2014 AFL Fantasy Rookie Guide

jeppa2014_guide

Here we are, the business end of dreamteam. The decisions we make over the coming days are going to shape our Fantasy season and arguably the most important aspect are the rookies.

It’s no secret that quality rooks are few and far between this year. So how does that affect our set up? I can confirm right here, right now that I have never had this many Midpricers in my team…EVER! I’ve always been a Guns and Rooks man but limited options in the backs, rucks and forwards have forced my hand

With fewer rooks in our teams, those we do select need to be Fantasy gold. During the NAB Challenge I’ve looked closely at every rookie in every game and focused on their job security, value and scoring potential. My ‘juniors’ covered in depth below are those that I believe to be worthy picks this season. Plenty of options have been provided so the final decisions will be up to you. Enjoy.

 

DEFENDERS

 

Luke McDonaldMcDonald_L

AFL Fantasy Price: $243,900

AFL Dreamteam Price: $177,800

Predicted Average: 73

Role & Job Security: No other first year player has better job security than McDonald. He’s a confident young lad who always uses the ball well and makes good decisions under pressure. McDonald will be an architect for the Roos at halfback this season but there will be times when he gets a run in the midfield. No doubt he’s a player the Roos need.

NAB Challenge Form: McDonald was named in the bests for the Roos in both rounds of the NAB Challenge. In Round 1, he had 11 kicks, 9 handballs, 5 marks and 66 Fantasy points from 67% game time then upped the ante in Round 2 with 87% time on ground, 13 kicks, 6 handballs, 6 marks, 3 tackles and 75 Fantasy points. I suspect that he’ll be a consistent scorer all year.

Final Thought: A must have for both Fantasy and Dreamteam. It’s a no brainer. Start him on your field!

 

Will Langfordlangford

AFL Fantasy Price: $135,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $119,200

Predicted Average: 70

Role & Job Security: Langford’s role this season is hard to read. He’s been a defender his whole career but during the NAB Challenge he was used as a midfielder. With Suckling, Birchall, Burgoyne, Mitchell and Hodge all rotating through the back 6, it’s likely that Langford will be used as a ‘run with’ midfielder this season. Leaders at the Hawks have said that he’s had a fantastic preseason and will play a fair chunk of senior footy this year, question is, will it be from Round 1?

NAB Challenge Form: Langford had a solid first hitout in the Hawks first NAB Challenge game finishing with 9 kicks, 7 handballs, 3 marks, 3 tackles and 66 Fantasy points. It was during his second preseason game however, where he got my full attention. Langford scored an eye catching 101 (13k, 6h, 3m, 6t & 3g) and was named in the bests for the Hawks. No other rookie priced defender has cracked the ton this preseason.

Final Thought: Given Langford’s versatility, high work rate and preseason form, I am certain that he’ll be given opportunities early. Whether he’s on your field or on your bench, you have a rookie priced player capable of scoring over 100. It makes a lot of sense.

 

Tom LangdonLANGDON Tom

AFL Fantasy Price: $135,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $112,800

Predicted Average: 60

Role & Job Security: One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Marley Williams will not play football until the end of April at best, which is great news for DPP defender/midfielder Tom Langdon. Langdon has come from the clouds this preseason but looks to be next in line for an on field role in the Pies back 6. He’s a smart footballer who wins his fair share of the ball and is great in the air. Will definitely feature early so jump on the bandwagon.

NAB Challenge Form: Langdon has played in every match this preseason. His best performance came in the Pies practice game against the Suns where he scored a sound 54 (11k, 4h, 4m, 1t). In Round 2 of the NAB Challenge he had 52 Fantasy points from 69% game time. Langdon has improved with each game he has played this preseason so don’t let his modest scores put you off too much.

Final Thought: It’s pretty clear that Langdon will be a role player at the Pies. I’m confident that he’ll avoid the green vest but I don’t expect huge scores from him regardless. Cheap defenders with decent job security are few and far between this year so he’s perfect bench cover.

 

Jimmy Websterwebster

AFL Fantasy Price: $235,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $237,400

Predicted Average: 71

Role & Job Security: After an inconsistent rookie season in 2013, Webster appears to have made his mark over the summer and looks to be an important cog in a young Saints lineup under new coach Alan Richardson. He’ll play most of his footy at half back this year, will take a lot of kick ins (kick it to yourself!) and there’ll be times where he gets a run in the midfield. Webster is a very poised and well-balanced player who has no job security issues at the Saints.

NAB Challenge Form: Webster is another youngster to be named in the bests in both NAB Challenge games. 83 Fantasy points (10k, 11h, 7m, 2t) from his last match against the Giants was easily the best performance of his short career. He suited up in the Saints practice match on the weekend and was solid from all accounts. All in all, Webster’s NAB Challenge form is hard to ignore.

Final Thought: Webster is expensive but you get what you pay for given his high job security and scoring potential. With the Saints likely to finish at the bottom end of the ladder this season, his scores will be up and down but with very few defender rooks putting their hand up, Webster becomes a viable option.

