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Deck of Dream Team

Jordan Ridley – Deck of DT 2022

Can Ridley hit that early season form again?

Name: Jordan Ridley
Team: Essendon
Position: DEF
Price: $671,000
Bye round: 12
2021 average: 80
2021 games played: 21
Predicted Average: 95
Draft range: 3rd – 4th Round

Click here for 2022 Fantasy prices.

Why should I pick him?

Bombers backman Jordan Ridley comes into the 2022 season priced at $671,000 having averaged 80 points in 2021, yet there’s some definite upside on his starting price this year. Priced below $700,000 is a huge plus for coaches looking for a value pick down back, allowing us to spread money around our teams more evenly as opposed to simply paying up for potentially priced out assets who offer little to no upside on their starting price.

Ridley nailed down a spot in Essendon’s best 22 during the 2020 ‘coronaball’ season in which he played 17 senior games. During this season, we saw Ridley become a genuine intercept defender and distributor off halfback for the bombers, frequently linking up in switches and rebounding ball movement for the dons. He quickly cemented his place in their backline and averaged an adjusted 90 points over the course of the season. His 2020 season was so impressive that he collected Essendon’s best and fairest having only played a total of 26 games in an explosive start to his career, and still only 21 years of age at the time of claiming the medal. A special talent indeed.

Entrenched deeply into the bombers best 22, Ridley kicked off the 2021 season by showing us that he could in fact score like a top 6 defender. With another preseason under his belt, Ridley came back looking ready to increase his 90 average in 2020 through natural progression as a young player. Across his first four games he did just that, scoring at an average of 108 from a massive 96.5% TOG. This patch really showed the upper echelon of where Ridley has performed since coming into the AFL, and there’s nothing to say that he can’t one day string it all together and maintain these scoring numbers over the course of an entire season. Coaches were left scrambling to bring in the promising young defender before an unfortunate concussion in round 5 seemed to hinder the remainder of his 2021. A silver lining for fantasy coaches emerged as this has led to him coming in well underpriced on what we’ve seen him produce as a fantasy asset.

I personally think it’s more likely that we see the 2020 Crichton Medalist go closer to 95 than the 108 patch he showcased last year, but even at 95 he presents a 15 point upside on his starting price this season. With his position in the bombers 22 locked in, his massive TOG numbers and his ability to rack up disposals across halfback, we could genuinely see Ridley knocking on the door of the top 6 defenders come seasons end.


Why shouldn’t I pick him?

A young defender with a club best and fairest under his belt, priced at 80 who’s shown an ability to score at over 100 doesn’t exactly scream ‘full of downsides’. But digging a bit deeper past what initially meets the eye, we can uncover a few reasons as to why it might be better to avoid Ridler this season.

Whilst the start of his 2021 season was fantasy gold, his season on a whole can be described in one word; tease. Ridley showed coaches he could score well, copped an unfortunate knock and seemingly forgot how to rack up consistently high fantasy scores. He showed us just enough to hook many fantasy coaches in at various stages of the season, without giving us a strong string of performances worthy of a spot in our backlines. Having tonned up three times in the opening four rounds, he only scored 100 once more for the remainder of the season as he began to be given the odd lock down role on opposition talls. Many will still be feeling frustrated by what he dished up in the back half of last year, and with such a small sample size of top end fantasy scoring Jordan Ridley is far from a ‘lock’ in our starting fantasy sides.

Coming in priced at $671,000 there are other options priced around the mark that could present as a better starting option for fantasy coaches. Pre-season watch Brayden Maynard is priced just higher at $683,000, whilst proven fantasy scorer Caleb Daniel is in touching distance priced at $729,000. At a bit of an awkward starting price, coaches might be better served to pick up someone with more value like James Sicily $510,000 or just opting for more of a guns and rookies strategy down back.

Deck of DT Rating.


We’ve seen Jordan Ridley score at a healthy click of 108 as a key member of the bombers backline last year for a period, and I believe that he bumps his average back up that way this season. Coming in priced at only 80, it seems like there’s enough meat on the bone to make him a worthy selection who could outscore his starting price by around 15 points and potentially challenge for a place in Roy’s Rollin’ 22. Is Jordan Ridley in your plans, let us know in the comments below!

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James is a Port Adelaide aficionado who spends a ridiculous amount of time deep-diving into AFL data and statistics. Always happy for a yarn @Jimsanity_



  1. Roger

    January 11, 2022 at 7:10 am

    Great article James. For me, he’s currently on the watchlist.

  2. Breverard

    January 11, 2022 at 8:33 am

    Great article love the ridler. Hes a watch for now but for sure only a click away from being in.

