Jeppa’s Juniors – Round 1


I don’t know about you but I am extremely pleased to have finally locked away my ‘Real Dreamteam’ on the weekend. Last minute changes to my line up proved disastrous after a few 50/50 calls didn’t go my way, none more painful than selecting Tom Liberatore (84) ahead of Jobe Watson (153). I spose you can’t win ‘em all, that’s what I tell myself anyway!

For many of us, our attention now turns to locking in our AFL Fantasy teams. 73 rookie priced players ($250,000 and under) suited up in Round 1 but only a handful turned heads. I hate to say it but the ‘Guns & Rookies’ strategy appears dead this season especially with Macrae (122), Swallow (114), Sheils (109) and Darling (96) all up and firing. Nevertheless, we still need cheap money earners, so which rooks are the must haves and who are the ones to avoid?

Here is my take on the rookie performances from Round 1…

One Gamers

Let’s start with the best. Four rookie priced players hit the ton in Round 1 and there’s a lot to get excited about. Tom Langdon (Def/Mid, $135,500 AF & $112,800 DT) got us going in the first game of the season with 20 kicks, 4 handballs, 6 marks, 5 tackles and 105 Fantasy points against a disciplined Dockers outfit. He played at half back and stood up well against the likes De Boer and Ballantyne but did turn the footy over a handful of times. Regardless, Langdon was named in the bests for the Pies and is sure to get plenty of senior opportunities this season. His scoring potential suggests that he is a must have this season!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, along came Dom Tyson (Mid, $218,400 AF & $250,700 DT). The uncontested mark and possession game of Tyson is a Fantasy delight and after watching the way Melbourne has played under Paul Roos so far in 2014, I doubt a lot will change in the short term. Tyson had 16 kicks, 16 handballs, 9 marks, 2 tackles, 1 hitout, 1 goal and a massive 116 Fantasy points. It’s a no brainer to spend the extra coin to get Tyson in your team! In the same match, Luke Dunstan (Mid, $216,800 AF & $127,800 DT) looked like a Lenny Hayes clone with his tough presence around the stoppages, winning the footy and amassing 106 Fantasy points. He is this year’s first NAB Rising Star nominee and deservedly so. With Montagna and Hayes returning in Round 2, Dunstan’s scores will dip a little but he’s good for an 80+ average this season, which is nothing to quiver over.

The last of the ton club came from an unlikely source. David Ellard (Mid, $224,100 AF & $228,700 DT) was a spark up forward for the Blues kicking two goals and was equally damaging on the ball when the likes of Murphy and Gibbs needed a rest. He scored 100 Fantasy points but I wouldn’t hit the trade button for him just yet. Ellard’s job security isn’t guaranteed and he is likely to have a lesser role when Judd and Carrazzo return. On the upside he is a great point of difference for those who don’t mind a punt.

Rhyce Shaw (Def, $246,400 AF & $254,000 DT) and Josh Saunders (Mid, $228,700 AF & $230,500 DT) are a couple of expensive rookie options that showed their value in Round 1 after scoring an impressive 90 each. At 32 years of age and his recent injury run, I feel Shaw is a huge risk given that he hasn’t averaged over 66 for the past three seasons so don’t be fooled by his Round 1 score. Saunders impressed me though. New coach Alan Richardson has the Saints up and about at the minute and it appears second-tier players like Saunders, Webster, Curren & Wright have a big role to play this season. He was used as at half forward for the majority of the match last Saturday night and his speed and forward pressure (7 tackles) were two notable attributes of his game.  Rohan Bail (Mid, $234,400 AF & $251,300 DT) is another expensive option that snuck under the radar. He averaged 85 Fantasy points per minute during the preseason which looks to have carried into the season proper. He’s another smokey after scoring 94 in Round 1.

How good was Jared Polec (Mid, $135,500 AF & $169,300 DT) against Carlton? Incredibly good and close to BOG! The homesick South Australian left a sore spot on the hearts of Lions fans after amassing 15 kicks, 9 handballs, 1 tackle, 1 very good goal and 85 Fantasy points. He’s cheap in Dreamteam and Fantasy and a must have! Clinton Young (Mid, $218,300 AF & $231,600 DT) drifted in and out of the game between the Pies and Dockers and as a result I suspect his scores will be a little inconsistent this season. If it wasn’t for some classic junk time it could have ended a little sour for Young owners but he finished with a very respectable 76. Personally, I’d much rather Tyson in lieu of Young for almost the same amount of money.

