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Deck of Dream Team

Liam Duggan – Deck of DT 2024

How does this Eagles defender rate?

Player Liam Duggan
Club West Coast
Position DEF
Price $869,000
Bye 14
2023 avg 96
2023 gms 22
Proj. avg 103
Draft range 3rd round

Click here for 2024 Fantasy Classic prices.

Why should I pick him?

Listen, I get it. Liam Duggan isn’t a sexy name. In fact he’s a name unheard of by half the fantasy community. It’s true that he could walk through the middle of Melbourne and not get recognised. However 2023 saw him take his game to a level he hadn’t previously reached, averaging 96.3 over 22 games.

Starting in his usual half back role, he played second fiddle to Shannon Hurn in both kick ins and targets, but as the season wore on he started to become the Eagles go to man coming out of defence.

I shouldn’t need to sell you how fruitful a half back role can be in 2024. However I can sell you on the retirement of Shannon Hurn, the Eagles primary distributor for the past decade. Let’s start with the kick-ins. Freebies. Hurn had 92 in 13 games, averaging just over 7 per game. Duggan in those 13 games (Playing HB) had 26 kick-ins, 2 per game. Without Hurn? In his 6 games from half back, he had 34 kick-ins at almost 6 per game. It may not seem significant at a glance, but based on those averages Duggan could see a 10 point per game uptick from kick-ins alone thanks to Hurn’s retirement. I’ll be conservative and say 5 points, and that ticks him over into 3 figures. That doesn’t include the fact he is now their go to man and also newly appointed team captain.

You’ll notice I said his 6 games from half back without Hurn. That’s because he played as a full time midfielder in Rounds 21 and 22, attending 70% of CBAs over those 2 weeks. He also attended just under 50% of CBAs in Rounds 8 and 24. His average over those 4 games, 101. Similar to guys like Doch, Daicos, Sinclair and Laird he can be a weapon from half back or in the middle depending on what the team needs. He is a fantasy jet in either role. From pre-season it looks like he will have a role purely in defence, where they should see plenty of the ball. I believe he scores like a top 6 premium either way.

The Eagles should be a little more competitive this year. At least, not losing by 150 points bad. In their two worst games of the season (and the century), Duggan scored 60’s against the Hawks and Swans. It’s tough when your team doesn’t get a touch all day. After round 3, those were Duggan’s only two scores under 80. He has a consistent floor, and a huge ceiling proven by back to back scores of 140 and 137.

Everyone is after a point of difference during pre-season, but they’re increasingly hard to find these days with the amount of brilliant fantasy content out there. Well Liam Duggan is owned by just 3.6% of coaches, so he fits that bill perfectly. Of course there’s no early bye to speak of which is a bonus.

Lastly durability had been a concern for him previously, however he has played 42 games over the past two seasons and is fit and firing heading into 2024. I only see upside.

Iffy' knee has West Coast premiership defender Liam Duggan on light duties  during Eagles' pre-season | The West Australian

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

Things can never be all positive in AFL Fantasy, but I’m not sure there’s a whole heap of downside here. It’s a very valid argument that there may not be enough upside, as previous to last season his highest averaging year was 83. A midfield role looks unlikely, and his average from defence with Hurn out of the team wasn’t dissimilar to when Hurn was playing, so that’s all speculation at this point.

His struggles with injuries early in his career can’t be understated, as he missed at least 6 games in over half his seasons since debuting in 2015. I shouldn’t need to tell you about the Eagles fitness staff, strength and conditioning problems and the fact they train on a block of concrete. It’s a red flag no doubt.

Lastly and probably most importantly, there are just so many value options in defence these days that an average of under 100 would have to be deemed a failure. In fact he probably needs to push towards 105 to really justify selecting ahead of the popular options in the $600k bracket. That being said, I am an advocate for spending your money where the points are scored, and these days that is in your defence.

Deck of DT Rating.

KING

This may be a bold call but I really do only see upside here. Averaging out his kick-ins without Hurn gets him to a 103 average without any growth on top of that. There’s only 6 spots down back and plenty of value to be had, so he may be tough to squeeze in and that’s understandable. However if you’re after a POD I really do think there’s 10+ points upside and certified uber premium status if things go well. At worst he will be right amongst that top 6, don’t let Duggan slide under your radar in 2024.

I’m going to be transforming the weekend wash-up into a podcast this season (as well as an article), so keep an eye out for that as the season begins. I can’t wait. Follow me on Twitter (X) for a whole lot of nonsense, sooking and ranting @mattcraigDT

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Roger
Roger
2 months ago

Locked for me

Saw
Member
Saw
2 months ago

Me too as well.

Fantasy League Invite:

TDTUL2TJ. Ima Fan

All welcome. Bring It On 2024

Andyjh
Andyjh
1 month ago
Reply to  Saw

Im in mate

Lachlan
Lachlan
2 months ago

Love him, don’t know where to ask these questions,
Can you start Collingwood Macrae?
Gawn or Xerri?




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