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Deck of Dream Team

Marcus Windhager – Deck of DT 2024

Keep an eye out for windy weather at Moorabbin in 2024.

Player Marcus Windhager
Club St Kilda
Position DEF/MID
Price $570,000
Bye 0 & 15
2023 avg 63.2
2023 gms 18
Proj. avg 82
Draft range Late

Click here for 2024 Fantasy Classic prices.

Why should I pick him?

Fantasy coaches love a breakout, and St Kilda young gun Marcus Windhager entering his third AFL season following an impressive 2023 should put him on everyone’s radar.

After a debut season in 2022 which netted a respectable 48 average, Windy found himself in and out of the St Kilda lineup early in 2023, playing as the substitute in three of his six games up until round 7. He was sent back to the VFL to gain some form where he produced scores of 98, 157, 91 and 120 which earnt him a recall to the senior side right around the byes, and the sub games built into his score meant he was available at a dirt cheap price to coaches.

Initially playing as an extra midfielder with some CBA responsibilities and the odd tagging job, Windhager produced scores of 66, 85, 42, 77, 74 and 100 before new Saints coach Ross Lyon surprisingly settled him into a half back role. He then immediately added to his run of form with a 114, and ended the season providing two more 80+ scores.

This puts Windhager’s average post-recall at 75, including an average of 87 between rounds 16-20, which is far better than his overall season average of 63 that has those early sub games built into it. This instantly indicates value – not only is his price discounted by the sub games, but he demonstrated he has a natural ability to score in multiple positions already which presents a formula for success when you factor in the expectation that he keeps improving at only 20 years old.

As we can see in the tweet below from Jaiden Popowski, Windhager ranks as one of the best in the league in terms of flexibility in the way he can score, or as Jaiden calls it, being a ‘two-dimensional scorer.’ He has demonstrated an ability to score with stoppages when he gets CBAs, and conversely he can score well in transition if he doesn’t get CBAs. This is among the most predictive statistics we can use to assess how reliant a player is on their role to score, versus players who are natural scorers and can flourish in a variety of roles. This is probably the most encouraging piece of evidence to suggest Windhager can be a successful fantasy scorer no matter what position he plays in 2024, be it defence or midfield.

Another positive sign for Windhager is St Kilda’s fantasy scoring as a team. In Ross Lyon’s first season returning to the helm of the Saints, they were the leading team for total fantasy points in the competition. This followed on from St Kilda also being the leader in team points in 2022 under Brett Ratten, and marked a fourth consecutive year in the top 5. Often, the biggest year on year changes in terms of total team points result from coaching changes, so the return of Ross the Boss not affecting the way St Kilda scored may suggest short-term stability again for the Saints as a fantasy powerhouse.

St Kilda young gun Marcus Windhager eyeing strong sophomore season - AFL News - Zero Hanger

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

Despite these positive signs for Windhager, there are some flags lurking which need to be monitored closely, particularly in relation to the aforementioned game style of St Kilda and how they score their points.

Any gamestyle changes the Saints may make could alter their scoring as a team, and this would not be uncommon given the team is playing under a coach entering just his second season (well, kind of). St Kilda’s scoring from transition, kick-ins, ball-ups, and turnovers noticeably improved compared to how it was under Brett Ratten, whilst scoring from centre bounces and throw ins decreased. In essence, this impacts how Windhager scores his points depending on the position he plays, and subsequently how many are on offer for him.

Windhager’s positional flexibility – and Ross Lyon’s willingness to use it – could still be a thorn in the side of Fantasy coaches who want to see their players settled into a consistent role. Whilst I said earlier that Windhager has shown he can score at both half back and in the midfield, being thrown around the ground can impede a player’s momentum and consistency. Windhager still produced several poor scores last year in both positions, and we want to see him settled into one of these positions rather than dabbling in both. An important ingredient in players ‘breaking out’ for AFL Fantasy is that they are not only settled within a role, but are one of the first picked for their team to play that role and a key part of the rotation, so being thrown all over the park often doesn’t indicate this. Windhager has reportedly been training primarily as a midfielder so far this preseason, and to become a fantasy option playing this position he will have to lock down a consistent inside midfield spot alongside the likes of Brad Crouch, Jack Steele, and new recruit Paddy Dow. Unless Windhager can maintain a midfield role within the team, don’t be surprised if Lyon continues to move him into other positions like half back and whilst the St Kilda gamestyle and scoring patterns suited defenders in 2023, Windhager would still be competing with fantasy premiums like Jack Sinclair, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera and even Callum Wilkie; all 87+ averaging players who take up a large chunk of their team’s usage.

Deck of DT Rating.

JACK

Marcus Windhager looks a red hot chance to pin down a consistent role in the St Kilda side in 2024, likely as a midfielder. Even if Ross Lyon wants to use him as a half back flanker again, he could still be a viable option as long as his position is clear and consistent. The preseason games will provide coaches an important insight into how the Saints’ midfield rotation and gamestyle may change from last season, but Windhager’s past scoring trends and scoring flexibility at his age as well as his usefulness as a ball user, tagger and accumulator suggest Windy becoming a fantasy premium is not a matter of if, but when. Add in the fact that Windhager looks to have muscled up in the offseason and is impressing on the training track, and all the signs point to him being someone that should be on everyone’s watchlist this preseason.

 

Follow JS on X @DidakDT.

DidakDT is a Collingwood fanatic who possesses a love of data and its use in fantasy sports. His obsession with fantasy footy has carried over into the BBL, NBL and the NBA.

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