Young key forwards Joey Daniher (Fwd, $249,700 AF & $236,900 DT) and Jonathon Patton (Fwd, $204,100 AF & $208,300 DT) were focal points for their teams in Round 1. Patton was a beast in the forward 50 kicking 3 goals on his way to 73 Fantasy points and Daniher marked everything in sight and finished with 72. As good as they were, I have a rule about picking young key forwards…DON’T especially those priced above $200,000. History suggests young key forwards are inconsistent scorers, dare I mention Scott Gumbleton.

Will Langford (Def, $135,500 AF & $119,200 DT) lived up to his preseason form and played as a tagging midfielder, which will also please Liam Shiels’ owners. He was far from convincing but still a solid contributor with 16 possessions, 2 marks, 6 tackles and 70 Fantasy points. Langford will have his hands full this Friday night when he lines up against in form Bombers captain Jobe Watson. I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes. All was looking peachy for Harry Cunningham (Mid, $135,500 AF & $119,200 DT) up until three quarter time. He was on 69 at the last break but ran out of juice and failed to score in the final quarter. Cunningham has improved significantly this preseason and unfortunately I opted not to pick him up in Dreamteam, I wont make the same mistake for Fantasy! James Aish (Mid, $246,600 AF & $182,800 DT) was very composed with the footy and started pretty well but like most young players, he had little impact in the second half. I haven’t been a big fan of Aish all preseason but he looked very polished against last year’s premiers and finished the match with 66 Fantasy points. Aish will improve with every game he plays so expect an average above 70.

Both Viv Michie (Mid, $193,900 AF & $214,100 DT) and Xavier Ellis (Mid, $135,500 AF & $163,900 DT) were quieter than I anticipated. I hardly sighted Michie last Saturday but he did finish with 17 touches and 65 points which is very decent. Ellis didn’t get many opportunities for the mark, kick game he’s accustomed to but 15 possessions and 56 points is a solid start. Expect Ellis and Michie’s scores to improve this week and beyond.

Popular defenders in Luke McDonald (Def/Mid, $243,900 AF & $177,800 DT) 53, Jeremy Laidler (Def, $135,500 AF & $167,200 DT) 55 and Alexis Georgiou (Def, $115,200 AF & $98,500 DT) 54, all tried hard but looked far from their best. McDonald’s confidence was shot after Chappy kicked two goals on him early and he appeared nervous every time he had the ball in his hands. We’ll call it first game jitters. Laidler was only on 9 at half time! Luckily for his owners, he made a late charge to finish on 55. On a positive note, Alex Johnson is gone for the year, which considerably improves his job security. Georgiou is a shut down defender that wont win a lot of the footy. In my opinion, a score of 54 is on his average but he’ll have his work cut out when he lines up against Cox, Nic Nat, Darling and/or Sinclair this weekend!

Jarman Impey (Fwd, $208,700 AF & $112,800 DT) looks set for a permanent back pocket role at the Power after keeping live wire Jeff Garlett to just one goal in Round 1. He had 8 kicks, 4 handballs, 3 marks, 3 tackles and 54 Fantasy points for the game which is very solid for a forward back up. I wouldn’t spend $208,700 to have him sitting on my Fantasy bench though! The most popular forward bench warmer this season will be Gary Rohan (Fwd, $138,400 AF & $176,600 DT). His job security is very high at the Swans but he doesn’t hit the big scores too often. Against GWS, Rohan could only manage 50 Fantasy points so there is plenty of room for improvement.

Brodie Martin (Def, $150,300 AF & $179,400 DT) and Matt McDonough (Fwd, $166,200 AF & $183,500 DT) were well below par for their respective sides. They both scored a mere 39 and are in danger of being dropped this weekend. I hope Hardwick gives McDonough a reprieve because he did some great things when he had the ball in hand, he just didn’t get enough of it. Fingers crossed.

