Moving into the middle by Mr Crimmins

AFL Fantasy analysis by Mr Crimmins

PLAYERS SET FOR MIDFIELD TIME

A few weeks ago the community were sitting around, having a quiet beer and listening to stories of Jock’s 900+ game career for the Karingal Bulls, when we received a call from one of our loyal followers. It was a question that had all of us up in our chairs.

We were asked just who are the defenders/forwards also training with their midfield groups. Being the most aerobically fit person at the community, I was quick to put my hand up and tackle this question.

Fantasy Football has become a midfielder’s game. To maximise our performance, we try to select as many midfielders as we possibly can. The fellows who run the great game have been super generous in giving us extra cattle in the midfield this season. However, there’s still a god forsaken limit to how many midfield players we can select. Selecting forwards and defenders who run through the middle could be the answer, just like me selecting another light beer when the Seaford RSL runs out of Foster’s Light Ice.

I donned my old Melbourne U/19s jumper and tried to join in on all 18 AFL club’s pre-season training sessions. While I was unwanted, I did come across some forwards and defenders doing some sneaky training with their respective midfields.

PREMIUMS MAKING THE TRANSITION

Bryce Gibbs | $509,800 Supercoach |$473,300 Dreamteam

The big one making the transition from defense to midfield is Bryce Gibbs. Days of being butchered in defence by Ratten are long gone as Mick himself has challenged the former number 1 pick to lift his game in the midfield. Malthouse said back in November that he’d “…like to think he’s going to be playing in the middle, but it’s covered with half-back and half-forward.”

The man is a midfielder, and the fact it was his least effective season stat-wise was in 2012 playing as a set-up defender shows just where he needs to play to get the best footy out of him. We were all thinking it last season, and finally Mick has acted. Lucky for us, he’s a DEF/MID, meaning we can slot him into our defence despite him playing the majority of season 2013 the midfield. No brainer really ladies and gentlemen, must be selected as a premium defender.

Brendon Goddard | $541,500 Supercoach | $501,300 Dreamteam

Another premium that must be selected as a defender is the Goddard lad. Played mainly as a defensive sweeper last season with the Saints. Brendon has already been touted as a midfielder at Windy Hill and looked every bit the possession gatherer on the weekend. While he’s yet to recapture his form of 2010, Brendon’s output has still been up there with the best.

In a year where his average number of fights per game increased, BJ still collected 24 disposals per game, along with 6 marks and 3 tackles in 2012 – but only 12 goals. Brendon’s switch to the guts will be of benefit to us as he’s still a DEF/MID. You’d be very silly not to take advantage of this and select him as a defender – because this could very well be the last year we see Brendon listed as an AFL Fantasy defender.

MID-PRICE GEMS

We’d love to have our defenses and forwards full of premium DPPs (Dual Position players to the newcomers). It’s not possible with our budget. What will separate the top ranked coaches from the poor ones will be those who find the right mid priced gems. Most midfields will be loaded with premiums and rookies, so finding players in the defense and forward who will see midfield time may be the key. They also provide a cheaper option, and for a tightarse like me that is right down my alley.

Angus Monfries | $356,700 Supercoach | $352,300 Dreamteam

First one to take into consideration is young Gus Monfries. Many down at the Seaford Public Bar jump thought me a fool before his stellar performance at AAMI park at the weekend. To some, including myself, he’s that diving menace, but he could be value this coming season. He’s been training solely as a midfielder since his move from Essendon to Port Adelaide and certainly showed promise at the weekend. He has suffered a slight hamstring complaint but nothing to get oneself in too much of a pickle about.

During his time at Windy Hill, he showed a bit in the AFL fantasy caper. In his career-best season of 2011, he averaged a touch under 20 disposals (going at 77% efficiency) and kicked 31 goals. Against Adelaide in Rd 17, 2011, he amassed 35 touches and clunked 10 marks. Even in 2012 despite being the least impressive statistical season of his career, Angus showed us he could collect disposals – picking up 21 v PA, 28 v GC, 17 v WCE and 21 v GWS, before falling away towards the end of the year (wasn’t the only Essendon player to do so). All this while playing as a half-forward.

Jarrod Harbrow | $414,40 Supercoach | $321,400 Dreamteam

Jarrod Harbrow will be unleashed into the Gold Coast midfield on the back of Greg Broughton and Tom Murphy coming to the club.

