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Warnie’s first Fantasy Classic team reveal

The first iteration of the Warne Dawgs has just been posted.

AFL Fantasy 2021 opened up this week and while it caught us off-guard, we have been doing plenty of thinking already and have a shortlist of around 200 players. Our club previews will start on December 28 with articles on and podcasts where we chat through some of the players that could be relevant this season.

Picking our Fantasy Classic teams will be as challenging as ever.

The $13m salary cap remains but the initial magic number has increased from 7148 to 7637. While not a dramatic increase, it will make things tougher in 2021 for a few other reasons. There are fewer basement priced players (2020 there were around 150, in 2021 there’s around 120) and there were, I think, a lot more players used last season due to the condensed fixtures and therefore, those who we may have got cheaper this year due to lack of opporunity, now have a bit of a price increase.

It is what it is, though. We are all in the same boat and the hunt for value is on. Maybe some of the top priced players will be worth avoiding due to that increased magic number and that data is inflated due to Coronaball.

I’m going to be honest here, I haven’t put in a hell of a lot of time (or even thought) into my initial team. Heck, there’s over 80 days until the first lockout AND the majority of players aren’t back at training as yet. I think it’s the 6th of January that’s they’re officially back on the track.

From my 15 seasons of creating Fantasy footy related content, I know a lot don’t actually read the words here and just skip the image and then have a crack at the squad and question why some names are there.

But anyway, here goes.

I’ve decided to look for players with upside across most lines with this initial sqaud. While that is usually my strategy each season heading into round one, it’s especially important here. The exception is probably where I’ve gone the big two in defence.

My main thoughts here are that I think they can at least maintain their 2020 average, if not improve, and think it will be bloody hard to get them later in the season. I feel like Lloyd and Whitfield are clearcut and there’s a gap between them and the rest down back. The other lines, I’m not so sure, so that’s where the ‘upgrade targets’ call on the big premiums come to the fore.

There aren’t too many no-brainer selections this year. There are, however, plenty of naratives that we can be making to say some players are must-haves.

Starting in the backline, I think Zac Williams is value and worth the punt – especially considering he’s now the second most selected player. Good onya Roy! Tom Mitchell and Tim Taranto are well unders in my opinion as is Rory Sloane. Everyone’s got Rowell, so I thought I might as well build around him and threw in a pre-season fitness watch on Cunnington who is super-cheap considering what he’s done in the past. Preuss is a no-brainer at this point.

Up forward is where things are interesting. I think this is where we’re going to find some value and despite some handy DPP inclusions that we’re pretty confident on being at the top end by the end of the season, there are questions over what their output could be. This is why I’ve opted for a 10+ points under Heeney and new Hawk Tom Phillips as the big two. Mid-priced madness does spring to mind with some of the others here, but someone like Buddy is a lock if he gets through the pre-season and is named round one.

As for the rookies, these are just names for now, but doing some thinking around players who are basement priced that we definitely need to watch (and hope) could be a chance for round one. I truly beleive we are going to be light on for our rookies (I think I say this every year).

Oh well, here’s the first look… there’s plenty of things I’m not loving – especially the lack of true premium options and the doubt I have on some of those sub-premium guys being in the mix to be in the top group for their position. For those wanting to know, this team has $62k in the bank and has a very ordinary projected score of 1624.

Maybe I need to clear team and start again. But hey, we’ve still got 80-odd days until round one.

Stay tuned to DT Talk throughout the pre-season as we provide plenty of Fantasy analysis to help you pick your 2021 team and get ready for your Draft day. As always, there will be plenty of fun.

Co-captain of DT Talk since we started this thing in 2007. Best finish was 13th in 2009... that was a long time ago. Follow on Twitter: @WarnieDT



  1. Con

    December 24, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    I think you have a very expensive defence and cheap midfield. Midfield is where most the points are generated for your team. Neale is a must have in the midfield and I think Rocky will continue his pig ways. Whitfield and Lloyd definitely will be top 2 defenders but I would wait until they are cheaper. I have the same Ruck combo which most teams will have and the forward line is very solid. Just my thoughts. All the best guys

    • Sam

      December 24, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      Neale isnt a must have no way he goes 120 plus will be 100k cheaper by rd 5

      • Warnie

        December 24, 2020 at 9:52 pm

        I’d back in Whitfield and Lloyd to maintain (or improve) their output over Neale. Far from a must-have for me.

        • Carrot dick 🥕

          December 27, 2020 at 7:54 pm


    • Luke Parker

      December 26, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      There’s more value in midfield at this early stage, given that it’s actually pretty unclear as to which of the fully priced mids have any room for growth, the likes of Steele, Petracca, Neale, Oliver, Adams etc are all likely fully priced. Then there’s Sloane, Cripps, Taranto, Heppell, Cunnington etc who are all value based on previous averages and the multitude of factors affecting last season. Neale is far from a must have given that point which then allows for the cash to go to Lloyd and Whitefield who are more certain (IMO) to retain their average than Neale

  2. Chris

    December 24, 2020 at 7:32 pm

    Are we over rating Rowell a little? He’s obviously a young gun. But he’s a 4 game sample. Priced at 75, you’d want to be sure he’s going 95+ to be worth it imo

    • Warnie

      December 24, 2020 at 9:54 pm

      100%. I’m not all in on him. Really, there are very few players I would even think are ‘likely’ locks. The challenge this year isn’t just the salary cap, it’s the lack of ‘gimmie’ picks like in other years. It’s a good thing! We may see a heap of variance in teams.

