Injuries. We all hate when players get them, especially on our own teams, especially when it’s early in the match. And for fantasy owners, those injuries can greatly affect how we rank players heading into the next draft season. There are cases where players are taken out of the match in the 2nd half, leading to a lower score, but these instances don’t affect the season long average greatly. Points per minute is also a great way to mitigate these cases, but I often have a quick scan over the games where players are taken off extremely early and register a single figure score. These affect season long averages and can slip a player several spots in the season long average ranks. If you’re not on the ball with these players, you could be missing a potential draft bargain. With that in mind, here’s some very draft relevant players who might not be listed as high as they should be.

JAKE LLOYD

Lloyd cemented his breakout 2016 with another fantastic season in 2017, finishing equal second in his club’s best and fairest. Fantasy players who drafted him were also rewarded with averages of 92 DT and 87 SC. However, in round 10 Lloyd was injured within the first few minutes of the game, managing only a handball in his 1% game time. Taking this match out, his averages rise to 96 DT and 91 SC, taking him much closer to the top of the defender ranks. Couple this with his fantastic consistency, Lloyd will be a hot ticket on draft day, a potential difference making defender.

JOEL SELWOOD

No stranger to heavy contact, the fearless Geelong skipper produced another fine (albeit slightly down) season in 2017, averaging 95 DT and 102 SC. His injury affected score came in round 14 where he managed a handball in only 2% TOG (time on ground). Taking away that game leaves his averages at 100 DT and 108 SC, much more in line with what he’s produced the last couple of seasons. Selwood was also injured in round 20, managing around 60% TOG and missed the remaining home and away matches. When these things are considered, was his year down at all? Certainly one who may be lower on draft boards than he should be.

JESSE HOGAN

It was certainly a year to forget for Melbourne’s second best key forward. Injuries, personal tragedies, suspension and cancer struck as he battled his way to play ten games at averages of 70 DT and 69 (nice) SC. Unlike the two gentlemen I wrote about before, Hogan was struck down twice reasonably early in matches, although had it been just once I would’ve let it slip. In round 19 he broke his collarbone in the 3rd term with only 51% TOG and in round 23 did his hammy early in the 2nd with only 32% TOG. If we remove those games he averaged 81 DT and 80 SC, which is more in line with some 3rd year growth. I really want to highlight Hogan though as the mental stresses he dealt with last year is something we can’t understand, but I’m sure it was incredibly frustrating. I see him as an absolute breakout, someone you can draft in the middle to late rounds and should return value, despite knowing his scoring can be sporadic. One of the rare key forwards who can make his mark in DT scoring as well as SC, Hogan shapes as a big draft value. Sidenote: I find it baffling that the salary cap teams I see on the Twitters have Charlie Curnow in them and not Hogan or Rory Lobb, who come with much cheaper price tags.

CONNOR BLAKELY

So fantasy footy Twitter was up in arms when Blakely didn’t get defender status for 2018, but he still put together enough of a season to be very draft relevant as a pure mid for next season with averages of 91 DT and 89 SC. A points per minute stud, we often lamented in 2016 Blakely didn’t get enough TOG. In 2017 he found more gametime and the scores followed, especially when he moved to half back and scored like a monster. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely with a shoulder injury in round 19. Injured in the first quarter and with only 23% TOG, Blakely’s single figure score removed equals season averages of 97 DT and 94 SC, certainly worthy of being drafted. Interestingly, looking through his game log, he did have a game where he only scored in the teens despite 59% TOG. That game was just a stinker so he does have them in his portfolio! At any rate, the second half scoring was very encouraging, jump on.

STEVEN MAY

If you’ve been paying attention to the Gold Coast Suns, and chances are you haven’t, you’ll have noticed Steven May has become one of the better fantasy defenders for SuperCoach. While he does have something against playing 20 games in a season, May tends to score well when he’s not injured or suspended. Averaging 77 DT and 84 SC at season’s end, if we remove the game where he got injured in the first quarter, his averages jump up to 81 DT and 88 SC. His career would show he’s not someone DT players should be into too much, but SC fans should be all over him. Those numbers have him as a D2, whilst he’s most likely going to be looked at from a D3 type ranking.

DAYNE BEAMS

Now, it’s fair to say Beams doesn’t mind getting injured, having not played 20 games in the last 5 years, but man, what a ceiling. One of the few players who could genuinely be the top fantasy scorer for the year. Did pump out 6 games of 138+ DT in his 19 games en route to averages of 105 DT and 101 SC. Removing the game he was injured in the first quarter, those leap up to 110 DT and 106 SC. Certainly worth considering when you’re drafting, though I might want to weigh up which players I’d drafted at that point to mitigate risk, but the upside is enormous.

AARON SANDILANDS

Fair to say the big man is closer to the end than the beginning, but he’s still relevant for fantasy. Despite only managing ten games in 2017, the ruckman averaged 77 DT and 87 SC. With Sean Darcy breathing down his neck, fantasy players need to be mindful when drafting Sandilands his role may be getting tweaked. Still, if we remove his first quarter injury game where he managed only 12% TOG, we get averages of 83 DT and 95 SC. With the future cloudy, a buried average and the injury history, Sandilands should be one to consider for the late round ruck strategists, especially those in SC leagues.

MAX GAWN

The most Gawn player possible couldn’t back up his amazing 2016 season when he was the top ruck, but then again, no-one since Dean Cox has. His 2017 with 13 games and averages of 86 and 91 sure didn’t return value for those who drafted him. The funny thing is, I think it’s pretty easy to put him back at the top of the ruck rankings and I’m not sure how wise that is. If we take away his injury affected score, Gawn’s averages only come to 90 DT and 97 SC. Whilst playable, they’re certainly not outlier high. I don’t think I’ll end up with Gawn in any leagues as someone who waits on rucks, and most late ruck strategists will be in the same boat. And whilst that may bite me in the bum, it doesn’t seem like a bad plan at this stage.

Some other players who, depending on the size of your league, will be draft relevant and have injury affected scores (listed as DT/SC):

Orazio Fantasia 68/74 becomes 71/77

Callum Mills 69/73 becomes 72/77

Jack Newnes 88/85 becomes 91/88

Jimmy Webster 67/71 becomes 70/74

Tom Cutler 76/71 becomes 83/76

Josh Jenkins 81/79 becomes 86/83