Congrats to anyone who made a grand final in their league. It’s been an awesome season of fantasy footy, and I’ve really enjoyed hearing people’s thoughts and insights!

Last week I had a look backwards at the season that was (thanks for making me look like a fool Cogs), so this week I thought I’d have a look forward to players who’s name I’ll be writing in down to keep track of during the end of the season, over the pre-season and during practice matches next year. It’s way too early to be looking at sleepers or boom picks for 2023 (this season isn’t even in the can yet), but for those 80% of teams that are eliminated, it’s as good a time as any to start building a watch list, and take notes of important changes that could impact players’ scoring next year.

Darcy Cameron/Brodie Grundy

This one is fascinating. When Grundy went down (and ripped the heart out of lot of teams that selected him pick 1-5) we all thought Cameron might get a bump. What we didn’t expect was a bumper season that has seen him average 96.4 since round 7. He’s become a genuine premium and one who should comfortably hold his average if Grundy moves on and he plays as a sole ruck. Ditto Grundy, who should also hold his above 100 average if he lands somewhere where he takes the number one mantle. The big question is what happens if the two play together into future seasons? Let’s hope Grundy gets back quickly so we can have a snapshot of what 2023 might look like for these two big dogs!

Elliot Yeo

The Yeo Yeo never rebounded back in 2022, with his hamstring, calf and groin all showing less fortitude than West Coast’s dismal midfield this year. Pot shots aside, in the little time he did spend on the field, he was predominantly playing out of the backline. That’s a tantalizing prospect if he can recapture the form that’s seen him average well over 100 in the past. If he doesn’t get back on the field this season, his fitness is something I’ll monitor closely, given he’s still only 28.

Ben Keays

Keays’ last two seasons have been incredible. He’s covered huge distances, got to a crazy number of contests, and racked up the fantasy points in grand style. This week he had a major role change, spending 95% of the game in the forward half. While I wouldn’t be predicting a DPP addition just yet, it’s one to monitor and keep an eye on, as his draft value would soar if he was forward eligible. On the other hand, if he doesn’t get DPP and lands a tagging/forward role, his scoring could suffer.

Rowan Marshall

RoMar almost single handedly launched several teams into a fantasy grand final this week, absolutely monstering the Hawks’ ruck division. He faces a real mixed bag in the next three weeks, with Witts, Nankervis, and English as opponents, which should give us a decent indication of what he might be capable of in 2023. Of course, St Kilda could go into Bevo areas and select Tom Campbell, relegating one of the league’s brightest prospects to an 80-90 averaging forward role. Either way, it’s an important space to keep tabs on for next year’s rankings.

Hayden Young

He’ll be drafted in the top few tiers of defenders next year, but where to place Hayden Young is a big question for fantasy coaches. His ball use is elite, and he’s shown he can ton up, but he will be competing with Ryan, Chapman, and Clark for points. If he maintains his position at the top of the Fremantle pecking order (relegating Chapman or Clark to some lower scores in the next couple of weeks) then I’d comfortably bump him up towards the top end of being a D2. I’ll be watching this space pretty keenly!

Chad Warner

He struggled against the tag this week, but Warner has looked incredible in the past month, producing 4 tons in 5 games, including a ceiling of 127. In SC, that period included a monster 155 and 148. He looks like a star of the future, especially if (much like Andrew Brayshaw was able to do this year) he can get rid of some of those low floor games. Watch to see if he has a consistently high scoring finish to the season, or if he fades in the final few weeks. That would probably be the difference between drafting him as an M2-3 or an M4-5.

Tom Green

A player who definitely has faded, I’ve talked before about Green’s chalk and cheese first and second halves of the year. What he has shown, is his enormous potential if the role is there. The Giants are a massive ‘watch this space’ side, not so much for their on-field performance (they clearly checked out weeks ago) but for their positional switches and most importantly, for who leaves at the end of the year. If a host of inside mids change clubs (like Hopper and Taranto), then it may well be Green szn next year. If it’s defenders or forwards who end up moving away from Homebush, it might be the same old story for the Green Machine, stuck behind a plethora of decent mids, all vying for those juicy CBAs.

Jack Graham

I threw all my chips in on Jack Graham this year, and he did his best to burn me with a preliminary final 45 that would have cost me a win if not for Zach Merrett’s second half heroics. My home league aside, it has been a super disappointing season for Graham, in that he’s at times flirted with elite scoring, but generally frustrated coaches, finishing with an underwhelming average of 76. He’s still young (24), so if he moves more prominently into the midfield in the last three weeks of the season, I’m wiling to take another punt on him next year, as the ceiling is there. If however, others move past him, I might have to concede that the dream is over, and fade him right back in my 2023 rankings.

Jackson Hately

After so much time on the pine, it looked like Action Jackson Hately had finally grasped his opportunity when he was given an extended run in the 1s from rounds 6 to 17. Unfortunately, he has faded once again and has been dropped from round 18 onwards. If he can work his way back into the 1s or can drop some M Crouch-like numbers in the SANFL, he might be a handy pickup late in drafts next season. He’s only 21, so see how he looks, monitor the state league scores and follow his pre-season closely. The potential is there, it’s weather he is good enough, or if he’s Adelaide’s version of Fiorini.

Brayden Fiorini

Speaking of Fiorini, the goat makes this list as one to watch, not for anything he’s likely to produce at the Gold Coast, but to see if he moves for greener pastures elsewhere. Being recalled and dropping a 150 wouldn’t surprise me, but it also wouldn’t convince me to pick him in 2023. What he really needs to become seriously fantasy relevant is a Will Brodie style fresh start. If you told me he was guaranteed a permanent spot in an AFL midfield at any other club, I’d happily draft him as an M3-5. That’s what we’ve got to watch for in the off season. Fingers crossed!

Adam Treloar

Injuries aside, we all know what Treloar can do. He’s a consistent scorer who will rack up points wherever he plays. He’s on the watch list because in the past few weeks (from round 17) Bevo did what Bevo does and decided to play one of his inside mids (who has a history of moonlighting as a forward) out of the half back flank. It didn’t impact his scoring, but I do worry about what it might do to Richards, Dale and Daniel. Do they all fit down there? Or does Treloar simply move back to the middle when they’re all fit? Am I massively overthinking this and asking too many questions? Probably, but I still want to see what the Dogs do with their defense to finish the year.

Josh Ward

This is definitely one for AF over SC, but in the last three weeks, Josh Ward has look great, and been a genuine streaming option for finals teams. He’ll have plenty of opportunity in the Hawthorn midfield if he continues tracking on his current trajectory. If he goes bang with another couple of decent scores to finish the season, I’d be comfortable drafting him into my side next year. If he fades and reverts back to uninspiring 50s and 60s, it will take a monster pre-season to convince me to pull the trigger.

Who have I missed who should be on our watch list for the end of the season? Is there anyone you’ll be keeping a close eye on in the lead up to next year? Let me know in the comments or on socials!