As we reach the end of the 2022 AFL season, fantasy coaches have likely put their feet up after what was an intense and full on campaign. Before we officially put the cue in the rack for the season just gone, it’s important that we recognise the stars that helped fantasy sides around the country by announcing the team of the year! It’s difficult to trim the list to just 30 players, but here goes.
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1. Sam Docherty, Blues
2022 Numbers: PB 137 (Rd 23), 22 Games Played, 16 Scores of 100+
2426 Points, 110.3 AVG, 120.0 Finals AVG, 26.7% OWN
No backman scored more points or posted a higher average than Doc in 2022. He was a cut above the rest of his DEF peers, posting the 3rd most points in the entire competition and establishing himself as the clear D1 last season. Only twice did Docherty record a score lower than 80 and he stepped his game up during the fantasy finals, culminating in a massive 137 to close the year.
2. Jordan Dawson, Crows
2022 Numbers: PB 129 (Rd 16), 22 Games Played, 12 Scores of 100+
2217 Points, 100.8 AVG, 99.3 Finals AVG, 26.7% OWN
A change of scenery helped Jordan Dawson realise his potential this past season as Adelaide’s newest weapon produced the best fantasy season of his career. The attacking halfback/winger became a strong source of points for a fair chunk of the comp and emerged as one of the best additions down back. He’ll cost a pretty penny next year, but there’s no reason why Dawson can’t be amongst the top DEF scorers again in 2023.
3. Jack Sinclair, Saints
2022 Numbers: PB 146 (Rd 18), 22 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
2264 Points, 102.9 AVG, 94.7 Finals AVG, 27.4% OWN
A few monstrous outings saw Jack Sinclair end as the second-best DEF in terms of average and total points. Topping 140 twice in a three-week span led to opposing defenders targeting the damaging Saint and as a result, his scores to close the year suffered somewhat. Still, the fantasy faithful who jumped on Sinclair early were rewarded handsomely.
4. James Sicily, Hawks
2022 Numbers: PB 151 (Rd 23), 22 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
2121 Points, 96.4 AVG, 108.7 Finals AVG, 45.5% OWN
One of the most popular picks to commence the year, James Sicily did not disappoint. There were some testing times, however, those who stuck with Sic Dog through thick and thin were rewarded with the best score of Round 23 with his 33 touches, 17 marks and 151 points proving to be the difference for a lot of coaches on Grand Final day. He’s clearly back to his best and is rewarded justly with a spot in the team of the year.
5. Angus Brayshaw, Demons
2022 Numbers: PB 156 (Rd 3), 22 Games Played, 11 Scores of 100+
2180 Points, 99.1 AVG, 106.0 Finals AVG, 23.1% OWN
Starting the year as a pure midfielder, Angus Brayshaw adding DEF status proved to be a handy plus for fantasy coaches. With defender status next to his name, Brayshaw averaged a tantalising 100.6 points with four scores over 120 in that span. Whether he’ll keep his DPP tag for next season remains a mystery, but if he does, Brayshaw remains an intriguing pick.
6. Jayden Short, Tigers
2022 Numbers: PB 131 (Rd 19), 22 Games Played, 8 Scores of 100+
2153 Points, 97.9 AVG, 91.0 Finals AVG, 31.6% OWN
There were certainly ups and downs for the coaches who owned Jaden Short, but picking him at the start of the season proved to be a solid choice. While Richmond utilised him off the halfback line, Short’s scores were enormous with four 120+ outings in his first seven games. Unfortunately, a move to the midfield stunted his output and if the Tigers push him out of the engine room in 2023, Short could flirt with a 105+ average.
Image from krockfootball.com.au
1. Rory Laird, Crows
2022 Numbers: PB 163 (Rd 18), 20 Games Played, 16 Scores of 100+
2407 Points, 120.4 AVG, 116.2 Finals AVG, 20.4% OWN
From a fantasy standpoint, no one turned more heads than Rory Laird this season. The Adelaide jet missed the first two contests of the year, but he quickly made up for lost time by reeling off a stretch with nine straight scores over 120 and topping 90 points in every one of his matches. Others can put forth their case, but Laird was the best MID in 2022 if you ask me.
