28 Discounted AFL Fantasy Players You Need to Remember For 2022

Every AFL Fantasy coach loves a bargain! As we count down the final few days of 2021, most people are prepping for some well-earned rest and all-important family time – but hardcore fantasy coaches know that this time of year means a new campaign is etching closer. With the fantasy platform set to launch in the coming days, make sure you look long and hard at these players when the time comes to build your initial squad of 30.

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DEFENDERS

Wayne Milera, Adelaide Crows
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $378K
There was a lot of hype around Wayne Milera last preseason only for the Crow to miss the entire year due to a nasty ruptured patella tendon. Still labelled as a pure defender, all reports out of West Lakes indicate that Milera is back and firing on all cylinders. If he’s healthy and shows promise over the preseason contests he’ll be a lock for a lot of coaches at D5/D6 with his starting price reflecting a pedestrian average of 41.8!

Hayden Young, Fremantle Dockers
2021 Numbers: 8 games, 68.9 AVG
Starting Price: $543K
The dashing Docker had his second pro season hampered by injury again, but he still showed enough in the back half of 2021 to prove he has fantasy worth. Hayden Young finished the last three rounds with scores of 93, 86 and 91 – averaging 17.3 disposals (with 12.3 kicks) and 8.6 marks and showcasing his love for +6 score. If he can get a clean bill of health, there’s certainly merit in selecting Young to start the season.

James Sicily, Hawthorn Hawks
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $510K
Missing the entire 2021 season has James Sicily shaping up as a bargain for coaches. In his last fit season, the rebounding Hawk featured in all 22 games at an average of 83.6, scoring at a 95.6 clip the year prior to that back in 2018. Somewhat of a fantasy enigma, there are plenty of faithful coaches who have been burnt by Sicily in the past, but a $500K price tag might be too good to ignore.

Image from heraldsun.com.au

Will Kelly, Collingwood Magpies
2021 Numbers: 2 games, 21.0 AVG
Starting Price: $191K
While scores of 23 and 19 last year won’t have coaches scrambling to add the young Magpie to their squad, there’s a chance Will Kelly becomes an important cash cow next season. After struggling to find his feet through his first two AFL seasons, Collingwood’s versatile father/son pick has shown flashes and his handy DEF/FWD status has him looming as a smart bench pick to commence the season.

Jordan Dawson, Adelaide Crows
2021 Numbers: 22 games, 88.8 AVG
Starting Price: $745K
Arriving in Adelaide could be the key to unlocking Jordan Dawson’s true ability. Look no further than his electric 158-point performance in the fantasy Grand Final last season to understand what type of ceiling Dawson has, with the former Swan averaging over 100 following Sydney’s bye round in 2021. If he can take up residence at one of the wings for the Crows, watch out!

Jordan Ridley, Essendon Bombers
2021 Numbers: 22 games, 80.0 AVG
Starting Price: $671K
A few crappy scores last season, including an injury-affected 15 has Jordan Ridley offering value for next year. In 2020, the young Bomber had a breakout campaign that saw him flirt with a BCV average of 90 and become a difference-maker for fantasy coaches. The addition of Jake Kelly should free him up more and allow him to fly for more trademark intercept marks.

MIDFIELDERS

Matt Rowell, Gold Coast Suns
2021 Numbers: 12 games, 55.2 AVG
Starting Price: $464K
We all know about Matthew Rowell’s hot start in 2020, but the Suns star didn’t carry that same momentum over into his sophomore season. More injury issues impacted his output and as a result, Rowell failed to score over 75 in his 12 contests, casting plenty of doubt over his prospects for the upcoming season. I’m banking on the fact that Rowell’s start to his career was no fluke and the Gold Coast phenom will recapture the vibe in 2022.

Matt Crouch, Adelaide Crows
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $649K
Perhaps the biggest discount on offer next season, Matt Crouch’s groin will be monitored heavily by every coach throughout the preseason. The Crows midfield maestro had established himself as a weekly lock for 30 disposals and a score in the 105-110 range for the better part of five years until a groin complaint kept him out of action for all of 2021. Priced at just 77, he’s criminally undervalued and if Crouch is healthy by Round 1, I won’t be stunned if he becomes the most popular player in the game.

Jye Caldwell, Essendon Bombers
2021 Numbers: 2 games, 76.5 AVG
Starting Price: $488K
It’s tough to get a gauge on Jye Caldwell after his fantasy output from last season. Arriving at Essendon in the 2020 offseason, the midfield prospect scored 104 straight up, only to suffer a shoulder injury in Round 2 that ruined the rest of his fantasy season. He did manage to come back and produce a 41-point first quarter during their finals loss to the Dogs; although, losing FWD status does remove some of his fantasy appeal.

