Fantasy Face-Off: Tarryn Thomas vs James Worpel

Compare the pair… Same age, same income, same starting balance…

All super advertisement gags aside, they say comparison is futile. What they don’t know is that this is AFL Fantasy so bugger that, it’s the name of the game to compare players and make potentially premiership winning decisions!

In this series of articles, I will put two players of interest head to head to see how they stack up against each other! Inevitably, as Fantasy coaches we are often faced the conundrum of “pick one”, whether that be due to salary cap squeeze, team structure, upcoming fixtures, etc.

For context, I will present multiple quickfire(Pros) and  (Cons) and from there try and split the two to come to a final verdict!

Match up #7 sees mid-price mayhem in full swing! It’s two highly fancied “value” selections who have struggled from a fantasy perspective over previous seasons whether it be through poor form or despising pulling on the jersey… Read on to find out who takes the cake!

Tarryn ThomasPlayerJames Worpel
102022 Games Played11
53.62022 Avg.52.3


The shorts of it are – the kid can play. He was a pick #8 originally and averaged 81 from 21 games in 2021 including 3×115+ scores. In 2023, we can select him at (potentially!) a huge discount priced at 53 – the upside and temptation is there…

A role change may be on the cards for Thomas with co-captain Luke McDonald revealing that Thomas has been training with the backs… After playing a half-forward/mid role in 2022, could a positional change be all it takes to spark Thomas? Norf will certainly be hoping so and coaches will be hoping a more conducive fantasy role translates into bulk points!

While most teams are currently running with a stacked forward line, Thomas’ dual position flexibility (MID/FWD) may come in handy.

To put it nicely, Thomas was woeful in 2022 and he hasn’t fared any better in the offseason, creating headlines for all the wrong reasons… He averaged 53 from 10 games despite spending time on-ball in every fixture! If he can’t clean up his act over the rest of the preseason and associated fixtures, I can’t bring myself to doing it.

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If ever there were midfield minutes up for grabs, the time is now! With Mitchell and O’Meara departing Waverley Park, the Hawks will be relying on their younger brigade in what will be a new look engine room. You’d think Worpel would be well and truly in these conversations and coaches are bullish as reflected in his current 26.5% ownership.

While the last few seasons have left a lot to be desired (hasn’t posted an average >80 in the past three seasons), many are quick to forget Worpel averaged a neat 96.7 from 22 games back in his second season in 2019. There’s no doubting he is capable.

Priced at a measly 52, coaches will be asking “what’s the worst that could happen here?” I think the potential upside is greater than the downside here. If Worpel turned out to be a huge flop, at least you take comfort in knowing >25% of the competition will be feeling your pain!

While “extra midfield minutes” are likely, the facts are that Worpel attended >34% of centre bounces in 10 of his 11 senior games in 2022 and still only went on to average 52.3*Shudders* Perhaps the upside isn’t a great as coaches think?


Two tasty mid-price selections that could go one of two ways for coaches… Based on what we know and what we’ve seen, I’m backing Worpel here. His time to shine as a bona fide midfielder has been served on a platter and I expect to do a lot better than a 52 average! I imagine there will be to odd exotic coach employing the mid-price mayhem strategy and hoping both of these guys pay off. (For you own sanity) I’d caution against this strategy given how unpredictable and pear-shaped some of these selections turn out to be! However, it is no secret that selecting good quality value is a recipe for success – good luck whatever team structure you run with.

So there you have it folks, the seventh edition of ‘Fantasy Face-off’? What did you make of it – agree? disagree? Who else would you like to see go head-to-head over the preseason? Let me know in the comments! Thoughts, feedback and banter welcome!

Cheers legends,

Fantasy Fanatic #70


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