 

Ben GriffithsGRIFFITHS Ben

AFL Fantasy Price: $135,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $157,300

Predicted Average: 64

Role & Job Security: With Maric ruled out for at least the first four rounds of the season, Hampson becomes the Tigers’ number one ruckman with Griffiths entering as the extra tall. Griffiths is a strong forward with very good hands, capable of pinch-hitting in the ruck. He’s had a shocking run with injury, managing only 19 games in 4 seasons but after a full preseason, there looks to be a lot of good fortune for him in 2014.

NAB Challenge Form: Griffiths has played in all three preseason games. That’s a big tick from a player who has been decimated by injuries. In Round 1 of the NAB Challenge, he had 7 kicks, 3 handballs, 6 marks, 12 hitouts, 1 tackle, 1 goal and 60 Fantasy points. Griffiths was more imposing in Round 2 against Collingwood and finished with a solid 68 Fantasy points.

Final Thought: Griffiths will play in the seniors for at least the first month of the home and away season. He was a high draft pick in 2009 and has the talent to make a significant impact in the AFL so time will tell. I think he’ll be a bit up and down with his scores but should average around 65, which is worthy of a defender bench spot in my opinion.

 

Brodie Martinbrodie martin

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,300

AFL Dreamteam Price: $179,400

Predicted Average: 62

Role & Job Security: A role change is apparent for Martin this year. He’s moved from defence to the half forward line during this preseason and looks far better suited to his new position. Martin is quick, an accurate kick and has a strong body after a lot of recent rehab time in the weight room. His traits make him a handy wingman so expect him to push up the ground on the odd occasion. Recent injuries at the Crows should see Martin gain a few opportunities early on this season.

NAB Challenge Form: Martin didn’t suit up in the first NAB Challenge game but had 47 Fantasy points (4k, 5h, 3m & 4t) from 60% game time in Round 2. In the Crows’ final preseason hitout against the Giants last Friday, Martin showed his worth with 12 disposals, 6 marks, 3 tackles and 3 goals. He was named in the bests for his side and is firming as a likely Round 1 starter.

Final Thought: Martin is cheap for coaches and with the Crows injury woes, he could be a consistent performer at the start of the home and away season. He’s a little pricey for bench cover but I’d be nervous starting him on my field given his susceptibility to the green vest.

 

Kade Kolodjashnijkk

AFL Fantasy Price: $252,000

AFL Dreamteam Price: $192,800

Predicted Average: 75

Role & Job Security: Kolodjashnij or ‘KK’ is an athletic running defender with great skills and an impressive vertical leap. The Suns are extremely keen to play David Swallow and Jarrod Harbrow in the midfield this season, which frees up a half back spot for young KK. He proved at junior level that he can win a lot of the footy and I can see him averaging 20+ possessions a game in the AFL. When he’s up and running, there will be no job security issues with young Kolodjashnij.

NAB Challenge Form: Kolodjashnij did not participate in the NAB Challenge due to a hamstring injury. In a late bid for some match practice he was an unfortunate late omission in the Suns practice game against the Pies last week.

Final Thought: Kolodjashnij won’t play Round 1 but he could suit up in Round 2 pending match fitness. I suspect he’ll be in a few AFL Fantasy teams with the free hit but if you like a punt you could sit him on your bench early in Dreamteam. He’s a massive ball magnet and will score very well. I’m a big fan but he comes at a hefty price so it appears to be a case of high risk, high reward.

 

Alexis GeorgiouAG

AFL Fantasy Price: $115,200

AFL Dreamteam Price: $98,500

Predicted Average: 60

Role & Job Security: Georgiou is another Norwood product that found himself on Melbourne’s list after last year’s rookie draft. He’s a mature age, lockdown defender who can play on both talls and smalls. His skills aren’t the best but what he lacks in polish he makes up with strength and commitment in wining the one on one battles. Georgiou, Clisby, Strauss and Bail are all battling for the last spot in Dees back 6 so his job security will always be shaky if he’s out of form.

NAB Challenge Form: Georgiou finished with scores of 70 and 55 in both NAB Challenge games this year. Like many other last line defenders, most of his points come from uncontested marks and kicks deep in defensive 50. Georgiou also featured in Melbourne practice game last weekend and from all reports he played well considering the Hawks dominance.

Final Thought: As a rookie, Georgiou will need to be upgraded to Melbourne’s senior list before being eligible to play in Round 1. News around the club suggests that he will feature early on in the season and at basement price he’ll be hard to ignore as an eighth defender. He’s not the most polished player around so don’t be surprised if he is dropped after one or two games.

 

Expensive rookie priced defenders in Rhyce Shaw, Alex Johnson, Alan Toovey, Mitch Brown, Nathan Wright and Sam Shaw all have great job security and will be solid scorers this season but I doubt they’ll average more than 70. In my opinion, you are better chasing value by picking bottom priced players showing good preseason form and spending the leftover cash elsewhere.

