Attraction; an abstractly nuanced element of the human experience that often lacks rhyme or reason. What dictates our attractions? What governs our sense of appeal? Why do we like the colours we like? Why do we see one person and want to pour hot wax over their stomach but not others’?
Today, I’ll be investigating the profound concept of attraction, with a focus on the players who, despite having statistical appeal, slide in drafts because they got that STANK.
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JARRYD LYONS – MID
2021 Games: 22
2021 Avg: 117/117 (AF/SC)
Predicted Avg: 112/110 (AF/SC)
Predicted Draft Range: 15-25
Realistic Draft Value: 7-12
What is it about this guy that repels fantasy players? A lack of junior pedigree? Maybe he didn’t attend some elitist high-school that James Brayshaw would remark upon? Maybe it’s just his playing style. Sure, Lyons has been a bit of a late bloomer, but in the last 2 seasons he has taken his game to novel heights and I don’t see much (if any) regression from him this year. Here’s why he shouldn’t slide (but will):
- He’s in his prime at 29 and playing in a Lions team also approaching their prime. There is no lack of fantasy scoring in Brisbane’s game-plan and with the success they’ve had in recent seasons, that won’t change (nor will Lyons’ scoring role).
- Since joining Brisbane in 2019, Lyons hasn’t missed a game. That’s 3 full seasons of gameplay and I don’t have to emphasise how crucial this is in draft leagues.
- He is above his internal competition. The talk at the moment is that guys like Neale, Zorko, Berry and Rayner will be around to eat up some of his points. 2 of these guys are unproven scorers who Brisbane like to rotate forward (both Berry and Rayner are bigger bodies with goal kicking penchants). Additionally, Rayner is coming off of a significant knee injury, Berry hasn’t been 100% fit for over a year now and Zorko looks as though he’ll mostly rotate in and out of the middle, whether it be forward or back.
As for Neale’s impact, well he simply takes the attention of the chief defensive midfielder from opposition teams, leaving Lyons to do his biddings. Here are Lyons’ scores playing with Neale after the bye last season (AF): 161, 91, 84, 103, 136, 153, 139, 125, 104, 105 (avg: 120). Guys, don’t overthink this one – Lyons is an M1 and a captaincy option this szn, but he won’t carry such a price tag come draft day.
CAM GUTHRIE – MID
2021 Games: 20
2021 Avg: 109.9/113 (AF/SC)
Predicted Avg: 110+/110+ (AF/SC)
Predicted Draft Range: 25-35
Realistic Draft Value: 15-25
Aside from 2015, where he averaged 97 in 21 games, Guthrie was just JAGging his way around the league, never really being a part of the fantasy conversation. That changed in 2020, where he averaged 106.5 (corona-ball adjusted) without missing a game. The following year, he voided claims that it was just a ‘corona-ball year outlier’ when he went at 109.9, missing only 2 games. Despite 2 seasons as an M2 calibur player, Guthrie still doesn’t seem to garner the recognition he deserves, but here’s why he does deserve said recognition when drafting in 2022:
- The Cats have an ageing midfield, with guys like Dangerfield, Duncan and Selwood all over 30 now and spending increased time in outside/forward roles. This should mean we see a glut of CBAs for Guthrie.
- Who is Guthrie’s internal competition as an inside midfielder? This is a rhetorical question, but let’s answer it anyway. So we have… ahhh, Parfitt, I guess? He’s a forward rotator. Then there is Mark O’connor, I guess? He plays a little down back, does a little bit of tagging… to be honest, I don’t know a lot about him. I guess we have Menegola? Isaac Smith? Mitch Duncan? These guys are better suited to the outside roles. What I’m trying to say here is that Guthrie has next to NO ONE to compete with for midfield time.
- Guthrie’s role at the cats is firmly fixed – he is an inside midfielder. He doesn’t move forward, he doesn’t play defensive roles and he rarely moves outside.
- His score build comprises all of the parts we like to see in fantasy, with 2021 per game averages that read 29 disposals (1-1 kick to handball ratio), 5.5 marks, and 4 tackles. If he can sneak forward and kick some goals, and/or slightly shift that kick to handball ratio positively, we are looking at an uber premo here.
- Guthrie won’t ever get tagged. I believe Dangerfield and Duncan are first in line here as the Cats’ more damaging mids.
BEN KEAYS – MID
2021 Games: 22
2021 Avg: 108/103 (AF/SC)
Predicted Avg: 105/100 (AF/SC)
Predicted Draft Range: 55 – 70
Realistic Draft Value: 30-40
Was 2021 an anomale season for Keays? Perhaps. Why did Matt Crouch go before him in the Draft Doctors most recent mock draft? It’s the stank, Moe, the STANK! But like one of the Keeper League boys (sorry, I can’t recall exactly who the Keays truther is right now), I believe he can back up his break-out-year form in 2022, and this is why:
- Minimal internal competition. Yes, we are hearing that the return of Matt Crouch is imminent, but how much do we really think he’ll play? Aside from that, you have Laird, an ageing Rory Sloane and developing youngsters like Schoenberg and Sam Berry. Keays’ CBA count won’t drop in 2022.
- The guy can tackle, averaging 6 per game in 2021. This means that when he isn’t finding the pill in a struggling Crows team, his basement is still high. On the contrary, when he does find the ball, his ceiling lifts impressively (he had 6 AF scores over 120 last year with 2 going over 140).
