It’s always hard to identify players who will bounce back the following year, whether to injury, form slump or change of role. Once a player has underperformed for you, you tend to put them on ‘the list’. That list is the do not draft the next year list. We’ve all been there, you draft a player with the high hopes that they’ll lead you to premiership glory in your league, but for whatever reason that is beyond your control, they stink it right up causing your team to miss finals and become the laughing stock of your league. With the players in this article people will be sceptical about them, leaving them available for you to scoop up and sit back and laugh as they pump out the big scores.
Jason Johannisen: In 2016 JJ broke out and had a career year, but a bad hamstring tear saw him miss the middle stages of the year. Once he returned from injury he picked up where he left off and won the Norm Smith medal.
In 2017 it got harder for JJ as more teams put time into him to stop his explosiveness off half back and his influence on games. With the tag coming his way JJ’s scoring was hurt by the fact he averaged 3 possessions and 3.5 marks less than 2016. With this impact it saw his average drop to 82 in Supercoach down from 94 and to 75 in AFL Fantasy down from 93. With an ADP of 46 in 2017 the value certainly wasn’t returned. So, what does JJ need to do to bounce back in 2018? Not a hell of a lot to be honest. The Bulldogs are high possession team and for JJ to get an extra 2 disposals and 1.5 marks a game would increase his average to the 85-90 range.
Handsome Tom Lynch: Since Tom has entered the AFL, his fantasy scores have been on the right trajectory to becoming a top forward scorer for years to come. We know he has a massive ceiling as seen by the 161 he scored in Supercoach and 132 in AFL Fantasy. Key forwards rely on marks, kicks and goals to build their score and while in 2017 Tom’s average disposal was the same, but he dropped 1 mark and 1 goal and 1 hitout a game. Injuries to the Suns midfield didn’t help Handsome Tom’s supply in the forward line either.
In 2018 I see Tom spending more time up the ground using his endurance and great marking ability (a la Nick Riewoldt) increasing his possessions, marks and taking the ruck contest in the forward half of the ground which will make up for the 1 less goal a game. 2018 will see Handsome Tom bounce back to the scores we saw in 2016 and what made him a top fantasy scorer for our teams.
Grant Birchall: If you’re looking for a vanilla, no fuss defender to sure up your defence, look no further than Grant Birchall. Playing only the 5 games due to a fractured jaw and pcl injury, he was a missing cog in our backlines and Hawthorns.
Birchall has always been that solid mid 80’s plus averaging defender in Supercoach and low 80’s in AFL Fantasy you know you can rely on. Averaging 23 possessions, 6 marks and 1.5 tackles a game and a disposal efficiency around 85%, the Hawks will look to Birchall for his run and efficient disposal coming out of defence in 2018 to get them back up the ladder.
Kade Kolojashnij: After having a breakout year in his second season, KK took a backward step in 2016, mainly to a role change due to injuries in the Gold Coast defence. In 2017 KK started off well fantasy wise, knocking out 3 AFL Fantasy tonnes in the 11 games he played. His season was cut short after suffering a bump at training causing him to suffer lingering concussion symptoms.
A fine fantasy scorer who has averaged in the mid 80’s in both formats, KK builds his score through possession (avg 20 per game) and marks (avg 6 per game) off the half back line. Entering his 5th year of AFL football and all the injuries hopefully behind him, it’s KK’s time in the Sun in 2018.
Stephen Coniglio: After a breakout year in 2016 averaging 106 in Supercoach and 103 in AFL Fantasy, Stephen’s 2017 was hampered by an ankle injury. After missing the first 6 games of the year he returned for 2 more before missing again until round 19. Coniglio’s score build is the full package. He gets possessions, tackles, marks, clearances and goals. He can play multiple roles as well. If he’s not under a pack extracting the ball, he’s doing a run with / tagging job or sitting on a wing. No matter where he plays he finds the ball.
Averaging 28 possessions in 2016 as well as 5.5 tackles and 3 marks a game. While I don’t see him ever being the ultra premium scorer like your Dangerfield and Mitchell, Coniglio will be a consistent scorer around the 105 – 110 for his career.