Just a quick note on journeyman, Jeremy Laidler. Laidler has been used as a third tall this preseason and that’s where he is best suited at the Swans. The problem is that he has a lot of competition from Alex Johnson, Lewis Roberts-Thompson and even Sam Reid if he’s thrown down back. With current injuries, Laidler could play Round 1 but in my opinion, he’s not in the best 25 at the Swans hence why I won’t be picking him.

I think the AFL Fantasy community is a bit optimistic to think that Tom Cutler and Matt Fuller will play Round 1 let alone be consistent players this year. Both have had little impact in the NAB Challenge competition and Cutler was left out of the Lions practice game against Sydney last weekend. Cutler and Fuller will get opportunities when injuries start to mount at their respective sides so look for them to feature later in the season. If either are in your team at the minute then get rid of them.

Tom Clurey, Angus Litherland and Clay Cameron are a couple of basement priced rookies that may feature in the early rounds of the season. None of them are in the best 22 of their respective sides just yet but numerous injuries/suspensions present an opportunity for them to make their debuts in Round 1. No matter how desperate it gets before lockout, I’ll be looking at other options to these three.

Keep an eye on Jeremy Taylor, Joel Tippett, Zak Jones, Jackson Ramsay and Christian Howard throughout the year but they are all a long shot for consistent senior footy in the first half of the season.

 

MIDFIELDERS

 

Xavier EllisXavier

AFL Fantasy Price: $135,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $163,900

Predicted Average: 82

Role & Job Security: Ellis is a certainty for a half back role at West Coast. Other than Hurn, the Eagles don’t have a polished ball user in the back half thus the left footer is a perfect fit. Expect a very high kick to handball ratio and 20+ possessions per game. Ellis will play every game when fit and has already been touted as the recruit of the year.

NAB Challenge Form: 21 possessions and 72 Fantasy points from half a game! That was the output from Ellis in the first round of the NAB Challenge. In the second round against the Swans, he finished with 17 kicks, 6 handballs, 3 marks, 1 tackle and 75 Fantasy points from 67% time on ground. Ellis was rested from the Eagles practice game against the Dockers last Thursday but will play in an intra club later this week.

Final Thought: In a nutshell, Ellis is too good to pass up. The only worry is his susceptibility to injuries but he has completed a full preseason for the first time in years. Lock him in as he’ll have one of the highest averages for a rookie priced player this season.

 

Jared PolecPOLEC-Jared297

AFL Fantasy Price: $135,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $169,300

Predicted Average: 80

Role & Job Security: Polec’s role at the Power will be as a running outside midfielder and his pace and raking left foot has Hinkley licking his lips. After a couple of disappointing years at Brisbane, Polec is determined to succeed. He’s worked extremely hard on his fitness over the summer and it’s obvious that his confidence is sky high. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s in the best 18 at Port.

NAB Challenge Form: Polec was named in the bests for Port Adelaide in both NAB Challenge games. Against the Crows he had 12 kicks, 8 handballs, 7 marks, 5 tackles and 91 Fantasy points from only 69% game time. In Round 2 he was arguably best on ground versus the Bombers after accumulating 23 quality disposals, 9 marks, 1 tackle, 1 super goal and 96 Fantasy points. His NAB Challenge form has arguably been the best of any player in the AFL!

Final Thought: Polec is another must have for both Fantasy and Dreamteam. He’ll score exceptionally well and earn the dollars fast. Start him on your field.

 

Patrick CrippsCRIPPS Patrick

AFL Fantasy Price: $230,300

AFL Dreamteam Price: $152,800

Predicted Average: 70

Role & Job Security: Cripps is a tall, powerful, in and under midfielder who dominates the clearances. He’ll be groomed as the next number one rover at the Blues, there’s no question. With Carrazzo’s injury woes and Judd hanging on by a thread, the Blues are desperate for a young midfielder to lead the way and I expect he’ll take his opportunities from Round 1.

NAB Challenge Form: Cripps hasn’t had a lot of on field time compared to others but that hasn’t affected his scoring potential. In both NAB Challenge games, Cripps scored 38 and 63 Fantasy points both from 46% game time. Notably, he had 6 tackles in his second game and he’s flying under the radar.

Final Thought: The Blues need to blood some youth especially in the midfield and Cripps is the best youngster on their list. Expect 15+ games from him this season but there may be the odd green or red vest along the way. I wouldn’t consider him for Fantasy given his inflated price but he’s looking good for Dreamteam.

 

Clinton YoungYOUNG Clinton

AFL Fantasy Price: $218,300

AFL Dreamteam Price: $231,600

Predicted Average: 70

Role & Job Security: I don’t think there’s any doubt that Young is in the best 18 at Collingwood. In fact with no Daisy or Heath Shaw around, Young is a critical piece of the Pies setup.

