Fantasy coaches are well aware that pre-season comments are full of dust mostly, there is a distinct difference between coaches making comments on playing roles and players saying where they would like to play or qualifying their best position.
Pre-season prior to Christmas doesn’t necessarily result in definitive decisions for fantasy coaches, but it does set the scene and can provide some early clarity.
Jordan Lewis is about to hit another season of AFL, while his fantasy numbers are on the decline he should be set for a full pre-season.
“I’m feeling really good.. It’s my 15th pre-season & as you get older you become a bit smarter with how you prepare yourself.. I was lucky, I didn’t have any surgery in the off-season” Jordan Lewis.
Lewis averaged 76.9pts in AFL Fantasy & 83.7pts in SuperCoach in 2018.
Fantasy coaches should be quite excited by the return of Sam Docherty next season, his running mate Kade Simpson sounds like he can’t wait.
“I’m looking forward to playing alongside ‘Doc’ again.. Hopefully the opposition can give him the attention & free me up a bit” Kade Simpson.
Docherty appears all set for 2019, based on his comments today he is quite ready.
“I got a full off-season in & spent a lot of time at the Club.. I haven’t missed a minute of training” Sam Docherty.
The role for Luke Dahlhaus appears to be confirmed as a similar role to which he played at the Bulldogs, there will be times he does get a run through a stacked Geelong Midfield but he has been recruited no doubt for his forward half pressure.
“I would like to play a bit of Midfield as well, but I think it will mostly be in the Forward line & pinch hit in the Midfield” Luke Dahlhaus.
Dahlhaus averaged 78.4pts in AFL Fantasy & 77.1pts in SuperCoach in 2018.
Speaking of a Geelong stacked Midfield, Matthew Knights shed some light on the next generation Midfield talent.
“Part of our development of that Midfield group is we’ve got to get the likes of (Charlie) Constable, (Brandan) Parfitt, (Lachie) Fogarty into the Midfield to give us a bit of a different look” Assistant Coach, Matthew Knights via @cleary_mitch (AFL.com.au).
Duncan, Ablett, Dangerfield etc. regressed a little last year, having more players run through that Midfield is not optimal for a possible bounce back season.
Time will eventually come for Stefan Martin at Brisbane, he is currently 32 years of age and has a very hungry Archie Smith ready to roll next season.
“I’m feeling the fittest that I’ve been in my time here & I’ve put on some size as well.. I feel like I’m ready to take that next step” Archie Smith.
Martin is still clearly the No.1 Ruck at the Lions, at some stage there will be pressure on his position but it is a complete guess when that will be.
Martin averaged 101.3pts in AFL Fantasy & 105.7pts in SuperCoach in 2018.
Jake Lever (Minor Knee surgery) is expected to return to training on Monday, he suffered a season ending ACL injury in Round 11 last season.
With the addition of Steven May & the return of Jake Lever players such as Michael Hibberd may return to being fantasy relevant in 2019.
AFL FANTASY ANALYSIS
The contentious trade for Jaeger O’Meara started to pay dividends in 2018 for the Hawks, as for fantasy coaches we started to see that he was relevant again. O’Meara averaged 97.0pts from his opening 16 games of the 2018 H&A season, he averaged 86.4pts from his final 5 games & missed the Semi Final loss to Melbourne through injury.
O’Meara scored 100pts or more in 33.3% of games & 120pts or more from 14.3% of games in 2018, this was a significant improvement compared to 2017.
The injury background for O’Meara will always be a concern for fantasy coaches, after playing in 27.3% of games in 2017 he managed to play in 87.5% of games last season.
The addition of Chad Wingard during the Trade Period may hinder the opportunity growth for O’Meara next season, at the least the Midfield depth increases slightly at the Hawks.
Hawthorn averaged 378.8 Disposals in the 2018 H&A season (Rank 9), the Hawks averaged 393.7 Disposals in the 2017 H&A season (Rank 6).
Considering O’Meara in season long fantasy comes with a significant amount of risk, he did start to show promise with a few ceiling games last season and with another full pre-season under his belt 2019 may become a career season high fantasy average.
Ownership will likely be low for O’Meara at Round 1 next season, it’s worth keeping an eye on him during the JLT Series because a decent start to the H&A season could be possible & quite unique.
Be prepared for a trade at any stage if you are considering heading down this path.