Early 2009 fantasy preview: North Melbourne

I think we fantasy coaches should be banding together at this point, locked as one, into boycotting Kangaroo players next year. Dean Laidley is the fantasy football Antichrist. Those of you who play NFL fantasy games know what I’m talking about when I say that he’s the Australian version of Mike Shanahan.

Oh, I suppose I had better say something.

Drew Petrie (84/22) is of the most interest, depending on where he is positioned. As a ruck he’d be well worth considering. Unfortunately the better he scores, the worse that Hamish McIntosh (67/14) goes, which means according to Laidley’s Law that what previously had been a productive position for Roo players will turn into a ruck-by-committee with a 50/50 TOG split.

Jesse W. Smith (55/2) is a trap waiting to ensnare hopeful coaches, I feel. Analysis of this year’s discounts shows that 2-game players are far more likely to get discounts, so his price could end up implying a rolling average of as little as 33, but I fear his upside is just not high enough – or perhaps more to the point, he may shine early but then miss a huge chunk of games at Laidley’s devilish whim. Similarly, Lachie Hansen (54/10) and Gavin Urquhart (56/13) might play 22 games but their ceilings are lower than I would like.

Corey Jones (65/19) in a Nathan Thompson-less forward line is another disaster waiting to happen. There will simply not be enough consistency in his game to justify paying such a high price for his services. The workload in that forward line will be shared around Aaron Edwards (49/7), Matt Campbell (57/21) and Lindsay Thomas (59/22), plus a resting Petrie and David Hale (73/21) such that none of them will have singular value. It’s the Laidley way.

Don’t get sucked in by wondering who will replace Daniel Harris in the Kangaroo engine room. The answer is: no one you want to be relying on for fantasy purposes. Also, forget the draftees. They will let you down, just like Laidley’s kids do every year.

I hate Dean Laidley.

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