NAB Challenge Form: Young has played in all of Collingwood’s preseason matches this year and looks to be peaking at the right time. During the NAB Challenge, Young averaged a solid 68 Fantasy points per 100 minutes and in the Pies last practice game against the Suns he was named in the bests after amassing 10 kicks, 7 handballs, 3 marks, 2 tackles and a goal.

Final Thought: Young’s high kick to handball ratio and Buckley’s running game plan should see him score fairly well and hopefully he can reach his glory days of 07/08 where he averaged 86. With no job security issues, Young is a decent option this season.

 

Sean Lemmenslemmens

AFL Fantasy Price: $192,400

AFL Dreamteam Price: $112,800

Predicted Average: 58

Role & Job Security: Lemmens is a big chance to make his debut in the Suns season opener this weekend. He’s a running defender with a fantastic work rate, great balance and clean hands. Lemmens was a surprise pick 27 in last year’s draft but the Suns seem to be looking to be fill a glaring hole on their list. If his form continues, look for Lemmens to feature regularly in defence for the Suns.

NAB Challenge Form: Lemmens’ preseason has been impressive for a first year player. He’s played a part in all three of the Suns games, starting with 36 Fantasy points from 40% TOG in his first hit out which was backed up with a 53 from 69% game time. Via video link, I watched Lemmens closely in the Suns practice game against the Pies and he started very well but dropped off the pace in the second half. In each game that he has played, Lemmens has improved and he deserves a spot in the 22 for Round 1.

Final Thought: With the Suns looking to boost their run from defence, Lemmens has put his hand up with some good preseason form. Kade Kolodjashnij is also competing for a similar spot but I honestly believe that there is room for both rookies in the Suns lineup. Lemmens comes cheap but he’s not immune to the green vest so be careful.

 

Luke DunstanDUNSTAN Luke

AFL Fantasy Price: $216,800

AFL Dreamteam Price: $127,800

Predicted Average: 71

Role & Job Security: Dunstan is an inside midfielder who loves the contest. He’ll play on the ball in every game that he suits up for this season, maximising his dreamteam scoring potential. The Saints have lost Jack Steven for the first half of the year and with Alan Richardson looking to blood a lot of youth, expect Dunstan to take a leading midfield role. I expect 20+ games from him in 2014.

NAB Challenge Form: Dunstan didn’t make headlines in Round 1 of the NAB Challenge after scoring just 37 Fantasy points (5k, 5h & 3t) from 51% playing time. Round 2 was a different story. Dunstan had 13 kicks, 9 handballs, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 1 goal and 81 Fantasy points from just 68% time on ground. He backed that effort up with 20 possessions and 1 goal in the Saints practice match against the Power last weekend. These numbers cant be ignored!

Final Thought: Dunstan’s size and strength makes him look like a seasoned midfielder and he is not out of place one bit. He is a dreamteam bargain at $127,800 and if your philosophy is about job security then spend the extra coin and pick him up in Fantasy also.

 

Viv Michie131031_VivMichie

AFL Fantasy Price: $193,900

AFL Dreamteam Price: $214,100

Predicted Average: 78

Role & Job Security: Michie requested a trade back to Victoria for more opportunity and he looks to have found a place in the Demons 22 after a lot of hard work over the summer. He can play both as an inside and outside midfielder and is good enough overhead to make an impact when resting forward. Michie’s best attribute is his physical presence around the contest but I think Paul Roos will use him as a bit of utility and Mr Fix It.

NAB Challenge Form: There have been a couple of massive performances from Michie this preseason. 19 disposals in both games and Fantasy scores of 87 and 73 from 58 and 63 TOG respectively. To put these scores into perspective, Michie’s average points per 100 minutes is 114 over the NAB Challenge!

Final Thought: Michie has proven to be a great pick up in the offseason. His versatility adds to his appeal and I suspect that he’ll be a 20 possession, goal a game player.  He’s slightly expensive for a rookie but his job security at the Dees and scoring potential justifies the extra spend.

 

Matthew CrouchM.Crouch

AFL Fantasy Price: $203,200

AFL Dreamteam Price: $112,800

Predicted Average: 75

Role & Job Security: Crouch knows how to find the footy. He does his best work as a ruck rover but can also play as an outside mid. A few Adelaide mids have been stuck by injury this preseason so I expect Crouch to play a lot of games early on.

NAB Challenge Form: Crouch was one of the Crows better players in Round 1 of the NAB Challenge. 24 disposals, 2 marks, 7 tackles and 85 Fantasy points were his numbers. He had a quieter outing in Round 2 scoring only 54 points (8k, 7h, 1m & 5t) but that was from only 64% game time. Crouch is no stranger to leather poisoning. He was a big ball winner in the TAC Cup and Under 18 Championships last year and those traits will carry on into this season. Get excited.

Final Thought: You can’t ignore a ball magnet. If Brad’s 2013 season is anything to go by then brother Matty is a must have even with a $203,000 Fantasy price tag. Don’t miss out one of this year’s best cashcows!

