NORTH MELBOURNE

PASS ME THE VOMIT BAG – SHAUN HIGGINS

2016:  Games/8   Averages: 73 DT/78 SC

If you’ve never been burnt by Shaun Higgins before, I’d like to personally welcome you to your very first season of fantasy footy and really hope you enjoy it. Shaun Higgins, the man keeping medical professionals employed, is again lighting up the track. Here’s the thing. This year he’s going to cost you NOTHING to draft. Currently ranked as the number 26 (DT) and 41 (SC) forward, people don’t want a part of Shaun Higgins anymore. Those rankings show just how depleted the forward pool is in DT formats, but there’s a reason to jump in the deep end with Higgins (just have a lifeguard ready).

A constant of the injury report, Higgins was actually great in his first season at North. 21 games at 85 DT and 94 SC put him in the F2 category. This year, those numbers would have you as a HIGH END F2, but in 2016 his numbers nosedived and missed a stack of games. From a drafting standpoint that represents some great value.

Higgins is the pace the Roos need in the mid/forward area and the class they need going inside 50. He’s a proven scorer and has every chance to get back to his 2015 numbers if health permits. The thing is, you don’t (and shouldn’t) draft him in that range. I feel his draft range should be as an F4-5, and somewhere near round 15. Especially in your SuperCoach leagues, getting this guy late could be gold.  And yes, if he starts well – TRADE THE SUCKER!

 

DISCOUNTED STAR – TODD GOLDSTEIN

2016:  Games/21   Averages: 96 DT/108 SC

Going back to last year, there was no doubt that Todd Goldstein was worthy of a top 5 pick in any draft. Through the first half he was what you’d hoped – a captain option, a gun ruck and never missed. Then the 2nd half took place, with Goldy hobbled, Majak Daw splitting ruck time and the fantasy scores took a beating, like a 17 year old’s liver at Schoolies Week.

I buy into the injury, as watching the games he clearly wasn’t the same dominant ruck he was for the previous season and a half. The thing you have to respect is that he still got out on the park. Now, he wasn’t the auto-captain you drafted, but he was still out there putting out acceptable scores.

Finishing by average as the number three DT ruck and number 2 SC ruck, I think that’s really discount for people interested in drafting Goldstein. People are all over Brodie Grundy like a Kardashian is all over anyone with a modicum of actual celebrity, and fair enough. But don’t let that fool you. Goldstein is CLEARLY the better SC option and will only be helped by the 3rd man up rule. It was only 2015 when we saw Goldy punch out a 254 SC score, and in fact in 2016 his ceiling score of 173 SC was only 1 point behind Gawn and his 149 DT ceiling score was 3 points higher than Gawn’s. Gawn obviously continued to hit big scores and will rightly be top dog in the ruck stakes, but I think to look past Goldstein is a mistake. Certainly in the top tier of rucks for mine.

 

MAKE A LATE-ROUND KILLIN’ WITH – JAMIE MACMILLAN

2016: Games/22   Averages: 73 DT/80 SC

Highly rated internally, Jamie Macmillan is a defender you will no doubt find in the later rounds of draft and I’m here to tell you, that’s a good thing. His games played history is pretty interesting, with three seasons of 22 games coupled with injury-affected seasons which range from 4 to 14 games. But be buoyed by the 22 played last year and heading into 2017 is apparently in good shape on the track.

When I’m looking at late round value, I’m looking for upside and this is something that Macmillan presents. He has one of the highest ceilings of any late round defender, punching out multiple 120 DT and 130 SC tons over the last 2 seasons. The thing about Macmillan that is frustrating is he can be thrown into non-fantasy friendly scoring roles, but I think that is changing. He began to be used in more of the ‘quarterback’ type role over the season, as well as being a line-breaking half back and the scores improved with a few 30+ disposal games late in the year.

The ‘retirements’ of Nick Dal Santo and to a lesser extent Michael Firrito should free Macmillan up to be a fantastic +6 (mark and kick) option in defence for North and your fantasy side this year. Ranked by average heading into this season as defender 41 DT and 35 SC I think there is a great chance he outperforms that draft value.