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2017 AFL Fantasy Rookie Guide

The mammoth rookie guide from Jeppa is here! Get your 2017 bargains sorted.

This Fantasy preseason has been quite challenging… arguably the hardest ever. Quality rooks are not at our disposal and for the first time; my team has more than a handful of midpricers. Caleb Marchbank, Sam Powell-Pepper and Cameron McCarthy are the only rookie priced players that have excellent job security and all come at a cost. Midpricers such as O’Meara, Roughead, Nankervis, Steele, Swallow, Sexton, etc. all need to be looked at to give you some value and on field stability.

Rookie priced players are still a huge part of any Fantasy team and the rooks we start with will determine our overall success. My ‘juniors’ covered in depth below are those that I believe are the best picks to start with this season. Plenty of options have been provided so the final decisions will be up to you.

As an added bonus, have a listen to my rookie podcast with the oracle of AFL Fantasy, Warnie. Plenty of our Fantasy selections are discussed, not just the rooks!


1. Curtly Hampton

jj_hamptonAFL Fantasy Price: $204,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $171,500
Predicted Average: 71

Role & Job Security: A listed defender in Fantasy but Hampton is playing in the midfield. Don Pyke has recognised Curtly’s silky skills and he wants them utilized in the centre. Problem is the Crows have had Sloane, Thompson and Brad Crouch missing during the JLT Series so it is hard to know where Hampton sits. His form during the preseason competition warrants selection in Round 1, it just a question of whether or not he can hold his spot.

JLT Form: Hampton was a regular for the Crows at centre bounces and stoppages. He looks confident in his role and scored 89, 60 and 80 Fantasy points across the JLT Series. There’s plenty to like and he looks supremely fit.

Final Thought: Too good a prospect to pass up even if there are some unknowns regarding job security. Hampton’s scoring potential is up there with the best of the rooks and he’s is in both my Fantasy and Dreamteam at D4. Get amongst it.

2. Caleb Marchbank

AFL Fantasy Price: $205,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $237,600
Predicted Average: 64

Role & Job Security: Carlton’s agenda for 2017 is to continue to develop its youth including newcomer, Caleb Marchbank. The former No. 6 draft pick has looked comfortable in a defensive role for the Blues and is locked for Round 1. Pending decent form and a healthy body, I see no job security concerns for Marchbank this season.

JLT Form: Marchbank suited up in all of Carlton’s preseason matches and was a notable contributor against Freo in JLT Week 4 where he scored 88 Fantasy points from 12 kicks, 10 handballs, 7 marks and 3 tackles. Marchbank’s form has been very encouraging but as a young key defender, his Fantasy scores will fluctuate so don’t be upset if he pumps out a 50 something.

Final Thought: You pay that little bit more for rooks with assured job security and take it from me, Marchbank is a wise investment. Lock and load.

3. Andy Otten

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 68

Role & Job Security: Otten’s dominant preseason gives Don Pyke no choice but to pick him. I’ve always thought he was a better attacking tall than some of his teammates and thankfully for us, Cheney and Lever have had an injury-interrupted summer. Expect Otten’s hot form to continue and hopefully he can play well deep into the season.

JLT Form: For a basement bargain price, Otten screams value after averaging 10 kicks, 8 handballs, 5 marks, 3 tackles and 72 Fantasy points across all three JLT matches. There’s really nothing here to dislike.

Final Thought: Any experienced and consistent rookie priced player that can reasonably fill the stat sheet is a lock even if there is a job security risk. Otten has proven in past seasons that he can score at a reasonable click so rest assured when selecting him. A must have on-field starter in both Fantasy and Dreamteam.

Image result for andy otten

4. Tom Stewart

jj_stewartAFL Fantasy Price: $172,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $125,300
Predicted Average: 61

Role & Job Security: Mature age Stewart has been drafted for a purpose. The old school defender is part of a new look Geelong backline that sees him fit in as a third tall. With Harry Taylor moving forward, Stewart is pretty safe in Geelong’s 22 excusing poor form of course.

JLT Form: After scoring an eye catching 93 in JLT Week 1, Stewart had 57 and 50 Fantasy points in each of his last two preseason hitouts. Yoyo scoring is typical from tall defenders so buyers beware. Watching him in the JLT Series, Stewart definitely played his role for the team and the Geelong hierarchy would be very content.

