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Hayden Young – Deck of DT 2021

Hayden Young had his rookie season marred by injury, making him a tempting pick in 2021

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Name: Hayden Young
Team: Fremantle Dockers
Position: DEF
Price: $337,000
Bye round: 14
2020 average: 41.6
2020 adjusted average: 51.6
2020 games played: 5
Predicted average: 66
Draft range: Undrafted/Potential late DEF pick (depending on league size)

Click here for 2021 Fantasy prices.

Why should I pick him?

Almost 12 months ago to the day, I hit the keyboard for the 2020 Deck of DT and put forth the case for Hayden Young to be the best defensive cash cow available.

That didn’t go according to plan.

The Dockers rookie missed the bulk of last season after suffering a syndesmosis injury in Round 6 against the Saints, although there were flashes of promise from the former No. 7 pick. Now with a clean bill of health Young will look to cash in on the promise that surrounded him in his first AFL season.

Young’s price has inflated nearly $80K from his rookie campaign, but he is still a great value pick for one of your final on-field defensive slots. In shortened quarters last year, the booming left-footer produced mediocre scores of 39 and 32 in his first two games before busting onto the scene with a 77 and a 58 – amassing 16 disposals and 5 marks in both outings. He registered just one handball before going down against St Kilda, with that 2-point performance dragging his price tag down even further. Taking that score out leaves Young with an average of 51.5 from 2020, which, if you adjust to reflect full-length quarter equates to an average of 64.

Scores in the mid 60’s are what I expect consistently from Young in year two, but there’s a realistic chance the dynamic defender can push his average north into the 70’s. Touted as the best kick in the draft class of 2019, nearly 70% of Young’s disposals came via foot in his final season as a junior – a trend that continued in his first month of AFL action with 66% of his touches ending in a kick. His elite foot skills should become an important weapon for Fremantle out of their back-6 with Young poised to form a lethal intercept/rebound duo with All-Australian Luke Ryan.

While Young seems set to develop his craft in the backline, there are indications that he’ll play further up the ground for Freo in the future. Drawing comparisons to Stephen Hill thanks to his clean ball-use, Young was asked earlier this preseason about his potential move into the midfield stating:

“At the moment my ambition is to play at half-back and to nail down that position,” Young said. “If there’s a spot in the midfield in the future – I’m not sure. At the moment my focus is on half-back, just trying to perfect my craft in that position,”.

Regardless of where he’s playing on the field, there’s every chance that the second-year defender can lock down a regular gig in the best 22 for the Dockers and relish his role as a +6 machine. Justin Longmuir showed in his first season at the helm that he wasn’t going to be shy playing the youngsters on Freo’s list and if Young can avoid the injury bug I can’t imagine a scenario where he plays less than 18-20 games. Slotting into the defensive unit at Fremantle to become a staple rebounding the ball and driving the team forward seems to suit Hayden Young’s skillset and if Longmuir gives him a licence to roam, his fantasy numbers are only going to benefit.

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

The inconvenient $337K starting price for Young means a lot of his value has already diminished. As I mentioned, the Freo sophomore already increased his value by more than triple figures after starting his rookie season at $258K. Of course, there’s still room to grow, but why select a player who has already made a significant jump in price from year one to two?

For roughly $20K more you might be interested in the upside surrounding Isaac Cumming or perhaps you want to opt for Wayne Milera who boasts a much more promising scoring output for an extra $110K. Both of these defenders seem to offer more fantasy upside from their starting price, with Hayden Young’s place in Fremantle’s permanent side hardly set in stone. While he did manage four games (plus one quarter) last year, Young wasn’t named to make a debut in Round 1 unlike most of his top-10 draft peers. In fact, his place in the Round 2 team only came about after Nathan Wilson was a late withdrawal from their match against Brisbane.

Sticking with Nathan Wilson, in most mock best-22 articles you can find online, you’ll see him taking up residence alongside Young in Fremantle’s half-back line to commence 2021. However, with Luke Ryan fresh off a career-year, he isn’t going anywhere and the likes of Joel Hamling and Alex Pearce are returning from lengthy injury layoffs too – meaning Young could be the one that finds himself squeezed out of the rotation.

