Draft Profile – Essendon

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Every couple of days in the lead up to the AFL season, we will be releasing an article profiling a few key players from each team, and why they should or shouldn’t be considered during your drafts.

The Bombers welcome a new shiny recruit into the midfield mix in 2019, while praying for the healthy return of their spearhead forward in the hopes of making some noise in the finals. However, for us fantasy coaches, ranking some of these Bomber beasts is a bit of a bummer.

Gun – Devon Smith

2018 Average:
AFLF  106.6 |  97.9 SC

The top averaging forward of yesteryear, “Lunchmeat” was far from the Fritz-y, gross, processed meat found in most lunchboxes. Instead, going ham in his first season at the Dons.

Embed from Getty Images

Smith thrived with more midfield time, leading the AFL in tackles (amassing 8.5 per game) while kicking 17 goals in a mid-forward hybrid role. Most effective in AFL Fantasy, the 176cm nugget scored 113 points or more on 10 occasions last season in that format, with 150 against the Pies his season-high.

Retaining forward eligibility in 2019, the 25-year-old is one of probably only 2 forward options you can feel 100% safe in drafting early. While many of us here at The Draft Doctors are dubious as to the opportunity cost in drafting forwards too early, there is certainly a right place and time to draft Smith – but anything higher than the 2nd round might be a stretch.

Mock Draft Simulator ADP: AF 7 | 20 SC

#Value –  Kyle Langford

2018 Average:
AFLF  80.1 |  80.4 SC

Repping the famous #4 at the Bombers, 22-year-old Langford began illustrating why he had been entrusted with the beloved digit last season. With close to 18 disposals a game to go with 4 tackles, the big-bodied midfielder showed glimpses of potential in his 4th season at Windy Hill.

Dos didn’t caption this so here I am, writing his caption. You bloody scrub Dos – Your pal, Cam

The 191cm Dual Position Player provides potential value in draft with his role likely to be unaffected by the arrival of former Giants midfielder, Dylan Shiel. Langford’s size, tackling and goal sense allows him to have a significant role in the engine room without sacrificing too much TOG with his ability to push forward.

Langford has finally broken into the best 22 at the Bombers and I don’t see him giving it up to return to his rock and roll career any time soon:

Dos’ spotify most played

Mock Draft Simulator ADP: AF 135 | 153 SC

Tom Cruise Risky Business – Andrew McGrath

“3rd Year Breakout” – It’s the Statesman’s mantra we’ve heard all too often on The Draft Doctors podcast. And whilst I somewhat challenged the concept in an article earlier this year; the traditional upward trajectory of top 10 picks over their first 3 years is undeniable.

Dos looking at pics of Fiorini

While I am reasonably high on Andy McGrath this year, what makes him a risky pick comes down to two major factors:

  1. #HYPE. The number 1 pick two years ago, McGrath stormed out the gates in his rookie year averaging over 70 AFL Fantasy and SuperCoach points in his first season. The 20-year-old lifted his average ever-so-slightly in year 2. In 2019, the expectation is that McGrath will take a huge leap in fantasy production, with the promise of #moremidtime. The hype has the potential to push this classy youngster up the draft board into territory we might consider too risky to consider a solid pick, but this isn’t my biggest concern…
  2. OBSERVABLE THIRST – A term introduced to me by my work colleague and friend “Joe, from work”. Observable Thirst is the ‘eye test’ beyond your traditional fantasy metrics. It is the DESIRE to bust a gut 10 goals up in the 4th for that cheeky +6! It is that extra handball purely for the one-two when it is most definitely NOT on! It is SPRINTING off your man for the uncontested possession when a turnover could cost you the game! It is the willingness to YELL at your teammate when he ignores you for the switch! It is wrapping up a tackle and DESPERATELY seeking the best camera angle to show Champion Data you’ve wrapped them up effectively! It is CRAVING the extra kick that ticks the disposal count over from 29 to 30, or 39 to 40! McGrath is too good a teammate and too classy a player to care about going the extra mile for our fantasy teams. I nicknamed him Andy McGhost last season for his ability to disappear for significant stretches during a game – never out of sight – always on the screen. Creating space, moving off ball, shepherding, talking, doing the team thing, getting only “incidental stats” – another term from Joe, from work. Andy McGrath is well-hydrated on the observable thirst scale. If he returns in 2019 with dry mouth, yellow-pee level hydration – McGhost may be ready to explode.

Mock Draft Simulator ADP: AF 133 | 136

Do Not Draft – David Myers

Wow. Just wow. I ain’t even mad.

Myers won the Bombers most improved award last season at 29-years-old, after finally breaking into the team after years of injury interruptions. With a penetrating kick and versatility, Myers may still have a role this season, but seemingly remains on the Bombers list for depth. Overall you can safely avoid Myers late in your draft and shop around for someone with more upside.

Mock Draft Simulator ADP: AF 218 | 214 SC

Start Mocking! Click the image above for The Draft Doctors 2019 Mock Draft Simulator!

2 comments on “Draft Profile – Essendon”

    1. Could be #value in SuperCoach, but not looking at him in AFL Fantasy. His current ADP on the mock website is at 120 for SC, which suggests the hype could even put him in the risky business category considering his total career games sits at 10. But only could pick 3 names – same could be said about Zach Merrett as the Gun!

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