Essendon averaged 1679.5 fantasy team points in the 2017 H&A season (Rank 3), they recorded 400 Disposals or more in 9 games finishing with an average of 398.0 Disposals per game (Rank 3). The Bombers were ranked 10th in contested possession differential in the 2017 H&A season (+1.0), off-season moves and developing talent will likely improve those numbers in 2018.
Essendon has a fantasy friendly game plan under John Worsfold, fantasy coaches will likely be more confident rostering his players in 2018.
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2018 Potential Targets:
Zach Merrett MID $825K
The forecast end for Zach Merrett last year didn’t eventuate as he put together another stellar season averaging 117.1pts in the H&A season, he scored 100pts or more in 68.2% of games & 120pts or more in 50.0% of games (Incl. Finals). Merrett’s numbers are elite and aren’t likely to regress anytime soon, it’s just a matter of selecting him at Round 1 or trying to scrape enough coin together during the season to trade him in at some stage.
Devon Smith FWD $575K
Smith averaged 81.3pts from 16 games in 2017 & 80.9pts from 14 games in 2016 (Incl. Finals), he played in just 61.2% of games in the last 2 years at GWS due to injury. Smith is scheduled to start the 2018 season as a FWD in AFL Fantasy and will attract plenty of attention from fantasy coaches, the key to improving his average will be a heavy midfield role at Essendon. Certainly worth watching over the JLT Series, if his points per minute spike due to a midfield role then could be a very good choice. The injury concerns will be around for a while.
Andrew McGrath DEF $496K
McGrath has been forecast to spend more time in the midfield and with a 2nd full pre-season should be able cash in on his elite ball winning ability, he averaged 71.5pts in his first season as a Bomber and 81.3pts from his final 4 games (Incl. Finals). McGrath averaged 87.9pts when he recorded 22 or more Disposals in 2017 & has DEF status in 2018, he should be strongly considered at Round 1.
Michael Hurley DEF $663K
After averaging 74.0pts in his opening 4 games in 2017 Hurley averaged 99.9pts from his final 17 games of the year (Incl. Finals), he scored 100pts or more in 42.9% of games & 120pts or more in 9.5% of games. Hurley will likely be low owned again to begin 2018 as many fantasy coaches decide not to roster him, based on value there is likely not much growth in Hurley to begin the season but as a point of difference he could be a sharp selection.
Adam Saad DEF $429K / Jake Stringer FWD $403K
New club & likely a similar role for Saad at the fantasy friendly Bombers, his numbers haven’t been great but it is worth keeping an eye on him over the pre-season. Excellent Job security.
A fresh start for Stringer in 2018, his starting price does warrant some consideration but consistency will likely be an issue. Could be a good F6/F7 at Round 1 and see what happens.
Kobe Mutch MID $170K / Dylan Clarke MID/FWD $170K
Mutch may well debut in 2018 and is worthy of instant selection in your fantasy team, if given a decent run he could turn out to be a significant cash cow.
The Bombers are in need for contested ball winners and Clarke suits that criteria, if/when he is named this season trade him in.
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