For the past 4 weeks of NAB Challenge I’ve been asked the same question from work colleagues, friends and followers…
WHAT ABOUT ___insert player name here______?
Below I have given just one player from each team who has been a hot topic of conversation and ill give you a thumbs up or thumbs down on putting each in your starting team. This is not about whether they are a good option to have or not, this is specifically should you start with them from Round 1, and unfortunately we just can’t take everyone.
Brad Crouch – Yes. While his brother Matt has lit up NAB challenge and becomes a lock for most midfields, Brad has struggled to get fit in time and then got sent back to SANFL for a trial. But he smashed it. And i think both Crouch’s will line up in the midfield together and both at their price are tempting. If you were to pick one, i think Matt is the better option, but Big brother Brad might show him who’s on top so its a yes if you have him already.
Ryan Harwood – Yes, an interesting option as a bargain priced defender, certainly showed enough through NAB and has Rocky’s belief that he will stamp his place in the team as a running defender. Cheaper than Dan Howe and might get more of the ball than Mitch Brown, who are similarly priced.
Nick Graham – Yes, what a preseason he is having and poised for breakout. No doubt the future midfield for the Blues is heavily reliant on Cripps, Kerridge and Graham so as a mid priced option this year there is no reason not to feel confident of having him in. But is he the best option, with the Crouch boys similarly priced?
Taylor Adams – Yes, this kid loves the ball and is going to explode this year as a genuine midfield star, but the reality is I don’t know how you can start with him ahead of other mid guns, but if you do, feel confident. Perhaps his spot is at M4, with a genuine gun at M1, Rocky and Ablett at M2 and M3 and then Adams. Plenty of competition for that spot though with players like Neale, Parker, Wines, Sidey and co.
Craig Bird – Nope. Definitely going to play through the mid for Essendon and start at a number of centre bounces as well as playing forward, but at his price there are better options like Jack Steele, Jordan DeGoey or a little more for Aaron Hall.
Blakely or Weller – No, both youngsters will get a chance this year at Freo and word from Dave Mundy is that Lachie Weller is the one to favour if you can fit one on your midfield bench, but there are no guarantees of either playing in the first few rounds, so you can wait and see round 1 teams, but it seems a bit risky.
Patrick Dangerfield – Yes. Good lord he should probably be everyone’s preferred gun midfielder to sit alongside Rocky and Ablett. He is also a pleasure to watch and cheer for so do yourself a favour and put him in at M1 and enjoy.
Kade Kolo – No, he simply hasn’t shown he is ready for Round 1 to be fit and firing and was absent from a number of NAB matches. Don’t get me wrong, he is going to have a huge season and I think we will all upgrade someone to him throughout the year, but to start with him seems risky.
Jack Steele – Yes, what an awesome break out he has ahead of him, and it looks like he is the preferred centre bounce replacement for Treloar at GWS. He attended 67% of centre bounces ranked #1 at GWS through the NAB, and is a lovely midpriced FWD to sit at F4. Competition for this spot from DeGoey though.
Sam Mitchell – Nope. Look we all saw him through NAB challenge dominating, especially humiliating the Kangas tag (disgraceful for Kangas), and despite him no doubt having another strong year, I don’t think he will be a top 8 midfielder by the end of the season and as such wouldnt start with him. If he gains DPP during the year, like DEF/MID, he would be a mega priority.
Max Gawn – Yes, but No. Yes he would be a great pick, but I once again think you just have to lock in Goldy and Stef Martin from round 1 and leave your rucks alone. If for some reason you don’t want to do this, then and only then would I say Yes go for Max Gawn as a slightly cheaper alternative.
Jed Anderson – Nope. Early hype but showed nothing in NAB and couldn’t possibly have him in your team now. Better options similar to his price like Simpkin, Wells, Kerridge and co.
Sam Gray – No, I don’t think there is a clear spot for him in your midfield (prefer Crouch and Hunter) or in your forward line (prefer Aaron Hall) so although he is set for a big year running at times through the mid for Port, I cant see how you can start with him. He’s an unlucky one who just misses out this year.
Dustin Martin – Yes, despite off field dramas and tragedy, Dusty will certainly still be one of the top forwards for the year and starting him in your team at F1 just makes your team look better. Alternatives like Deledio, Dahlhaus and co are great too, but I think Dusty is the way to go for Round 1.
Jack Billings – No, and once again incredibly unlucky as he is poised for a breakout. But at $452,000 there are some cheaper options like Steele and DeGoey, similar priced like Aaron Hall, and slightly more expensive like Barlow, who are probably going to take his spot. Set for a big year but don’t think we can start with him.
Dan Hannebery – Yep Gun, Might push to be one of the top 3 or 4 scorers this season. Be great to start with him if you can because he will go big in the early rounds. I think we all need him at one stage, so no problems starting with him. Would you rather Hanners or Dangerfield at M1 though from Round 1. That seems to be the question.
Elliot Yeo – No. There seems to be a lot of hype over Yeo’s ability, and perhaps it is his occasional ability to go big, or his specatacular marking and big body, but for 2 years he really hasn’t delivered anything close to consistent and there is no reason to think this will change. He is a brilliant footballer, and plays for my mighty Eagles so I am a genuine fan, but he is not a relevant Fantasy player and people need to stop talking about him until he strongs together a consistent midfield role and a consistent month of big scores.
Tom Liberatore – Nope, but not the worst if you do. Look he is going to play and score, there is no doubting it, but in my opinion there are some better options. For similar money you could be playing breakout contenders Nick Graham or Matt Crouch, or his bulldog buddy Lachie Hunter who seems poised for a Jack Macrae-like running wing possession hungry role and breakout. His price in DT is more attractive than Fantasy, but still think there are similar priced better options.
The final word…
Certainly a few controversial calls there, and some bad luck for players who could be a good pick but just not the best option for their position and price. Feel free to argue with me or ask for thoughts on anyone else in the comments. More than happy to have some friendly debates.
Go play with your team
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