Connect with us

Deck of Dream Team

Ben Cunnington – Deck of DT 2021

Does Cunners have the 20-points upside we need from him?

Name: Ben Cunnington
Team: North Melbourne
Position: MID
Price: $503,000
Bye round: 12
2020 average: 66.6
2020 adjusted average:
2020 games played: 3
Predicted average: 87
Draft range: 20th+ round

Click here for 2021 Fantasy prices.

Why should I pick him?

A hefty discount due to playing just three games last year puts Cunners in the group of under-priced midfielders that have to be considered.

Priced at 66, the 29-year-old North Melbourne veteran hasn’t been priced this cheap since his second year. With his best Fantasy return being back in 2018 (93.9 average from 22 games), his run from 2017-2019 saw him average 88 to be a relevant Draft selection in deeper leagues with 60+ midfielders being drafted.

Cunnington has never been a Fantasy Classic pick, but that all changes this year.

In round one last year, Cunnington scored 117 (23 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 2 goals) which was super-impressive in 16-minute quarters… that’s 146BCV for the record. Months later, he was tagged by de Boer the following round for 57 (71BCV) and didn’t play the next week due to a back complaint. He returned in round five and played up forward for half a game before being put on ice (26 points to his name). A bad call to play him again so early and then he was done for the year.

Prior to last season, Cunnington played all but six games from 2013-2019 making him a durable pick. We can’t call him durable now after a back injury that limited him to 3 games, but he has been doing everything (and more) this pre-season without any hiccups.

I’m not going to predict him to break any Fantasy PBs, but I’m expecting a mid-to-high-80s return given his history. This would put him in the frame of a 20+ point increase from where’s he’s priced at which is enough to call it a win.

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

Despite looking good this pre-season, there has to be some doubt on his body. If you watched that round five game where he was put on ice, eventually for the rest of the season, he looked like an old man. It was horrible to watch.

There is upside but Cunnington is never going to be a keeper. Even if he’s hitting a PB, eclipsing his 94 average, it’s still not enough to have him in your team long-term. He can be a low-priority upgrade, but looking at his bye round, it doesn’t work that nicely knowing he’s going to be in the group sitting out the first week of the MBRs.

Also, a rest would be bloody annoying.

It sounds like Cunnington will rest forward as the Roos work out the best way to manage the 75 rotations. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as being on the ground means more opportunity to score points, but how the MID/FWD mix will look for him may have an impact on the ceiling of his scoring and therefore average/price increase.

Deck of DT Rating.


At this point I’m on board with the 11% of coaches who currently have Cunners in their team. It feels like a fairly low-risk play. He’s cheaper than Heppell and you’d be feeling more confident in Cunnington over the Bombers’ skipper at this point. Plus, based on history, you’d back him in over Jackson Hately for under-$20k more … and with half the ownership.

For the Cunnington selection to be a win, we need that 20-point improvement on where he’s priced at. I think he can do that relatively easily. It will be about making sure his primary role is in the midfield. I think this will be the case even though the Roos are rebuilding and have a few bodies to go through the engineroom these days. They’re going to keep their trusted inside midfielder as the main man at centre bounces (95% and 83% in his first two games last year, 14% in his return from injury game).

FOLLOW US  ON TWITTER: @DTTALK for all thing AFL Fantasy (and more). Got something to say about the deck or AFL Fantasy in general? Join the conversation and use the hashtag… #AFLFantasy.

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. Squid

    February 11, 2021 at 7:17 am

    I’m looking for a solid start followed by a couple of big games to spike his price then hopefully move him on to a fallen premo with no regrets. Yeah yeah!

  2. Mighty Puds

    February 11, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Never been a fan of Cunnington fantasy wise and currently only going with the one mid pricer in the midfield so it’s a no from me. Lack of of overall scoring ceiling compared guys like Sloane and Rowell as well. Definitely well unders though

    • Tobe_advised

      February 11, 2021 at 6:18 pm

      Anyone else wondering how you can construct a team this year with only one midpricer in the midfield? I suppose it might be able to be done if you have J.Witts as your R1.

      • bomberpap

        February 11, 2021 at 7:37 pm

        If you’re only rocking one mid-pricer in the midfield then I’d love to see your structure and where the value is coming from?

        • Mighty Puds

          February 11, 2021 at 8:18 pm

          Honestly don’t get why this has caused such a stir. Have Cumming and Hayden Young in defence, Cripps and Taranto in midfield who both offer great value and then have Cameron (might be Daniher after the recent injury news) and Stephenson up forward. All up one rookie in defence, three in the middle and two up forward. Just like the value of the aforementioned forwards and backs more than guys like Cunnington, Sloane etc.Ends up as 3-2-1 (defence), 4-1-3 (midfield), 1-1-0 (ruck) and 2-2-2 (forward). Think for the moment at the very least its fine.

      • Mighty Puds

        February 11, 2021 at 8:13 pm

        Not sure why this appears to be a trigger/concern. If you count Taranto and Cripps as mid-pricers it’s actually three. One rookie in defence, three in the middle and two up forward isn’t an unheard of structure this preseason. Just more optimistic about rookies than most and not as sold on guys like Hately, Sloane etc as mid-pricers. Add to that the potential value of guys like Stephenson, Cameron, Daniher, Franklin, Cumming, Young etc in forward and defence and it frees up cash. And for the record have ROB at R1 mate.

        • Brendon

          February 12, 2021 at 7:04 am

          Cripps offers zero value just like dusty. There price is not goung to rise great players but irrelevant fantasy players

          • Mighty Puds

            February 12, 2021 at 9:59 am

            Guy priced at 94, averaged over 105 the previous 2 years, you’re right there’s zero value there. Not really sure where there isn’t value with him but everyone picks different players.

  3. Brendon

    February 11, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Cannington all in

    What’s the deal with Caldwell people like him but he’s fantasy numbers are shit

  4. Marcus Lawton

    February 11, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Brendon

    You say Caldwell numbers aren’t the best, maybe it’s because he had players like Coniglio, Greene, J Kelly and Whitfield these type players to compete with for spots. But by saying that I haven’t really even considered him.

    • Brendon

      February 11, 2021 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks mate


    February 11, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Can you guys do Luke Davies-Uniacke

  6. David C

    February 12, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Cunnington to spend more time forward … its a no for me

Leave a Reply

More in Deck of Dream Team