Fantasy fairytales: 2010 comeback players

Fantasy coaches looking for value are scouring the stat tables for players rebounding from poor 2009s, like the Western Bulldogs’ new recruit Barry Hall.

Western Bulldogs Training Session

The Fanplanner includes both 2009 and 2008 games and averages in its tables for good reason. Fantasy coaches like to know what players have done from year to year, and are always looking for players who seem underpriced due to having an off year for a reason that does not affect them in the year coming up.

The first list is of players who missed 2009 entirely. The general rule for these players is a 40% discount on their price for the previous year’s average, though it is not applied by VirtualSports in some cases. Usually, this group will provide a lot of value.

Beau Waters, WC BAC: 68.9 from 8 in 08.
A setback in his 2010 preparation means it’s the same old story for poor old Beau. Five years the Eagle fans and hierarchy have talked him up, and five years he has underwhelmed. Unlike his teammate Shannon Hurn, who had been similarly unreliable but turned it on last year, it looks like Waters may never reach his potential.

Tadhg Kennelly, SY BAC: 65.9 from 20 in 08.
Seeing as we haven’t had a situation like Tadhg’s before where the missed year is due to returning to Ireland to play Galic football, there’s no telling if Kennelly will get the big price discount that the others will. He may fall under the Hayden Skipworth rule from last year, where he missed a number of years but got no discount at all to his previous average. If discounted, he will be popular.

Xavier Clarke, BL BAC/CTR: 63.3 from 7 in 08.
Unfortunately the X-man is going to miss somewhere between six to eight weeks of the season, which probably means he’ll be put on the long-term injury list for the minimum eight in any case.

Austin Wonaeamirri, ME FWD: 62.5 from 18 in 08.
His recovery from knee ligament and hamstring injuries has been long and torturous. It would be a brave coach who would commit to Wona now. A solid NAB campaign would go a long way towards dispelling the doubts over him.

Josh Hunt, GE BAC: 61.7 from 20 in 08.
Has apparently joined the main group at training. His ceiling based on previous years is not great, but without Tom Harley in the Cat backline, he would have a chance to improve his scoring. May be fighting with Marcus Drum for a spot, though.

Jesse W. Smith, SK BAC: 55.5 from 2 in 08.
I can’t fit him into my round 1 Saints team, even if he is fit. I would expect to see him at Sandringham for a while before he makes a run at the seniors.

Henry Playfair, SY FWD: 51.3 from 11 in 08.
Nosirree.

Jason Laycock, ES RUC: 50.1 from 16 in 08.
Nup.

Robert Warnock, CA RUC: 45.9 from 9 in 08.
I have him in my own plan team, but I’m not convinced about this Matthew Kreuzer-to-CHF stuff. Maybe for the first little bit while Jarrad Waite builds up fintess post-ACL. There’s no guarantee that the oft-injured Warnock will himself be ready either. He’ll be in a lot of teams regardless.

Jarrhan Jacky, AD FWD: 44 from 3 in 08.
Negatory.

Wayde Skipper, HW FWD/RUC: 43 from 1 in 08.
His main role at Hawthorn seems to be a ruck pillow for the senior ruckmen to jump on. Moves about as fast as one, too.

Mitch Farmer, RI BAC/CTR: 37 from 3 in 08.
Despite the paucity of competition, I don’t see him making the grade for round 1 at this stage. There’s a long way to go and the hurdles in front of him are low, so anything could happen.

Leigh Fisher, SK BAC: 36.7 from 9 in 08.
On the list for purely administrative purposes, apparently.

Brock O’Brien, FR BAC: 36 from 2 in 08.
Not on your nelly.

Matt Maguire, BL BAC: 32.8 from 4 in 08.
An unknown quantity at this stage. There must have been a reason he didn’t play for St Kilda last year, despite looking good at training. We’ll have all preseason to figure out if the Saints made the right decision.

David Ellard, CA FWD (rookie): 25 from 1 in 08.
Won’t get elevated early.

John Williams, ES CTR (rookie): 23 from 1 in 08.
Ditto.