  3. Squid

    January 11, 2022 at 8:53 am

    He looks good at D3 for me, I expect the bombers to improve on last year (they look to be entering a very successful few years in the not to distant future imo) which ought to free Ridley up to do his best work intercepting and transitioning for +6s all day long. If he hits that 95 predicted I’ll be stoked, if he nudges 100 he’ll be pick of the year, wouldn’t be sad with 90 and feel that is a very realistic prospect barring any unforseen disasters.

    Rd2 1st quarter LTI coming up.

  4. DBoms

    January 11, 2022 at 10:52 am

    Locked and loaded at D3 for mine. One of the easiest selections for 2022.

    I think the biggest point that was missed here is the reason why his scoring dipped after round 5, which was his change in role. With his free flowing scoring coming from a preferred position playing as the intercepting defender with free roam to run off and collect marks and kicks at will, which was where his early 108 average came from. From round 6 onwards, he was more regularly used as a lockdown defender, often playing on the oppositions best medium-tall forward. Due to doing this successfully, he was kept in that role.

    Enter Jake Kelly. As a similar size and a genuinely good lockdown defender, he will be able to play that defensive role, and allow Ridley to do what he wants across half back.

    Now I don’t think the 108 average will be sustainable, largely due to the number of good ball users that Essendon have across half back. Redman developed across the second half of 2021, as did Hind, and there is also Heppell. These four will all require their fair share of ball. However, I strongly believe Ridley will be the main interceptor, and he (along with Redman) seem to be the preferred ball users to take a kick in.

    With all of this in mind, I see 95-100 as very much attainable.

    • Scott

      January 11, 2022 at 9:45 pm

      I agree with a lot of things here apart from Kelly being a good defender. His recruitment should help Ridley for sure but Kelly is an average defender at best lol.

      • DBoms

        January 12, 2022 at 4:21 am

        Lol, probably a fair call.

  5. Insight

    January 11, 2022 at 10:59 am

    Problem is, Essendon don’t have any decent big defenders. Too many rebounders/ mid size, Ridley the one who can play bigger of the lot. Until they find a solid FB and CHB too risky.

    • Euman

      January 11, 2022 at 8:23 pm

      Just read Hurley May return if that makes any difference

    • DBoms

      January 12, 2022 at 4:28 am

      Stewart and Laverde to take the two biggest forwards, Kelly the mod size. Ridley to play with freedom to help them out.

  6. Tobe_Advised

    January 11, 2022 at 11:25 am

    Heppell took Ridleys role last year and his high scoring, or did no-one notice. If Heppell keeps that role I expect the same sort of scores Ridley posted when he came back from injury.

  7. BzG

    January 11, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Hurley is also tracking to return before the byes.
    Roles will no doubt change somewhat…. but without a crystal ball, who knows how. Riddler remains a watch and potential upgrade target, as does Hind, for me.

    • Daniel

      January 11, 2022 at 1:55 pm

      Terrible option with so many quality defenders to choose from. 95 average is no chance at all.

      • Squid

        January 11, 2022 at 5:06 pm

        I believe 6 defenders total averaged over 95 last year. 4 managed an average of 100 or better, I challenge this statement and request evidence in support of assertions Daniel….. if that’s even your real name.

      • Nathan Schultz

        January 13, 2022 at 4:53 pm

        Given his previous average was 90, going 95 isn’t “no chance at all”. Just given his age / experience he’s likely to improve.

        But he’s not in my plans; He hit 90 before they got Hind. Redman has come on for them and Heppell should have his first injury uninterrupted pre-season in a long time. Even though I think he will improve, I think the others will take some off the ball off him.

  8. Alex

    January 11, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    It’s a no from me – I think the issue is Ridley plays so well as a lockdown defender, and even if Kelly comes to play as the third defender down there, it still leaves Ridley at FB. There should be some options at that price point (Bowes, Maynard) who are safer bets if its clear in pre-season they are going to have midfield time.

    • Terrick

      January 11, 2022 at 6:34 pm

      Read and look for ridleys role for 2022 it states he will be moved to an intercept role again at half back. Locked at D3 for me as well

      • Scott

        January 11, 2022 at 9:46 pm

        Those blokes are just guessing like the rest of us haha.

    • DBoms

      January 12, 2022 at 4:24 am

      I disagree. I would expect to see Stewart, Laverne and Kelly take the lock down roles.

      Allowing Ridley to play an intercept game, with Redman and Hind being a bit more attacking, and Heppell just doing as he pleases (basically like a Caleb Daniel role as an extra mod behind the ball).

      • DBoms

        January 12, 2022 at 4:25 am


  9. The Chosen Won™®©

    January 11, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    Playing on 95% of the time from full back is hard to ignore. Currently sits D3.

    He had more kick in’s than his whole team combined (112) Left the square 106 times!

    Good Luck in 2022™®©

  10. Euman

    January 11, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    I spent all my money in mids he sits at D2 for me unfortunately but early days yet

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