Other rooks from Round 1 worth mentioning include Sam Frost (Fwd, $144,200 AF & $172,100 DT) 62, Brad McKenzie (Mid, $247,700 AF & $249,600 DT) 58, Patrick Ambrose (Fwd, $115,200 AF & $98,500 DT) 57, Lincoln McCarthy (Fwd, $135,500 AF & $119,200 DT) 46, Eli Templeton (Mid, $115,200 AF & $126,500 DT) 45, Jamie Bennell (Mid, $135,500 AF & $119,200 DT) 45 and Sean Lemmens (Mid, $192,400 AF & $112,800 DT) 42. At this stage, all of these players aside from Bennell have poor job security so be careful.

Round 1’s green vest club was no big surprise. Ben Kennedy (Fwd, $248,000 AF & $249,900 DT) 22, Tim Sumner (Fwd, $219,800 AF & $221,500 DT) 47, Troy Menzel (Fwd, $227,300 AF & $260,400 DT) 7, Zac Merrett (Fwd, $195,100 AF & $112,800 DT) 45, Derick Wanganeen (Mid, $115,200 AF & $98,500 DT) 20, Lewis Taylor (Fwd/Mid, $189,700 AF & $112,800 DT) 10, Jack Billings (Fwd/Mid, $257,400 AF & $202,800 DT) 14, Jay Kennedy-Harris (Fwd, $157,200 AF & $112,800 DT) 31 and Dom Sheed (Mid, $235,800 AF & $162,800 DT) 11 all got limited opportunities for their respective teams. Zac Merrett was the green vested youngster that impressed me most. He had 40 Fantasy points in the last quarter and his speed and skills were notable features out on the field. Word is that Zac Merrett is one of the best kicks at Essendon too! Fingers crossed that most of these small running forward/midfielders get a full game this weekend.

Lewis Roberts-Thompson (Def/Fwd, $146,700 AF & $180,300 DT) 19 (inj.), Jack Martin (Mid, $268,300 AF & $217,800 DT) 6 (inj.), Ben Griffiths (Def, $135,500 AF & $157,300 DT) 73, Martin Gleeson (Mid, $115,200 AF & $119,200 DT) 55, Tim O’Brien (Fwd, $165,800 AF & $119,200 DT) 31, Michael Close (Fwd, $156,600 AF & $119,200 DT) 33 and Jimmy Webster (Def, $235,500 AF & $237,400 DT) 49 (inj.) all received the red vest in their games. Even though I’ve had over a week to get over it, I’m still dark at Hardwick for subbing out Griffiths. Richmond’s No. 24 was a key target all over the ground and I’m baffled as to why he was subbed out ahead of Vickery. Gleeson was also solid but only had 56% time on ground. It is likely that baby faced Gleeson will make way for Courtney Dempsey this week or next. I thought Webster looked really good at half back for the Saints before a slight groin injury forced him off. When he recovers from the injury he’ll be straight back into the Saints 22.

Please note that if I haven’t mentioned a rookie priced player above, it means I don’t rate them!


Keep Your Eye On

Kade Kolodjashnij (Def, $252,000 AF & $192,800 DT) – After an injury-interrupted preseason, Kolodjashnij had 45 touches in a NEAFL practice match two weeks ago and is pressing for a senior berth. Given that Jack Martin is out indefinitely and Sumner was pretty average as the sub, hard running Kolodjashnij should make his debut this weekend on a the big ground of Pattersons Stadium but it ‘s likely to be in the green vest.

Josh Kelly (Mid, $260,200 AF & $207,800 DT) – Kelly is pressing for a senior game after he was named in the bests for the Giants Reserves. He had a great end to the preseason and is leading the charge to replace the injured Rhys Palmer (source). Kelly is a future star of the competition but the Giants will ease him into senior footy so expect limited game time early on.

Patrick Cripps (Mid, $230,300 AF & $152,800 DT) – The Blues will wield the axe after their poor performance against Port and Cripps has to be one of the first inclusions. He’s had a big week on the training track but more importantly will add some much needed grunt to Carlton’s midfield. He’s a ball winner, clearance machine and a player not suited to the green vest in my opinion so watch him closely!


If you would like to refer to my 2014 Rookie Guide before locking in your AFL Fantasy rookies, click here.