Sean Rusling, CO FWD: 18 from 1 in 08.
The situation in the Pies forward line remains complicated. Travis Cloke is suffering from knee problems and is looking pretty poor at training. Rusling and Chris Dawes are waiting in the wings. John Anthony is a confidence player but neither his coach nor his fans seem to have enough confidence in him. More on Medhurst later in this list, suffice it to say that no spot in the Collingwood forward line is safe. Rusling’s main problem, of course, is fitness. Fake that, and he’s got it made. 🙂

Tony Notte, WC FWD: 16 from 2 in 08.
The butt of jokes among Eagle fans. No chance early.

The following list is of players who scored 10 Dream Team points in 2009 below their average from 2008, and is full of potential for mid-priced keepers. Some of them wll get discounts of between 10% and 40% based on the number of games they played and their average. The list is sorted from most difference in average to least.

Graham Polak, RI BAC (rookie): 34 from 2 in 09, 67.2 from 11 in 08.
Unlikely to feature much in the Richmond side, especially early.

Brett Burton, AD FWD: 52.2 from 5 in 09, 84.4 from 13 in 08.
The Birdman is an interesting one. You would think that his body was too old and war-torn to stand up to another full year of service, but many thought that last year about Andrew McLeod under rumours of bone-on-bone deterioration of his knee, yet he put up respectable numbers. I respect the Crows medical staff, if only because they have had as much experience under the experience-obsessed Neil Craig as any in the league at sticky-taping together old soldiers for one last campaign. Well worth keeping an eye on in preseason.

David Hille, ES RUC: 54 from 5 in 09, 86 from 20 in 08.
Will miss the first couple of games at least, apparently. The doctors are pretty firm that unless you go the German risky route, ACLs require a strict 12 month rehab. Hille injured his in round 5 last season. Can you afford to wait him out, playing a cheap bench ruck like Robert Warnock or Matthew Lobbe juggernaut. Hille is currently #2 most popular ruck in the Fanplanner, but I don’t think he merits anything near that level of love.

Daniel Connors, RI CTR: 35.5 from 2 in 09, 66 from 4 in 08.
It’s a bit hard to winkle out info from Richmond this year, which is a big departure from this time last year. It sounds like we’re going to have to wait until the NAB to figure out if Connors is a chance to win a consistent spot in the best 22 of arguably the weakest list in the AFL.

Pearce Hanley, BL CTR/BAC: 27 from 1 in 09, 56 from 2 in 08.
Fabulously underpriced, but Hanley is another fringe player, this time at a club which is not interested much in youth. Risky.

Mark McVeigh, ES CTR: 61.1 from 11 in 09, 89.3 from 14 in 08.
His round 1 suspension may scare some off, and others will be concerned about how far McVeigh’s star has fallen since this time 12 months ago, when he was talked about as captaincy material. Brushes with the law and team mates later, he was passed over for Jobe Watson and seems to be out of favour.

Jay Nash, PA BAC: 46 from 2 in 09, 70.2 from 21 in 08.
Trade-ins often make it into senior sides even if they’re not safely in the best 22 for political reasons, though that effect may be lessened this year as so many trades were made. May play round 1 in place of the suspended Troy Chaplin but there would be no guarantees for round 2.

Jamie Charman, BL RUC: 38.7 from 3 in 09, 62.8 from 21 in 08.
Currently in a positional battle with Matthew Leuenberger for the second ruck spot behind Mitch Clark. Even if he does win that one, his ceiling is not high enough to be a keeper as a back up.

Brett Jones, WC BAC: 46.1 from 9 in 09, 70.2 from 14 in 08.
On the way out at Subi.

Rick Ladson, HW CTR/BAC: 52.7 from 3 in 09, 75.6 from 22 in 08.
Opinion is divided on whether Ladson is in the Hawks’ best 22. He probably is just at this moment, but does Hawthorn want to play a younger, faster player in Ladson’s place with half an eye to future flag tilts? If he gets the discount that I’m projecting in the Fanplanner, his price will be cheap enough that plenty will take the chance on him, not to mention the flexibility of dual positioning.

