DISCOUNT WINGS – BRANDON ELLIS
2016: Games/22 Averages: 89 DT/85 SC
I think it would be fair to say 2016 wasn’t a great year for Hillary Clinton, keeping celebrities alive and most importantly, Brandon Ellis’ fantasy output. His averages dropped by 13DT and 14 SC points as his possession went down by three per game. Being an outside player, he relies on others getting him the ball, an area Richmond slipped in between 2015 and 2016.
The Tigers lost ground in contested ball and went from being a middling clearance team to rank 16th, as well as ranking last for tackles. Richmond obviously addressed this during trade week adding two bulls in Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy to help in this area. This can only be good news for Ellis as he looks to return to his 2014 (96DT and 96SC) or even 2015 (102DT and 99SC) form. We haven’t seen Ellis rated this low on our draft boards for a couple of seasons and there’s a good chance his becomes a mid/late round value. He is also one of the most durable players in the AFL, having played 107 of 110 home and away games since his debut.
TRADING PLACES – DION PRESTIA
2016: Games/14 Averages: 93 DT/93 SC
After the 2014 season, in which Prestia played 22 games at 100DT and 106SC, it appeared he was poised to take the leap to fantasy stardom. But a serious knee injury derailed his great start to 2015 and sidelined him from round 8, and in 2016 another knee op cut that season short too.
There are a lot of question marks and trust issues with Dion Prestia, making him a hard player to nail down for value in a draft setting. On one hand we know there’s a good history. We know he’s a high pedigree player. He’s got a great ceiling (157DT/151SC). But the two successive seasons with 22 missed games between them looks worrying. There’s the drop in average. Settling into a new team. So what’s his draft value?
The name value will value him higher than where he ranks based on last year’s average, but I wouldn’t be drafting him earlier than my fourth midfielder in either DT or SC, and to be honest would like him as my fifth. I like the upside in SC more, so am more comfortable drafting him in that form, but for DT he’s listed around the averages of guys like Matt Crouch and Andrew Gaff, who I prefer.
COME ON DOWN – DUSTIN MARTIN
2016: Games/22 Averages: 107 DT/108 SC
Fair to say the fantasy players who drafted Dustin Martin last year were supremely happy with his fantasy return. Lifting his averages by 4DT and 3SC over his usual 22 games really returned value as other high-end draft picks busted. The disposals went up 5 per game to 31 as a big part of the jump. However, despite playing more midfield than ever, his tackles dropped and notably his goals went down under 1 per game for the first time since his rookie year.
Being listed as a pure mid for the first time I can recall makes drafting Martin this year an interesting proposition. Couple that with the incoming Prestia and Caddy to the midfield; and the already free-flowing reports on Martin playing more forward, and it’s hard not to predict his fantasy scores to drop.
So what’s his value? I’m planning on drafting him at his 2015 scoring output (103 DT and 105 SC), which with the loss of forward status has him in the third round for me. He’s still a gun who can dominate forward with ball-winning bursts in the middle provided the switch happens, and is one of the most durable players in the league, having played 150 from 154 home and away games since debut.