Happy trading and don’t forget to add me on Twitter @JeppaDT for all things Fantasy!


  • Awesome work as always. Been hanging for this article to come out!!! It’s hard work trying to fit all the promising mid rookies in and still have enough guns..

    What are the thoughts on Matt Thomas? He is pretty cheap and got over 100 AF points playing largely on Ablett last week….haven’t really seen anyone talking about him on this site at all?

    • Matt Thomas is just over the rookie classification of $250k.

      To be honest, he’s probably worth the risk in Fantasy with 2 trades every week!

      • Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I’m very tempted to take Matt Thomas.

        With the price changes every week, I’m wondering if you can afford to start with an extra rook or 2 than usual and keep some spare cash in the bank – then do some quick upgrades to premos?

        Like if you wanted someone like Pendlebury who probably won’t go up too much in price, you could instead go for someone like Thomas, and even just keep him in for a week to get a big price rise and then ditch him for Pendles making a few quid in the process.

        I guess it’s always the trade off between immediate points and making cash. I can’t help but feel the second week price changes make that approach more attractive though.

        • Thing is, none of us know how much prices will go up and down… apparently the changes are designed to take the volatility out of the prices. So price gains / drops of 50K week to week may be a thing of the past. Still, will be interesting to see if the tactic works.

  • Good on ya Jeppa. Such a shame to see Roy, Warnie and Calvin jet off with the contract for AFL, ditch the live stream on Thursday evening and generally release a whole lot less for us to watch/listen as we await each round of footy.


    • There is so much more content than ever! Some is just on

      Although it may not always appear so from the outside Warnie, Roy & Calvin put in a ridiculous amount of hours into something that is their hobby.

      The Thurs night show is not dead in the water either.

    • Sorry! We are doing a Thursday night video. This was to be a live stream, but due to some things out of our control, we are doing a 5min Thursday Night/Friday Morning video. That’s been going up on

      As Jeppa said, there is even more content. We still have our podcast and we also have Tbetta’s epic pod now too. We do a live chat on AFL site at 6pm every Thursday. We have more articles up on DT Talk, and those missing (eg. Calvin’s Captains) are up on the AFL site… actually, there is more content via DT Talk and AFL site than what there was.

      Hopefully the Thursday night show can become a live stream again in the future.

      …and awesome work Jep! Another great read!

  • great read jep was wondering if you think luke mcdonald may get dropped this week as scott was hesitant on weather he would play last week he looked very average. also where do you think cunningham fits in a swans line up when jack and goodes return from injury shaky ground i think. how long till we see matty crouch in action this kid is a gun.

    • There is a good chance that McDonald will either be dropped or vested.

      Cunningham speed and goal scoring potential has him in the best 22 even with Goodes and Jack.

      I hope Matty Crouch plays in say Round 6 so we have a decent downgrade :)

      • No way will McDonald get dropped. He wasn’t nervous after his first clanger either, he remained composed and did some very nice things. His last quarter was particular good too!

        • Yeah I thought McDonald looked great, one of North’s better players on a pretty sad night for them.

  • Nice work as always Jeppa,

    As for Kade Kolodjashnij he has already been given the green light this week and is lining up against the dockers ( on the wing i’ve been told ) so definately worth considering.

    Dunno what to do in defence really thinking about starting both Langdon & Langford.

  • Hi Jeppa, great stuff mate, as good analysis as you can get right here,

    I wasnt all that impressed by cunningham but the general consensus is that he is a lock, do you think its to early to pull the trigger on michie or ellis to trade him in?

    Also as a frost owner ive been quitly happy about what i saw the weekend, he had a good showing and phil davis is out with a kidney, would have thought he had solid JS??

    • Its too early to trade anyone for Real Dreamteam…wait till end of Round 2.

      Yeah Sammy Frost does but he wont average more than 55 i reckon.

  • Hey Jeppa. Love this article. The rookies in my midfield currently sit at Tyson, Polec and Dunstan. Now I am wondering about maybe dropping Dunstan and getting Cunningham to free up 80k. Realistically with both Tyson and Polec vying for D8, that D10 spot will not make the field at all. Is it better to get a D10 whose job security is decent and much cheaper, or spend the extra on someone who will probably end up averaging more and has great job security? ATM, I am leaning towards Cunningham. Care to weigh in?

