This series of ‘club preview’ posts are written by DT TALK regular contributors choosing their 5 players they have on their watchlist from the respective club. These aren’t who we think will be the top 5 highest scoring players… and are not necessarily in order. They are just our opinions of the 5 players who we have on our watchlist heading into the 2013 season.
TEETEE’S FIVE FROM THE BOMBERS
1. Brendon Goddard (DEF/MID) $501,300
In a massive off-season coup, Essendon landed a big fish in Brendon Goddard as free agency came into effect. A DEF staple since 2006, Goddard would have been the first-picked in many backlines when AFL Fantasy 2013 opened. And for good reason too – he has been one of just a handful of consistent defenders for the past 5 seasons and is firmly established as DT royalty. Make no mistake though: he will be spending the bulk of his time in the Bomber’s midfield, where he will add some much needed class and composure. With NAB Cup R1 numbers of 46 and 55, he’s in good touch and looks more than ready for yet another good fantasy season. Considering the questionable depth at the DEF position, he is a must-have in your starting lineup. [Click here for Deck of DT]
2. Jobe Watson (MID) $579,400
A funny thing happened in season 2012… The perennial midfield workhorse, Jobe Watson, ascended to the heights of the fantasy elite, finishing with a superb average of 112.5ppg. This shouldn’t have been overly surprising. A glance at his year-on-year average from 2009-2011 shows us a steady upward trend: 91, 94.9 and 99.6. As we can see from those seasons past, he has increased his productivity, but last year he really stepped up and earned the Brownlow in the process. Few who picked him in their starting squads for 2012 would have expected him to break out in such style and as a result, he now commands an elite price tag to match. He is still Essendon’s on-ball hero and will likely justify the cost of investment when coupled with his consistency and durability. With only 2 scores below 90 and 4 scores below 100 to show in 2012, he’ll be an ever-reliable selection in your MID for 2013.
2. Dyson Heppell (DEF/MID) $439,000
Dyson Heppell has born the weight of expectation of both the Essendon faithful and fantasy coaches admirably in his first two seasons in the AFL. With 2011-12 averages of 83.4 and 85.3 respectively, not only did he made a good start to his fantasy career, but he has backed it up in his sophomore year to improve on his rookie season, avoiding the dreaded second-year slump. Having missed just 2 games in his first two seasons, he comes into 2013 with even greater expectations as coaches look for him to step into the midfield and up his average to around the 90ppg mark. Given his development thus far, this is certainly attainable and at his price point, Heppell is certainly one to watch going into 2013. Chalking up 50 and 36 in the short format of NAB Cup R1, @Aki_DT noted in his review that he “looks fantastic and will spend alot of time through the mid-field this season.”
4. Brent Stanton (MID) $548,900
At the best of times, Brent Stanton is a boom-or-bust type player, capable of posting a 150 one round, followed by a 50 the next. So why does he rate a mention in this preview? Well, if you want to burst out of the blocks this coming fantasy season, he is one MID you should consider. Here are the averages of his first 5 games for seasons 2010-12: 122.6, 102.8 and 122.8. With two use-or-lose trades each week, the true punters out there could potentially start with Stants to bank early points and then flip him after 5 rounds for an elite MID, setting your team up for a very solid season. [Click here for Deck of DT]
5. Tom Bellchambers (RUC) $412,800
Forever the bridesmaid in the Essendon rucking ranks, Tom Bellchambers rose to the challenge when given the opportunity early in season 2012. While not earth-shattering, his output was very reasonable, with three tons in the mix of his 80.1ppg average. Though fantasy coaches always take preseason praise with a grain of salt, coach Hird’s comments that Belly is gunning for the Number 1 ruck spot does warrant some attention. Coming into 2013 looking a tad leaner, Bellchambers managed 31 and 38 in the NAB Cup R1 games. He has the qualities to shine amongst the big men in the AFL with athletic ability, quick hands and the ability to work at ground level. The rotation risk with Ryder or the ageing Hille in the ruck poses the obvious risk, but if he spends 70-80% of his on-field time contesting at stoppages he may make for a solid sneaky starter.
OTHERS ON THE WATCHLIST: Nicholas Kommer (MID, $102.700) looked ready to rumble in Essendon’s NAB Cup R1 with 44 & 6; he’d make a handy cash cow but is not guaranteed a start. As the number 6 pick from the 2007 draft, David Myers (DEF, $337,700) has failed to shine in his first five years in the system; if you’re not risk-averse, he’s the roughest of roughies to break out in 2013. Michael Hibberd (DEF $342,800) has been solid in his small defender role and has shown an ability to rebound off the the back line to set up attacking movement; however, the Bombers don’t really have a designated quarterback, so whether he can up his fantasy scoring consistently is questionable. Dylan Van Unen (DEF, 102,700) was drafted as a ready-to-play defender but, like Kommer, may struggle to get his chances in a pretty stable back 6.
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