Like Angus, he too has shown patches of ball winning brilliance. The lad averaged 20+ disposals in 2 of his 3 seasons at Whitten Oval, and also his first season at Gold Coast. An elbow injury hampered his 2012 season, but when he returned he played further up the ground. Jarrod found a bit of the ball, while also kicking more ball inside 50s. McKenna releasing the Harbrow Handbrake and letting him run around the middle will compliment the ball winners of Ablett, Prestia, Swallow, Rischetelli and the incoming Jaeger-bomb. Track his NAB Cup, but Jarrod, selected as a defender, could be the extra midfielder you need, and again, a potential match-winning point of difference.

Greg Broughton| $441,900 Supercoach | $408,000 Dreamteam

One man last season quite high on Vince Gambino’s ‘To Kill’ list was Greg “bloody” Broughton. I spent many a weekend drinking my fantasy sorrows away at the local Seaford RSL thanks to Ross Lyon and his treatment of Broughton. Those who stuck by him were on a rollercoaster ride, with 90+ one week, then 50 the next.

However, a change of scenery and game plan may just be what’s required to ignite Greg’s form. When he was thrown into the midfield by Ross he proved to be quite an effective player. Interestingly he recorded the best clearance differential of the top 10 midfielders at Fremantle. That said, I do think Broughton was recruited with the intention of playing out of the defensive 50. As a lockdown player? No. The recruitment of Tom Murphy (as mentioned above) and the pending return of Nathan Bock will fill that role. Greg will act as a rebounder, which will hopefully see the return of midfield-like numbers. Prior to Ross arriving, Broughton did average 22 touches in ’09, 24 in ’10 and 21 in ’11. Greg can be selected as both a defender and a forward, and while it may take time for trust to return, I’m confident in being the one to put my hand up and suggest you select Greg Broughton…only in SuperCoach though.

Shaun Atley | $380,400 Supercoach | $311,200 Dreamteam

Talented Kangaroo Shaun Atley looks set to elevate his game further and see more time in the middle this season. One aspect of Shaun’s game which improved dramatically last season was his kicking. Atley’s efficiency by foot improved from a lowly 52.1% in 2011 to 72.9% in 2012. He was also ranked equal 9th amongst top 160 kick-winners in competition for metres gained per kick, while also averaging a touch over 18 disposals across half back. Shaun could be a handy SuperCoach pick up as a mid-priced defender if he sees more midfield time. Monitor where Brad Scott plays him over the NAB Cup.

A nest of Tigers

Shane Edwards | $431,500 Supercoach | $358,600 Dreamteam

Ricky Petterd | $240,800 Supercoach | $254,500 Dreamteam

Chris Knights | $248,300 Supercoach | $254,500 Dreamteam

If you look between the lines, the boys down at Mr Crouching One’s beloved Richmond are going to have quite a number running through the midfield. Shane Edwards, Ricky Petterd and Chris Knights have been doing a bit of training with the midfield groups, and may see a bit of time in the middle. However, the two I’d keep a close eye on during the NAB Cup period are Chris Knights and Shane Edwards.

Chris’ move to Richmond from Adelaide could be just what he needs to re-ignite his career. He’s struggled to string games together, managing just 26 in the past 3 seasons. You have to go back to 2009 to see just how good Knights was in his prime. He averaged 18 disposals and 2 goals per game. Since then, injuries and form have held him back. However, he spent the SANFL season as a midfielder and dominated – averaging 26 touches per game, which included 4 games about 30+ disposals. Given he can only be selected as a forward and at his price; he should be a lock as your mid-priced forward.

Shane Edwards, from what I saw when I was down there, is having a sensational pre-season, and looks to be spending more time in the middle this season if you listen to Damien Hardwick. Shane’s scores last season suggest he should only be looked at from a Supercoach point of view, averaging 81 compared to 70 in Dream Team. It was the equal-second biggest rise in AFL Supercoach points of any Richmond player last season. So there are signs young Shane is on the up.

While playing across half-forward last season, he had a career high in contested possessions and goals. On top of this, he had the greatest impact on the scoreboard behind Jack Riewoldt, and was ranked 3rd for goals. It’s clear that Shane can be a real weapon in attack, and could be a headache for sides if he goes into the middle. He is an impact player who suits the Supercoach game beautifully. Ignored by most, if not, all coaches, Shane should be seriously considered as he looks to improve on his good 2012.

In conclusion

So, if you are constantly referred to as a “tight arse” like myself, or desire that team of midfielders we can only dream about, those forwards/defenders that will see time in the middle could be the answer. Definitely keep an eye during the NAB Cup period for those with elevated midfield time, because they could very well be the difference between fantasy success and failure.

I’ll throw it out to you guys now – got any players who may see more time in the guts?

