Food for Thought: Fantasy Relevant Role Changes

More midfield minutes… centre bounce attendances… redeployed off half-back… taking more kickouts…

When it comes to fantasy footy, selecting players who have fantasy friendly roles is a recipe for success. In this article, I will cast my eye over a number of players who have been touted to play in more favourable fantasy scoring roles in 2022.

*Ownership (%) as of 2 March 2022.

Dan Rioli ($469K DEF/FWD | RICH | 3% ownership) – With the off-season retirement of veteran half-back flanker Bachar Houli, many pundits are tipping Rioli to get first crack at filling the void in 2022. Rioli is no stranger to playing off a half-back flank, having averaged 71 fantasy points in that role in the final 7 games of the 2021 season. Priced at 56, you could certainly do worse! Amongst other candidates to fill the Houli hole are Hugo Ralphsmith ($258K MID/FWD) and Rhyan Mansell ($372K DEF) who have impressed throughout preseason (then again, who hasn’t turned heads in the preseason!).

Scott Pendlebury ($708K MID | COLL | 1.11% ownership) – With Pendles getting on and Collingwood looking to develop their young on-ball brigade, it seems likely that he will assume a role across half-back this season. I still think he can be a great contributor with his poise, leadership and tidy ball use coming out of D50. We should see him feature heavily in those all important kick ins (+3 for days!). Pendles becomes a juicy proposition after round 6 when the first round of DPPs are released where he is likely to gain defender status. Jack Ziebell 2.0 anyone?

Zac Butters ($639K FWD | PA | 20.63%) – Plenty of hype around this young man after an injury interrupted 2021, managing just 10 games. Heading into his fourth season, Butter is eyeing off more midfield time in 2022. His agility and decision making in traffic should hold him in good stead to make that midfield transition. Pumped out a lazy 120 in Port’s scratch match vs Gold Coast.

Z.Butters – Absolute unit!

Isaac Heeney ($639K FWD | SYD | 21.39%) – The ‘Isaac Heeney to play more midfield time’ story has been a staple of the past few preseasons. With a clean bill of health over the past 12 months, it looks finally set to become a reality. Keep in mind that he is competing with the likes of Callum Mills, Luke Parker, Josh Kennedy, Oli Florent, Errol Gulden and Chadwick Warner just to name a few. Early signs are positive mind you. Are you on board the Heen train?

Cam Rayner ($396K FWD | BL | 24.54%) Did someone say more midfield time? The young Lion will have his work cut out competing with elite ball winners in Hugh McLuggage, Lachie Neale and Jarryd Lyons as well as Jarrod Berry, Zac Bailey – even Nakia Cockatoo may get a run in there! Dayne Zorko was a notable omission from the Lions midfield rotation in their scratch match vs the Crows which should help Rayner’s cause to play more on-ball in 2022. $396K is tempting for a player of his quality!

Harry Schoenberg ($582K MID | ADEL | 1.22% ownership)3rd year breakout anyone? Schoenberg became a vital cog in Adelaide’s midfield at the back end of 2021, averaging 89 fantasy points in his final six games. With Rory Sloane tipped to play more as a forward this season, will Schoenberg’s midfield presence increase further? Early signs are good with Schoenberg attending plenty of CBA’s in their hit out vs Brisbane and Sloane not registering any CBA’s.

Dusty Martin ($682K MID/FWD | RICH | 29.68% ownership)Will the ‘Dusty of old’ return in 2022? After several years being used more as an attacking weapon closer to goal (thus, reduced fantasy output), Dusty’s 2021 ended prematurely following a traumatic kidney injury which saw him shed a noticeable amount of weight. Could Slim Dusty lead a rejuvenated midfield with impactful stints forward akin to 2017? If he can get his hunger back, we know what Dusty is capable of… only time will tell.

Slim Dusty – who dis?

Darcy Tucker ($514K DEF | FREO | 2.31% ownership) – With the departure of Adam Cerra to Carlton, Tucker is firming as the front-runner to fill the void as a midfielder in season 2022. Other candidates include Will Brodie and Mitch Crowden who enjoyed bulk CBA’s in Freo’s recent practice match vs West Coast. Keep in mind that Freo were without Tucker, Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters in this match. Could be a sneaky point of difference with <3% ownership at present!

Mitch McGovern ($463K FWD | CARL | 0.39% ownership) – May be swung into defence with Liam Jones gone. No fantasy relevance whatsoever, just wanted an excuse to chuck a spud in the article!

Fantasy friendly role changes in action: Callum Mills and Jordan De Goey in 2021

Heading in to the 2021 season, many fantasy pundits suggested that both Mills ($705K DEF/MID – SYD) and De Goey ($605K FWD/MID – COLL) would enjoy more midfield minutes at their respective clubs. Fair to say that Mills proved the midfield hype was legit early in the season. He got off to a flyer with a massive 121 point haul vs Brisbane in round 1 and never looked back! De Goey on the other hand… he seemed to be playing primarily as a forward with short bursts in the midfield. With Collingwood managing just 7 goals in their round 1 clash with the Bulldogs, they needed some scoring power from the midfield and De Goey was it. He kicked 4 goals vs Carlton in round 2 on his way to a modest 90 fantasy points. For us fantasy coaches, the caveat here was that De Goey attended only 15% (5/33) of centre bounces in this game… alarm bells were ringing! To illustrate the stark contrast between Mills and De Goey, I have created a table comparing their output and midfield role in rounds 1 & 2.

Yes, you probably guessed it… I started with De Goey and not Mills – *facepalm*. Thankfully, there was time to make up for that error! After I watched De Goey in round 2, I boldly decided to move him on based on his lack of midfield role, even off the back of a 90 point game. In came Mills (via DPP) and that was unequivocally the best trade I made all year (even with Mills Covid enforced hiatus). Those who held De Goey know all to well the pain that followed… multiple scores in the 40’s and an injury affected 3 fantasy points in round 5.

Morale of the story is that it pays to watch a few games when you can. Ask yourself – does player x pass the eye test? Are they playing a fantasy friendly role? Chances are trusting your gut (as well as some numbers to back it up!) will lead to successful decision making. In perhaps a moment of genuine shithousery, I went on to trade De Goey back in to my squad in round 17 when the midfield hype finally became a reality. From round 16 onwards, De Goey averaged an elite 110 fantasy points and attended 75% (142/190) of Collingwood’s centre bounces over an 8 game patch to finish off the season with a bang!

So who do you think is likely to play a more fantasy friendly role in season 2022? Have I missed anyone? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Cheers legends,

Fantasy Fanatic #70

4 thoughts on “Food for Thought: Fantasy Relevant Role Changes

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