Paul Medhurst, CO FWD: 65.8 from 16 in 09, 87.8 from 22 in 08.
The word on Medders’ 2009 was that he wasn’t carrying an injury, just woefully out of form and/or struggling with his role in the Collingwood forward line. Even if he regains touch, I think with the advent of a fit Rusling and Dawes he may struggle as he is marginalised even more. Then again, I was burnt by him a couple of years ago so I’ve got a grudge. 😉

Simon Buckley, CO BAC: 55 from 1 in 09, 77 from 14 in 08.
He is the right price and has a healthy ceiling, no doubt. He is rightfully in a lot of plan teams. Questions remain over his consistency of selection, especially given the big crop of youngsters he’s competing with. Tyson Goldsack and Alan Toovey in the backline, plus Steele Sidebottom, Dayne Beams and John McCarthy through the midfield, represent a series of roadblocks. We know how random the selection policy was for Frontbum and Beams last year, so be warned.

Tom Lonergan, GE BAC: 46.1 from 9 in 09, 67.4 from 13 in 08.
The recruitment of James Podsiadly is a big threat to Lonergan, who has almost become irrelevant already thanks to the development of Tom Hawkins.

Trent West, GE RUC: 13 from 1 in 09, 33.3 from 6 in 08.
Shane Mumford was a big fantasy hit as Geelong’s #2 ruck last year. Can lightning strike in the same place twice? I’m not sure West has the tools. He will get his chance, though.

David Hale, NM FWD: 53.7 from 16 in 09, 73 from 21 in 08.
No.

Chris Tarrant, FR BAC: 51.1 from 22 in 09, 70.3 from 16 in 08.
As a back, he makes a fine AFL defender but not for fantasy.

Clinton Young, HW CTR: 65.8 from 5 in 09, 84.6 from 17 in 08.
I can only see a faint haze over Waverley Park, where an hallucinatory image that may or may not be young Young is still on a modified program. Will he play ever again? I would only be confident if he fronts up in the NAB.

Patrick Veszpremi, SY FWD: 46.5 from 4 in 09, 65 from 4 in 08.
With thre drafting of Lewis Jetta and Trent Dennis-Lane there is scepticism among Swan fans that Vesz will amount to anything. He is priced in that Krakouer/Higgins/Skipworth/Lucas mid-priced forward range from 09, though, which proved lucrative for fantasy coaches. Thankfully we’ll get to see Sydney put out something like a serious team in the NAB, so if Vesz is in it, that’s the best sign we could hope to see.

Cameron Stokes, HW FWD (rookie): 34.7 from 10 in 09, 52.4 from 8 in 08.
Long-term injured.

David Myers, ES BAC: 43 from 6 in 09, 60.4 from 8 in 08.
A hamstring pull in the preseason hints darkly of another injury-riddled campaign for this luckless kid. His price will be tempting but his durability is among the worst in the comp.

Ryan Crowley, FR CTR: 55.2 from 6 in 09, 71.8 from 22 in 08.
I like Crowley a lot, and I am wondering why it is that Rhys Palmer is so much more popular than his senior team mate. I think Crowley is going to be freed up a lot more with Garrick Ibbotson and Matthew DeBoer taking over tagging duties.

Chris Johnson, CA BAC: 59.8 from 10 in 09, 76.2 from 10 in 08.
Nil.

Barry Hall, WB FWD: 64 from 11 in 09, 80.2 from 13 in 08.
Ah, Barry. For years you have tempted and teased fantasy coaches, only to floor them with kidney punches time and time again. This year you are severely underpriced, and you have been traded to a top four team with some Rolls Royces in midfield to deliver you the pill on a string. What’s not to love? Oh that’s right, that little stats called “games played”. Although maybe we’re being a little harsh on you there, since you did string 100 games together from 2003-2007. But what have you done for us lately? 13 and 11 makes 24 out of your last 44, Barry. Not good enough. Yes, I know Cameron Mooney managed to turn himself into a respectable footballer after being a tribunal bad boy. Are you as smart as him? I don’t know.

Lance Franklin, HW FWD: 80.8 from 21 in 09, 96.5 from 22 in 08.
Averaged 101 in his last seven. Very very tempting. The only things stopping him being the lockiest of locks are those minor, yet nagging, thumb and back concerns. Otherwise, he’s golden brown.

Troy Simmonds, RI RUC/FWD: 68.2 from 11 in 09, 83.7 from 22 in 08.
Let down a lot of coaches last year. The rise of Tyrone Vickery should put paid to thoughts that he can return to former premium status.

Jake King, RI BAC: 61.4 from 8 in 09, 76.9 from 14 in 08.
The Tigers recruited Jeromey Webberley for a reason. The reason is that they didn’t want to have to play Jake in the ones again.