The competition for spots doesn’t end there though. The Dockers opted to draft WA local Heath Chapman with the 14th overall pick in last year’s draft and the West Perth product brings a very similar skill-set and frame to their list as Young. Just last week Freo’s defensive assistant coach Matthew Boyd spoke about how Chapman has “been able to fit in seamlessly to what we’re doing training wise and the system we’re looking at playing”. That doesn’t mean he’ll overtake Young in the pecking order, but if Chapman earns an early debut and Young is the casualty, fantasy coaches could be stuck in an awkward position.

Deck of DT Rating.


I contemplated a Jack rating for Young, but I feel fairly certain he’ll matter in 2021 from a fantasy standpoint. All of a sudden there are a lot of intercept marking types in Fremantle’s outfit, but I still think the club will do whatever they can to get the pill in Young’s hands. Maybe he struggles to start the year and puts up some worrying scores, however, the Dockers defender has enough talent and versatility to slot into a number of roles for Freo – with potential midfield clock only a plus for his fantasy output.

In 2021 Hayden Young will be....?

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An Australian coffee/burrito enthusiast who is the frustrated owner of 16 fantasy teams. Writer for SportsbyFry and DT Talk ?



  1. Avatar


    February 2, 2021 at 8:08 am

    I wont be strating with him had him originally but went with better options.

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      Luke Parker

      February 2, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Such as?

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        February 2, 2021 at 2:36 pm

        Guys worth in the 400k. Paid up for better guys.

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          Luke Parker

          February 2, 2021 at 3:14 pm

          So Harmes, Milera etc right? Still think Young is a decent option at D5-D6, should average around 70 and given the saving over the aforementioned guys think it’s a worthwhile option.

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            February 2, 2021 at 5:08 pm

            Yeah spot on luke parker good on for the people who have young. But my back six are locked in with whitfield, laird, docherty, williams, harmes, milera. No room for young back there. With harmes getting mid clock first 4 rounds will punch 90s. Young has said he doesnt want midfield time. Yet. Hes still learning. Which has put me of for the first few rounds.

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              Luke Parker

              February 2, 2021 at 6:30 pm

              Yeah, nice pretty deep back line though. Need to see Harmes play but like you my back six are pretty locked in with Lloyd, Whitefield, Williams, Cumming, Young Pearce (likely to change based off rookies).

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                February 2, 2021 at 7:02 pm

                What do you see in pearce

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                  Luke Parker

                  February 2, 2021 at 7:06 pm

                  Rookie priced player with great JS really the main thing. Get the risk with cash generation/scoring, but would rather stick him there than a 170k (e.g. Gould) who won’t play and cause a restructure.

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    February 2, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Nice read. He’s in my team. His price is $337k though, not $377k.

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    February 2, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Great card. I did have him in my side at the start but now have gone with a better option

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    Luke Parker

    February 2, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Currently in my side and personally (providing he’s best 22 which he should be) seems a much safer option than someone like Harmes. Would like Milera but doesn’t fit my structure with Cumming, Young as the two midpricers.

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      February 2, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      How is he a much safer option than Harmes? Worst case Harmes does what he did last year and yet would still average more than Young, and best case he averages 90+ again like he did two years ago, given he’s back in his inside midfield role.

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        Luke Parker

        February 2, 2021 at 2:12 pm

        Most likely case is he gets a split of inside mid and wing and given his versatility Dees could easily throw him around in various positions. Not to mention there’s a nearly 140k price gap which gives you cash for other areas. Just getting Brayshaw vibes from Harmes but could be a decent option, just don’t think he’ll be a permanent inside mid. As i said, wouldn’t mind Milera and Harmes but they don’t fit me team structure personally.

      • rossco1


        February 2, 2021 at 2:48 pm

        Optimistically if Harmes averages 82, thats a price rise of over 150k and an easy stepping stone to a premo.

        OR, if h averages even more than 82 and has the good midfield role, you can hold him as your M6 longer.

        Worst case, he goes at 55-60, wont lose too much value and can easily just flip him to a performing rookie and use the money elsewhere.

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    February 2, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Justin Longmuir is slowly changing Fremantle into a fantasy friendly team after coming across from Collingwood. Hayden Young had great junior numbers, Fremantle will play possession football we could see him push his average to 80-85 and he’s probably already there best kick coming out of defence. Gone are the days of never pick a docker.

    • rossco1


      February 2, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      80-85? Not a chance.

      He’s priced at 44, and optimistically I have him pegged at a 68 average. That means his price will rise by approx. 183k.

      Once he hits that point he would be a nice stepping stone to a cheap premo. Obviously luck is involved a bit too and he needs a clear injury run.

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