|Round 2 or 3
Why should I pick him?
When this guy gets on the park and has a crack, there’s no disputing he’s a genuine gun of the competition. Luke Davies-Uniacke, more commonly known as LDU, is the prototype midfielder for modern footy. At his best, he’s a powerful beast at the contest with the ability to explode out of stoppage, break the lines and even hit the scoreboard. When things are going well this ability translates to fantasy points. In 2023, a 6-game run between rounds 17 and 22 saw him average 112 with a ceiling score of 138 in round 18. A similar patch in 2022 saw him go 114 over a 7-game stretch. Priced at 97, those numbers look particularly juicy.
The former number 4 pick is certainly North Melbourne’s inside midfielder of choice. Only 3 times last year did he see less than 75% CBAs. With an average of 82%, this puts him among the league’s leading attendees. When healthy, LDU finds the pill for fun. His 2023 production paints the picture of a reasonably well-rounded fantasy operator. An average 27 disposals, just under 4 marks, 4.5 tackles, and his ability to hit the scoreboard are promising figures that show he’s got a few different strings to his bow.
You may think that such compelling numbers might draw opposition attention at various stages throughout the year. A case can be made that some of the young talent at North might actually lessen the attention on LDU. There’s a guy by the name of Sheezel (you might have heard of him) that could hopefully let LDU slip under the radar. Wishful thinking perhaps …
While some of the above stats might have you licking your lips, they don’t tell the full story. Read on to see why an injury-riddled history might have us ‘luke’ing for alternative options…
Why shouldn’t I pick him?
As the saying goes, “there’s two sides to every story”, and that couldn’t be more true when telling the story of LDU.
Coaches who started LDU in 2023 were happy with round 1 and 2 scores of 108 and 123 respectively, but that spelled the beginning of the end … A late out in round 3 was the start of a nightmare stretch that saw him miss 7 out of the next 12 games and average a measly 79 in that time. Whether it’s a dodgy hamstring or an unwelcome surfing injury, LDU has made a habit of missing football games. Since debuting in 2018 he’s only played more than 20 games twice (2021 and 2022), not a stat you want to hear when you’re talking premium mids. If you pick LDU, don’t be surprised if you’re dealing with an obscure injury at some point in the season.
Although we mentioned before that LDU is a reasonably well-rounded fantasy scorer, there are a couple of statistical areas that I’d like to see improve during the 2024 season. He is a handball-heavy operator with the majority of his disposals being +2’s. In addition to kicking the pill more, it would be nice to see him pop out for a few more +6’s just to pad that average and put him in line with the other top scorers in the league.
Another miniature flag is the increasing fantasy relevance of the young brigade at the Roos. I don’t expect this to impact LDU’s role or scoring potential, but names like Sheezel, Wardlaw and now McKercher are all guys that will steal their share of the points on any given day.
Lastly, the word ”thirst” (popularised in the fantasy vernacular by the legendary @HKdos) refers to a player’s desire to receive and hunt Sherrin. Patches in 2023 caused many to question just how “thirsty” LDU actually was. Some twitter users (me) even went as far as to make posts such as “LDUseless” pointing to an apparent lack of desire. While this kind of slander might be a slight overreaction, in 2024 I’d like to see a level of “thirst” closer to that of a Daicos or Gulden.
Deck of DT Rating.
The rating of king seems appropriate for a guy with the talent of an ace but the injury history of a joker. At this stage, I’m leaning towards starting LDU but with some scepticism. The flags are all there but it’s clear that if this guy finds the secret sauce, it could be monstrous! I’ve presented some information from both sides of the argument here; however, I would always recommend doing your own research to ensure he is the right pick for LD you.
Best of luck for the season!