    • I’m only playing RDT but if I could re-pick my squad this week I’d want Dunstan, Tyson, Polec and Macrae no questions asked.

  • Just heard that swanny is sitting out this week with a brused arm

  • Nice work Jeppa – ripper article mate!

  • Hi Jeppa cheers for the article-great as always

    Currently struggling to find a F6 that is rookie priced and will average 65-70

    Also I currently have Tyson and Polec ahead of Dunstan. Thoughts?

    Cheers again

  • The fact that rookies named will have a price change immediately means we will have to go yolo so many more times this year.

    Indeed now is the only time we can to see scores before a price increase. This alone is making me consider buying one or two more rookies than I normally would.

    Im also considering a unique strategy of selecting a mid price ruck (hickey) as a overpriced rookie to make sure there is cash being generated on my ruck bench.

    The ruck question bothers me, I dont like having no backup.

    hopefully Currie/Thurlow/Derickx gets a game.

    • This slightly understrength team would hopefully have a cash advantage later.

      • I’m thinking this too. Also makes me want to include more mid pricers.

        Am I completely crazy to go in with a midfield something like;
        Ablett, Watson, Beams, Wines, M Thomas, Macrae, Tyson, Polec, Dunstan, Ellis?

        The idea would be that very soon I’d upgrade a couple of them to premos.

        My current team has $500k in the bank…

        Was also considering the mid price ruck but I reckon I will risk no backup instead, only because if I have more rookies I need to do more upgrades so I will need cash. And to tap the cash of Hickey later would then cost me an extra trade…

        I think that makes sense????

        • Obviously if it works it will be very good but there are a lot of blokes there who could get 80 or even less this weekend and leave you in the 40k in rankings, worse if they all do it on the same weekend.
          I reckon use your dollars on premos and make your choice which two or maybe three of these are gonna be the best choices. Take into account the preseason as well as last weekend and pick the best.
          We really need to see how much the week one price change is gonna be to be more confident of any of our plans though.

    • Interesting strategy for sure. We’ll only get one look at a rookie from now on before the price increases so it might pay to bring them in if they are named in the starting 22…it’s another challenge to get our heads around which I enjoy.

      Torn between Sauce Jacobs and Hickey for the R1 position at the moment.

      • I have sandi, jacobs and Hickey. Cash on the bench for sure, but also money earning on the bench which unamed rookies arent doing. (2 Ruck rookie named will likely change this)

        Im also thinking of having an under strength team with heaps of cash in the bank, and trading up after this round, snagging a fallen premo (sitchell, danger could lose some value with their 68s) and getting a rookies first pay rise, since DT leagues don’t start til round 3 anyway.

        We are operating in the dark a bit. This new weighted average system is different. Players who score like a 1 will have that score affect the price all season.

        • Cash in the bank was a disadvantage last year… I went heavy on rooks to quickly boost my team value, but it didn’t work. I played catch up completely unsuccessfully all year. That might be different this year. Will keep an eye on your posts.

        In Fantasy from now on prices change week to week, after even a single game. It is not a 3 or even 2 game rolling average. There was no price changes this week only due to the Rd 1 “free hit”. Players on debut this week will change in price immediately.

  • the most pleasing part of polecs game was the 12 contested possessions which goes to show if he cops more attention, he can still win the ball himself.

  • Very timely and a great read as always Jeppa. Absolutely superb.

    Started with a 4/4 structure in the mids in RDT and nailed it – finished up 39th overall for the week. Do you think this structure is ok for Classic though? I originally wanted to start 4 rookie priced mids this week but am having trouble picking the 4th…do you think it would be wise fielding Michie for the next 6 weeks or so, or look to shuiffle things around and bring a mid-pricer in at Mid 5?

  • Jeppa what about ruck rooms? I’m still not confident who’s gonna get a game or not. Great article btw.

    • Short so troy is there aren’t any that look worth having right now i think

  • Rooks not rooms sorry

    • If he is named, absolutely.

      Indeed the lack of ruck rookies is making me consider a 3 midpricer ruck strategy rather than premo ruck plus sandi.