 

Dom Tyson131125_DomTyson_Source

AFL Fantasy Price: $218,400

AFL Dreamteam Price: $250,700

Predicted Average: 91

Role & Job Security: Tyson is a certainty for a permanent midfield role at the Dees. He’s an elite runner and arguably the best user of the footy at the club. Tyson is that good that I wouldn’t be surprised if a few clubs start tagging him after he shows how damaging he can be amongst the Dees midfield.

NAB Challenge Form: Tyson played exceptionally well in the NAB Challenge. He had 56 Fantasy points from just 41, yes 41% game time and then backed it up with superb 114 from 75% TOG. Both NAB Challenge games saw Tyson’s average per 100 minutes reach 127! I think its safe to say that Tyson has been the main beneficiary of Paul Roos’ new ‘possession’ game plan.

Final Thought: Tyson’s preseason form cannot be ignored. He’ll be first picked for a lot of coaches this season but there will be a select few that miss the boat. Lock and load.

 

Harry CunninghamCUNNINGHAM Harry

AFL Fantasy Price: $135,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $119,200

Predicted Average: 77

Role & Job Security: No Jed Lamb, Jude Bolton and Mitch Morton should see Cunningham promoted to a starting 18 role at the Swans. He has undergone a long apprenticeship and seems comfortable in a high half forward role. Cunningham is more than capable of having a run on the ball, which gives him the versatility that John Longmire would be looking for in the modern game.

NAB Challenge Form: Cunningham registered a 72 (11k, 5h, 4m, 1t, 2g) in Round 1 against the Giants and 92 (10k, 9h, 5m, 7t) against the Eagles in Round 2 where he was named in the bests for the Swans. Fantasy aside, Cunningham was an integral part of the Swans setup. He had plenty of score involvements, applied a lot of pressure on the opposition and was accountable for his opponent.

Final Thought: He is a great player will solid job security and there will be games where he turns it on but in my opinion, he won’t hit big scores too often. Cunningham is therefore a likely suitor for one of your midfield bench spots. Consider.

 

Jack Martin and James Aish are two highly rated youngsters for good reason. Both are exceptional users of the footy and when they have the ball in hand, something good usually happens. However, both players don’t win enough of the footy to warrant their hefty price tags hence why I am overlooking them. At the end of the day, players like Ellis, Polec, Dunstan, and Tyson are far better ball winners so I’d look to these guys if I were you. Jesse Lonergan is another great young player who hasn’t consistently racked up the possessions to justify selection.

At 19, Josh Kelly is already an ultimate professional. After a couple of very good performances this preseason, I have no doubt that he’s in the Giants best 22. Past experiences however, suggest that the Giants will manage him throughout the year hence why I won’t be picking him. Save yourself the stress of green vests and selection uncertainty and look elsewhere.

Injuries to gun rookie midfielders Nathan Freeman, Jonathon O’Rourke, Claye Beams and Anthony Morabito means we have four fantastic down grade options at some point during the season. In a good news story, Morabito suited up for Peel Thunder last weekend and got through unscathed. He still a long way off the Dockers best 22 at this point.

If you like a punt then you could pick one of either Dylan Buckley, Martin Gleeson, Dom SheedEli Templeton, Brandon Jack, Jordan Schroder, Josh Saunders, Marcus Bontempelli, Nick Robertson, Sam Blease, Dom Sheed, Christian Salem, Derick WanganeenAlex Woodward or Mitch Hallahan. All of these players have shown good preseason form and if they are named for Round 1, you could do worse than picking these blokes. At the end of the day, I don’t think these players are good enough to be consistent performers this season.

 

RUCKS

 

Let me start by saying how diabolical our rookie ruck stocks are this year. So what are our options?

  1. We can pick two cheap ruckmen as bench cover and pray that they play regularly.
  2. We can select a DPP RUC/FWD at R4 and have someone like David Hale in our forward line.
  3. We can spend large at R3 for a reserve ruckman that is guaranteed to play.

 

Tom DerickxDERICKX Tom

AFL Fantasy Price: $135,500

AFL Dreamteam Price: $119,200

Predicted Average: 59

Role & Job Security: From what I’m reading, Sydney’s ideal ruck set up will have Mike Pyke as their number one ruckman with Tippet to pinch-hit as required. An injury to Tippett has provided an opportunity for Tom Derickx to make an early debut as a ruck/forward. When Tippett returns, Derickx will obviously be dropped and that could be as soon as Round 2 (source).

NAB Challenge Form: Derickx was a force in Round 1 of the NAB Challenge. He had 5 kicks, 4 handballs, 2 marks, 23 hitouts, 4 tackles, 1 goal and 65 Fantasy points all opposed to Shane Mumford. He was a little quieter in the second NAB Challenge game scoring 53.

