|5 and 12
Why should I pick him?
It’s not often that a 30-year-old who was squeezed out of a premiership-winning midfield is near the top of the shopping list for AFL Fantasy coaches. Taylor Adams has been quite open about how difficult it was for him to leave Collingwood after 10 seasons, but a fresh start and an opportunity to feature in his natural role has the MID/FWD emerging as a popular starting pick.
As it stands right now, Jack Macrae and Sam Flanders are the only non-rookies who boast higher ownership in the forward line than Adams – with his cheap price tag one of the appealing factors that has led to 27% of coaches selecting the new Swan. With a lot of uncertainty around the top-line forward options in 2024, coaches are optimistic that Adams can outperform his breakeven of 77 if the Swans give him the midfield minutes he covets. It was no secret that Collingwood were eager to find a new role for Adams after a steady decline in his centre bounce attendances over the past few seasons. He was discarded following the arrival of Tom Mitchell featuring in just 39% of Collingwood’s CBA’s last season, compared to 65% in 2022 and 77% in 2021.
So the big question around Tay Adams’ fantasy potential is will he get to play his “preferred role” as an inside midfielder at Sydney? Here’s a quote from Adams following his move to the Swans:
“I was clearly playing out of my preferred role,” Adams said. (Sydney) have identified that their stoppage work had room for improvement last year and maybe their on-field leadership so hopefully I can have an impact in both of those parts of the game.”
Swans list manager Kinnear Beatson also revealed earlier this offseason that the former Magpie approached Sydney between the preliminary final and grand final week about a trade after he picked up a hamstring injury that eventually ruled him out of the Magpies’ grand final triumph. All the early signs this preseason indicate that Adams will get his wish at the Swans, slotting into a midfield role to support veteran Luke Parker and budding stars Errol Gulden and Chad Warner. We can expect James Rowbottom and (when healthy) Callum Mills to steal a portion of the MID reps, however Adams should have a healthy dose of midfield minutes – which in turn will enhance his scoring potential.
Some will fade the 200+ gamer to start the season given his previous injury history, but if Adams is playing he’s an obvious choice in the forward line with 10-20 points upside. For his career, Adams averages 91.2 fantasy points and racks up over 24 disposals each time out – which I think are fair expectations for the new Swan entering his 13th AFL season. He may not emerge as a keeper for the entire 2024 season, but the ability to score close to 100 more often than not should have Adams in the mix to finish as a top-10 FWD and reward those coaches who invest.
Why shouldn’t I pick him?
Last season was somewhat of an anomaly with Adams featuring in 23 of Collingwood’s 26 games – however, we know this isn’t usually the case. You don’t have to look hard to understand Taylor’s inability to stay on the park, with the veteran MID missing 7 games in 2022, 8 in 2021 and 12 back in 2019. When unpacking a player’s injury history, it’s important to understand what issues are responsible for those missed games and for Adams, it has been a wide variety of problems. A dislocated finger, hamstring woes, a groin injury, an abductor strain, the list goes on with no legitimate pattern.
It wouldn’t necessarily be better if all of Adams’ injuries were linked to say one troublesome knee, but as you choose your starting team you’d usually ignore a player who has 206 games under his belt and is on the wrong side of 30. Especially if he’s missed significant time with a lot of different injuries over the past four years. Despite the promise of ‘more midfield time’ we can’t expect Sydney to throw Adams in at every CBA and have him shoulder the brunt of the responsibility – especially as Errol Gulden and Chad Warner evolve into All-Australian calibre midfielders.
Adams will surely spend some time as a half-forward, wingman, or worse, on the pine to preserve his body for a run at a flag in 2024. If that’s the case then we may see Adams cap out as an 85-point player who features in roughly 15 or 16 games, which would hardly make him a failure of a pick – although there are plenty of alternatives in the forward line for coaches. The upside on offer for players such as Josh Rachele, Zac Fisher or Connor MacDonald (to name a few) allows you to spend close to $80K elsewhere – with Adams also set to be sidelined in Round 5 during Sydney’s early bye. These flags are hardly enough to write the new Swan off completely, but it might be wise to ignore him early and pounce after his bye if Adams reaches lofty heights.
Deck of DT Rating.
The good news for those who are considering picking Taylor Adams is that we’ll get a few chances to assess him before the fantasy season starts. Not only can we preview his role in the preseason hitout, Adams will also be in action (hopefully) in Round 0 when the Swans clash with Melbourne. Waiting until then to determine whether it’s wise to pull the trigger or not is a tactic that most coaches will put to use. As long as he’s on the park though, I won’t be deterred from picking Adams and hoping a fresh start at the Swans helps him recapture the vibe and average 90+.
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.