2. Andrew Brayshaw, Dockers
2022 Numbers: PB 181 (Rd 2), 22 Games Played, 13 Scores of 100+
2472 Points, 112.4 AVG, 103.2 Finals AVG, 29.4% OWN
An elite starting pick for those who took the plunge, Andrew Brayshaw burst into fantasy relevance this year with the Dockers. The future captain scored more total points than any player in the game, announcing himself early in the year with a 181-point outing against St Kilda, fuelled by 40 touches, 10 marks, eight tackles and a goal. Bravo, AB.
3. Callum Mills, Swans
2022 Numbers: PB 162 (Rd 6), 22 Games Played, 15 Scores of 100+
2443 Points, 111.0 AVG, 101.7 Finals AVG, 23.1% OWN
Following an average of 110 last season, Sydney co-captain Callum Mills proved that 2021 was no fluke. On three separate occasions, Mills finished the week as the top overall scorer, with some huge point totals boosting his average, much to the delight of fantasy coaches. A staple now in the Swans midfield, I won’t be shocked if we see him finish amongst the best fantasy players again in 12 months’ time.
4. Touk Miller, Suns
2022 Numbers: PB 147 (Rd 2), 22 Games Played, 14 Scores of 100+
2416 Points, 109.8 AVG, 111.2 Finals AVG, 34.4% OWN
Starting the season with Touk would’ve cost a pretty penny and while he took a while to get going, Miller did his fantasy reputation no harm with another epic season. The Suns midfield workhorse dipped under 100 points just twice over his final 10 matches, hitting his straps with 10+ tackles in four of those games. His ability to tackle and accumulate possessions for fun should see Touk maintain his residence near the top of this list again next season.
5. Clayton Oliver, Demons
2022 Numbers: PB 151 (Rd 10), 21 Games Played, 16 Scores of 100+
2359 Points, 112.3 AVG, 110.2 Finals AVG, 25.7% OWN
Another dominant year from Clayton Oliver saw him finish 7th for total points and maintain his place among fantasy’s elite. A picture of consistency, Oliver only missed one contest throughout the season due to a thumb injury, recording 10 scores of 110+ along the way. There’s no reason why he should slow down, with Clayton bound to be another popular pick in 2023.
Image from krock.com.au
6. Lachie Neale, Lions
2022 Numbers: PB 142 (Rd 2), 22 Games Played, 13 Scores of 100+
2354 Points, 107.0 AVG, 96.5 Finals AVG, 44.3% OWN
There were certainly highs and lows, but the large number of coaches who invested in Lachie Neale to start the season were not disappointed. A season-best 142 early in the year against Essendon paved the way for Neale to be one of the best scorers going around, leading to the second-highest average of his 11-year fantasy career.
7. Patrick Cripps, Blues
2022 Numbers: PB 139 (Rd 20), 21 Games Played, 11 Scores of 100+
2143 Points, 102.0 AVG, 111.0 Finals AVG, 33.0% OWN
The newest Brownlow medalist was a popular pick for fantasy sides around the globe this past season, announcing himself with an enormous start to the 2022 campaign. Cripps went down with a hamstring injury against Gold Coast in Round 4, however, in each of his first six full contests, the Carlton wrecking ball averaged an absurd 125.2 points!
8. Jack Steele, Saints
2022 Numbers: PB 147 (Rd 19), 18 Games Played, 13 Scores of 100+
1988 Points, 110.4 AVG, 100.7 Finals AVG, 25.9% OWN
An AC joint injury was the main thing that held Jack Steele back from defending his title as the No. 1 fantasy player. It’s hard to call his exploits this season a failure though, with the St Kilda skipper still producing the 5th highest average in the game. If he can stay healthy next season, I fully expect the tackling beast to vault himself further up these rankings.
1. Max Gawn, Demons
2022 Numbers: PB 152 (Rd 21), 20 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
2064 Points, 103.2 AVG, 107.7 Finals AVG, 45.2% OWN
In a year where reliable ruckmen were few and far between, Max Gawn still remained atop the pecking order. Finishing as the only RUC to score over 2000 points, most coaches who experienced success had Big Maximus in their sides at one point or another this season. He didn’t produce the same eye-popping average that we’ve become accustomed to, but Gawn did six scores of 130 or greater.
2. Rowan Marshall, Saints
2022 Numbers: PB 163 (Rd 20), 21 Games Played, 9 Scores of 100+
1917 Points, 91.3 AVG, 111.5 Finals AVG, 22.4% OWN
Scoring 47 in the fantasy Grand Final left a bad taste in the mouth of Rowan Marshall owners, but you can’t be too mad at the Saints big man after what he achieved prior to that. Emerging as a popular trade target towards the end of the season, Marshall scored four straight fantasy centuries including a whopping 163 as the season edged closer to the end. Hopefully, St Kilda utilise him as a solo ruck again next year so he can keep up his high-scoring ways.