Final Thought: Given that he’ll be named for Round 1, Derickx will be a popular choice as a back up ruckman. If Pyke or Tippett are injured during the year, he’ll is likely to fill the void. Don’t expect huge scores from him though.

 

Fraser ThurlowThurlow

AFL Fantasy Price: $115,200

AFL Dreamteam Price: $114,500

Predicted Average: 55

Role & Job Security: With no Bellchambers available for at least two months, Thurlow is the next ruckman in line for a shot at the seniors. As a mature age draftee from last season, Thurlow has the strength to match it with the big boys in the AFL. Come selection time, the Essendon coaching staff is likely to run with Ryder as their sole ruckman with Daniher as a part timer but Joey did get burnt in most of his centre square contests last year and Mark Thompson may want to protect him. Don’t rule out Thurlow.

NAB Challenge Form: Thurlow had a pretty good game against the Suns in Round 1 of the NAB Challenge. He scored 54 Fantasy points (4k, 8h, 3m, 15ho) from just 39% time on ground. In Round 2 he was slightly down scoring only 45 from 45% game time.

Final Thought: I reckon Thurlow is the best bet to play a few games early this season. With his DPP, he’s a better option to. Unfortunately, we wont know if he’s named to play until Thursday week given the Bombers play in the second half of Round 1. Fingers crossed he gets a go.

 

Daniel CurrieCURRIE Daniel

AFL Fantasy Price: $115,200

AFL Dreamteam Price: $119,200

Predicted Average: 52

Role & Job Security: With Robbie Tarrant injured for 4 weeks, there’s a spot for a forward/ruckman. The way I see it, it’s down to a two-man race. Majak or Currie. Majak has the flair up forward but Currie is a better tap ruckman. In all honesty, Majak should get the nod ahead of Currie but you never know.

NAB Challenge Form: Currie has played in all three preseason matches for the Roos this summer. Unfortunately, his highest score in the NAB Challenge was just 42 (2k, 5h, 1m, 8ho, 2t, 1g). His scoring potential isn’t ideal but at least he’s playing. 

Final Thought: It could be a case of Deja Vu with Currie. We could select him again with no guarantee that he’ll get a run. If Goldstein gets injured at some stage during the season, he’ll be straight in.

 

FORWARDS

 

Gary RohanROHAN Gary

AFL Fantasy Price: $138,400

AFL Dreamteam Price: $176,600

Predicted Average: 60

Role & Job Security: If he’s fit, Rohan is a certain starter for the red and white this season. His speed, skill and class in front of goal can turn a game in an instant and he is undoubtedly in the best 18 at Sydney.

NAB Challenge Form: Round 1 of the preseason competition saw Rohan score 58 against the Giants and in Round 2, he was the best Swans player after amassing 10 kicks, 3 handballs, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals and 80 Fantasy points. Without being a major ball winner, Rohan’s stats are spread well across all disciplines.

Final Thought: The biggest issue I have with Rohan is his likely output. During his four years in the AFL, he’s averaged less than 55 and with Buddy, Tippett and Goodes likely to hog a lot of the action in the forward line I doubt he’ll improve much from a Fantasy sense. Conversely, his job security is very high and decent forward options are limited.

 

Jed LambLamb297

AFL Fantasy Price: $243,400

AFL Dreamteam Price: $245,400

Predicted Average: 70

Role & Job Security: A fresh start at a new club seems to be doing wonders for Jed Lamb. As an older member of the Giants he’ll gain plenty of opportunities as a half forward and look to set a standard for his younger teammates. GWS recruited a lot of experience over the summer in Hunt, Shaw, Mumford, Addison and Lamb and all will play an integral part in the Giants 22 this season.

NAB Challenge Form: Lamb played in all three of GWS’s preseason hitouts this summer. Scores of 60 and 64 were decent but they should improve as we get into the season proper. Lamb should average 15 possessions, a few marks and tackles and a goal a game this season.

Final Thought: With limited rookie forwards this year, Lamb becomes a consideration. There wont be any green vest issues for him at the Giants thus as a goal kicking half forward, he should average around 70. I’ll let you decide if he’s worth it.

 

Zac Merrettzac merrett

AFL Fantasy Price: $195,100

AFL Dreamteam Price: $112,800

Predicted Average: 64

Role & Job Security: Merrett will be used predominately as a half forward in his first season of AFL. He showed his versatility in the NAB Challenge, playing a bit at half back but I feel his silky skills would be best utilised forward of centre. Bomber Thompson has loved the way Merrett has performed this preseason thus I suspect he’ll feature early.

NAB Challenge Form: He was named in the bests for the Bombers in Round 1 of the NAB Challenge after a 17 possession, 6 tackles and 71 Fantasy points from just 58% time on ground. Merrett’s workload was managed in Round 2 playing just 34% of the game but he still scored 44. He suited up again in last weekend’s practice game but started as a sub.

Final Thought: As a running half forward, Merrett is a big risk for the green vest. Due to price, I wouldn’t pick him up in Fantasy but he currently occupies a forward bench spot in my Dreamteam. Fingers crossed he plays.