Final Thought: Should be in your team given his job security but he may have injured himself in the last JLT Series game. Matty Scarlett had stated that it wasn’t a hammy and Stewart was just tired. If he’s fit for Round 1, pick him.

5. Ed Vickers-Willis

jj_vickerswillisAFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 52

Role & Job Security: He’s been touted as Michael Firrito’s replacement and with North looking to youth, it appears EVW will have a defensive role to play for the Kangas come Round 1. Boasting maturity beyond his years, he is very well placed to play the majority of the season.

JLT Form: EVW would have learned plenty over the JLT Series. He wasn’t a stand out by any means but his workmanlike attitude has won him plenty of admirers internally at Arden Street. 72, 50 and 38 Fantasy points across all JLT matches isn’t a great scoring range and as a lock down defender, you should expect scores in the 50’s most weeks.

Final Thought: Vickers-Willis is cheap and bench back up only. Fingers crossed he can play well in the first few games of the season and cement his spot in North’s 22. He’ll be a popular D8.

6. Zach Guthrie

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $109,300
Predicted Average: 66

Role & Job Security: Guthrie plays as a defensive stopper. As it’s his first season of AFL, he’ll be up against it to play regular senior footy in a team like the Cats. He has impressed Chris Scott, but will need to be upgraded to the senior list prior to Round 1. All in all, his job security should be perceived as a risk.

JLT Form: Guthrie’s JLT form was as good as any rookie priced player. Against the Crows in JLT Week 3, he had his best game racking up 18 touches, 7 marks, 3 tackles and 78 Fantasy points. Even though he missed the Cats’ last JLT match, he was BOG for the Cats’ VFL side last Friday night and is still in the frame for Round 1.

Final Thought: His scoring potential is up there with the best of the bargains and he’s a cool customer under pressure. I will likely role the dice if he’s picked for Round 1 and start him on my field. No guts, no glory.

7. Mitchell Hibberd

jj_hibberdAFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 64

Role & Job Security: With the ability to play in defence and in the midfield, Hibberd has a couple of strings to his bow but that doesn’t guarantee him a spot for the Roos come Round 1. If North copped a few injuries then I’d back Hibberd to play but at the moment his job security is looking shaky.

JLT Form: Hibberd was used intermittently throughout the JLT Series. In Week 1 he scored 34 Fantasy points from 54% time on ground. Week 2, he got a full game for 64 Fantasy points and last weekend he had a notable 48 Fantasy points in less than half a game of footy. What we did learn during the JLT is that Hibberd can accumulate and score in a hurry.

Final Thought: Hibberd certainty knows how to find the footy and he could be one of the cashcows of the season pending opportunities early on. Don’t pass him up if he is named for Round 1. His dual position status is an added bonus.

Image result for mitch hibberd

8. Andrew McGrath

jj_mcgrathAFL Fantasy Price: $232,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $219,800
Predicted Average: 52

Role & Job Security: Essendon are keen to blood young McGrath and there is a spot for him in the seniors. He’ll spend most of his time in defensive 50 and use his run and carry to create for his team. Expect the Bombers to rest him a few times this season.

JLT Form: Fantasy scores of 17 (63% TOG), 49 (74% TOG) and 24 (47% TOG) are far from appealing. Watching him in the JLT, he looked lost and struggled to win his own ball. He’s the number one draft pick for a very good reason however and he’ll show us his potential at some point this season.

Final Thought: McGrath has decent job security but his scoring potential is sub-standard when you’re paying such a high premium. There will be games where he’ll score 70 odd so if you want a point of difference and don’t mind a punt then consider this dual position player. Not for me but an option nonetheless.

9. Matthew Scharenberg

jj_scharenbergAFL Fantasy Price: $234,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $197,500
Predicted Average: 60

Role & Job Security: Injury problems have hampered his career to date but Scharenberg can play. Half back is his position and Collingwood will want his class in the defensive half of the ground. If he’s fit and confident then he should be a regular in the Pies 22.

