BY the time the second round of the 2020 AFL season gets underway we will have waited 81 days between football games, with Round 1 a distant memory now in the rear vision mirror. The season restart brings plenty of excitement and relief with it, and for AFL Fantasy coaches it’s time to get your head back in the game. A lot has changed since late March when players were last on the track and nailing the now THREE trades at your disposal before footy resumes is as crucial as ever.
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Jack Viney – Demons, MID, $652K
NO player rose more in price than Jack Viney after the first batch of fixtures, with his 34 disposals against the Eagles making him hard to ignore. While we can expect Viney to score well this season, I won’t back him in to top the charts on a weekly basis – especially given the rest of the class in Melbourne’s midfield around him. As a Draft pick, Viney is also a steal and if you’re high on him, pull the trigger now and get him into your side.
Sam Flanders – Suns, MID/FWD, $250K
A niggling hamstring issue grounded Sam Flanders during the pre-season and held him back from making his debut in Round 1. However, with a lengthy layoff allowing the former Gippsland Power talent to get his body right and push for a place in the 22 to take on West Coast. In his final junior season, Flanders averaged 91.9 fantasy points in 16 NAB League and U-18 Championship matches and despite his inflated price tag, if he’s there in Round 2 it’ll be hard to pass up the dynamic Sun.
Image from keeperleaguepod.com.au
Sam Naismith – Swans, RUC, $314K
OUTSIDE of rookie priced players, Swans ruckman Sam Naismith easily offers the most value for the rest of the season. With Callum Sinclair losing his mantle as the No. 1 ruck (for now), Naismith should churn out more scores in the 70-80 range over the next month or so as he overcomes his injury woes. There’s nothing wrong with starting Naismith on your ground, but even on your ruck bench, he should be one of 2020’s big price risers.
Brodie Grundy – Magpies, RUC, $915K
LET’S not waste too much time here, we all know that fantasy pedigree of Brodie Grundy The Magpies ruck colossus monstered Tim English in the first round back in late March and we all expect Grundy to be among the best once again this season. Shortened quarters in 2020 present fantasy coaches with a tricky predicament, but no mistake, Grundy will still be churning out triple-figure scores for just under two-thirds of the comp.
Sam Docherty – Blues, DEF, $584K
DOC shook off any rust in the blink of an eye against the Tigers – scoring at least 20 points in every quarter to finish with a team-high 95 fantasy points. The Blues rebounding defender hasn’t played since 2017, but in that season, he excelled for Carlton by averaging 116.8 fantasy points with nearly 29 touches a game! Nearly 50% of coaches are utilising Doc in their defense right now, and I only expect these fruitful scores to continue.
Brett Bewley – Dockers, FWD, $398K
THE blueprint for fantasy success emerged late in 2019 for Brett Bewley and scoring 89 from 20 touches and eight marks against Essendon was an encouraging sign. The former mature-ager came across to the Dockers and managed seven games last year for an average just under 55, but be warned, the potential return of Blake Acers, Nathan Wilson and David Mundy could see Bewley buried back in the forward line. If he’s given the responsibility to roam further up the ground the points should keep flowing, but there are no guarantees.
Lance Franklin – Swans, FWD, $523K
ANOTHER long-term hamstring injury not only puts his 2020 season, but his future with the Sydney Swans. At 33 years old, there re a sense of optimism surrounding Buddy as the season approached, only for the star Swan to succumb to yet another injury concern. Having managed just 10 games last season, there are no assurances that Franklin will be able to regularly return to the field – even when this hamstring issue is behind him.
Fischer Mcasey – Crows, DEF, $252K
THE reigning 6th overall pick in last year’s draft was lucky enough to make his AFL debut in Round 1. Unfortunately for Fischer Mcasey, I can’t see him holding his spot for the Crows’ next match. A score of 16 and the added rest Tom Doedee has under his belt points to a straight swap when Adelaide announces their 22 for their Showdown against Port.
Jack Steven – Cats, MID/FWD, $653K
FEW players have had a weirder 12 months in the AFL than Jack Steven and after a break from the Saints, a trade to Geelong and a stab wound to the chest, there’s a lot of unknown surrounding the MID/FWD. Steven appeared in just seven games in 2019, going at an average of 96.7 fantasy points and a whisker under 20 touches a game. The 4x St Kilda B&F winner has long thrived in the Saints’ midfield and while he could still produce for the Cats, I have doubts over his ability to put up big point totals with regularity.
Image from geelongadvertiser.com.au
Nic Naitanui – Eagles, RUC, $472K
ADAM Simpson all but put a nail in Nic Nat’s coffin this week, confirming that the West Coast x-factor won’t be capable of playing a full game, even with reduced quarters. Naitanui won the hitout count (23-18) against Max Gawn in Round 1, giving coaches who are interested some optimism following his 56-point game. However, with Nic Nat set to play low game-time, at least in the early parts of the season restart, I’d advise looking elsewhere for a reliable ruck.
Brodie Smith – Crows, DEF, $623K
BRODIE Smith’s stock took a hit in the first batch of matches but is that enough to warrant axing the talented Crow? The popular pre-season pick ended his first game with just 35 fantasy points, leaving coaches desperately demanding more from Adelaide’s gun. The allure of ‘more midfield time’ tempted some to start the year, but if Smith keeps dropping stinkers, no matter what his role, then coaches will likely be forced to abandon ship.
Lachie Whitfield – Giants, MID/FWD, $829K
THE most selected forward and 4th most popular player overall didn’t shine like most expected in game one. Lachie Whitfield’s versatility saw him wear a variety of hats last year for GWS, but a healthy Giants list could restrict the amount of freedom Whitfield has game in, game out. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a star of the fantasy competition, but should the next few scores remain in the 60’s, Whitfield owners will start to sweat.