- For a guy that isn’t a great kicker of the ball, he has a nice (2021) 4-3 kick to handball ratio.
- His role seems secure. I can’t see Keays playing any other position other than inside mid. His kicking simply isn’t damaging enough.
PATRICK CRIPPS – MID
2021 Games: 20
2021 Avg: 81.8/83.5 (AF/SC)
Predicted Avg: 100/108 (AF/SC)
Predicted Draft Range: 85-100
Realistic Draft Value: 65-80
After his 109 (AF) averaging season in 2018, Cripps’ scoring output has gradually dropped, bottoming out in the low 80s last season (his lowest average since 2015 – his second year in the league). The fantasy community adored Patty when he burst onto the scene, but the steady drop in scoring, married with some issues of the body, have left a stanky taste in many drafters’ mouths. This is the year for his bounce back in my opinion, and here’s why I won’t let him slide too far on draft day:
- The reports are that he has dropped some weight and that he is back to optimal fitness. He won’t have to shoulder the Carlton load like he used to, so if he completes an unimpeded preseason, I’ll forget his injury woes of the past.
- Cripps, for the first time in his career, has a supporting cast worthy of remark. Walsh (when fit), will get the bulk of opposition attention, with some going to the likes of Cerra and ZWill, leaving Cripps to do what a fit Cripps can do.
- News broke in recent days that Walsh will miss at least the first month of footy. Will this shift defensive attention to Cripps? Maybe. I think it means Cripps has some serious BOOM potential coming out of the 2022 season gates. After all, he did attend the highest number of CBAs for his team on average in 2021.
- Looking at his career averages, there was some data of note. His disposals were down from 28.1 in 2019 to 23.4 in 2021 (let’s disregard corona-ball here). I’m thinking with his fitness back to its best, this can be improved upon easily. He also had almost 2 more tackles per game in 2019 than he did in 2021, another area that could see an uptick with fitness. The cherry on top here was the fact that his frees against in 2021 were the highest of his career at 2.2. All of these are numbers that can easily be bettered by Cripps, and if everything clicks, then he’ll be back to his 100+ ways.
ZAC WILLIAMS – DEF
2021 Games: 14
2021 Avg: 71.5/84.7 (AF/SC)
Predicted Avg: 85/95 (AF/SC)
Predicted Draft Range: 90-110
Realistic Draft Value: 70-80
His first year at Carlton was a crap salad and we perpetually have doubts over his body, so like Cripps, the reasoning behind Zac’s stank is clear. He went at pick 117 in our recent Draft Doctors mock draft and considering that Zac had an ADP of about 50 last year, it’s easy to see that Zac has contracted some serious stank. I reckon he’ll defy the stank and bounce back this season, and here’s why:
- His body hasn’t been at its peak in the past 2 years, missing 6+ games each season. Before that, however, he’d only missed 6 games in 3 years. When fit, Zac is a scoring machine and in an improving Carlton side, I’m willing to take the punt on him if his preseason is clean.
- Sam Docherty’s 2022 season outlook is murky, and if he doesn’t play much footy, that will mean plenty of footy for teammates like Zac who play a similar role.
- Sam Walsh is missing the first month, so an outcome involving Zac playing through the middle and feasting isn’t out of the question. Remember when he had a pure midfield role at the Giants?
2021 Games: 22
2021 Avg: 105.5/114.1 (AF/SC)
Predicted Avg: 110/115+ (AF/SC)
Predicted Draft Range: 30-45
Realistic Draft Value: 15-25
Darcy has some ‘burn-man’ stank on him, having teased an auspicious fantasy game for years, only to be trapped in a limiting forward role that left previous drafters (and even some salary cappers) embittered by the thought of going near him again. Enter 2022, where we see the Bombers’ midfield dismembered by injury and in a blink, Parish is winning every BOG medal that the AFL offers… BUT THEN, some Essendon mids return towards season’s end and Parish’s robust scoring waivers, and that seed of doubt is replanted for season 2022 – but not for me, and this is why:
- Quite simply, the coaching staff saw Parish in his most suitable role (inside midfielder) and realised the error of their ways. The forward swing role is dead for Parish, so quash those fears immediately.
- He will be one of Essendon’s top 2 centre bounce attendees in 2022. Yes, the Bombers’ midfield goes deep, but Essendon play a fantasy-scoring brand of footy and aside from Merrett (and perhaps the unproven Caldwell), Parish will get all the inside mid-time he can handle.
- Parish has a ceiling as grand as the Sistine Chapel. In 2021, Parish went above 120 on 8 occasions (including a 150 and a 160) and scored an encouraging 122 in the elimination final when Essendon had their full midfield back.
- He won’t get tagged; teams tend to negate the dangerous Merrett when defending against the Essendon mids. Opposing teams also need to worry about the dangerous Sheil and McGrath… hey, if Macrae can rack it up amongst the brimming Bulldogs midfield, so can Parish in a Bombers outfit on the rise.
I encourage you to highlight, underscore or asterisk all of these players in your rankings lists. Do your work on the mock draft simulator and take note of these stanky dudes’ ADP and see if you can cash-in on one of these stanky sleepers on draft day. At the spots these guys are currently being drafted at, I am bullish on them all.
Feed me back on twitter: @lionelhutsforprez
Bye for now.