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2016 Fantasy Draftee Guide

Sam has sent us an in-depth guide to the best Fantasy draftees for us to consider this pre-season. Download the pdf.

With Fantasy opening very soon, this Draftee guide from Sam provides a VERY handy resource as you try to fill your bench spots with cheapies and aim to find the best of the young crop for 2016.


  • 24 draftee and 3 second chance saloon profiles.
  • TAC Cup and U18 Championships statistics & Fantasy numbers.
  • Opinion on each player.
  • Final verdict.

Click here to download the 2016 Fantasy Draftee Guide pdf (2.4mb).

Big thanks to Sam for this. Don’t miss Jeppa’s Juniors guide coming later in the pre-season.




  1. Benjo


    January 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Brilliant work Sam. Thanks for putting in the tough long hours to get this piece done.

    Did I say brilliant? ;)

  2. Warnie


    January 27, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    RE: Cavka, this was sent before the news of his retirement. Shame, poor kid. Could have had a great career (and been a very nice fantasy option). Fingers crossed he is successful in whatever he chooses to pursue post-footy.

    • Benjo


      January 27, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Shattered :(

      Seemed like a great kid with a very bright career. Would have been the perfect inside midfielder, and a fantasy gun for our teams.

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    January 27, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    HUGE effort there Jeppa. No need to apologize either! Great work!

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    January 27, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    This will be amazing for my keeper draft coming up this year, thank you so much for this

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      February 2, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Sorry to jump in, how do you go about doing an AFL keeper league? Would love to do one

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    January 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Nice work Sam.

    Keays played 6 NEAFL league games for Brisbane last season, too. Averaged 78 with scores of 58, 78, 58, 105, 101 and 69. No time on ground info, so I don’t know if the lower scores resulted from lower TOG.

    McGuinness averaged 79 from 11 games with Brisbane’s NEAFL league team.

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      January 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Sam here, Gollo is my DT Talk account username.

      Appreciate that info, I didn’t have any NEAFL stats resources to use from, so that info is very handy. Thanks!

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        January 27, 2016 at 2:08 pm

        NEAFL and SANFL stats are released in pdf format game by game. Absolute pain in the arse. I don’t have the patience to compile all of the data, so I targeted particular players…McGuinness and Keays are a couple of them.

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          January 27, 2016 at 2:21 pm

          Haha, yes I know all about the SANFL stat recording system; I tried to compile them like the TAC Cup and U18 Champs stats but too many rounds had already passed, and the three different formats (state, reserves, U18) can be a pain in the arse.

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      January 30, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Have a look at at sen- inside footy give you a profile and brief run down of all players games for all seasons they have been listed. Keep hush and don’t mention McGuinness again ;)

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    January 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I have 5/8 locks and near locks! I have a good feeling about this year.

  7. John Freed

    John Freed

    January 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Good work Sam. This helps a ton to start and look into locking down some rookie players

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    January 27, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks Sam

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    Robbie Gray

    January 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    On ya sam!

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    January 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Fantastic work!

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    January 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Nice one – should be a great reference throughout the season.

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    January 27, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    kennedy or freeman and why?

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      January 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Hey Lochie, I assume you meant to say:

      “Thanks for sharing this, Sam – you’ve clearly put a lot of time into it and I really appreciate the effort.

      Anyone care to give an opinion on Kennedy vs Freeman? My opinion is… because…”

      If you give me your opinion, backed up by data, I’ll give you mine.

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      January 27, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Supposing you are talking about Matt Kennedy, then Kennedy by a long way, as long as he is named for round 1.

      Matt Kennedy is a versatile inside ball-winner/medium forward who showed his Fantasy scoring potential in 2015, despite suffering injuries mid-year. He has some terrific skill and athletic attributes and is a very well-rounded player, statistically. He has an imposing frame (187cm, 84kg) and is an archetypal modern midfielder. The only possible downside towards Kennedy is his lack of experience in an AFL environment, considering he was a 2015 draftee.

