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Deck of Dream Team

Daniel Curtin – Deck of DT 2024

Everyone’s picking Daniel Curtin, right?

Player Daniel Curtin
Club Adelaide Crows
Position DEF/MID
Price $279,000
Bye 0 and 15
2023 avg 80 in the WAFL Colts;
59.5 in the WAFL League;
101.8 in the U-18 championship
2023 gms 16
Proj. avg 57
Draft range D5-D7

Click here for 2024 Fantasy Classic prices.

Why should I pick him?

Key backmen aren’t known to be a great source of fantasy points. It’s fair to assume that successful coaches in past seasons didn’t have a fullback like Sam Taylor or Jacob Weitiering at any point – that doesn’t mean you should pass up on Daniel Curtin in 2024 though.

Hailed as the best defensive player in the 2023 draft class, Adelaide wasn’t prepared to let Curtin slip through their grasp on draft night. The Crows traded up a few spots to ensure they brought the talented WA prospect to West Lakes and he’s bound to feature consistently in the new fantasy season. Addressing an area of need following the departure of Tom Doedee, Curtin is expected to plug a hole in Adelaide’s defence – using his frame and athleticism to emerge as a strong intercepting back during the 2023 season.

Developing his footballing nous with Claremont in his final junior year, Curtin didn’t just excel in the defensive half. Displaying the ability to run through the midfield at times, it was during the U-18 championships for WA that Curtin shone around stoppages – averaging a healthy 23.5 disposals, 6.5 marks, 4.5 tackles and 101.8 fantasy points in his four matches. Fantasy coaches shouldn’t expect Curtin to feature heavily in a midfield that already boasts Rory Laird, Jordan Dawson, Matt Crouch and budding talents such as Jake Soligo, Sam Berry and Josh Rachele. Still, any MID minutes the Crows’ draftee does see will certainly enhance his scoring.

Thanks to his cheap starting price and an expectation that he’ll play big minutes early for Adelaide, the No. 8 overall pick will attract the attention of most fantasy managers as Round 1 approaches. Owning handy DEF/MID status has led to over half the competition slotting Curtin into their starting squad – likely as one of their final on-field defenders. As a first-year player we can expect some yo-yo scores, however a breakeven of 31 and the ability to play all over the ground means that there is too much upside to ignore the talented Crow.

Don't arguing, rag-dolling men”: Draft prospect turning heads in the WAFL

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

As I mentioned at the top, key backmen aren’t popular picks when it comes to building a winning fantasy side. While Daniel Curtin does possess the talent to run through the midfield, the Crows plan on playing the former West Aussie primarily in defence to start his career. To give you an idea of what type of scores Curtin may produce, here are the fantasy averages from some of the other recent key backmen who were drafted in the first round during their debut season:

Josh Gibcus (9th in 2021) – 40.5 points from 17 games
Denver Grainger-Barras (6th in 2020) – 38.2 points from 5 games
Mac Andrew (5th in 2021) – 48.5 points from 4 games
Max Michalanney (17th in 2022) – 52.4 points from 22 games
Leek Aleer (15th in 2021) – 49.2 points from 4 games
Sam Darcy (2nd in 2021) – 62.3 points from 3 games

When you collate all these fantasy scores together, they come out at an average of 48.2 points – which is around the mark for the stereotypical numbers produced by a tall defensive type. You’d think the athletic and aerial prowess that Curtin has at his disposal will lead to a few more points, but you can see the scoring pattern amongst the half a dozen young prospects mentioned above. Curtin’s new Crows teammate Max Michalanney produced the best, consistent scores from this bunch and you’d expect the No. 8 pick from 2023 to surpass Michalanney’s numbers and hover around the 55-60 mark.

But is that enough to justify picking Curtin? Coaches are keen on other cheap DEF types like Zac Williams, Marty Hore, Nick Coffield and Heath Chapman, and although these players will cost you an extra $50K-$200K, they may turn out to be the safer alternative. Defensive rookies always tend to pop up early on in the season as well and if an attacking halfback such as North Melbourne draftee Riley Hardeman emerges, some coaches may choose to ignore Curtin and opt for a cash cow who might offer more fantasy upside.

Finally, it’s worth highlighting that Curtin hasn’t had the cleanest injury run before starting his AFL career. He missed the draft combine following a hamstring injury he suffered in the WAFL Colts Grand Final and a serious finger tendon problem hampered Curtin’s 2022 season too. So far at West Lakes, the Crows have been taking a precautionary approach with Curtin during his first professional preseason and if he continues to struggle with nagging injuries we may not see him play a full season as a rookie.

Deck of DT Rating.


The pros certainly outweigh the cons when it comes to selecting Daniel Curtin for your fantasy side, regardless of the potential scoring lulls he will have. Having played half a dozen WAFL League games last year (averaging 16.5 disposals and 64 points), Curtin has been exposed to bigger bodies and won’t look out of place in Adelaide’s backline. In a perfect world, Curtin will take up residency as your D5 or D6 and his renowned skillset should see him generate a healthy amount of cash for coaches in the early portion of the season.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER@SportsbyFry for all things AFL Fantasy (and more)! Feel free to hit me up with any questions you have throughout the season. Got something to say about the Deck or AFL Fantasy in general? Join the conversation and use the hashtag #AFLFantasy.

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

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5 months ago

Thanks for the write up Fry.
Due to my current structure, he’s on my bench.

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