JLT Form: Scharenberg finished with Fantasy scores of 37 and 23 in his two JLT games from 46% TOG and 35% TOG respectively. It’s not a train smash…he’s just warming into senior footy given his injury history. Like many other skillful defenders, most of his points come from uncontested marks and kicks in defensive 50.

Final Thought: Looks a bit behind the 8-ball and will probably have a couple of weeks in the VFL before he plays senior footy. If he was $150,000 I’d suggest parking him at D8 but unfortunately he’s far more expensive than that. Consider if he’s named for Round 1.

10. Harrison Marsh

AFL Fantasy Price: $212,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $229,600
Predicted Average: 49

Role & Job Security: Marsh was an emergency for last year’s Grand Final and would have played if Jarrad McVeigh wasn’t passed fit. Old man McVeigh has had calf problems this summer and won’t play for at least Rounds 1 and 2 so I suspect Marsh is in line to play early games.

JLT Form: Marsh finished with Fantasy scores of 31 (77% TOG), 30 (67% TOG) and 55 (73% TOG) in his three JLT games. He did score 68 Fantasy points last season against the Tigers but that was his highest Fantasy score last season. Marsh plays his role for the team, he just needs to find more of the ball.

Final Thought: I’m scraping the barrel here but this is what this season has become. Marsh isn’t for me but he’s an option for your bench if you want to pay the extra.

Image result for harrison marsh afl

Keep an eye on Jarrod Berry, Nic Newman, Griffen Logue, Lachlan Keefe, Joel Smith, Luke Ryan, Aaron Francis, Francis Watson, Jordan Ridley, Bailey Rice, Jack Scrimshaw, Ben Long, Alex Johnson, Daniel Nielsen, Colin O’Riordan, Alex Morgan, Declan Watson, Kieran Collins, Hugh Goddard, Tom Doedee, Tim Mohr and Pat McKenna throughout the year as they all should get some senior opportunities this season.


With a lack of talent in the pure mid category this season I’ve topped up this line with some dual position mid / forwards to get us to a Top 10.

1. Jake Barrett

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $134,800
Predicted Average: 65

Role & Job Security: Barrett is a pure midfielder but he’s being used up forward at the Lions with stints on the ball. He won enough possessions during the JLT Series and it looks like he’s shown enough to be in the Lions Round 1 side. He’ll have to play well to hold his spot but he should be good for the early part of the season.

JLT Form: In his three JLT matches, Barrett scored 46, 86 and 63 Fantasy points. He is capable of filling up the stat sheet but has only put it together once so far. After failing to make a name for himself at GWS in previous seasons, he’s desperate to make a name for himself at the Lions and I’m backing him in for a big start to the year.

Final Thought: Barrett is good enough for the Lions 22 and with limited cheap options available you’d be silly not to pick him.

2. Sam Powell-Pepper

AFL Fantasy Price: $216,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $143,300
Predicted Average: 62

Role & Job Security: Sammy PP is a certainty for a midfield role at the Power this season. The youngster is popular among teammates and has been endorsed numerous times by coach Ken Hinkley who calls him ‘Junior Ollie’. He’s a big, strong, confident unit and he’ll play 15+ games this season.

JLT Form: Sammy PP played in all of Port’s preseason matches but never gave us a score to get excited about. Against the Hawks in JLT Week 4, he did rack up 23 possessions, 3 tackles, 1 goal and 48 Fantasy points but gave away 8 free kicks! That’s 24 Fantasy points. He doesn’t have a high ceiling but he’s got a role to play for Port.

Final Thought: Proven ball winner that is physically ready for a long AFL season. He’s done more than enough to be named for Round 1 and beyond. If you’ve got the cash then get him in!

3. George Horlin-Smith

AFL Fantasy Price: $238,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $211,300
Predicted Average: 72

Role & Job Security: He’s been around for a while and I feel a bit of deja vu here but this could be Horlin-Smith’s breakout year. Playing in the midfield alongside Danger, Jelwood, Duncan, etc. means a lot of easy ball and while there are job security concerns, he could slot into the rotations into a newish looking Geelong.

JLT Form: Horlin-Smith managed to score an impressive 1.28 Fantasy points per minute across his two JLT games (Credits to Fantasy Freako / Champion Data). His Fantasy scores were 98 and 76, which is a great return when there is little quality in the midfield. Above all, I really like the fact that he knows Geelong’s system and game plan really well.

