There is less than a week we will see roughly 50 draftees have their AFL dreams realised when they find a new home to launch their pro footy careers. Selfishly, fantasy coaches around the country will be watching with anticipation to see where the big names land in the hopes that a bumper batch of cash cows emerge to aid their quest for glory in 2022. Not every youngster will offer the same scoring upside, but here are the names/averages you need to remember for when it comes time to build that all-important starting squad.
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The Early Picks You Can Probably Ignore
Key position players aren’t the ones we covet in fantasy circles and this year’s draft crop is no different. The five tall talents that were selected in the first 20 picks of the 2020 draft went on to average just 49.1 points from their combined 30 games and I won’t be expecting too many prospects from this incoming class to help change that narrative. Sam Darcy will be drafted within the top-5 and there’s a chance we see Jye Amiss, Mac Andrew and Josh Gibcus all join him within the first 10 picks. Still, fantasy coaches would be wise to largely ignore these players in their rookie season.
Jye Amiss: 15 WAFL Colts games, 70.3 AVG
Mac Andrew: 6 NAB League games, 58 AVG
Rhett Bazzo: 8 WAFL Colts games, 49.6 AVG
Tom Brown: 5 NAB League games, 65 AVG
Sam Darcy: 3 NAB League games, 78 AVG
Josh Gibcus: 9 NAB League games, 54 AVG
Jacob Van Rooyen: 5 WAFL League games, 29.3 AVG; 9 WAFL Colts games, 83.2 AVG
On The Fence
Some lacklustre scoring ability and uncertain landing spots cast a bit of doubt over the next batch of draft hopefuls. There are some exciting talents in the range who could all be off the board in the latter first/early second round with Subiaco product Matthew Johnson and Glenelg excitement machine Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera expected to lead the charge. Even though there are concerns, there is certainly promise amongst this group and landing in the right spot could be the key to unlocking fantasy potential early in the respective AFL careers of these 10 young guns.
Campbell Chesser: 3 NAB League games, 68 AVG
Toby Conway: 6 NAB League games, 69 AVG
Blake Howes: 7 NAB League games, 64 AVG
Matthew Johnson: 3 WAFL League games 34 AVG; 4 WAFL Reserve games 85.7 AVG; 6 WAFL Colts games 92.2 AVG
Jesse Motlop: 8 WAFL League games, 47.4 AVG; 1 WAFL Reserve game 34 AVG; 4 WAFL Colts games 66 AVG
Machito Owens 5 NAB League games, 71 AVG
Angus Sheldrick: 9 WAFL Colts games, 102.2 AVG
Jake Soligo: 7 NAB League games, 89 AVG
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera: 4 SANFL League games, 28.8 AVG; 13 SANFL reserve games 66.5 AVG
Darcy Wilmot: 7 NAB League games, 54 AVG
Keep An Eye On
Now things are starting to get interesting. Some draft enthusiasts may be surprised to find touted prospect Finn Callaghan in this category, despite the heavy interest from teams to draft the athletic midfielder in the top-5. Even though Callaghan possesses all the tools to become Marcus Bontempelli 2.0, he will likely take some time to grow into such a prestigious footballer – offering less value as a cash cow for fantasy coaches in 2021. Hard-working midfielder Neil Erasmus and Stingrays ball-magnet Connor MacDonald could become factors in the new fantasy season with engine room gun Tyler Sonsie and dashing half-back Josh Sinn other names you should add to your preseason watchlist.
Finn Callaghan: 6 NAB League games, 87 AVG
Arlo Draper: 2 SANFL League games, 50 AVG; 3 SANFL Reserves games, 65 AVG; 9 SANFL U-18 games, 102.7 AVG
Neil Erasmus: 4 WAFL colts games, 108.7 AVG
Mitchell Knevitt: 9 NAB League games, 87 AVG
Connor MacDonald: 4 NAB League games, 121 AVG
Josh Sinn: 5 NAB League games, 70 AVG
Tyler Sonsie: 5 NAB League games, 83 AVG
Zac Taylor: 7 NAB League games, 96 AVG
Image from foxsports.com.au
The Cream Of The Crop
Most of the names in this section will make up the top order of the upcoming draft, with Nick Daicos and Jason Horne-Francis the two most popular names set to hear their names called. While Horne-Francis’ average in the high 70’s doesn’t sound too appealing, featuring in 20 SANFL games that included a 112-point preliminary final performance is worthy of recognition. Daicos posted an absurd average over 135 that was fuelled by an average of 35+ disposals, with fellow NAB League star Josh Ward helping himself to over 30 touches a game at U-18 level as well. Throw into the mix, the dual-threat Josh Rachele, inside accumulator Ben Hobbs and rare Calder Cannons draftee Josh Goater and we could see big things from these six players in terms of fantasy output as soon as next season.
Nick Daicos: 5 NAB League games, 136 AVG
Josh Goater: 7 NAB games, 88 AVG
Ben Hobbs: 5 NAB games, 86 AVG
Jason Horne-Francis: 20 SANFL games, 77.7 AVG
Josh Rachele: 4 NAB League games, 92 AVG
Josh Ward: 5 NAB League games, 101 AVG