Nic Naitanui – Deck of Dream Team 2014

dec16_nicnaitanuiName: Nic Naitanui
Club: West Coast Eagles
Position: Ruck
AFL Fantasy: $419,800
AFL Dream Team: $423,100
Bye Round: 9
2013 Average: 77.5
2013 Games Played: 11
Predicted Average: 91

Why should I pick him?  

The theme for AFL Fantasy in 2014 will be value. As far as the rucks go, Nic Naitanui certainly appears to be a sound investment at this early stage of planning. He will cost coaches $419,800 which equates to an average of 77.5 from last year. When we consider that this average included a green vest and numerous leg, groin and back niggles throughout the season then it’s fair to say that there is plenty of room for improvement from the big fella next year.

Although it may not always seem like it, nice guy Nic is a competitive beast. No one would be more disappointed with the Eagles 2013 campaign than Naitanui so look out for him to make a significant impact early in the season. In the first 5 games of 2014, West Coast face the Bulldogs, Melbourne, St Kilda, Geelong and Port. This favourable draw should see Naitanui with one of the highest ruck averages early on setting him up for a huge season.

So far, so good for Naitanui this preseason even though he’s been on a restricted program to date. Coach Adam Simpson confirmed on Friday that he expects Nic to hit peak fitness early next year (source). A full preseason for any player is invaluable but more so for Naitanui who needs to get the Kms in the legs in order to take advantage of his running and athletic traits. Keep in mind that Naitanui is still only 23 years old so expect him to get stronger, faster and wiser in 2014 and beyond! I can guarantee that we have not yet seen the best of sideshow Nic.

An abundance of gun midfielders have the Round 8 bye so when a guy like Naitanui presents himself with value, a good draw, full bill of health and a Round 9 bye then he becomes that little bit more appealing.

Why shouldn’t I pick him? 

There is a huge question mark over Naitanui’s recent groin and back problems but after only one season ruined by injured I would hardly call him injury prone. The Eagles hierarchy will take a careful approach with Nic throughout the preseason but a set back or two will likely mean that he won’t be at 100% at the start of the season. Even if Naitanui gets through preseason, there will be a ‘no risk’ mentality with him each round so expect a ‘general soreness’ rest at some point.

We all know Naitanui dominates the hitout and tackle counts each round but he doesn’t accumulate many possessions nor does he take more than a handful of marks in a game. With Simpson’s possession style game plan, he may improve his kick and handball numbers but there is no doubt that there will be the odd occasion where he stings coaches with a substandard score. To be fair, consistency is an issue with most players.

Big Nic will go into 2014 without his DPP Ruc/Fwd status making him far less attractive. Fewer options to cover the ruckman during the year will be a risk, so if you’re going to pick him then you’ll need decent ruck back up.

Deck of DT Rating.

QUEEN – With a tight salary cap and no standout ruckmen knocking on the door, Naitanui will be a great pick to begin your 2014 Fantasy campaign. When fit, he’s by far the best ruckman in the AFL. Keep a close eye on him throughout the preseason and if he gets through relatively unscathed then he’ll be hard to ignore. At this stage, Naitanui is the first picked ruck in my team and unless something drastic happens that’s unlikely to change.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER@JeppaDT for all things Fantasy. Got something to say about the deck? Use the hashtag… #DeckofDT. Fantasy pre-season is here!


  • Great article. Who out there is decent ruck back up? Longer? Seems to be very few options around.

  • Awesome work Jeppa!
    Nic Nat was a lock for me but I’m thinking of rolling the dice and starting with 211 instead and then turn him into Nic Nat.
    Of course this could massively back fire on me and Nic Nat could smash it!
    Will probably change my mind 1,000 times before round 1!

  • A little off topic lads but i’m wondering if anyone knows when the subscribers of assistant coach in Dreamteam (Fantasy) get to officially access the team picker for 2014.
    Supercoach subscribers have already gained access and are creating teams.
    Getting jealous of Supercoach coaches and that’s definatly a 1st.
    Can someone please enlighten me as to when they think we may get access.
    Cheers Lads

    • Sorry Black Dog but the word on the street is that VS has lost the rights to run the AFL Fantasy site and it’s now being run by a group called FanHub!
      Unfortunately the $20 that you forked out (in the belief that you would have early access tp the Team Picker) has turned to dust as apparently FanHub won’t support it!
      I’d suggest you use the fan footy website or set up an excel spread sheet.

      • Wow! If that’s true then that sucks. Usually it’s 17th-21st of December when it comes out. If that source is true then that really stinks….

      • Where did you hear this mate?

        • It was implied to me by someone who knows but was not in a position to say.
          I then did some further research and noticed that an email I received on the 6th of December by “AFL Fantasy” was powered by FanHub Media and a look at their website says that they specialise in fantasy games for sports competitions.
          I also became aware that VS was no longer involved and from my understanding they did the Team Picker.
          I really hope I’m wrong because I feel ripped off that I paid my $$$ and I’m not getting what I paid for. I’ve sent @afl_fantasy a tweet about it but as yet haven’t heard back!

          • Okay, cheers for the info mate

          • pfft what a joke and a rip off..if they took it over they should honour the things that were in place….its not gonna kill them to do it,,makes ya wonder what else they may change if this is true ,we play dt because we like it we don’t want it like the actual afl with changes every 5 mins

  • Great article too Jeppa.
    To be honest Nic Nat wasn’t on my radar but ill be having a much keener eye on him now over the pre-season.
    I feel the lack of DPP may scare many away as the key this year will be plenty of cover on all lines.
    So he may be a little unique for this reason……mmmmmmmm

  • think ill take him for the first handful of games, but thats his probation period – likely to be swapped even if hes scoring well, no doubts he will be managed. good points jepp!

  • Currently on my team with McEvoy and Longer at R3. If no setbacks he will be a close to a lock for me.