Final Thought: GHS comes at a price but given his scoring potential, he’s worth every cent in my opinion. The question is, can he stay in Geelong’s 22? If he does get dropped, owners could always trade him down for a playing rookie. For that reason, I’m seriously considering him.

Image result for george horlin smith

4. Jack Bowes

AFL Fantasy Price: $232,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $179,300
Predicted Average: 61

Role & Job Security: It appears Bowes will be named for Round 1. Rodney Eade said earlier in preseason that he was reluctant playing the kids early, however he wants Bowes or Ainsworth or both in for Round 1 (source). Bowes has always been the favourite out of last year’s crop of draftees. He’ll play plenty of games this season.

JLT Form: Bowes suited up twice in the JLT scoring 35 (60% TOG) and 45 (72% TOG). Don’t let these scores deter you too much. Bowes will play at half back and have plenty of easy ball. I expect him to average in the low 60’s.

Final Thought: The perk with Bowes is his job security. Cheap quality midfield options are limited so maybe spend the extra on Bowes and retain piece of mind. Remember he’s a dual position forward / mid.

5. Jarrod Pickett

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 53

Role & Job Security: It’s another building year at Carlton and Pickett fits the bill as a developing small forward. He went pick 4 in the 2014 draft so the talent is there, he’s just got to be able to mix it with the big boys. Should play at least half of the games this season.

JLT Form: Pickett played in all three JLT games for Carlton and his best effort was 73 Fantasy points from 9 kicks, 3 handballs, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals and just 58% time on ground. He can seriously get lost in games though proven by his 27 (44% TOG) and 26 (68% TOG) Fantasy points in JLT Weeks 2 and 3.

Final Thought: Fantasy relevant only given his price and I’m using him as a strategic M10 given he’s a dual position forward / mid.

6. Brandan Parfitt

AFL Fantasy Price: $200,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $125,300
Predicted Average: 58

Role & Job Security: Parfitt’s role at Geelong will be as a forward while pinch-hitting in the midfield. He played against hardened bodies in the SANFL last season and was Geelong’s first pick (#26) in last year’s draft. Parfitt has a few rival teammates that play similar roles so he could be in and out of the team pending form.

JLT Form: He featured in all three JLT games but never scored more than 58 Fantasy points. Fantasy aside, Parfitt is contributing on field. He had 7 inside 50’s for the Cats against the Bombers in JLT Week 4 and looks the goods.

Final Thought: He wears the number 3 and could be anything this year. I can’t find the extra dollars to upgrade Pickett to Parfitt which is a shame otherwise he’d sit as my M9/M10. Note Parfitt’s dual position status also.

7. Ben Ainsworth

AFL Fantasy Price: $244,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $206,300
Predicted Average: 58

Role & Job Security: As mentioned previously, Ainsworth is a pretty good chance for Round 1. He’ll slot in amongst the Suns forward six and use his power, pace and skill to get on the scoreboard. The Suns will need to develop their prized draftees so he’ll feature a bit this season.

JLT Form: Ainsworth doesn’t get a lot of the footy but when he does have it, something good happens more often than not. Scores of 27 (74% TOG), 55 (57% TOG) and 28 (60% TOG) Fantasy points aren’t as good as they could be but he belongs at AFL level.

Final Thought: Ainsworth price doesn’t sit well with me given his likely output, nevertheless you’re paying for job security and he is a dual position forward / mid.

Image result for ben ainsworth

8. Harrison Wigg

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 67

Role & Job Security: When the Crows were up and going last season, Wigg was emergency a handful of times. Another year in the gym and improvement over the summer sees him move that step closer to regular senior footy. In my opinion, this season will be a breakout for him even if it’s not from Round 1.

JLT Form: Wigg displayed great skill throughout the JLT Series. He played in two matches and was a notable contributor in JLT Week 2 against the Tigers after amassing 23 possessions, 4 marks, 4 tackle and 87 Fantasy points. He missed the Crows Round 1 dress rehearsal last weekend but was close to BOG in the SANFL.

Final Thought: Wigg doesn’t look out of place at AFL level but his job security is the concern. If he’s named for Round 1 then I’m picking him…no question. I just hope he takes his opportunities!

