THE BLUE CHIP – SAM DOCHERTY
2016: Games/22 Averages: 101 DT/108 SC
We’re talking fantasy stars and at the defender position they don’t come much brighter than Sam Docherty. I have him as my number one defender in both DT and SC and wouldn’t hesitate to draft him in the first round.
2016 was the absolute breakout, with Docherty knocking out all 22 games and moving his averages up 20 points from 2015. He is the main man in the Carlton backline, and is capable of scoring for fantasy in a number of roles. Loose man? Scores. Marking an opponent? Scores. The worry is that because Carlton wants him to be the ball user out of the back half that defensive forward tags may come. That’s something that’s hard to predict, though even if they do the rate wouldn’t be particularly high I feel.
His floor is reasonably good for a defender with only 2 DT and 3 SC games going under 80, whilst knocking out 12 DT and 14 SC tons. I know people are high on Carlton, but I just see another year of development, which could mean a good deal of possession footy and fantasy gold for Docherty. I’m not sure there’s a HEAP of upside, but definitely think repeating is probable. I have him as my top defender over guys like Adams (durability issues), Shaw (lower floor, likely tag), Simpson (old, only the one monster year) and Laird (already better scores), and have him there with confidence.
WISH UPON A FALLEN STAR – MARC MURPHY
2016: Games/10 Averages: 79 DT/79 SC
Then sun shone bright for you once upon a time, Marc Murphy. The uber-talented midfielder had many good years in the Carlton midfield alongside Judd, although, perhaps surprisingly, was better without the bald dynamo in the team. So 2016 came about and Murphy was going along well enough before injury struck and kept him out for the rest of the year. His DT ave fell 19 points and SC fell 24 points to 79 in both formats. Hardly a premo. But an injury-affected game will cost your average, so it’s fair to say he’s coming in at unders.
Murphy certainly isn’t the fantasy star he was, but I back him in to return to the high 90s player he was the year before, which puts him at a draft value in my opinion. Carlton fans will be buoyed by their defensive stocks and stud midfielder Cripps, which should hopefully see Murphy be able to get on the end of some kicks and marks and boost his scores way back up. One thing that made Murphy so valuable in years past was his ability to hit the scoreboard, and with Carlton lacking obvious forward options, there may be an inclination to have him forward of centre and use his goal kicking nous to score.
With a history like his, and an alleged good preseason under his belt, I think it’s more likely than not that he does.
IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU – MATTHEW KREUZER
2016: Games/21 Averages: 71 DT/73 SC
I remember when Kreuzer was drafted. The ruck of the future, set for superstardom joining the previous top picks at Carlton in Murphy and Gibbs, to bring Carlton back. But footy can be a cruel game and injuries have savaged Kreuzer’s career like I savage the $12 parma at the RSL on a Wednesday.
He managed to top 20 games in 2016 for the fourth time in nine seasons, but it appears he’s being managed to get him through a season now. Low time on ground and split ruck duties with Andrew Phillips led to his already shaky fantasy scores dropping over ten points in both DT and SC to just 71DT and 73SC. Having never been a high-volume tap ruckman (high of 25pg), Kreuzer made his scores around the ground, being a mobile guy. That mobility is unfortunately fading and the scores are suffering.
There is a possibility that one of the young guns Carlton have drafted in McKay or Charlie Curnow step up and make the Blues top heavy to the point they don’t play both Phillips and Kreuzer. I think it’s unlikely and at any rate wouldn’t pump Kreuzer’s scores up dramatically, but watch preseason.
Often a target of draft players who don’t grab a ruckman and wait til the end of the draft, the upside is shot with Kreuzer. I would much prefer to draft someone else, like a Tom Hickey for the upside. Strictly bye-round filler or streaming candidate, it’s time to lose the Kreuz.