With the 2021 H&A season beginning on March 18 @aflratingsPete provides a fantasy outlook for Melbourne.
Each team will be previewed over the pre-season, stay tuned on @aflratings_FS for all fantasy news & updates for the 2021 season.
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Coaching Tendencies/Game Style
Since a Preliminary Final loss in 2018 Melbourne have not played Finals, they finished 17th in 2019 & 9th in 2020.
While 2020 was an improvement the Demons remain a step away from any statistical category relevant from a fantasy perspective, they did improve from 13th in team disposals in 2019 to 9th in 2020 averaging 296.5 Disposals per game in the H&A season.
There were 3 clear players at Melbourne that were relevant in fantasy all of last season (Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver & Christian Petracca), beyond that there is a little sprinkling of players that may have potential upside in scoring in 2021 but it may be very thin at best in a team which could be mid-range again.
The pressure is on Melbourne internally to play finals, if things started to go wrong in 2021 then team performance may fall away sharply in the back end of the season.
No doubt the Demons will be a watch over pre-season games for any type of adjustments that could impact from a fantasy perspective, they were ranked 5th last season at a rate of 6.9 Disposals per Inside 50.
With Ben Brown now a genuine target in the forward line it is expected the Demons will want to remain or improve on efficient ball movement in an attempt to benefit on the scoreboard, this may not correlate well from a fantasy perspective in positions other than midfielders at Melbourne.
Article by @aflratingsPete
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Max Gawn RUCK
Selecting Gawn at Round 1 will have an impact on your roster build, going thin at other positions will come with additional risk but if you can successfully navigate your way through roster construction then having him on your team at low ownership will provide your team with leverage over the field.
Last year Gawn had to deal with shoulder & knee injuries but still produced quality scoring, he averaged 98.9pts scoring 80pts or more in 85.7% of games & 100pts or more in 50.0% of games (both are elite).
Again, selecting Gawn will force you into making sacrifices in your roster build. At some stage it’s likely he is going to be a required player with his elite scoring, the majority of coaches will hope for a significant salary reduction before selecting him in-season.
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Trent Rivers DEF
Rivers made his debut for the Demons in 2020 averaging 52.2pts from 9 games, he averaged 59.6pts from his final 5 games of the season.
If Rivers can lock himself into a role across half-back or a similarly premium scoring position to start the season then he is decent value based on his Round 1 salary, his role in both pre-season games needs to be tracked closely.
The ownership for Rivers will likely be very low to begin the season with many other players preferred at a similar price, there may be an opportunity here to roster a unique player with upside potential early in the season.
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Tom Sparrow MID
Almost 12 months on & we get another look at Sparrow for a similar starting salary, we get the added benefit of extra information based on his role in 2020.
Sparrow came into the team in Round 9 last season, he was used at centre bounces in each of his 5 games. A broken collarbone ended his season early in Round 13, in his 4 full games he was used at 36.4% of team centre bonces (Melbourne Rank: 5).
Sparrow averaged 50.0pts in his opening 4 games last season, he scored a season high 74pts against Nth Melbourne in Round 11.
It would be preferred that Sparrow see increased usage at centre bounces this season to get the full pay-off at his Round 1 salary, keep him on your watch-list for a look at his role in both pre-season games so an informed decision can be made.
*2020 AFL season: 16 Min Qtrs
One Big Question
Will Clayton Oliver maintain his strong fantasy scoring in 2021?
Photo credit: Melbourne
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