Image from standard.net.au
1. Josh Dunkley, Dogs
2022 Numbers: PB 139 (Rd 11), 22 Games Played, 18 Scores of 100+
2393 Points, 108.8 AVG, 115.2 Finals AVG, 53.0% OWN
One of the most popular players in 2022, it’s highly likely Josh Dunkley started in your initial squad and didn’t go anywhere. Finishing as the best forward and recording the 6th most points last season, Dunks hardly put a foot wrong with just four scores under 100. Now we’re left to wonder how a move to Brisbane will affect his scoring output moving forward.
2. Stephen Coniglio, Giants
2022 Numbers: PB 130 (Rd 13), 21 Games Played, 11 Scores of 100+
2066 Points, 98.4 AVG, 76.0 Finals AVG, 39.8% OWN
He had his ups and downs, but this season we saw Cogs recapture the form that made him an elite fantasy player. Growing over $130K from his starting price, the GWS star was another mainstream starting selection and it quickly became clear that he was a must-have FWD for coaches. A stretch where he posted seven straight scores over 100 was a handy boost and if he keeps his forward status (unlikely) Coniglio could once again be a popular pick to commence the year.
3. Luke Parker, Swans
2022 Numbers: PB 123 (Rd 10), 22 Games Played, 11 Scores of 100+
2164 Points, 98.4 AVG, 112.5 Finals AVG, 19.1% OWN
The gun Swans midfielder produced another strong campaign for fantasy coaches, announcing himself with a bag of five and a 119-point effort in Round 1. Known more for his exploits in draft leagues, Parker became a popular upgrade choice over the course of the season and he made sure he rewarded those who invested in him with healthy scores as the year wound down. The near 30-year-old may almost be over the hump, but there’s no reason why he can’t produce another average in the high 90’s next time around.
4. Will Brodie, Dockers
2022 Numbers: PB 128 (Rd 10), 22 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
2099 Points, 95.4 AVG, 97.7 Finals AVG, 44.4% OWN
What a gift from the fantasy gods Will Brodie turned into! Easily the mid-priced pick of the season, Brodie made himself at home in Fremantle’s midfield and became a fantasy stud in the process with an average in the 90’s powered by 26.8 touches a game. Finishing as the 4th best FWD for total points and 9th for average points, Brodie well and truly delivered for those who invested in him.
5. Bailey Smith, Dogs
2022 Numbers: PB 154 (Rd 19), 16 Games Played, 11 Scores of 100+
1689 Points, 105.6 AVG, 86.0 Finals AVG, 27.5% OWN
Missing four games through suspension held Bailey Smith back in fantasy terms, but when he was on the park the young Bulldog still produced at an elite clip. Three of his first four scores were over 130 and it looked like Smith was going to vie for the best player in the game honours before off-field issues reared their head. No longer is he a star in the making, Smith has already arrived.
6. Adam Treloar, Dogs
2022 Numbers: PB 134 (Rd 9), 21 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
2024 Points, 96.4 AVG, 66.0 Finals AVG, 22.4% OWN
He’s had better years in his fantasy career, however, Adam Treloar was still able to produce a fine season despite having his magnet thrown all over the place. Featuring in the back-6 to end the year for the Bulldogs, the ball magnet still produced some lofty scores throughout 2022, with nearly half of his games ending in triple-figure scores. Dare I say it, he could even be discounted rolling into next season.
Jack Crisp, Magpies
2022 Numbers: PB 130 (Rd 7), 22 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
2074 Points, 94.3 AVG, 77.5 Finals AVG, 40.3% OWN
Once again, a lacklustre end to the season meant Jack Crisp fizzled with the Collingwood defender failing to top 100 points in his last nine straight games. Still, his form earlier in the year was elite and despite his crappy end to the fantasy campaign, most coaches were thankful that they benefitted from Crisp’s hot start.
Tim English, Dogs
2022 Numbers: PB 138 (Rd 3), 15 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
1527 Points, 101.8 AVG, 89.0 Finals AVG, 34.7% OWN
There was a period of time early in the year where Tim English looked like THE must-have ruckman, with five consecutive 100’s to commence the year. It’s tough to put him in the starting 22 after playing just 15 games though, with concussion issues keeping him out for several games at a time. At just 25, everyone expects him to capture the mantle as the best fantasy ruck in the game, possibly as early as 2023.
