Michael Hibberd – Deck of DT 2015

Name: Michael Hibberd
Club: Essendon
Position: Defender
AFL Fantasy: $506,00
AFL Dream Team: $504,200
Bye Round: 12
2014 Average: 89.33
2014 Games Played: 18
Predicted Average: 90

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Why should I pick him?

Coming into his fifth season at the prime fantasy age of 25, my boy Hibbo started his career as a mature aged player and has grown into one of the most consistent Fantasy defenders in the competition.

Nine games at 70.4 in his debut season and backing up with 13 games at 66.6, the Bomber smashed it up in his 3rd and 4th year averaging 87 and 89.3 points form 22 and 18 games respectively. His 2014 return ranked him 9th overall for defenders on average, but taking out the guys who lost DEF status, he sits at #4 on the list.

I’m going to say he is safely going to be in the top six defenders in 2015.

Possibly a big call, but his consistency and natural fantasy game (for a defender) has to see him producing about the same again this season. With a favourable standard deviation – 12 of his 18 scores fell between 88 and 104 points (this doesn’t include his season high 116) – you pretty much know what you’re going to get with Hibbo. Week in, week out he performs. An injury affected game in round 18 saw him score just 51 points and a tag from Rhys Palmer in round 12 held him to 67, but they were really the only scores that would have upset you as an owner.

As stated, the best part of having Hibbo is knowing he’ll get the job done. So many times he’ll have a big final quarter to get him to his 90-odd point par score. I wouldn’t call it total junk time scoring, but he loves a +6. In 13 games he took six marks or more which is nice with his epic kick to handball ratio. Across his four seasons it has looked like 1.4:1, 1.9:1, 1.7:1 and 1.5:1. So tasty.

Also, his nickname is Pig. Lock and load!

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

Am I blinded by my red and black glasses or the binding ties of our love to not be able to find something to write in this section?

Maybe… but here goes.

Hibbo was hampered by a two week ankle injury and a two week hamstring injury in the latter stages of last season. Although he has been relatively durable, two separate injuries brought on frustration especially if you held him like Calvin (that still makes me feel a little bad telling him to hold when I traded… but only a little bit). The forward tag can be a little bit of a worry if others have a decent crack like Palmer did. He is pretty damaging off the half-back line and that may cop come attention from opponents. However, a lot of the time he has a direct forward opponent and just takes advantage of his ability to peel off and run, linking up for those plus sixes up the ground.

The only other thing is maybe saying “why I won’t start with him”. The fact the Bombers have a pretty tough start to the season with the Swans, Hawks, Blues and Pies in the first four games, could be enough to consider him as an upgrade target. That is, if you think he’s going to be in the top echelon of defenders anyway. There is an argument that he may be borderline of top six and if that will be the case, then you don’t want to be paying top dollar for someone who doesn’t really have a whole heap of upside in him.

I used to think Birchall was the solid “get what you pay for defender” but the last couple of years provided a few headaches. Maybe Hibbo could be the same.

…oh, and the elephant in the room; there is the ASADA ban risk sitting there, but hopefully we’ll know the outcome of anything well before the first lockout! At this stage we have to assume they’re going to play, right?!

Deck of DT Rating.

King – I’m definitely starting with Hibberd, but I understand why coaches wouldn’t have him in their initial squad. So many of us are looking to save money down back and looking for some guys who will improve in 2015. Apart from loving his hard edge and fearless playing style, watching games knowing those +6’s are getting added to my score and having a block with such consistency will take one less back line headache away from me week to week. I think he’s a lock to be a top six so I might as well have one of my keeper defenders in the side from the get-go.

My thoughts on Hibbo in 2015...

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  • Great job Warnie – one of the few reliable options down back in 2015. Will be a popular pick!

  • Thanks Warnie… was waiting for his DoDT to come out!
    Currently my #1 Def in Fantasy and RDT.
    Definitely a full season lock in RDT, but may look at as an upgrade target for Fantasy. … but will monitor health (and availability) over the next month.

  • Locked in both forms. As reliable as they come!

  • Purely on last year’s averages the top six defenders available this year in order are Hodge, Malceski, Simpson, Hibberd, Burgoyne and Petterd. Of those six Hibberd would have to be the most likely to improve given he’s the youngest so there’s no doubt he’ll be in the first six of this year’s defensive options even if guys like Brodie Smith and Docherty keep progressing, as the rest of the next 10 highest averages are guys like Enright, Mackie, Walker, Birchall, H Shaw etc who are all going backwards. However I’d be inclined to run with Burgoyne, Malceski, B Smith and Simpson from the start for 2 reasons:

    1. They each played 22 games last year; and
    2. The elephant in the room.

    Hibberd and Hodge are upgrade targets for me.

    Overall, quality is thin in defence this year so I plan to play it safe, don’t want to be wasting trades down back going sideways from crab to crab.

  • Great article Warnie, I’d love to start Hibberd, but I figure because he is so consistent it will be easier to get him in later. Nonetheless, he will be a top 6 defender and definitely feature in my side at some point.

    • Probably inconsistent players are easier to get in later as they are bound to have a low score that will bring down their average quickly (I suppose they just as frequently have big ones too that send it up)

      • My thoughts are if I start someone like Hodge and he smashes it and knocks out a few 130’s it’s a lot harder to get the cash to upgrade to him. I guess it goes the other way too though.

      • I think a better way of putting it is you won’t be punished for not starting him, as you can get him in at any time for pretty much the same place, at least in Fantasy.

  • With the deletion of so many juicy quality defenders from last year (McVeigh/Mitchell for example) and the availability of a few mid priced ones this year (Henderson, Whitecross, Waters etc) we need a few set and forget defenders. Hibberd fits that spot perfectly as his consistency makes him more likely than Simpson who just disappears when the opposition decide to actually man up on him.
    Your love for the Red and Black only showed through a little Warnie.

    • This.

      Sidenote, I think Simpson will bounce back this year. He hasn’t forgotten how to score 140 in my book. Those dud 39s last year cost me as well, but I reckon he’ll go big to start the year.

      Thanks for the article Warnie!

  • Because Warnie’s mention of Hibbard’s standard deviation during the podcast, this will mean his price won’t change very much. So he will be a good upgrade target any time during the season.

  • 80% plus teams will have him, absolute lock down back.

  • I had him locked as my first selected defender from day 1 but after reading this I have ditched him instantly. . And im not sure why

  • Great article Warnie! Some great comments hear about Hibberd in this post and I agree with them. Hibberd will be a top 6 defender by years end but it doesn’t hurt us to upgrade to him late, in other words as RG said his SD will mean that his prices won’t change that much.