      Nathan Freeman is not someone who I would advise picking up, not until he proves himself. This is for a few reasons. First of all, his injury record is not at all confidence-boosting and is something that should be in the back of any coach’s mind who decides to take a punt on him. The number and severity of soft-tissue injuries he has managed to pick up is quite astonishing and for this reason, unfortunately, I can’t see him having a very fruitful AFL career. Secondly, he is not a high Fantasy scorer. His stats in his draft year aren’t terrific, as he is very much an impact player with explosive pace and good skills. I doubt, even with a clean injury run, he will be able to average much more than 85 at the peak of his powers. Finally, I do have doubts over his playing security in the St Kilda team. Freeman’s addition doesn’t exactly fill a hole in the Saints lineup and with guys like Gresham and O’Kearney impressing on the track, you may wonder whether he’ll be managed throughout the season. I certainly do.

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        January 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm

        That is a lovely comparison, thanks Sam. Really no point in giving my opinion now (especially as I was waiting on Lochie to provide his), since it’s the same as yours but would be much less detailed and informative!

        The only thing I’ll add is below, from a Q&A session with Saints coach Alan Richardson:

        “Given Nathan hasn’t played footy for two years, we will take a long term approach with Nathan. I think Acres, Gresham are a couple of guys that are a real chance to play footy early.”

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          January 27, 2016 at 5:27 pm

          Yep, I read that Q&A question and it’s a footnote in my preview of Jade Gresham. Sounds promising!

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    January 27, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    This is a thing of beauty for this early on.

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    January 27, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    This is a great tool Sam. Thanks for the time spent on putting it together.
    With the different pricing structure in RDT would you move Hopper into the “lock” category? Would it change your comments dramatically looking solely from RDT perspective?

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      January 27, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Hey, Sam here.

      Yes it definitely would, and if using my guide as a tool for RDT, my opinions will have to be taken with a grain of salt, especially with the higher draft picks, due to me coming from an AFL Fantasy perspective. Because of the limited trades job security throughout the whole season becomes a major factor and you are right that Hopper becomes a Lock/Near-Lock in RDT. Below are the draftees I reckon are more in line for consistent AFL gigs, and are better options for RDT:

      Cal Mills, Darcy Parish, Hopper, Clayton Oliver, Matt Kennedy, Jade Gresham, Petracca, Nick O’Kearney, Tom Phillips, Mitch Hibberd, Mitch Brown, Ben Keays, Marcus Adams and Kieran Collins (unprofiled, due to relatively low scoring potential)

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        January 27, 2016 at 7:14 pm

        Thanks Sam,
        even with Essendon’s debacle, I’m still concerned that Parish may not yet have the body to withstand the rigours of being an AFL midfielder. Will certainly be a great player after a few more pre-seasons.

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          January 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm

          Yes, and this is something which I have constantly pondered during his draft year when many others were rambling on about his inside, contested exploits which I can see him doing early in his career. I still have big doubts and I’d stay way in RDT too, but he’s more suited for that game type rather than AFL Fantasy.

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    January 27, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Great write up Sam, that has helped me a lot in picking some rookies.. :D

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    Little Black Duck

    January 27, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Great work Sam. This will definitely be a great aid in both AFL Fantasy and keeper draft leagues.

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    January 27, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Magnificent work Sam! Really really impressive. One I thought may have got a gig was Cunningham? Blues need speed and class I think the lad has both. What are you thoughts on the lad? Would think almost a lock for Rd 1 as bolts is a big fan.

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      January 27, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      Cuningham…not enough ns in his name so he can’t be trusted.

      I’m not Sam, but I’ll have a crack at answering your question. Cuningham might play early in the season and he could turn in to a good player for the Blues, but at this stage of his career he doesn’t have a fantasy friendly game. He just doesn’t get enough touches and, typical of outside players, he doesn’t make up for it through manic tackling.

      He averaged 50 DT points across his 4 U18 Champs games and 72.9 in 11 TAC Cup matches. Average stats for Cuningham and Gresham through the TAC Cup below:

      C 12.5k 6.7h 3.9m 3.3t
      G 21.1k 8.4h 5.6m 4.8t

      If you think his JS is so solid he can’t be ignored make sure he’s on your bench and not on your field.

