THE BLUE CHIP – ZACH MERRETT
2016: Games/22 Averages: 117 DT/111 SC
This young man had an average draft position of 67 last year; the sixth round was a bargain for the second highest DT scorer for the season (only 8 points behind Danger). His position in the draft reflected the fears regarding Essendon players scoring potential whilst so many senior players were out. This year Zach is dealing with the opposite, fear of scoring potential now the senior players are back. Forget the fears, just back the magnet.
What we quickly forget is that Zach was already in the top 15 averaging DT forward in 2015, only his second season. Last year’s breakout was a mixture of natural development as well as more midfield opportunities. The first will continue, the second will decrease slightly although after 2016 there is no way that he will be out of the midfield rotations.
The true benefit of his fantasy game is he is very unlikely to receive attention from the opposition. Like Stanton, he has an amazing ability to find space and therefore averaged 6 marks per game last year. His disposals have increased by 7 each year (15, 22, and 29), expect him to average over 30 for the majority of the next decade. You should feel comfortable in having him as your M1. Expecting to see 110 DT, 108 SC in 2017.
WHILE YOU WERE AWAY – JOE DANIHER
2016: Games/22 Averages: 72 DT/68 SC
It’s rare that I even think to mention a key position player; they have some value in SC but rarely in DT. The draft format lends itself to KP players but only if they have a high ceiling. I’m sure we all understand the environment and performance levels at the Bombers over the past two years would not lend itself to great scoring from a key forward. But still Joe has been developing, improving quite dramatically as a footballer, even with all the defensive pressure focused on him.
During that time Joe has scored three DT tons, whilst improving his scoring by 15 points, in 2016 he was the 40th highest scoring forward in DT. Now with all of the midfield talent back as well as the key forwards to take some of the pressure he is ready to have a 5th season breakout.
We should see the Essendon football club increase its inside 50 totals by at least twenty five percent, that should easily give Joe enough opportunities to raise himself into the top 20 forwards. Expect an 85-90 DT Scores this year.
Draft him late and enjoy the rewards.
BE CAREFUL OF THE HYPE – DYSON HEPPELL
2015: Games/22 Averages: 101 DT/104 SC
We must be so careful of hype, especially as most of the information we read is about salary cap competitions. Drafting is about points, not value. For example looking at the DT drawing board Dyson Heppell is in 71% of teams. Zach Merrett is in 0% of teams. Although there is the concern of what effect having the senior players back will have on Zach scoring the simple fact is he will still outscore Dyson.
Looking through both Dyson’s and Zach’s first three years in the AFL and one thing is clear. Zach is clearly the points per minute leader between the two, in fact no one at Essendon goes anywhere near him. Due to this Zach comes at a high price in salary cap, while Dyson is cheap due to having the year off. Make no mistake Zach is clearly an M1, Dyson is an M2 and maybe should be selected in the third or fourth round.
Points per minute: 1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year
Dyson Heppell 0.79 0.81 0.95
Zach Merrett 0.85 0.95 1.29
If anyone tells you different, they simply have not done their research.Prediction: Zach Merrett 110 DT Average, Dyson 104 DT Average.