When you pick your initial AFL Fantasy team for the season, every coach backs in a few ‘premium’ big-name players who they hope they can trust week in, week out to get the job done. After five weeks of footy, some of those same stars have failed to fire and their price tag has plummeted as a result. It’s not all bad news though, with recent signs of life leading to these gun-fantasy players establishing themselves as perfect trade targets.
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Adam Treloar, MID, Bulldogs
Numbers that matter: $730K, 94 AVG, BE 87
I was high on Treloar coming into the season — so much so that I nearly picked the former Pie in my starting squad. Justifying his price tag was hard at the start of the season without witnessing him in a Dogs uniform, but a sluggish start to his fantasy season leaves Treloar as a prime trade target. The midfield maestro managed to attend just 25% of the centre bounces in the first two rounds and with that number climbing towards 60% over the last three weekends, I won’t be surprised if Treloar averages 105+ from this point onwards.
Reilly O’Brien, RUC, Crows
Numbers that matter: $685K, 84 AVG, BE 82
The last few rounds have revealed we can’t trust Matt Flynn (or Leon Cameron) and unless you have a spare $850K+ free for either Max Gawn or Brodie Grundy it’s hard to find an R2 we can trust moving forward. Enter Reilly O’Brien, with the Crows behemoth finding his feet after some worrying scores early in the year. His three-round average of 107 is boosted by the 135-point outing he had against North Melbourne, but either way, O’Brien has established himself as the №1 discounted option in the RUC department. He won’t stay under $700K for long so act accordingly if you need some stability in your ruck rotation.
Image from afc.com.au
Andrew Gaff, MID, Eagles
Numbers that matter: $760K, 100 AVG, BE 86
Similar to O’Brien, Andrew Gaff’s fantasy season has been a rollercoaster thus far making it hard to keep the faith with the hard-running Eagle. Three scores of 70, 60 and 86 have been sandwiched amongst MONSTER point totals of 154 and 131 — both of which came at Optus Stadium leading to questions around Gaff’s consistency. In season’s past, we’ve come to expect a safe triple-figure score from Gaff and a daunting trip to play Geelong will make some think twice before considering him as a trade target. However, twice already West Coast’s wingman has amassed 35+ touches and 10+ marks and I have faith he’ll find his fantasy footing in the coming rounds.
Lachie Neale, MID, Lions
Numbers that matter: $747K, 93 AVG, BE 86
A back injury and inability to train at full capacity saw Lachie Neale struggle through the first month of footy and frustrate his fantasy owners in the process. Then, Saturday night happened. After a full week of training, Neale went OFF in a blowout win against the Bombers — recording 38 touches, 7 marks, 2 goals and a whopping 145 fantasy points to reannounce his return to form. I am wary Neale won’t get any cheaper than he is right now and despite a pending Ed Curnow tag coupled with the uncertainty of this back issue, there’s nothing wrong with acquiring the reigning Brownlow winner ASAP.
Jake Lloyd, DEF, Swans
Numbers that matter: $768K, 97 AVG, BE 113
Don’t expect Jake Lloyd’s scoring numbers to stay under 100 for long with Sydney’s gun poised to push his average back into triple-figures with a strong showing in Round 6. His trademark +6’s were sporadic against Brisbane and Adelaide in the first two weeks of the season, but Lloyd has found his mojo in the last few rounds — scoring three straight fantasy hundreds in an effort to re-establish himself as the best fantasy defender in the game. With the Swans flying high right now and the №1 DEF mantle up for grabs, the stars are aligning for Lloyd to hit his straps and produce some epic fantasy box scores in the next few weeks.
Image from sportingnews.com
Nat Fyfe, MID/FWD, Dockers
Numbers that matter: $688K, 91 AVG, BE 100
Ok, hear me out. Nat Fyfe hasn’t been the greatest fantasy player during his AFL career, but the bulldozing ball-winner now possess rare MID/FWD status which instantly makes him more appealing to fantasy coaches. I had my say in the preseason about Fyfe’s appeal as a fantasy forward with Fremantle still bound to give him amble midfield minutes to balance the time he spends inside-50. An average of 91 doesn’t scream ‘trade for me’, however, I can’t see the Dockers jet slipping much further in price and he’s bound to vie for a spot as a top-6 forward. Pounce on him while you can.
Tom Mitchell, MID, Hawks
Numbers that matter: $773K, 102 AVG, BE 116
Tom Mitchell is another mainstream ball magnet who has seen his price drop slightly since the beginning of the year, but that shouldn’t draw a line through him in trade talks. With the exception of his Mark O’Connor affected score against Geelong in Round 3, Mitchell is gathering 36.5 disposals per game and yet that’s only translating to 110 fantasy points thanks to some low mark/tackle numbers. That fact will scare some coaches off from trading Mitchell in just yet, but as he heads to UTAS Stadium this weekend to take on the Crows (a ground where he averages 131.4 fantasy points from 8 career games) this may be the best chance to slot him into your midfield for the rest of the 2021 season.
Not Just Yet…
Missed games, injuries and lofty price tags have led to these 7 players owning some of the highest breakevens in the comp right now. A handful of them will emerge as targets in the next few weeks, but it’s worth monitoring all of these guns for a potential trade bargain.
Jordan Ridley, DEF, Bombers
Numbers that matter: $700K, 90 AVG, BE 142
Ridley was flying before suffering a concussion against Brisbane last weekend, averaging 110 on the year and emerging as a must-have backman. Make him a trade priority a game or two after he returns.
Patrick Dangerfield, MID/FWD, Cats
Numbers that matter: $748K, 84 AVG, BE 136
Now is not the time to bring Patrick Dangerfield back into your side, but that could change quickly. With just two games under his belt this year one vintage performance from Danger could make an instant option.
Josh Kelly, MID/FWD, Giants
Numbers that matter: $699K, 87 AVG, BE 120
Spending a lot of time forward means Josh Kelly joined Fyfe as one of the biggest names to secure DPP status — no eligible as a MID/FWD. While you could talk me into making a play for the smooth-moving Giant ASAP, I’d rather wait a few more weeks.
Tom Rockliff, MID, Power
Numbers that matter: $818K, 27 AVG, BE 187
Used as the sub in Round 1, Tom Rockliff comes with the highest breakeven in the game right now. His SANFL numbers from the weekend (142 points with 41 touches) indicate he can still rack up the footy and Rocky could become a trade target as the second half of the season nears.
Image from foxsports.com.au
Rowan Marshall, RUC/FWD, Saints
Numbers that matter: $717K, 72 AVG, BE 124
Injuries have cursed Rowan Marshall’s 2021 season so far with the towering Saint in line to return as soon as this weekend. After another 2–3 weeks, he’ll be ripe for the picking and could alleviate some issues with his RUC/FWD status.
Dan Houston, DEF, Power
Numbers that matter: $666K, 84 AVG, BE 128
Much like Ridley, Dan Houston had been firing on all cylinders through the first portion of the fantasy season only to suffer an injury to his AC joint in Round 5. Scans have revealed no serious damage to his shoulder, but I’d still suggest waiting for a few more rounds before snapping up the Port defender.
Steele Sidebottom, MID/FWD, Magpies
Numbers that matter: $725K, 85 AVG, BE 130
Those who thought Steele Sidebottom would run away with the honour of best fantasy FWD have been disappointed, but there is still hope. As the injuries mount for the Magpies, Anzac Day will provide Sidey with the perfect stage for a big fantasy score.