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      January 28, 2016 at 8:20 am

      Yeah… bluenosers went into good detail there and I’ll just back him/her up by saying that speed and class in the way Cuningham has it usually doesn’t translate well to AFL Fantasy, and his 2015 stats show a similar point. Stay away, I reckon, even if JS looks good. There are better Fantasy options. Still, from a strictly non-Fantasy point of view, he looks a very nice player for the Blues, a Chargers boy ;)

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    January 27, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Excellent read mate appreciate the work gone into it! I was pretty much clueless as to rooks to select this year but now i have not only an idea but confidence in the players i have selected, cheers

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    King Fisha

    January 27, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Cheers Sammy! Love your work

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    Andrew Gaff

    January 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Great stuff Sam! Lovely stuff.

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    Paul Allen

    January 28, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Incredible effort Sam!

    Can I ask your thoughts on the following players:

    Nick Kommer
    Aaron Francis
    Shane Yarran
    Lachie Weller
    Ciaran Byrne
    Dean Gore

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      January 28, 2016 at 2:18 am

      Hey Paul

      As I said above, I’m not Sam…but I’m happy to tackle your list.

      Kommer: not a high fantasy scorer; averaged 52 from 19 games at senior level in 2013; 44 from 3 VFL matches last year. Games summary here:

      Francis: ummm…I’ll leave this one to Gollo. I’ve read his opinion of Francis on another site and…well, he knows a lot more about the topic than me, so I’ll let him tell you what he thinks.

      Yarran: currently in rehab group and seems unlikely for round 1. Probably a good chance to play when he’s fit – let’s face it, you don’t draft a 26 year old unless you plan for them to play at senior level. Averaged 65 from 19 WAFL games last year so there might be better options. Could present an in-season downgrade option to sit on your bench, but I wouldn’t expect too much from him.

      Weller: averaged 95 from 4 TAC Cup games in 2014 and 68 from 18 WAFL games last season. I don’t mind him, but I think there might be better options. Monitor NAB.

      Byrne: byrning up the track I’ve heard! I like him. I liked him last preseason too, but then he got injured. Monitor through NAB.

      Gore: averaged 92 from 11 VFL games last year (had some injury issues). I like him, but does he get a game with the Crows? He’s on the fringe of their best 22, so monitor through NAB and wait for round 1 teams.

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      January 28, 2016 at 7:55 am

      All right, thanks for asking this question, because I’ve got some strong opinions on some of these players.

      NIck Kommer: I feel there’s an unpredictability to Kommer’s potential fantasy worth. It seems all people, at this point in time, are locking him in for early games and FWD eligibility. I don’t actually think he’s a lock for good gametime at all. I’m not sure if he’s still recovering from injury at the moment but he hasn’t played AFL footy since 2014 so that has to worry some. Wait until NAB Challenge to see how he shapes up, but even still, as a defensive forward scoring is not his strong suit. Stats from bluenosers proves that.

      Aaron Francis: I advise coaches to stay away from Aaron Francis. Over at the BigFooty Fantasy forums everyone seems to all over Francis, but I can tell you that he is not a good Fantasy scorer, and won’t be unless he develops his ball-winning and versatility. His U18 Champs were terrific, but inconsistent, and while he averaged 75 over this period it was mainly due to being upped by one anomaly score of 140. His SANFL stats were unimpressive and for someone as highly priced as him, you’d need a lot more output to be able to pick him worry-freely.

      Shane Yarran: Shane Yarran, if he wasn’t injured, would be the locked F8 in nearly every Fantasy team at this point in time, and for good reason. He is a goalsneak, plain and simply, and while he doesn’t win much of the ball, on a good day he’ll bag 5 with a bunch of tackles and give you some easy, valuable bench security. Should he recover from injury in due time, his job security should be very good, considering there’s no reason to draft someone like Yarran if he wasn’t going to play. I like him a lot, however be up to date with injury news because it could be worse that I think.

      Lachie Weller: The only question I have with Weller is still, whether he gets solid gametime. He has the point-scoring ability to do well Fantasy-wise when he does play, but competition is hot for Freo selection and many youngsters will have to do with rest games every so often. Even still, looking at the stats bluenosers provides you can see the he knows how to rack up decent scores, but don’t be expecting any mammoth games in 2016, as he is quite skinny and in that ‘next rung’ of Fantasy prospects from the 2014 draft.

      Ciaran Byrne: I don’t have much info on Byrne but if he can settle into a nice rebounding role for the Blues in 2016 he could provide some good sneaky point. One to watch in the NAB, I don’t know much about him right now.