  3. TheMan

    December 24, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    How is Pruess not DPP forward??

  4. motor

    December 24, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Warnie I presume you meant Lachie Young rather than Lewis Young?

    • Warnie

      December 25, 2020 at 7:37 am

      😂 … yep, I’ll blame the Xmas Eve beers!

      • motor

        December 25, 2020 at 1:49 pm

        The good news is you now have another 23k to play with in your “first try” squad plus the Xmas Eve beers!

      • Chris

        January 4, 2021 at 5:52 am

        Forget them both & get Hayden Young.

  5. Everard

    December 24, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    Thoughts warnie.
    Grundy and gawn are must have but could you go witts and pruss to generate cash to upgrade to them

    • Warnie

      December 25, 2020 at 7:38 am

      You could, but my gut feel – at this stage – is that you can only go one… plus I feel like Grundy is *some* value.

      • Zach Merrett

        December 25, 2020 at 11:57 am

        I would personally go Draper over preuss I think there is more upside in the drapeski and Philipps will struggle to get a game I believe.

        • Luke Parker

          December 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

          Preuss scored well when given the chance, something he surely gets at the Giants, plus he’s cheaper than Draper and arguably has greater scope for increase. Will Phillips surely gets a game, dubbed the most round 1 ready of all the draftees plus North need to refresh their midfield. Even purely at this early stage he’s as close to a lock as a rookie can get at this stage

      • Everard

        December 25, 2020 at 12:11 pm

        Thankyou for your thoughts warnie. Have a good Christmas

      • trev

        December 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

        Laird , D/M this year Warnie. Played midfield last year second half of the year. Could this be a Legit option instead of Lloyd. Also what’s your thoughts on people who had shockers last year. I.e. cogs, Cripps, redden for example do you see them rising again. I’m also considering greaves from hawthorn now Sicily is out for a while as well as shill from Adelaide

        • Warnie

          December 26, 2020 at 10:15 pm

          I like the Laird shout. I guess I back in Lloyd/Whit to be that tier clear of Laird. A long way to go yet!

          Cal all over Greaves.

          • Mor

            December 27, 2020 at 7:58 pm

            I wonder if Hately takes Laird’s place in the mids though

  6. Aluniesheis

    December 25, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    Structure is what is always relevant early, and the structure is good Warnie. Just to compare, 3-1-2-2, 4-2-2-2,1-1-1,2-2-2-2, which ends up
    Whitfield- Laird- Z. Williams- H. Young (Bianco, Gould, Wehr, McLennan)
    Oliver-M.Crouch- T. Mitchell- Taranto- Sloane- Rowell (Phillips, O’Driscoll, Dawkins, Gulden)
    Grundy- Preuss- (Fullarton)
    Heeney- T. Phillips- J. Cameron- Franklin (B. Campbell, Atu, Bergman,W. Kell(
    UTI- D. Robertson

    • Warnie

      December 26, 2020 at 10:19 pm

      G’day Trent! Yeah – structure is key. I think it’s going to be an interesting season as to where we save some cash. The top end premiums will be limited. 80-odd days to work it out!

  7. Browny

    December 26, 2020 at 4:03 am

    A few funny comments here is it worth going pruss an Witt’s to get some value haha what value f**K Witt was just that last year never again an Rowell are we over thinking it the kids a star put him down for a top 10 finish in the Brownlow might even win it an shut up about Draper let me get him as a pod

    • Albo

      December 26, 2020 at 9:44 pm

      Preuss could be another Jacobs, we all know how that worked out last year.

      • Warnie

        December 26, 2020 at 10:14 pm

        That’s been running through my head. Surely… surely the age demographic of Preuss, who can do the job, means they’ll back him in more than Sauce.

  8. Emir Tamin

    December 26, 2020 at 7:36 am

    What about Howe? Killing it last year before injured, and priced with a discount. And I think Jeremy Cameron is worth watching now as he won’t be at full forward and will be up the ground more getting +6s. Thoughts ?

    • Ben

      December 26, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Camron was playing high half forward wing this year mate. Not sure if howe will be ready for round one.

      • Timor Saint

        December 26, 2020 at 10:32 am

        What’s the word on Howe? What about Daniels? Staring D3? … also, my name and email address won’t save using this website!? (From my iPhone). Got to enter email address name etc each time. Is there a way round this ?? Will an app ever be made. Thanks to all and also Ben

        • Warnie

          December 26, 2020 at 10:13 pm

          You can make an account at (use same email address and stay logged in). If you’ve got any issues, hit me up via email.

  9. Aidan7557

    December 26, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    hey guys if any of you are bored come check out my first team at, let me know what you guys think!

  10. Henry J Moore

    December 27, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Bit of a disgusting forward line but understand the play for value

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