Mr Crimmins

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Comments (44)

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  1. Merlin says:

    old mate chris knights seems a bit pricey in sc crimmins buddy

  2. footy_head says:

    i reckon pearce hanley will spend a fair bit of time in the midfield this season, from all reports hes training with the midfield group. great article mr crimmins :)

    • TheBIGShot says:

      Good luck to him. He hardly scored well enough against decent sides last year to be jumping on there. I know I had him in 2012 and he was a good pick up but he would have to lift against the top 8 sides for me to have him in 2014! No go this year.

      • dools says:

        G'day Big shot P. Hanley is in my team as a Potential Major ball winner Ya its a Coin value gamble but given the ammount of exposure the Irish lad has had to AFL and the leaps and bounds he has made from 18 YO new import to Brisvagas I reall y think he is worth the go. He Kicks more then H/Ball to advantage but also if it's a clanger he has also given the Def a chance to reset where he gets the ball again…I Strongly recommend the young man.
        I just heard a bit of blurb from WA Subin Fre def is a strong tip to play Mid for them and "he is setting club records left right and centre and voted their Players Player in all training….Now I will have to put this young un on my radar as potential Gold…

        • Mac says:

          Hey Dools, do you know if Suban will be playing an inside mid role or more a wing/half back role? – I might have to check him out….

          • Dools says:

            G’day Mac, still chasing that one down no one in Freo willing to comment….Intresting prospect though!!

      • meanieoh says:

        You're not wrong, but don't Brisbane have a easy fixture this year?
        http://www.footywire.com/afl/footy/pg-brisbane-li

  3. Cicjose says:

    the selection of players as a back or forward just because they are playing in the midfield is rubbish

    if players play in the midfield they should only be able to be selected as mids

    there were way too many DPP's last year and with that doubling this year this DPP rubbish has gone out of hand

  4. Brad says:

    Well done Mr.C. You tempted me earlier with talk of Jack Watts. He is on the radar, keen to see how he goes. Jock! An old Karingal boy like myself. Cheer cheer the red and the white……

  5. Kev says:

    Another one for the nest of tigers list, reece conca?
    And from the same draft, rohan beiwck from the lions?

    Personally I wouldn't go with them, just throwing the names out there.

    Top shelf stuff Mr Crimmins, my hatred of Greg Bloody Broughton is easing somewhat, if he puts in a solid pre season I might just have a bit of a flutter

    • Dwaino says:

      With Foley missing the early part of the season, and Lonergan spending most of the pre-season in the rehab group, reckon Conca is a dead set certain to get massive game time along side Tuck on the inside. Conca’s third pre-season now (though missed the start of the nov/dec training through injury) should mean he’s ready to start hitting his straps.

  6. stormy says:

    great article Mr Crimmins you have given me new ideas for my dream team side i just want to say thanks for sharing some of your wisdom. i will throw a player out there that been on my watch list for some time now his name is nick saban. he looked really good in the guts on the weekend he can be picked as a defender . the pav has said he will play more in the guts this season good price but i think i will be to scared to pick him in my final dream team side.

  7. Brendan Floggard says:

    Hanley of the pierce … More mid time … Hmmm

  8. Paddles says:

    Tifers are moving about check Chris Newman will be on the Wing and rotating through the middle get on him.

    • Stevo says:

      Im with you paddles! Chris Newman if he plays on the wing and rotates through the middle should be 100+ average easy. he is a beautiful kick and has a really good kick/handball ratio… 2012 was 11.5 k to 5.2 hb average and he had a pretty crap season to be honest.

    • Mac says:

      I've already got him – the only reason he scored badly was because of the forward tags he copped. Now he's in the midfield, the opposition will be worried about Cotchin/Deledio/Tuck leaving him free to rack up the points.

  9. TheBIGShot says:

    Love the work MR C!. What an addition you are to the top shelf crew at JRs stable of genuine genius,

  10. James says:

    Great article Mr. Crimmins; I have 5 DPP midsin my backline and 4 (+1 rookie) DP Mids in my forward line.

    Surely you've considered Dyson Heppell; I picked him last year assuming he'd break out; or at worst not depreciate in value (he was also 450k in 2012)
    Towards the end of last season he spent considerable time in the midfield,allbeit largely due to injury and poor form of others. However, was always there getting involved.
    Last year he developed quite well, and I think he reads the play far better than last year. On the weekend he played largely in the midfield, looked pretty good and scored well; getting into the right positions to get the footy

    At worst he'll stay the same price, at best he'll be a great point of difference. I think he has less risk than Hardbrow and Broughton.
    I'm also surprised there's been less hype on him, too

  11. Dyno Mite says:

    Tom Rockliff – Jet

  12. Shaun` says:

    First time I've seen Jarrod Harbrough mentioned anywhere. He's been in and out of my side the whole pre-season. Could be a great smokie.