9. Oliver Florent

AFL Fantasy Price: $230,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $174,800
Predicted Average: 57

Role & Job Security: Fast tracking Florent’s development will be on Sydney’s agenda this season. Given his light frame, he’ll be protected by playing as a half forward and away from the contested stuff. I foresee unscheduled rests for Florent throughout the year too.

JLT Form: Florent displayed plenty of skill and work ethic during his three JLT matches. His highest Fantasy score was only 54 Fantasy points but with a bit of time and confidence he should find more of the ball and score adequately.

Final Thought: Sydney always plays the kids that deserve a go and personally I reckon they’ve be missing a classy player like Florent up forward. He’s too expensive for me.

10. Robbie Fox

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $109,300
Predicted Average: 58

Role & Job Security: Fox is a mature age midfielder who has made an impression at the Swans in his first AFL preseason. He has, dare I say it, a basketball background and is a relatively late bloomer to footy but is improving exponentially. Being rookie listed means that he’s got an extra barrier to get over to play senior footy but he’s very much in the frame for Round 1.

JLT Form: He hasn’t set the Fantasy world alight with scores of 52 (69% TOG), 31 (70% TOG) and 21 (72% TOG) but we’re really thin for cheap midfield options.

Final Thought: Fox could warm one of your bench spots given his price but job security is a problem and picking him would be risky. You’re best having a DPP at M10 but he may suit a few.

At this stage, other promising midfield rookie priced players in David Myers, Will Brodie, Joe Atley, Will Setterfield, Declan Mountford, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Nathan Freeman, Dylan Clarke, Jordan Foote, Zac Fisher, Jack Graham, Dean Gore, Daniel Lloyd, Dallas Willsmore and Josh Clayton won’t play regular senior football early on but all should get a look in later in the year.



1. Darcy Cameron

AFL Fantasy Price: $156,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $125,300
Predicted Average: 65

Role & Job Security: I think we’d all agree that Sydney’s best ruck duo is Sinclair and Tippet and from what I’ve seen, Cameron is next in line. Both Sinclair and Tippett have had their injury problems in recent years so Cameron will play at some point this season.

JLT Form: Darcy suited up in all of Sydney’s JLT games and showed a bit in JLT Week 1 scoring 76 Fantasy points. Other games he got limited time on ground but he still showed what he’s capable of.

Final Thought: He’s a cheap bench option that will actually play some games this season. Note his dual position ruck / forward status! A must.

2. Braydon Preuss

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 55

Role & Job Security: It’s either Preuss or Majak. North have played smaller in the past using Ben Brown as a pinch-hitting ruckman but he’s set to stay forward with Petrie gone. Preuss is a massive unit and can take a grab and kick a goal just like Majak and he’s a better tap ruckman in my opinion.

JLT Form: Preuss played in all three of North’s JLT games and made an impression against the Hawks a couple of weeks back. He scored 76 Fantasy points (6k, 2m, 27ho, 2t, 3g) from 73% time on ground. He went missing in his last JLT game scoring just 35 Fantasy points from 76% TOG.

Final Thought: A perfect R4. Pick him, there’s no one else.

I’m not listing Tim English because he got absolutely monstered in the ruck by Stefan Martin in JLT Week 3. He’s a few years away from becoming Fantasy relevant.



1. Tim Taranto

AFL Fantasy Price: $248,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $215,300
Predicted Average: 72

Role & Job Security: Taranto has come on leaps and bounds in his first preseason. Playing predominately as a high half forward, he’s fitted in seamlessly into the Giants 22 when there really wasn’t a spot for him. Thankfully, the Giants have a few injury problems, not to mention Whitfield’s 6-month suspension so he’s in the side for Round 1. Come Round 5, who knows but at least he has an opportunity to prove his worth.

JLT Form: He almost reached a three figure score against West Coast in Week 1 of the JLT. 97 Fantasy points from 21 possessions, 5 marks and 5 tackles is quite an effort. His other JLT games saw him score 66 Fantasy points in each. He’s a true Fantasy player with his ball wining ability, tackling pressure and goal sense.

Final Thought: Taranto is hard to ignore given his scoring potential. He’s proven over the JLT Series that he’s worth every penny of his inflated price and if you don’t mind spending the extra then this dual position forward / mid is for you.

