It’s been a terrific NAB Challenge in watching our hopefuls, watching some Rookies emerge and some Guns cement their title. And while some preseason performances (hmm Karnezis) should be taken with a grain of salt, others give us confidence in jumping on them for Round 1 and today I share my locks – the absolute must have’s in everyone’s team to start Round 1 and I’ll finish by showing where they fit in the overall team.
Jimmy Bartel – there is nothing more he could have done to have the Fantasy world locking him back in their teams for Round 1. He is a superstar, scoring at 140pts per 100mins, with scores of 110, 111 and 84 (in a half!). While off my radar prior to NAB, I just cannot start without him. F1. Lock.
Dustin Martin – the preseason talk of his move to a permanent midfield role got our attention, but seeing it in practice was simply awesome. 118pts per 100mins, including a best on ground showing says Yep Lockity Lock. F2. Locked.
Mitch Clark – The #1 bargain/rookie forward lock has to be Mitch Clark, with an 80pt/100min average across all 3 games (and he started rusty in game 1) and proving he will be focal point for the Cats attack. Cannot start without him. F5. Lock.
Robbie Gray – yep I went there. You just have to lock him in. Super strong preseason form and so highly rated by coaches and players, he backed it up with a 109pt/100min average across 2 games in NAB. Against Adelaide he exclusively played as a midfielder, attending a game-high 25 centre bounces, and kicking 2 goals amongst his 29 touches. He is seriously awesome.
Patrick Cripps – the youngster found his way into the Blues best 22 last season as a genuine midfielder. His NAB form shows he is ready to explode with 107pts/100mins including a top score of 119. The kid is priced at $163k and should be on field in everyones midfield. M7. Lock.
Ben Newton – another rookie priced lock, showing huge promise after moving to the Demons. Could be the breakout for the year, like Tyson was last season for Dee’s. Consistent scores through NAB Challenge, going at 97pts/100mins shows he will be an important part of the Melbourne midfield, and our Fantasy midfields. M8? Lock.
Cam Ellis-Yolmen – And a 3rd rookie priced lock with the Crows youngster. Super consistent and at 88pts/100mins, including great dash, as well as the perfect replacement for an injured Crouch. Midfield bench option for sure. Lock him in.
Jack Newnes – The preseason #1 hyped player showed his midfield role was true and pumped out a consistent 104pts/100mins including scores of 100 and 101. He simply must be in everyones defense, and with little risk considering everyone else has him too! Lock.
WHO IS ON THE VERGE?
There were a number of other players who I’d love to say were Locks, but are probably just on the verge, and I could maybe just forgive people for not putting them in their team.. maybe.
Dane Swan – Look to me he his a lock, his history, his stupidly cheap price, and his DPP are just idiotic to ignore. He is a lock for me. But with Gray, Bartel and Martin all locks too, I can understand why people might not want to lock 4 forward guns. 2 weeks ago I certainly didnt, but I dont think you can go without.
Kade Kolodjashnij – A move out of defense onto the wing looked perfect for the running Kolo, averaging 91pts/100mins and a consistent 3 games of output. His 68pt average is well below where he will finish this year and he is close to the top midprice defender lock for this season.
Mitch Honeychurch – this junior Fantasy gun looks comfortable now in the Bulldogs best 22 and at his $179k rookie price and a very consistent NAB challenge averaging 84pts/100mins across 3 games are all signs screaming lock him in! Mad not to have him on your fwd bench.
Christian Salem – another rookie priced forward who is actually playing the running defender role for the Demons this year, and banged out scores of 118 and 91 pts in his last 2 NAB games, with an overall average of 91pts/100mins. Your forward line is pretty much selecting itself at this stage.
Aaron Vandenberg – this rookie mid had an injury effected NAB game, but smashed out 89pts/100mins across 2 other games to show enough alongside Newton to say these two should both be in our starting lineups. Vandenberg on the bench however.
ANY OTHER HIGHLIGHTS?
There were a number of other outstanding performances through NAB which have gained a lot of attention and are worthy of consideration…
Lachie Neale – Top scoring average for Freo (119pts/100min) and a blistering 131pt display in NAB week 2 made everyone stand up and seriously consider this $466k underpriced midfielder. Set to breakout, after an incredibly strong finish to last season, including an awesome finals series, Neale could be the next big thing in the West as a genuine midfielder. With Fyfe, Barlow and Mundy, there is doubt that Neale can dominate every week, but boy is he a good pick if you can fit him in at M5.
Heritier Lumumba – a move to the Demons and midfield time in an inexperienced lineup shows great promise. A NAB average of 99pts/100mins backs it up and a top score of 113pts in NAB week 4 probably give us hope that Lumumba could be the perfect D3.
Dayne Beams – looks at home at his new club and top scored for the Lions across the NAB with 111pts/100mins. Concerns over him receiving a tag now he doesnt have Pendles by his side, but you cannot doubt his scoring potential, goal sense and running ability. Lock for me, but could understand if some looked elsewhere in a star studded midfield.
SHOW ME THE CHEATSHEET!
While there is no right or wrong, the purpose of DTFML has always been to help players start the season with a stronger team and be more competitive, and there is certainty that picking the lock in players below will go along way to being that little bit more competitive.
Go play with your team
You can play with your team right now in AFL Fantasy at http://fantasy.afl.com.au