Tom Logan, PA CTR: 57.3 from 15 in 09, 72.7 from 19 in 08.
This was a role change more than form. I can’t see any fantasy value here either way due to his low ceiling as a centre.

Kelvin Moore, RI BAC: 49.9 from 19 in 09, 64.9 from 22 in 08.
The Tigers won’t be stuffing around with the ball in the backline nearly as much under Hardwick, I’m tipping, so there’s not much potential for improvement here.

Mathew Stokes, GE FWD: 73.3 from 18 in 09, 88.2 from 19 in 08.
Injury, form, competition… it was all against Stokes in 2009. And then he missed out on the flag. Has been superseded in the Cats team by Shannon Byrnes, and will face stiff opposition from the likes of Simon Hogan and Ranga Ediriwickrama for his spot this year. His response will be a measure of the man.

Daniel Kerr, WC CTR: 61.8 from 11 in 09, 76.6 from 11 in 08.
A small and dwindling band of fantasy supporters still like Kerr, usually because he served them well in years past. But you can’t score any new points in the past. If I was Woosha I’d be looking at conserving Kerr’s midfield rotations and setting him up as a semi-permanent small forward. Dunno if that’s what will happen, but Kerr is going to have to be managed carefully to prevent the chronic groin/hamstring problems from flaring up again.

Luke Hodge, HW CTR/BAC: 83.5 from 19 in 09, 96.4 from 17 in 08.
As a Hawk supporter, I am concerned about the amount of Hawks I have had in my team at times in this preseason. With Franklin and Hodge, however, there should not be much angst. The only problem with Hodge is his worrying tendency to miss games here and there. This should be kept in mind when picking the rest of your squad, as you wouldn’t want too many 17-to-19-game players in any one position.

Nick Malceski, SY BAC: 55.3 from 12 in 09, 67.3 from 9 in 08.
The Swans preseason will be interesting for a number of reason, not least of which is this man’s fitness level. A risk, sure, but the Swans need him.

Brent Harvey, NM FWD/CTR: 82.6 from 15 in 09, 94.6 from 22 in 08.
Perhaps underappreciated as a potential forward premium, especially with the dual eligibility. North may not win many games this year but they’ll always kick it to Boomer.

Jay Schulz, PA FWD/BAC: 56.8 from 4 in 09, 68.6 from 18 in 08.
Eurgh.

Campbell Brown, HW FWD/BAC: 56.5 from 21 in 09, 68.1 from 21 in 08.
Afraid not.

Mark Williams, ES FWD: 60.2 from 13 in 09, 71.5 from 19 in 08.
Big issue for me with Willo is his long-term fitness. Even if he fronts up round 1, I wouldn’t be confident of any more than 18 games for the season due to persistent knee problems. Would need to tear up the NAB for me to take notice.

Jarred Moore, SY FWD: 52.9 from 16 in 09, 64 from 21 in 08.
May get squeezed out of the Sydney line up this year with kids coming through.

Brad Green, ME CTR: 86.4 from 12 in 09, 97.4 from 20 in 08.
If he is a back, then he is a strong consider. Otherwise, I think the Demon kids will limit his scoring.

Brad Moran, AD FWD/RUC: 58.3 from 7 in 09, 69.2 from 6 in 08.
Doubtful as #2 ruck.

Steven King, SK RUC: 53.6 from 16 in 09, 64.5 from 19 in 08.
His tandem with Michael Gardiner is going to swing even further towards Gardiner this year in terms of time-on-ground, based on last year’s form.

Bradd Dalziell, WC CTR: 84 from 8 in 09, 94.7 from 7 in 08.
Very interesting prospect. Probably too expensive for most coaches’ tastes as you’d need him to be a 100+ keeper in this position. He has the potential to do that and more every other week on the expansive Subiaco ground. His NAB will be closely watched.

Mark Nicoski, WC BAC: 49.3 from 13 in 09, 59.7 from 19 in 08.
Role player at best these days. Avoid.

Eric MacKenzie, WC BAC: 45.1 from 16 in 09, 55.1 from 7 in 08.
Nada.

Scott Stevens, AD FWD/BAC: 62.5 from 20 in 09, 72.5 from 22 in 08.
Forget.

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