These players often get no love in the preseason from fantasy analysts, for whatever reason. Injury, role, waywardness. They fall in the dreaded ‘mid-price’ bracket or aren’t seen as being premium options. For the draft coach, however, they can be the ticket towards nailing a final side, whether the breakout into the elite, or just outperforming their draft range to provide you with a solid player whose scores can’t be found on the waiver wire.
Wayne Milera (D)
The classy (meaning outside) Milera oozes skills and has shown a fantasy ceiling, but hasn’t put it together over the course of a full season yet. Without an average of 80 in his five seasons in the AFL, Milera will likely slip under the radar of many fantasy coaches after only managing two games in 2020. His preseason has been limited by injury, but the former first round pick is a veteran presence in a team that has fantasy points up for grabs and needs players to step up. Monitor closely.
Nick Coffield (D)
Drafted behind teammate Hunter Clark at pick 8 in the 2017 AFL draft, Coffield hasn’t set the fantasy world alight yet, but is trending in a positive direction entering his fourth season. Averaging the fourth most marks in the league and being a reliable kick from defence has Coffield building nicely, though flying under the radar. With no real ‘intercept stars at St Kilda, we’re looking for Coffield to keep developing. Doesn’t have the midfield upside of Clark, but looks to be a solid defender for years to come.
Sam Walsh (M)
Okay, so you haven’t forgotten Sam Walsh existed or anything but in my humble opinion he may well be forgotten from a fantasy perspective in 2021 – and that may be costly for coaches. The salary cappers are looking at new Blue Zac Williams getting mid time, Patrick Cripps being massively underpriced, Charlie Curnow being well, who knows. All the while Sam Walsh, who blew the doors off draftee scoring until Matt Rowell’s short stint, went B-A-N-A-N-A-S in the second half of 2020.
His slow first half and other players (Treloar) moving to stacked mid teams helps. Dropping a 111 DT and 118 SC average post bye, Walsh will be knocking on the door of the top 10 fantasy mids in 2021, if not kicking it in altogether.
Jesse Hogan (F)
The great man still averages 75 in both formats across his career, despite the canned dog food he served up to fantasy owners whilst wearing the famous purple. Getting out of WA may kick the dust off his scoring as he heads to GWS in what could be an amazing marriage of two talented outfits. With 20 minute quarters returning in 2021, fantasy coaches who take a punt on Jesse will hope GWS can run teams off their legs and he can return to the goalkicking machine of years past. Let’s not forget how bad Melbourne have been since he left – imagine having Jeremy Cameron leave, get Hogan in, save money and improve. It’s possible!
Jarrod Witts (R)
Hitouts were down quite a way as a stat in 2020, and that’s been where Witts has made his hay for a while. After a record setting 2019 it was likely that Witts hitout totals dropped, but he really fell off a cliff from a mid round type ruck to one you were benching for Rhys Stanley. He’s clearly got upside, though the new interchange rules will be an interesting wrinkle. I suspect that perhaps the forwards who can play ruck are on the park a heck of a lot, but I can’t get past Witts as being better value than years past. Won’t even be talked about for salary without the top 2-3 upside, left to us drafters to know the real ones. Go the Suns!
James Harmes (D)
Melbourne, in my opinion, have something of an issue in that they have two really good inside mids and another inside mid who is the former captain. Now, one of those inside mids can play forward, but you want him in the midfield. So there’s a lot of sameness going on with Melbourne. Add in Brayshaw, who yes, finished 3rd in the Brownlow, this is a team with a lot of weird dynamics. The other bloke, James Harmes, has been played in a number of roles but has averaged over 90 in both formats only two years ago and isn’t old. He also comes in with defender status. Perhaps worth a watch with his uber-low average heading into 2021, perhaps a tagging role, or half forward like he’s played before could entice?