Zach Merrett, Bombers
2022 Numbers: PB 172 (Rd 20), 19 Games Played, 12 Scores of 100+
2036 Points, 107.2 AVG, 109.5 Finals AVG, 14.5% OWN
For a span following the byes, Zach Merrett was the form player of the competition as he buoyed a lot of successful sides to close the campaign. From Rd 15-20, Merrett averaged an ABSURD 132.8 points, including one of the games of the year with a 172-point showing against North Melbourne. Don’t be shocked if another season with an average of 110+ is on the cards next year.
Marcus Bontempelli, Dogs
2022 Numbers: PB 140 (Rd 18), 21 Games Played, 11 Scores of 100+
2112 Points, 100.6 AVG, 92.3 Finals AVG, 26.3% OWN
If Marcus Bontempelli played more games as a FWD he would’ve likely cracked the top-6, but considering he only earned DPP status in Round 12 I couldn’t give him the nod over some other players. Still, the Bulldogs champion was one of the 23 players who averaged more than 100 fantasy points in the season just gone, and if Josh Dunkley departs this offseason, we could see a Brownlow-worthy year from the Bont in 2023.
Christian Petracca, Demons
2022 Numbers: PB 142 (Rd 1), 22 Games Played, 13 Scores of 100+
2255 Points, 102.5 AVG, 103.7 Finals AVG, 31.2% OWN
Similar to Bailey Smith, through the early portion of the fantasy season it seemed like Christian Petracca was going to be a must-have player. Scores of 142 and 136 to open the season had the Demons midfield bull poised for a massive year and while he had lulls throughout the fantasy campaign, he still got the job done for coaches.
Jack Macrae, Dogs
2022 Numbers: PB 148 (Rd 14), 22 Games Played, 12 Scores of 100+
2274 Points, 103.4 AVG, 87.7 Finals AVG, 44.6% OWN
It’s no shock to see the prestigious Bulldog sitting on this list as his fantasy resume speaks for itself. Another one of the mainstream selections for coaches, Jack Macrae’s form tailed off slightly to end the year, but it’s hard to be disappointed with a player who scored 100+ more often than not.
Brad Crouch, Saints
2022 Numbers: PB 147 (Rd 1), 21 Games Played, 13 Scores of 100+
2235 Points, 106.4 AVG, 89.7 Finals AVG, 1.6% OWN
There weren’t many coaches who took the punt on Brad Crouch in 2022, but if you did elect to pick the St Kilda star you were handsomely rewarded. He missed the final round of the year through suspension and yet he still managed to chalk up the 11th highest fantasy average, scoring an average of 126.5 points from his final month of footy. Heading into next season, Crouch will once again have a low ownership, but he’s proved that he can be an important point of difference if he’s given a chance.
Hugh McCluggage, Lions
2022 Numbers: PB 142 (Rd 18), 21 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
2155 Points, 102.6 AVG, 94.7 Finals AVG, 2.5% OWN
The final spot on the interchange goes to another diamond in the rough who ended the year in less than 4,000 teams. Three scores over 135 throughout the year saw McCluggage turn heads and produce the best fantasy season of his career to date. Much like Crouch, you’d expect the Lions wingman to maintain a low ownership percentage, but there’s still room for him to improve next year.
Isaac Heeney, Swans
2022 Numbers: PB 121 (Rd 1), 22 Games Played, 8 Scores of 100+
1955 Points, 88.9 AVG, 96.2 Finals AVG, 25.2% OWN
George Hewett, Blues
2022 Numbers: PB 119 (Rd 3), 15 Games Played, 5 Scores of 100+
1475 Points, 98.3 AVG, N/A Finals AVG, 16.3% OWN
Josh Kelly, Giants
2022 Numbers: PB 142 (Rd 22), 21 Games Played, 9 Scores of 100+
2131 Points, 101.5 AVG, 100.7 Finals AVG, 4.2% OWN
Sam Walsh, Blues
2022 Numbers: PB 128 (Rd 20), 20 Games Played, 11 Scores of 100+
2067 Points, 103.4 AVG, 74.0 Finals AVG, 14.0% OWN
Jarrod Witts, Suns
2022 Numbers: PB 138 (Rd 3), 15 Games Played, 10 Scores of 100+
1527 Points, 101.8 AVG, 89.0 Finals AVG, 34.7% OWN