 

Matt McDonoughMCDONOUGH Matthew

AFL Fantasy Price: $166,200

AFL Dreamteam Price: $183,500

Predicted Average: 71

Role & Job Security: McDonough was recruited as a lead up forward but has played as a defender for the last couple of seasons. As well as being able to play at either end of the ground, McDonough can also line up on a wing giving Hardwick plenty of options. His run from half back allows him to link up well with teammates and he rarely wastes a possession.

NAB Challenge Form: McDonough didn’t play in the first NAB Challenge game but he made the most of his opportunities in Round 2 after amassing 13 kicks, 8 handballs, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 1 goal and 75 Fantasy points from 72% TOG. During last weekend’s practice game, McDonough proved that his Round 2 performance was no fluke and was named in the bests for Richmond in a dominant display. His preseason form sees him as a likely Round 1 selection.

Final Thought: Even though he’s a little pricey, I’m leaning towards picking McDonough in both Fantasy and Dreamteam. Few forward options this season are forcing us to spend a little more on our forward rooks especially if a couple of cheapies miss Round 1 selection.

 

Jay Kennedy-Harris131206_JennedyHarrisSourceProfile

AFL Fantasy Price: $157,200

AFL Dreamteam Price: $112,800

Predicted Average: 59

Role & Job Security: Kennedy-Harris is a crafty small forward capable of being a match winner. A player of JKH’s calibre has been missing from the Dees lineup for quite some time therefore it is fair to assume that he’ll be a regular feature this season.

NAB Challenge Form: JKH burst onto the scene in Round 1 of the NAB Challenge with a three goal last quarter performance that ultimately won the Dees the game. He scored 69 Fantasy points in that game from 55% TOG. JKH was subsequently rested in Round 2 of the NAB Challenge but suited up against the Hawks in the weekend’s practice game.

Final Thought: Kennedy-Harris will be the most selected forward rookie this season. He’s cheap as chips and has excellent job security. JKH does lack a little scoring punch so don’t start him on your field.

 

Jarmen ImpeyIMPEY-Jarman297

AFL Fantasy Price: $208,700

AFL Dreamteam Price: $112,800

Predicted Average: 58

Role & Job Security: Impey played as a forward in his junior days but he is being moulded as a defender at Port Adelaide. He’s got a great turn of speed and fantastic skills. I suspect that Ken Hinkley will be keen to release Hartlett from all half back duties this season but they’ll need a polished ball user to fill the void. This could be Impey. If he does get an opportunity in Round 1, I’d back him in to hold his spot prior to the bye rounds.

NAB Challenge Form: Impey had a couple of quiet NAB Challenge games but made his mark in last weekend’s practice game against the Saints after being named in the bests for the Power. He had 16 kicks, 3 handballs, 5 marks and 71 Fantasy points in this match. Impey’s performance on the weekend sees him as a likely Round 1 starter.

Final Thought: Wines and Neade played plenty of footy last year so I can’t see why Impey won’t follow suit. He fits into Port’s back six but his scoring potential is average. A solid option none the less.

 

Jack Billings hasn’t set the Fantasy world alight for a number three draft pick but he is building. When he gets his hands on the ball, good things usually happen but he doesn’t get enough of the footy to warrant his high price tag in both Dreamteam and Fantasy. Tom Boyd, Ben Kennedy, Alex Fasolo, Troy Menzel and Jake Stringer are in the same category as Billings. I’d look at other options if I were you.

Unfortunately, Lewis Taylor has been battling a foot injury over the last month and has missed out on important match fitness in recent weeks. With no other cheap forwards being overly convincing, I’m seriously considering Taylor as my Dreamteam F8 in the hope that he plays in Round 2. No doubt I’ll wuss out at the eleventh hour.

I’m not sure what we did to the DT Gods but Shane Kersten, Tim Broomhead, Ben Lennon, Nathan Bock, Mitch Clark, Jesse Hogan and Spencer White are all recovering from injury so be patient and look to these players as downgrades later in the season.

At this stage other promising forward rooks in Lincoln McCarthyDean Towers, Mitch Honeychurch, Dayle Garlett, Daniel Markworth, Sam Lloyd, Mason Wood, Brant Colledge, Sam Frost, Jordan Bourke and Michael Close won’t play regular senior football early on but all should get a look in later in the year.

 

Well there you have it. I hope my analysis assists you with your last minute rookie choices. Look out for my weekly articles throughout the season where I’ll look at the performances of rookies getting a gig at AFL level. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @JeppaDT for all rookie relevant topics and more. Good luck and happy coaching!

