, FWD, Lions – TOBY Wooler was a force at reserve level for the Lions last year and yet, there’s no guarantee he’ll get a callup in the upcoming season. If he does though, one of the NEAFL’s best scorers a year ago will look to translate his scoring success at the pro level, making him an appealing trade target.
Trent Rivers, $208K, DEF/MID, Demons – An attacking half-back type, there’s a lot to like about Trent Rivers. He’s no certainty to play for the Dees in 2020, but if he does consider bringing him in instantly.
Miles Bergman, $244K, FWD, Power – HIGHLY skilled and capable of hitting the scoreboard, there’s every chance Miles Bergman replicates similar success as new teammate Connor Rozee did last year. That’s a big ask and Bergman may be asked to start the year in the two’s, but make sure his name is on your watchlist.
Liam Henry, $254K, FWD/MID, Dockers – I don’t see Henry being a high scoring fantasy player in his first AFL season, but he should still play a ton of footy. Probably not worth the extra coin, but having the excitement machine in your team would make watching Freo worthwhile.
Harry Schoenberg, $224K, MID, Crows – AS Adelaide retools their line-up there’s every chance Schoenberg can play double-digit games in 2020. He’ll likely bide his team in the SANFL, but look for him to make an impact as the season progresses if he’s as good as advertised.
Tom Green, $252K, MID, Giants – THE Giants are spoilt for choice in the midfield, meaning we won’t expect to see Tom Green make an AFL appearance early on in the year. However, the big-bodied youngster excels around the stoppages and that could see him picked for a few contests if the injury bug bites GWS.
Banner from perthnow.com.au