|0 & 15
|Late F1 – Early F2
Why should I pick him?
In 2023 our forward lines were blessed with proven scorers (Dunkley, Coniglio, Taranto) and rising stars with pure midfield roles (Gulden, Rozee, Butters). In 2024 we do not have that luxury, with all the above players losing their forward status. This season we’re going to have to go searching for the next batch of breakout stars with prime fantasy scoring roles and ability.
Christian Petracca, Bailey Smith, James Worpel and Errol Gulden have all been examples of 2nd and 3rd year players who have been given opportunities in the midfield and become season defining AFL Fantasy picks.
Josh Rachele, at just 20 years old, has already shown patches of form that would make him a premium in the forward line in AFL Fantasy. He started off last season with a bang and provided the Crows with pace and a spark through their midfield. In the first 6 games last season Rachele was used through the midfield to the tune of 47% CBAs, and he averaged 91.5. In that time, Adelaide were 4-2 and playing good footy. That average would put Rachele 2nd amongst forwards in 2024, only barely behind top scorer Jack Macrae (91.8). Rachele comes in priced much cheaper than this however, since after those first 6 rounds his role changed with him sitting forward more, only seeing CBAs above 40% once more for the rest of the season (in that game he scored a 100 in round 16).
Rachele increased his scoring from his rookie season by 20 points from 52 to 72 and saw more opportunity in the midfield going from 6% CBAs to 24% in year 2. The trend is moving in a positive direction and Adelaide clearly want him to have a midfield role as a big part of their long-term future. If we assume a similar jump in 2024 (+18%) this would have him at approximately 42% CBAs this season. This places him in the 85-90 average in my eyes, and close to a top 6 option with 15-20 points of value.
Lasty, Adelaide play one of the most fantasy-friendly games in the entire competition, averaging in the top 4 fantasy points as a team in the past 2 seasons. They led the league in ruck contests last season which means plenty of stoppages and tackle opportunities. Rachele is most known for his goal kicking prowess, but make no mistake, the kid can tackle! He averaged 3.3 tackles per game in an unfriendly role, so given the opportunity in the midfield he’ll tackle his way to big fantasy scoring. This was highlighted in the 4 games where he played more than 50% CBAs, he averaged 5 tackles per game. Combine all of this with the fact Adelaide don’t play opening round, meaning no early bye, and he could help start your fantasy season with a bang!
Why shouldn’t I pick him?
As mentioned above, Rachele’s role took a turn for the worst after round 6, and from round 7 onwards he moved into a more forward role averaging 11.8% CBAs and 64 points. He will need to have a higher percentage of midfield time to score where we need him to. The Adelaide midfield intrigues me this year as there are several different ways they could go. Rory Laird and Jordan Dawson are expected to be the top 2 players in Adelaide’s midfield, but after that the questions begin.
Rachele lost midfield time last season when Ben Keays began to feature more heavily as a tagger in the middle part of the season. Between rounds 7 & 18 Keays averaged 41% CBAs and Rachele just 15%. After this period Matt Crouch returned to the team in round 19 and established himself as the clear 3rd option in the midfield rotation averaging 71.6% CBAs in the final 6 games of the season while Rachele averaged just 2% in these games. It is notable however that Rachele missed 2 of those games with injury and perhaps this affected his role once he returned.
Adelaide was a goal review away from making the finals last year, so do the final 6 games give us a fair indication of what they will do this season? Additionally, we still need to account for players such as Jake Soligo, Rory Sloane, Luke Pedlar and Harry Schoenberg, all of whom averaged more CBAs in the final 6 games than Rachele. This off-season, Adelade signed Crouch to a 2-year extension, suggesting he’s a decent part of their plans this season. Is there enough midfield time left over if Dawson, Laird and Crouch take up the top 3 in the CBA rotation? It’s a tall order, and one we’ll have to monitor closely over the pre-season, but we’ve already got a full season to suggest they’re not afraid to mix things up.
Deck of DT Rating.
3rd year breakouts can be season defining picks in AFL Fantasy, and in a forward line lacking options we can be confident in, Rachele is absolutely someone to consider this pre-season. In my eyes, Adelaide looked their best with him playing through the midfield to begin the season, but when push came to shove down the stretch, they leant on their veterans, pushing Rachele forward. He is a dangerous player inside forward 50 so we shouldn’t be surprised if the role is not as fantasy-friendly as we’d like when Adelaide has other options to turn to.
Bottom line, he’s someone I’m keeping a close eye on during the pre-season as a potential breakout player that could provide serious value in our forward lines if the role is there.