Charlie Constable, Gold Coast Suns
2021 Numbers: 3 games, 51.3 AVG
Starting Price: $513K
We know that Charlie Constable sought a fresh start after managing just a dozen senior appearances in his three years with the Cats and arriving at Gold Coast could see him cement a regular spot in an AFL side. However, there’s no certainty that will happen right away, despite Constable offering promising contributions in the past for both fantasy coaches and the Geelong teams he represented (career average of 71.2 points and 18.5 disposals). If he can carve out a role in the Suns’ engine room over the preseason, he’ll be one to strongly consider.

Jackson Hately, Adelaide Crows
2021 Numbers: 3 games, 52.3 AVG
Starting Price: $479K
One of the most popular players last preseason, Jackson Hately couldn’t get going in 2021. Arriving at the Crows was meant to help Hately realise his potential, but he featured in just three AFL contests and spent another 10 games stuck at SANFL level, where he managed to score 102.3 points each time out. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Adelaide’s midfield and I do wonder how much the former Giant can make his presence felt in the upcoming fantasy campaign.

Caleb Serong, Fremantle Dockers
2021 Numbers: 22 games, 82.4 AVG
Starting Price: $691K
A lot of coaches expected to see Caleb Serong take the next step a year ago, but 2022 might be the year he truly shines. With Adam Cerra departing, there is more opportunity on the young Docker’s shoulders and his final three scores last year of 118, 117 and 116 indicate he’s more than ready to step up. Often we see fantasy players burst onto the scene with a ‘third-year breakout’ and Serong is poised to fulfil that promise next season.

Image from thewest.com.au

Greg Clark, West Coast Eagles
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $190K
While everyone is talking about the fantasy chops of Jason Horne-Francis and Nick Daicos, a basement priced Eagle might be the best rookie to offer coaches some value in the MID group. The former Subiaco stud joins a West Coast team with a desperate need for reliable midfielders and a healthy WAFL average of 114.7 points from 19 games indicates Clark is up to the task. Throw in his 7+ tackles a game and an epic 155-point performance in the WAFL GF gives me enough confidence to pick the mature-age Eagle.

Jordan Clark, Fremantle Dockers
2021 Numbers: 8 games, 56.4 AVG
Starting Price: $552K
A lot of Jordan Clark’s scoring potential for 2022 will depend on the role he slots into at Fremantle. While the WA native welcomed a move home, his transition into the Dockers’ outfit might not see him become a relevant fantasy scorer in the upcoming season. Fighting for a spot in Geelong’s side saw Clark’s numbers fluctuate sharply in his second AFL season, but carving out a consistent role for Freo on a wing/halfback flank could see the youngster blossom and score in healthy bunches.

Lachie Neale, Brisbane Lions
2021 Numbers: 17 games, 94.5 AVG
Starting Price: $792K
It’s fair to say the 2020 Brownlow Medalist had a rough trot last year, with Lachie Neale looking like a shell of his former fantasy self. After a season where he posted an eye-popping 122.5 BCV average, a few health issues saw Neale regress and struggle to refind his form. He did manage to produce three scores over 110 in his final four matches and I’m banking on his past numbers returning with an average in the 105-110 on the cards.

Patrick Cripps, Carlton Blues
2021 Numbers: 20 games, 81.8 AVG
Starting Price: $686K
Cut from a very similar cloth to Nat Fyfe, we may have already seen the best fantasy numbers of Patrick Cripps’ career. Posting superb stats in 2018 saw Carlton’s co-captain score at a 109.4 clip, but that Crippa was nowhere to be seen last year – with his average of 81.8 his lowest fantasy output since his rookie campaign. If the bullocking Blue can maintain a clean bill of health and reassert himself as a dominant midfielder we may see a triple-figure average return, but I have my doubts.

RUCKS

Jarrod Witts, Gold Coast Suns
2021 Numbers: 3 games, 86.3 AVG
Starting Price: $572K
As one of the coaches who opted to select Jarrod Witts to start 2021, his Round 3 ACL tear was a huge blow. However, before succumbing to injury, Witts looked like a sound investment for coaches, and his discounted price tag once again makes him a tantalising option for next season. Prior to the COVID affected season, Witts had averaged over 90 for three straight years and I won’t be shocked if he comes close to that threshold again next season.

Image from heraldsun.com.au

Braydon Pruess, GWS Giants
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $367K
Assuming Braydon Pruess becomes GWS’ top ruck choice, then he is an absolute bargain. A shoulder reconstruction ruined any chance he had of taking the field last season, allowing another Giants prospect in Matt Flynn to become an important player in fantasy circles. While there are fears that Flynn and Pruess will split time and share ruck duties if the latter can move himself to the top of that depth chart he’s bound to become a popular selection.

Jacob Edwards, North Melbourne Kangaroos
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $190K
The reigning No. 1 selection from the mid-season draft period, North’s Jacob Edwards didn’t get to make his AFL debut a season ago, but that may change in 2022. With Todd Goldstein aging and the Roos smack bang in the middle of a rebuild, we could see their versatile tall string some senior games together. While big men aren’t usually associated with fantasy success, if Edwards can feature in 5-10 matches next year, he may emerge as a handy cash cow.

