Early 2009 fantasy preview: Fremantle

Hard to argue against the notion that Paul Hasleby (0/0) is 09’s Nick Stevens; a standard 42% discount on 07 scores will get him to an average of 48, which is close to Stevens this year. Des Headland (59/6) is also prime target for a discount and did us the favour of a couple of crappy games late on to deflate his average. I think there might be a few more shifts than just re-injecting Hase and Dessie back into that midfield, though – Andrew Foster has been somewhat forgotten since being overhyped prior to 2007, but 1 game for 36 will mean his price is attractive should he have a solid pre-season.

I’m not worried about Matthew Pavlich (99/19). A move back inside forward 50 would probably be good for him anyway, especially if the midfield is bolstered. The retirement of Purple Jesus means there’s a spot available for a small forward, but who have they got with that body type to play that role? Chris Mayne (57/17) could conceivably play closer to goal, though it might be a bit of a waste of his talents. Chris Tarrant (70/16) should really see this as his opportunity to not suck, and to add 25-30 points to his average as most of his former small-forward teammates at Collingwood did this year. I tip him to not take that opportunity. Whoever wins, I don’t think it will be huge news for fantasy coaches.

One trend I am liking in the AFL at the moment is young KP defenders doing the big jobs to free up senior backmen as creative rebounders, as Harry Taylor did this year for the Cats. I am looking at you Josh Head (54/3), and to a lesser extent Marcus Drum (67/9), to give players like David Mundy (70/22) a chop-out in 09. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking though. Another pipedream would be Roger Hayden to… stay healthy, for a start, yes… but I was thinking more along the lines of moving forward, Wirrpanda-style, to fill the Farmer hole. Nah, makes too much sense.

Overall, outside Hase and Dessie, the improvement is likely to come from draftees, as it did this year. Watch their picks with interest.

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