      Dean Gore: I like Dean Gore as an RDT pick, as long as he looks set for games. In AFL Fantasy I feel there are other players who might provide more reward than Gore, however his consistency is something to admire for RDT. What I find compelling about Gore is that there is always one facet of his game which will step up if another facet is low. For example, he might only get 15 possessions in one hard-fought match, but you know that despite this he still recorded 10 tackles. If tackles and marks are low, he still got 25 disposals playing on the outside. His VFL season in 2015 fills me with a lot of hope, and him being a SA boy playing for Adelaide, I have a good feeling about his playing and scoring prospects. At the U18 Champs in 2014, he averaged 77.17, which put him in the top rung of those players, and his grit and determination in game very good.

      Of those, I like the look of the Yarran, Weller and Gore picks the most, so long as they look set for gametime. Byrne is a big one for the NAB Challenge watchlist. I’d be staying clear from Francis and Kommer unless their scoring prospects improve dramatically.

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        Paul Allen

        January 28, 2016 at 3:40 pm

        Brilliant Sam, thanks for taking the time to do this. And you bluenosers, much appreciated.

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    January 28, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Amazing write up Sam!!! This will really help out…cheers bud

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    January 28, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Did the link not work for anyone else?

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      January 28, 2016 at 9:48 am

      You have to download the PDF from the link, other than that I’m not much help, sorry.

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        January 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm

        Every time i click on the link it comes up with this error in a new tab – Certificate-based authentication failed

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          January 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm

          Sorry mate, I wouldn’t know what to do.

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        February 5, 2016 at 1:49 pm

        Try a different browser mate

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    Little Black Duck

    January 28, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Sam, some top 20 draftees not covered in your pdf that I would like some opinions on:
    Weitering (1), Schache (2), Francis (6), Hipwood (14)and Himmelberg (16).

    Many thanks.

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      January 28, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Ok. Before I write anything I can tell you that none of these players are worth picking; they are too expensive and only Francis and Himmelberg have even a chance of becoming decent Fantasy players, in my opinion. But, anyway, here goes:

      Weitering: An absolute jet of a footballer and a bloke. Will 100% be captain of Carlton one day. As a purely KPP player, the only thing he really brings to the table for Fantasy is his marking. Ball-winning, tackling and cheap-won footy are not his strengths, and he is way too pricey to be picked in 2016. There is the miniscule chance that he could break out to become a solid Fantasy scorer, but don’t count on it.

      Schache: Marking KPF who doesn’t really roam up-field, doesn’t win lots of the ball and won’t be assisting many scores. Don’t even consider.

      Francis: Read above reply on Francis.

      Hipwood: Hipwood has solid talent but like so many players similar to him, won’t make the grade, IMHO. He is too skinny to be a lock-down KPD or Full-Forward at the moment, and I doubt he will put on much weight. He’s never really been a ruckman, despite being 200cm tall, and doesn’t tackle, win the ball or score to much proficiency. If you’re picking him, you’re expecting many scores of 50 or less. ‘Nuff said.

      Himmelberg: Himmelberg is intriguing. He’s a purely medium forward player who has some exciting ability, but only really came into his own toward the back end of 2015. As a result, I haven’t seen a heap of footage on him, but the signs look good. There is a chance he becomes Fantasy-relevant if he can develop some sort of midfield game, but I doubt he has the athleticism to do that. He reminds me of a stronger Jack Gunston, and not as mobile. We’ve seen Gunston break out as a Fantasy player, and while he’s not someone to pick in 2016, Himmelberg could be a nice POD in a few years’ time.

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        Little Black Duck

        January 28, 2016 at 11:37 pm

        Thanks Sam. I wouldn’t think of picking them in salary cap footy but needed to know for draft leagues (UF) I’m in.

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      January 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      It’s Sam here, by the way, Gollo is my username.

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    January 28, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Outstanding article Sam. Great stuff. Very, very helpful.