2. Teia Miles

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 62

Role & Job Security: Miles has put his hand up for senior football at half back for Hawthorn. He’s a beautiful user of the footy, which is an Alistair Clarkson prerequisite and spots are up for grabs this season. Miles is in his third season so hopefully it’s another example of third year breakout but he’ll need to play pretty well to hold his spot.

JLT Form: Featuring in all three preseason matches, Miles scored 58 against Cats, 46 versus the Roos in JLT Week 2 then a reasonable 63 in their dress rehearsal for Round 1 last week against Port. The signs are good for Round 1.

Final Thought: Miles’ price and dual position status is the big draw card. Cheap forward options that can find a bit of the footy aren’t falling from the sky so I reckon he’s a must have. With the Hawks high possession game plan, he should be a solid option.

3. Matthew Kennedy

AFL Fantasy Price: $194,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $217,100
Predicted Average: 63

Role & Job Security: Like Taranto, Kennedy is a bolter for the Giants. He’s a massive unit for a youngster and has played well up the ground this preseason. Injuries at the Giants should see him slot in for Round 1 but it will be shaky for him every week with GWS’ star studded list.

JLT Form: Throughout the JLT Series, Kennedy’s stat line read quite well and he definitely showed his potential to the Giants faithful with his abilities in the air and strength on the deck. I liked his game against the Roos where he had 17 possessions, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 2 goals and 63 Fantasy points from 69% time on ground.

Final Thought: I’m a fan of Kennedy and he’s currently sitting at F6 for me in AFL Fantasy. Only 1.17% own him, which has me stuffed with the limited scoring forward options we have. Job security is the only problem here. Not for the faint hearted.

 4. Will Hoskin-Elliott

Image result for will hoskin elliott dreamteamtalkAFL Fantasy Price: $230,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $258,900
Predicted Average: 66

Role & Job Security: WHE was enticed to move to Collingwood for senior opportunities so his job security is pretty strong. He’ll play deep forward for the majority but will find himself on a wing at times. He can definitely take a good grab and should finish on the score sheet quite a bit.

JLT Form: Fantasy scores of 70, 45 and 68 is enough to justify picking him. By the looks of his body and fitness, he should be a pretty consistent scorer this season. WHE really did nothing wrong during the JLT Series.

Final Thought: A solid option but he’s not for me. I just can’t fit him in. He comes recommended though!

Image result for will hoskin elliott collingwood

5. Kayne Turner

AFL Fantasy Price: $216,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $180,900
Predicted Average: 63

Role & Job Security: Turner is a tough, nuggety half forward that never takes a backward step. Remind you of anyone? It’s thought that Turner will try and fill the void left by Boomer Harvey. I don’t foresee any job security concerns for Turner with North keen to add youth to their side.

JLT Form: Turner stood out against the Kangaroos in JLT Week 4. He had 14 possessions, 2 marks, 6 tackles, 3 goals and 88 Fantasy points and was one of the best on the field. Note that he had 27 (85% TOG) and 52 (76% TOG) Fantasy points in North’s other two JLT matches.

Final Thought: I can’t see Turner being a consistent performer early which is what we need our rooks to be, especially the expensive ones. He’s still a decent option given his job security and ability to score in the high 80’s. He might still sneak into my Dreamteam.

6. Cameron McCarthy

AFL Fantasy Price: $211,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $207,600
Predicted Average: 55

Role & Job Security: McCarthy is a lock for Fremantle at full forward. There is no threat to his job security at all. He’s been the missing link for Freo for some time.

JLT Form: He had a blinder last weekend versus the Blues in JLT Week 4, kicking 6 goals and scoring 93 Fantasy points. That’s going to be a rare occasion however. In other games, he had 47 and 21 Fantasy points from near full games.

Final Thought: He’s not for me but a few might want to pay the extra for the job security. His yoyo scoring would frustrate me.

7. Brett Eddy

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $109,300
Predicted Average: 50

Role & Job Security: Eddy has impressed up forward for the Power, so much so that he’s already been upgraded from the rookie list. He’s Port’s replacement for Jay Schultz and will play alongside Charlie Dixon.