      Im leaning towards Sandi (obviously) Hickey and maybe Grundy. + whoever gets named (currie/thurlow/Renouf/Derickx)

  • Brent Renouf rookie ruck cover at 179k in fantasy?

  • Great article Jepp as always!

    I’m sure you’re a bit gutted about McDonough (as I am… haha) but don’t worry, mate you were pretty much bang on with all the others!

  • I have Macrae, Shiels, dunstan and Tyson on my field an polec and ellis on the bench. Do you think that I should have polec on the bench or on the field? Also who do you think is a better midfield bench option, ellis cunningham or anyone else?

    • Gun to your head.. which 2 out of X Ellis Michie or Cunningham?

      • ^^ was not meant as a reply lol. In response to your query i would have Dunstan and Tyson on the field ahead of Polec

  • Who would be the best Rookie to have on the ground in the forward line? Great article as always Jep

  • I think my Midfield stocks may be a bit too heavy
    I have Swan Ablett Watson Cotchin Beams Macrae Tyson Dunstan E: Polec Ellis
    Should I be playing the extra rookie instead for cash generation?

    My other lines are pretty balanced FWD: 3 Premos 3 Midpricers DEF: 3 Premos 2 Midpricers 1 Rookie.

    So that isn’t a problem for me

    My thoughts are should I keep the gun Midfield for the flying start or downgrade 1 and grab an extra Premo in my DEF And FWD Lines?


  • Great read Jeppa!

    Stuck with McDonough in RDT and Supercoach. Would a trade to L.Taylor in both formats be a good one?

    • I think it is not the week to be trading in RDT. McDonough might have a blinder in the magoos and Taylor might get 40. No point trading week one, nothing to gain unless you have to avoid a donut

  • Great article Jeppa!
    I found the read very useful and swapped a few rookies including Geougiou -> Laidler and Frost -> Rohan.

    Who would you recommend out of Ellis and Cunningham? I personally feel that Cunningham has better scoring potential but weaker JS.
    Would love to hear your thoughts!

  • I know lachie hunter is over rookie price but still worth it do you think ?

  • If I have Ellis, Polec, Tyson, Dunstan & Cunningham.. which two sit on the pine?

    Tyson and Dunstan would have to be certain on-fielders, unless the return of Hayes and Monty really affects Dunstan.
    Ellis seems like a strong bench contender after 56, but against Melbourne who knows?
    Collingwood play a fairly open game so Cunningham could score well. CrowsVsPower will be a hard scrappy game, but Polec loves the contested ball.

    • Oops and great article Jeppa. Always appreciate your insight into the rookie situation.. one of the things I struggle with the most in DT (they are the biggest unknown!)

  • How does the lockout work this week with the Thursday game?
    Are all teams locked on Thurs night?
    Will we get all the teams announced Thursday?

    • only rich vs carl locked out. full lockout friday, though according to tBetta’s podcast things may change for future rounds with Thurs games

  • What are your thoights on lachie hunter?

  • hey lads, is it a full lockout thursday night or only a partial?

  • Looking for a few Serious dters to join fantasy league:

  • Can’t make up my mind.

    Cox and Cunningham or Mumford and Dunston

  • Michie or dunstan?

  • Currently have Tyson, Dunstan, Polec and Ellis with Tyson and Dunstan on the ground, might start leaning towards polec for dunstan though due to his contested possessions wins.
    In my forwards im choosing who to field out of Ambrose, Rohan or Patton, flip the coin for this one i reckon !

  • I take with partial lockout we can use the captain loophole on tonight’s game ie VC on Cotchin.

  • mcdonald or langford
    young or cunningham. young better job security?

  • need a few more serious afl fantasy players – code is 4XEVKXUR

    we are at 10 and need another 8 to complete the league

    serious players preferred – i guess if you are on this forum, you are a serious player :)

  • What do you think about Jack Darling, even though he is not a rookie

  • Does anyone actually enjoy playing AFL Fantasy any more? The site is so poor in terms of speed and functionality that I literally cannot be bothered. Thanks AFL for giving me back 3-4 hours of my life each week!

  • Jeppa your thoughts on Tom Lonergan. Yes he’s no rookie, but will he punch out 60-70 every week and is his js good?