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    January 28, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Great analysis, thankyou, much food for thought. The question I’m pondering is are first year 18yo draftees AF relevant anymore? Looking at last season, the rookies that proved most valuable were D6 Oxley, D7 McIntosh, D8 Saad, M7 Cripps, M8 Vandenberg, M9 Lambert, M10 Ellis-Yolmen, R3 Nankervis, R4 Brooksby F5 Hogan, F6 Armfield, F7 McCarthy and F8 McInnes. NONE of these were 18yo draftees. (You could mount a case for Jack Lonie at F8.) Are young draftees just too overpriced in AF?

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      January 29, 2016 at 7:45 am

      To be honest, you may have a point, but last year the Fantasy prospects of many of the draftees were minimal compared to this year. And of the one’s that could have gone big for Fantasy, many were nullified in some way: Isaac Heeney, Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw, Jack Steele etc. In the 2015 draft crop there is a much wider range of capable AFL Fantasy, RDT and SuperCoach players, with the very best able to become legitamate Fantasy pigs (Gresham, Lovell, Keays). Last year, I do think the first-years were way too overpriced, but the system AFL Fantasy have introduced this year shall prove to be much more effective, and should see more coaches taking a punt on a rookie POD coming straight out of the draft, which I like to see.

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        January 29, 2016 at 9:08 am

        Thanks, some good points. Let’s hope the coaches play them early and stick with them and we can get some Heppell-like debut seasons!

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          January 29, 2016 at 10:42 am

          Another thing to remember is that now Sam has done the research you can tuck the info away and dust it off later when the player does crack a game. This is particularly advantageous for players in leagues where stats are difficult to access (SANFL, NEAFL).

          I only started doing rookie research properly a couple of preseasons ago – tracking the draft, tracking player development, but already I have a database of potentially high(ish) scoring rookies that most DT coaches probably know nothing about. Given the importance of rookies in fantasy footy, knowing something about these players and what they might be able to produce at senior level is an advantage and it means I don’t have to rely on someone else’s opinion when picking rookies in my squad.

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      January 29, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Sam here,

      To be honest, you may have a point, but last year the Fantasy prospects of many of the draftees were minimal compared to this year. And of the one’s that could have gone big for Fantasy, many were nullified in some way: Isaac Heeney, Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw, Jack Steele etc. In the 2015 draft crop there is a much wider range of capable AFL Fantasy, RDT and SuperCoach players, with the very best able to become legitamate Fantasy pigs (Gresham, Lovell, Keays). Last year, I do think the first-years were way too overpriced, but the system AFL Fantasy have introduced this year shall prove to be much more effective, and should see more coaches taking a punt on a rookie POD coming straight out of the draft, which I like to see.

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    February 2, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Fantasy league code. First come first served

  28. Avatar


    February 3, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Does anyone know much about Dean Terlich?
    Is he a fringe player for the Demons, injured or something?

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    February 5, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Sam you have gone above and beyond. Outstanding work and thankyou for taking the time to answer so many questions. A big thanks to you Bluenosers for your awesome input as well.

    My question is do we have any prospects in the rucks at all? Looks very lean again as “they take time to develop”

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      February 8, 2016 at 7:36 am

      Not really. It’s hard to judge rucks like this until they prove themselves at AFL level, as in U18 comps ruck roles are shared around a lot more. This means that the ruckmen who rack up the huge tallies of hitouts in the AFL can’t stand out until they are actually at an AFL club. There will prove to be some worthwhile Fantasy rucks coming out of this crop however I’d avoid picking any this year as, yes, they do ‘take time to develop’. Look at guys like Gorringe and West for ruck bench options.

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    February 6, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Terrific write up, thanks a lot.

    How About Paul Ahern drafted at 7 last yeast & is a fwd/ctr?

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      February 8, 2016 at 7:33 am

      I considered him, but Ahern is not really a Fantasy type, despite having the ability to produce some big scores every now and then. He isn’t a massive ball winner and contributes more to a team in efficiency terms and all-round athleticism than his work on the ball. He’s cheaply priced but you won’t get the same output from him as someone like Gresham or Keays.

  31. FevsBingles


    February 6, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Great write up and read Gollo, found this extremely helpful in helping choosing my rooks, appreciate it, midfield rooks are solid as, Kennedy, Gresham, Menegola, Phillips, Keays are who I will be keeping an eye on.

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    March 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Draft! TONIGHT 11:00 pm 12/3/16 Get on

    Real Dream Team code = 309118

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