JLT Form: Eddy played in all three of Port’s JLT games this preseason. Scores of 36 (46% TOG and 63% TOG) in his first two hitouts weren’t anything to get excited about but a match winning performance against the Hawks in JLT Week 4 is. He put 4 through the big sticks in the space of ten minutes and finished with 15 kicks, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 5 goals and 94 Fantasy points.

Final Thought: A lock for your F7 / F8 position. I’d be nervous starting him on the field!

Image result for brett eddy

8. Dan Butler

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $132,400
Predicted Average: 58

Role & Job Security: Butler is in for Round 1 (source). He’ll be working his magic in the forward half for Richmond but I worry about the abundance of small / medium forwards that the Tigers have who can ultimately take Butler’s place. There’s no job security here.

JLT Form: Butler started his JLT campaign well with 74 Fantasy points but it declined thereafter with 53 and 33 from full games.

Final Thought: I always get nervous about picking rooks when Damien Hardwick is in charge. Butler has a pretty low scoring ceiling too so I’ll probably avoid him but he could occupy one of your bench spots.

9. Dan Houston

AFL Fantasy Price: $150,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $125,300
Predicted Average: 56

Role & Job Security: Houston has been upgraded to Power’s senior list alongside Eddy. A forward up until this summer, he’s been thrown into a defensive role by the Power hierarchy and has not looked back. He’s set for Round 1 as a defensive stopper but will be on the way out when Jasper Pittard returns.

JLT Form: Houston averaged only 44 Fantasy points from his three JLT games but I’m expecting him to improve slightly in the season proper. His role won’t allow him to be a massive scorer but he’ll still be solid.

Final Thought: He’s still warming up and at his price it’s hard to ignore Houston. I doubt he’ll play much more than the first month of footy so he’s a short-term bench option in my opinion.

10. James Stewart

AFL Fantasy Price: $227,000
AFL Dreamteam Price: $178,200
Predicted Average: 56

Role & Job Security: Essendon wanted a tall forward to support Joe Daniher and they picked up Stewart from GWS for a steal in the trade period. He’s set for Round 1 and beyond and with some injuries to Essendon’s talls, I expect him to play plenty of footy in the first half of the season.

JLT Form: Stewart’s highest score in the JLT Series was 66 and I reckon that’s about as good as it will get. He’ll likely pinch hit in the ruck with the injuries to Bellchambers and Luey and that may open the door for better scores but not by much.

Final Thought: Stewart isn’t going to set any new Fantasy scoring records but you’re paying for job security. Scores in the 50’s aren’t good enough for me but if you believe he’ll score more then consider him as an F6.

Image result for james stewart essendon

Aaron Black gets bumped from my top 10 forward list because it seems like he’s not part of Geelong’s forward set up. He will play some senior footy this year and if the Harry Taylor forward experiment doesn’t work then he may play more. I’m not going to speculate though and I see him as a downgrade target during the season.

Just a quick note on Hugh McCluggage. The youngster suffered an ankle injury a couple of weeks back and will have a delayed start to the home and away season. Like Black, he’ll be a downgrade target. Riley Knight is another rookie priced prospect that is injured and likely to miss Round 1. The timing of Knight’s injury is unfortunate because he’s an excellent prospect. If by some miracle, Knight is named then consider him at F6. Put Knight on your watchlist.

Other potential forward rooks include Sam Durdin, Myles Poholke, Ben McKay, Sam Weideman, Will Hayward, Josh Begley, Troy Menzel, Mabior Chol, Jonathan Beech, Josh Thomas, Jordan Dawson, Jordan Gallucci, Shai Bolton, Callum Brown, Tyrone Leonardis, Kieran Lovell, Callum Brown, Harry McKay, Harry Dear, Michael Apeness and Harley Balic. All of these players could feature at some point this season.


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 my ‘juniors’ getting a gig at AFL level.

For the newbies out there rooks are classified as players under $250,000 in Fantasy and/or Dreamteam.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @JeppaDT for all rookie relevant topics and more. Good luck and happy coaching!


A legend of the AFL Fantasy game, Jeppa provides the best rookie content on the internet, bar none! Follow the man behind the most viewed Fantasy series on the web, the Juniors, on Twitter: @JeppaDT.

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