106 Comments

  • super write up jeppa im amazed at all the hard work you guys put in, i would give up after a couple of lines

  • Fantastic Article Jeppa! I didn’t know that about Laidler, so now he is Langdon. My rookie structure will be 3, 5, 2 (obviously) and 3 in Fantasy and 4, 5, 2, 3 in RDT. My only problem is that I have Rohan on the field for RDT. Is this a big mistake? My bench rookies are JKH and Impey. The only option I can see is getting McDonough in instead of Rohan. I don’t have the cash to have both. Cheers

    • I think alot of people will be starting rohan

    • rohan will go well against GWS after that i assume he’ll average 60ish. He will be a very popular F6 to start

      • Jeppa!! I have Michie, Tyson and Polec but 1 of them have to be on the bench? Your thoughts, and if Michie should be on the bench should I downgrade to Cunningham?

  • Great article,

    But… I would still like to purchase the 2014 Dreamteam cheat sheet.

    Its the only way I compete with my mates as am not very good at following all the rookies and cheap players, works well for me to just copy.

    Is one available?

    Merci

    • Not this year unfortunately. Tweet me your team nad I’ll let you know what i reckon

  • Thanks Jeppa, great article! Is matt crouch in the crows best 22. Would you start with him or dunstan?
    Cheers

  • Hey Jeppa,

    I read this article http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8813213 where Eade says about Reid and White would be right to play round 1 if it was next week. Then mentions about Langdon getting a debut, would you say this suggests Langdon might be in for only one round? And if so would Geogiou be a better pick if hes named?

    Im thinking I shouldn’t worry about it as you’ve mentioned Langdon to replace Marley but want to pick your brain.

  • Great article.
    Thoughts on Billy Longer for RUC bench?

  • Hey mate,
    Cracking article! I know a few people have said this already, but this is by far the most important article of the year! But it has also got me thinking…
    Rohan currently sits on my bench, with McDonough on field. McDonough looks like he may be one of the only forward rookies to be able to start on field (Billings could be but can’t trust him yet). You recon it’s too much having Rohan on the bench despite his JS? (Btw, 176k in RDT, this is NOT for Fantasy).
    I’m thinking of downgrading him to say one of Impey/JKH (Merrett being my other bench FWD) this gives me the cash to go for Tyson (from crouch). I honestly don’t think Crouch is worth it, bad tank, only 69% in TAC Cup (step up to AFL will most likely reduce that even further and is fairly slow. Could be used predominantly as a vest candidate?? So would you recon its worth it, despite his stats?
    Cheers again Jeppa, looking forward to the year ahead! GL!

    • I wouldnt have that much money sitting on the bench…id trade rohan to JKH or Impey and spend the money elsewhere

  • Awesome work Jep!

    Thanks for all your hard work.

  • What an awesome read after a long day at work. Kudos to you Jeppa!

  • Hi Jeppa.

    Great read and what a way to start off the year. Well done.
    It’s got me thinking now whether I should drop Daisy to Tyson??
    Use that extra cash to get some if these other rooks in other lines.
    What you think?

      • Hey JEPPA!!
        I have Michie, Tyson and Polec! But i need one of them on the bench? If it is Michie… should I trade him to say Cunningham and free up some crash and spend it elsewhere?

  • Hey mate top stuff!
    What do you think of TSimpkin as a D6/7 option? Looks like he may have recovered from injury and looks set to be in Saints best 6 down back. With the recruits of key DEFs, do you think he is worth the $$ (for RDT)with a good JS and perhaps an average of 50ish??

    The choices for mid rooks are driving me nuts. Currently have CYoung, Dunstan, Tyson, Polec, XEllis and looking to find a spot for VMichie. Bit stiff that he isn’t in my team?

    What are your thoughts on JWalker (looks to have replaced JPod) and Nahas as Rookies – due to lack of base rookies. Currently have Caddy, Higgins, Rohan as F4-F6 and looking to find a suitable F6/7. JKH is my F8

    Cheers.

  • Hey JEPPA!!
    I have Michie, Tyson and Polec! But i need one of them on the bench? If it is Michie… should I trade him to say Cunningham and free up some crash and spend it elsewhere?

    Also McDonough or Rohan?

  • Wanting some experienced coaches to join my rdt league made the top 1000 last year along with a few of my mates that have joined as well the code is 258495 also still got a couple spots left in fantasy classic Qa3HOP6f both leagues will be very competitive

  • Thanks Jep, always a great read.

    NTRXPWEN – only 6 spots remain, league will be very competititive.

  • Jeppa is the man!

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  • Team complete. Thanks Jeppa!

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  • Who should be on the field or on the bench?

    DEF: L.mcdonald, Webster,Langford , griffiths

    MIDS: dunstan, Polec, x.ellis, Tyson

    FWD: impey, Rohan, JKH, McDonough

    Thanks in advance

  • Great article. Who would be best puck out of michie or tyson

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  • my forward rookies atm are rohan, jkh and kersten with rohan starting. what do you think?

    and also laidler was named to play today? shoulf i keep on d7 with langford?

  • Thanks for the excellent Langdon tip jeppa worked well tonight

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  • Jeppa, you should be analizing stocks and making millions!