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Deck of Dream Team

Rory Laird – Deck of Dream Team 2023

Calvin finishes the 2023 Deck of DT with one of his favourites…. we all need him at some point!

Player Rory Laird
Club Adelaide
Position MID
Price $1,066,000
Bye 14
2022 avg 120
2022 gms 20
Proj. avg 122
Draft range First round, pick 1 or 2

Click here for 2023 Fantasy Classic prices.

Why should I pick him?

G’Day legends – hope you’re well. Thanks for tuning in over the last 52 days for this epic Deck of DT. Thanks to all the legends that have given up there time and efforts writing about players, it has been another killer year!

I’m here today to tell you why… you must start with Rory Laird in your team from the word GO.

1 – Pig Status is coming

Laird is coming off an amazing season where he averaged 120 and only dropped under 100 on four occasions. He ended 2021 the same way, averaging 120 in his last 11 games.

Laird has now averaged 120 for one and half seasons. Pig status is coming.

2 – We all need a Captain

You pay over a million dollars for the best player in the game. It’s as simple as that, and as I always say, you’re not just getting one Laird, you’re getting two… and that’s a steal for $500k each!

In the back half of the year, when Laird averaged 129 (yes 129), he found a decent ceiling as well, one that had neglected him before his bye.

BEST BEFORE HIS BYE – 124, 123, 122, 122 and 119. Before his bye he averaged 112.
BEST AFTER HIS BYE – 163, 138, 136, 132 and 130. After his bye he averaged 129.

3 – He plays Fantasy

Laird knows what it takes to score. He plays the game! He knows exactly where the points are and what is needed to find it. A true pig in the making.

4 – Full pre-season is on the cards

Unlike last year when he missed a huge chuck of the pre-season and then played in round 3, Laird is flying in 2023. When he returned he averaged 105 in his first for games and with games under his belt he then averaged 124 for the remainder of the year.

5 – Durability

Laird missed two games at the start of the year with a broken hand. Those two games were the only games he has missed in the last four seasons.

6 – Can you get him later?

If he starts where he left off, it will be tough to trade Laird in. You might have a plan to get him after his bye, and yep… that’s great in theory but as we know, plans like this rarely pay off. Imagine going a whole season without Laird’s scores (all potentially doubled). Imagine going to sleep, knowing that everyone just had Laird captain and he pumped out a 140 and here you are stressing, cause your captain plays the next day. Is it really all worth it?

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

Still with me… cheers, here we go!

1 – SCALE of Hardness… is hard

In the first five rounds, Laird plays the following… and the ‘hardness’ is based off last year’s data.

GWS GIANTS (away) – he scored 118 against them last year and got some attention from Ash around stoppages. GWS rank as the 8th easiest team for MIDs to score against.

RICHMOND (home) – he scored 95 against them last year but it was early on. Tigers rank as the 7th easiest team for MIDs to score against.

PORT ADELAIDE – he scored 116 and 90 (early) against them last year. Port rank as the No. 1 hardest team for MIDs to score against.

FREMANTLE (home) – he didn’t play them last year. Freo rank as the No. 3 hardest team for MIDs to score against.

CARLTON (home) – he scored 130 and 120 against them last year. The Blues rank as the No. 4 hardest team for MIDs to score against.

Yep – on paper that’s a tough run for the future pig but it’s also worth noting that after that… he plays the two easiest teams of 2021 for MIDs in…. Hawthorn and then Collingwood, teams he scored 163 and 132 against last season.

2 – Pick him up after his bye

Laird plays better in the back half of the year. Why? An interrupted pre-season slowed his start in 2022, as he averaged 105 in the first four rounds.

He averaged 107 before his bye in 2021, and 112 before his bye in 2022.
After his bye, he averaged 118 in 2021 and then 129 in 2022.

Look into this as you please, but at the end of the day, there are factors here that make this fact true.

3 – Million dollar men don’t pay off

This was true last year wasn’t it? Touk Miller and Jack Steele were both worth over a million after averaging 120+. Both players failed to back it up the following year averaging 110.

A huge 10-point drop is significant. Especially when other coaches around you are finding 10-points worth of value. Spending all that money might not be worth it and as history says… “it’s not”.

Deck of DT Rating.


Yep – he’s a PIG-ACE. Simple! I will fold on the fact that he won’t be the No. 1 picked in Draft and if you have that pick, then Dunkley should be your first man but at the end of the day, I’ll argue all day long about how Laird will be the No. 1 MID in the game once again this year.

You need him at the end of the day – simple. He might get ‘unreachable’ and right now, he is reachable… you just need the structure that suits it.

Thanks again for all those who have contributed this pre-season and for all the legends who have engaged in this awesome content. Best legends going around.

Calvin has ....

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Do you need a Captain? Then Calvin will help you out. Don't want a Captain? Calvin will tell you anyway. The man who digs deep into stats will help you pick a great captain and give you plenty of Fantasy advice. Follow him on Twitter: @CalvinDT

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9 months ago

Doh.. that was quite convincing.

9 months ago

Thank you Calvin for a very convincing write up. Thank you to all the authors for a very good deck. There were a few fillers in there, but the main contenders were well covered.

9 months ago

Daics, there was even a 10!!!!

9 months ago
Reply to  Phteven

At least that one was honest. A couple of others could have been lower, but it would be hard to come up with 52 who are actually Jacks to Aces. Maybe the deck should go from 2 of spades up to Ace of hearts, and label a specific card to a player. How many are actually Aces?

9 months ago

Thanks for these write ups, they are awesome to read!

However, over the last 10 year the top ranked player for each year has, on average, averaged 13 points less in the following year, and dropped from the #1 to #20 highest average.

Only once have they improved, with Tom Mitchell going from a 127.2 average in 2017 to 128.2 in 2018.

I’ll try to add some stats in the next comment but formatting may be an issue.

9 months ago

Didn’t spend forever on this so it’s possible some covid stats are a little out but you get the general idea. It’s very tough to be the best one year and get better the next. Fingers crossed Rory can break the trend.

Prior Yr Curr Yr Ch. Avg New Rank
2013 Dane Swan 117.6 93.7 -23.9 60
2014 Tom Rockliff 134.8 104.7 -30.1 15
2015 Stef Martin 114 99.8 -14.2 38
2016 Pat Dangerf 118.6 105.4 -13.2 15
2017 Tom Mitchell 127.2 128.2 1 1
2018 Tom Mitchell 128.2
2019 Brod Grundy 124.2 122 -2.2 19
2020 Brod Grundy 122 109.9 -12.1 14
2021 Max Gawn 123.6 110.8 -12.8 9
2022 Touk Miller 122.1 109.8 -12.3 7

9 months ago
Reply to  B3

Thanks b3, have just made enough cash to convert Steele to Laird but you’ve changed my mind.

9 months ago
Reply to  Phteven

Luckily, I do not have the cash. Laird cannot get too much more expensive, so he will have to remain an upgrade target if he is firing.

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