Why should I pick him?
There’s no real need to highlight that Gilbert has been a fantasy favourite in the fairly recent past. Let’s remind ourselves of his former glory by perusing his stats for the last three years, paying particular attention to 2009 and 2010…
Gathering 21+ disposals with a healthy kick-to-handball ratio of about 1.5:1 and taking around 7 marks a game elevated Gilbert to clear premium status over the course of 2009 and 2010. Providing rebound and linkage out of defence is his bread-and-butter, which made him such a DT-impact player in 2009 (avg 89.1 ppg) and 2010 (avg 93.2 ppg). In those two season he returned just five and six sub-80 point games respectively, marking him as a reliable scorer. He is durable, missing just 7 games in seasons 2007 and 2008 and none in in the last three.
The role that he will be playing under Scott Watter’s command will be the key here and the NAB Cup will give us a decent preview of what we can expect from Gilbert this coming season. With the new coach touting a more high-scoring, attacking style of footy, Gilbert should return to the rebounding or link-man role out of defence where he is most effective.
Truth be told, the 2012 Dream Team season is looking like a tough one for the back line and part of the reason that Gilbert gets a card in the deck is due to the dearth of proven defensive guns. Surely he will have the opportunity to get back to his best next season and return to the fantasy-relevant fold! If he goes into the 2012 Premiership season with a full preseason and a positive NAB Cup, there is much to like about his mid-price tag of $345k.
Why shouldn’t I pick him?
Gilbert was pretty much in the dog house in 2011, plagued by the off-field distraction of those footy trip pics and no doubt feeling the heat from his over-exposed team mates. He fell off the face of the DT world too, suffering on-field as he was played in somewhat unfamiliar roles by former coach Ross Lyon. His exposed form (pardon the pun!) last season was erratic, to say the least. His fall from the premium DT defender ranks in 2010 to the muddling pile in 2011 might be enough to scare most punters off him for season 2012.
Off-field antics are one thing, but being able to produce solid scores consistently for fantasy coaches is another thing entirely. Thankfully then-coach Lyon proclaimed Gilbert as a DT dud for 2011 when he announced his intention in the preseason to have Sam pinch-hitting up forward, saving the majority of coaches from selecting him and enduring his wretched season. Whether or not he can turn that all around for 2012 is the big question. Hopefully he’s put all the drama of 2011 behind him!
Oh, and if he is involved in another off-season scandal… Avoid!
Deck of DT Rating:
QUEEN – If he wants to step back up as a premium Dream Team defender, Gilbert needs to put up a good show for new coach Watters and impress us in the process. His NAB Cup form will be telling and he will definitely be worth following, perhaps even as an upgrade target after that loathsome Round 13 bye. Sure, he’s a bit of a wildcard in this deck, maybe even a joker, but he has the history and upside for his cost that makes him worthy of consideration for 2012.