Reilly O’Brien, Adelaide Crows
2021 Numbers: 20 games, 86.2 AVG
Starting Price: $723K
After back-to-back impressive seasons, the Reilly O’Brien we saw last year didn’t look like the same type of fantasy player. An average of 86 isn’t a failure by any standards, but a lot of fantasy coaches were hoping ROB would emerge as a genuine star in the RUC department and rival the likes of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy. I do wonder if he can return to an average in the high 90’s, but it’s worth paying close attention to O’Brien early on as a left of field ruck starter.

FORWARDS

Mitch Duncan, Geelong Cats
2021 Numbers: 13 games, 100.3 AVG
Starting Price: $841K
Adding forward status will make Mitch Duncan a very alluring option at F1 to commence the new season. The aging Cat only played 13 games last year, but he produced some terrific scores in his first eight contests, averaging 115.5 from those matches with an injury-affected score of 8 dragging his starting price down as well. It may be worth finding the near $850K and plugging Duncan in your FWD group for the entire season.

Will Brodie, Fremantle Dockers
2021 Numbers: 4 games, 51.2 AVG
Starting Price: $387K
Securing a weekly role in Freo’s best 22 appears to be the key that will unlock Will Brodie’s fantasy potential. The now-former Gold Coast midfielder failed to feature in the Suns’ AFL lineup consistently during his five years with the club, but his VFL average of 31.6 touches and 117.4 points from nine games in 2021 give coaches a sense of optimism around his scoring ability. It’s unclear if he’ll be given the regular midfield reps at the Dockers to help bump up his fantasy ceiling, but if that is his role, you can lock Brodie into your first team of the year.

Zak Butters, Port Adelaide Power
2021 Numbers: 12 games, 76.2 AVG
Starting Price: $639K
Injuries derailed any chance Zak Butters had of a fantasy breakout last year, but he may be able to live up to the hype in 2022. He had clear aspirations to establish himself as a full-time midfielder for the Power last season and a strong preseason may see Butters have his wish granted. If that is the case, he’s bound to increase his average from the mid-70’s and become one of the popular value picks in the front six.

Cameron Rayner, Brisbane Lions
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $396K
I was buying all the Cameron Rayner stock I could last offseason, with the Lion cub seemingly ready to burst onto the scene and become a relevant fantasy footballer. That wasn’t meant to be with the former No. 1 overall pick rupturing his ACL in the AAMI Series before the real season got underway. A true x-factor player with ambitions to increase his midfield time, Rayner will once again be watched closely over the preseason by the fantasy faithful.

Dustin Martin, Richmond Tigers
2021 Numbers: 16 games, 81.2 AVG
Starting Price: $682K
A kidney laceration ended Dustin Martin’s season prematurely last year and early reports out of the Tigers’ camp indicates he’s back and better than ever. Martin has proven his worth as a superstar of the game, but his erratic fantasy production has made it hard for fantasy coaches to trust the Richmond champ on a weekly basis. He has however managed to post eight consecutive seasons of a 90+ average before 2021, and a reduced starting price could make Dusty a worthwhile option.

Adam Treloar, Western Bulldogs
2021 Numbers: 17 games, 87.2 AVG
Starting Price: $731K
Predicting Adam Treloar’s 2022 fantasy numbers is a tough task with the new Bulldog unable to produce at the same level we have become accustomed to following his club switch. Injury issues certainly played a factor, but after five straight years scoring north of 108, Treloar managed to go at an 87.2 clip last season – with an unsatisfying average of 83.5 from his four finals as well. There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Dogs’ outfit and even though he comes at a discount, I want to see signs of life from Treloar before taking the plunge.

Elijah Hollands, Gold Coast Suns
2021 Numbers: N/A
Starting Price: $190K
The 7th overall pick in 2020 wasn’t able to debut last year as he rehabbed from an ACL tear in his final junior season. However, Elijah Hollands is primed to change that in the upcoming campaign. He managed to string a few games together at VFL level in the back half of the year and showed glimpses of his scoring ability in four appearances. Given his basement starting price, he could creep his way onto the field for coaches to start the 2022 season.

Stephen Coniglio, GWS Giants
2021 Numbers: 5 games, 59.0 AVG
Starting Price: $695K
Even though he went at an average of 59 last year, Stephen Coniglio still comes in priced at 82 for the upcoming season. If his price mirrored his poor scoring from 2021, then fantasy coaches would be queuing up to instantly add him to their FWD lines; however, costing near $700k makes it tough to trust Cogs wholeheartedly. He should refind his mojo and become a 90-point scorer at his absolute worst, but Coniglio’s role throughout the preseason will be watched intently by coaches.

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