With only seven weeks left in the AFL Fantasy season, coaches around the globe will be eager to pounce on the biggest names in the game to ensure they keep climbing the ranks. However, while the focus remains on the likes of James Sicily and Marcus Bontempelli, there are some players that have established themselves as left of field trade targets. These stars may help you get a leg up on the rest of the competition and investing in the right unique talent could give you a much needed boost to close your 2023 fantasy campaign.
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Run home stats are based on Calvin’s Scale of Hardness, last updated at the end of June
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Adam Cerra, MID, Blues
Season AVG: 101.4
Last 4 AVG: 107
Run home: 7th for MID’s
Adam Cerra is getting virtually no credit for his first season averaging 100+ as less than 5,000 coaches currently own the Carlton MID. Since arriving at the Blues, Cerra has shown glimpses of fantasy stardom, evident by three consecutive games with 130+ points earlier this season. In fact, since the clash with St Kilda in Round 6, we’ve seen Cerra score 109 points per game recording just three scores under 110 in that time. As Carlton gear up for a finals push, there’s nothing wrong with investing in Cerra as he continues to establish himself.
Tom Liberatore, MID, Bulldogs
Season AVG: 102.7
Last 4 AVG: 99
Run home: 11th for MID’s
Taking the annual ‘forgotten man’ award away from Brad Crouch, Tom Liberatore never garners serious attention when discussing the best fantasy players in the comp. Averaging 90ish for the majority of his career, Libba is thriving as the Dogs’ go-to guy in the midfield this year – currently 2nd in the entire AFL for stoppage clearances (76) and pressure acts (471). If you want to seriously go against the grain, you could make a play for the Bulldogs midfielder and hope he tackles his way to 110 points each week to close the season.
Image from heraldsun.com.au
Sean Darcy, RUC, Dockers
Season AVG: 96.9
Last 4 AVG: 105.7*
Run home: 2nd for RUC’s
I’m assuming 97% of the people reading this already own both Rowan Marshall and Tim English and are quite content to leave them at R1 & R2 for the remainder of the season. However, Sean Darcy is quickly emerging as a potential point of difference in the ruck department, chalking up 250 in the past fortnight fuelled by 108 hitouts! Only Essendon have a better run of fixtures to close the 2023 campaign for RUC’s and if you have a spot to fill, Darcy is definitely worth considering.
* I excluded Darcy’s injury-affected score of 34 in Rd 11. His four-round average includes his Rd 10 score vs. Geelong.
Mitch Duncan, DEF, Cats
Season AVG: 89.5
Last 4 AVG: 102
Run home: 7th for DEF’s
It’s possible that Mitch Duncan won’t feature in every game to close the fantasy season, given Geelong’s track record when it comes to managing their veterans down the stretch. Still, Duncan has been raising eyebrows since the Cats’ bye accessing big scores by featuring all over the ground for Geelong which has led to a pair of 120-point outings in the last month. Duncan has been a popular pick in the fantasy community for the better part of a decade and as he enters the twilight phase of his footy career, the 32-year-old is still capable of making some noise.
Nic Martin, MID/FWD, Bombers
Season AVG: 88.6
Last 4 AVG: 101.7
Run home: 13th for MID’s
No one had Nic Martin on their radar for the first few months of the season, but everything changed for the budding Bomber in Round 10. Since that matchup with Richmond, Martin has been producing at an elite level by scoring 110 points or more in five of the past seven contests. There’s only been one real blemish in that time as the MID/FWD has produced an average of 106.6, thriving as a full-time winger and damaging player in the forward half. There’s no reason to suggest his numbers for Essendon will slow down and I can guarantee you there aren’t many other coaches considering the second-year Don, making him a prime POD.
Liam Duggan, DEF, Eagles
Season AVG: 95.7
Last 4 AVG: 108.7
Run home: 10th for DEF’s
With the exception of a pair of 60’s, Liam Duggan has been one of the form defenders over the last 10 weeks of the fantasy season. Prior to a stint in hospital in early June, West Coast’s backline leader was firing on all cylinders with consecutive scores of 140 and 137 leading in to the Eagles’ bye round. With a healthy dose of +6’s each week, Duggan should have access to some lofty point totals in the remaining fixtures and it’s fair to assume that the footy will spend a lot of time in West Coast’s defensive 50 as the season comes to a close.
Image from westcoasteagles.com.au
Caleb Daniel, DEF/FWD, Bulldogs
Season AVG: 96.8
Last 4 AVG: 98.2
Run home: 2nd for DEF’s
On track to have the best fantasy season of his career, Caleb Daniel has been hard to trust at times which is part of the reason he is only owned by 5% of coaches. However, convenient dual position status means that we have the luxury of flicking Daniel between the DEF and FWD line with the Bulldogs utility able to still score 100+ with regulairty. Averaging close to 25 disposals each time out, Daniel is fresh off a 116 against Collingwood and he should maintain his high-scoring rate against the Swans this week.
Darcy Parish, MID, Bombers
Season AVG: 108.8
Last 4 AVG: 112.7*
Run home: 13th for MID’s
Since returning from a troublesome calf injury, Darcy Parish is looking every bit like a top-8 midfielder. The out-of-contract Don has two straight scores north of 125 and there are bound to be an abundance of coaches who will eagerly pounce on Parish to fill one of their valuable midfield slots. In a perfect world, you’d grab his teammate Zach Merrett first although there’s nothing wrong with investing in Parish and hoping he outscores a lot of mainstream MID’s over the remaining seven rounds.
* Parish has played the past three games for the Bombers, with his other score amongst the last four coming in Round 8.
Christian Petracca, MID, Demons
Season AVG: 107.8
Last 4 AVG: 112.2
Run home: 6th for MID’s
Finding himself in a lot more teams than the other players mentioned in this list, Christian Petracca isn’t as much of a ‘secret weapon’. However, the Demons superstar has helped himself to a 100+ score in six straight matches – averaging 113.8 points in that time and reafirming his place amongst the best fantasy players going around. It’s no coincidence that Petracca’s spike in form coincided with Clayton Oliver leaving Melbourne’s lineup with the possibility he’ll stay on the sidelines for another 3-4 weeks. During that stretch, don’t be surprised if Petracca continues to churn out 110+ scores with regulairty.
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