  13. Brick says:

    I find the exclusion of Heppell a little bemusing. But at the same time he is on EVERYONE'S radar.
    I think that a bloke like Pederson ruc/def at 280k or thereabouts is worth a mention too, he won't become elite but he might just help you juggle the budget a bit better for decent returns and eventual farming out for $$$$.
    Also Krakour + LeCras might spend more time in the centre too.

    Considerations galore.

  14. Crimmins, you magnificant BASTARD.

  15. @MRB37 says:

    After watching the past two years of Chris Knights, I'd be worried about him playing in the guts, too slow for my liking. I could see him getting back to 2011 type form, average 70-75 SC points a game.

    Question for him is his kicking, which is what made him a very good player previously. If he looks like he's got anywhere near his 2009 boots on, then he could be a dangerous player up HFF or on the wing for the Tigers. Watch in pre-season, if the kicking is there, grab him,.

  16. Ryan says:

    Hey, any thoughts on my team as of week one of the NAB cup? at the moment I'm going with a few mid pricers in the fwd line as Buddy and Nic Nat are early upgrade targets.

    BACK: Goddard, Gibbs, Duffield, Broughton, Goodes, Docherty (Stevenson, Terlich)

    MID: Ablett, Swan, Cotchin, Murphy, Fyfe, Stevens, Mitchell, O'Meara (Crouch, Viney)

    RUCK: Cox, Leuenberger (Gawn Currie)

    FWD; Pavlich, Rockliff, Jenkins, Monfries, Varcoe, Byrnes (Daniher, Macaffer)

    If a couple of the mid pricers step up, they can become keepers, but if not I can trade them out. No doubt this will change and I may even go back to the old guns and rookies structure. Jenkins/Cox as ruck/fwd swing.

    All thoughts appreciated.

    • Scott says:

      Ryan, very nice team. Maybe consider whether you can afford to upgrade to JPK or Danger over Murphy, especially given the soft starts Swans and Crows have compared with Carlton.

    • Shimma says:

      Like Rockliff, Jenkins and Monfries in the FWD line

  17. Ally says:

    Hey guys this is my team so far any feedback will be great :)
    Backs Goddard shaw Gibbs Newman broughton dochtery Stevenson terlich
    Mids ablett swan j Kennedy danger cotchin wines kerrige omera viney colquhourn
    Ruck Goldstein leuenberger Rowe moller
    Forward cox bartell rocky menzel caffer lee membry sumner

  18. James says:

    Hi Jock,

    What do you think of my forward line:

    Rocklief, Roughead, Steve Jay, Mark Lecras, Varcoe, Macaffer (Lee, Kerridge)

    Should I stick with Steve Jay even though he is suspended? Should I replace Lecras for Monfries?

    Would love your thoughts,

    Cheers

    • Supercoach Genius says:

      Semi good forward line I can suggest some improvements:

      Mark Lecras Is a good pick
      Get rid of Varcoe maybe replace him with Gunston
      Roughhead Is a good pick I chose Jack Riewoldt over him though
      Steve Jay is suspended
      Get Monfries He may have a cracker season instead of Macaffer

      Keep in mid Luke Dahlhaus is talented same with Chris Knights
      you haven't named any rookies but S.White and S.Mayes will be the cash cow tis year for the forward!

      Hope you enjoyed the tips

      Regards Marc

      • Togg says:

        get rid of varcoe? please. varcoe will gain money. is already 115k odd cheaper. DPP. AND seemed good at NAB cup. consider shannon byrnes there mate at 230k he is locked and loaded in my team. monfries is a very good consideration. macaffer is a must but..

    • Shimma says:

      Keeping Stevie J depends on if you're going for a league win or overall. If league win may as well keep him because comp doesnt start until Round 3 and he'll be playing by then. Rockliff and Roughy are good. I like your idea of LeCras to Monfries. The rest are solid.

  19. Mac says:

    Still a bit skeptical about jarrod harbrow – Do you know something we don't Crimmins?

  20. leroy says:

    What about Chad Wingard as a break through player ( Cash Cow) this year?

    • Tommy Gun says:

      What’s the news on Super Pav? Is he lined up for some mid field action or more of a forward role? Absolute gun, DPP but maybe a bit pricey.. Thoughts anyone?

  21. Zane Mac says:

    Mr. Crimmins, thoughts on Heath Scotland for season 2013?

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