Geelong’s Mitch Duncan exploded in 2017 to become a top 15 player overall in Supercoach in 2017, and looked set to become the next great Geelong fantasy midfielder, until Ablett’s return took food off his plate.
He represents safety in his high floor, but with sharing a price bracket with Dusty and Bont who are both Brownlow contenders, a high floor may not be enough for some.
Do you back “Slam” Duncan to return to 110 heights? Or are there too many cooks in Geelong’s midfield kitchen?
Gary Ablett, Lachie Neale, Nat Fyfe, Josh Kelly, Clayton Oliver, Patty Dangerfield, Jack Macrae, Tom Mitchell, Mitch Duncan.
This is the complete list of players who finished top 20 overall in per-game scoring in both 2017 and 2018, where Mitch Duncan averaged 110 and 106 respectively.
In 2017, Duncan was the 15th highest scorer in total points, after he set career highs in disposals (29.1), tackles (5.3), marks (6.6) and clearances (4.3), before becoming the fourth musketeer upon Ablett’s arrival last year.
Unfortunately for Duncan, this forced him out of the starting midfield, but he was still able to have the second best season of his career. Now with Ablett set to move forward, logic would dictate that Mitch will step back in as the third starting midfielder and pick up right where he left off in 2017 as a 110 player, and at 27 years old, he should be right in the guts of his prime.
He is more of a Supercoach player than fantasy due to his elite efficiency, and it is his ball use that makes him such an asset in a midfield with Dangerfield and Selwood who are both not necessarily known for pinpointing targets out of stoppages.
If all the rumours about players apparently having an extra second or two to dispose of the footy with the extra room in the middle, then it would make sense to have your best ball users in at least one of the starting roles. He is also extremely durable, playing 63 games over the past three H&A seasons (played 24 games in 2017 and 24 in 2016 including finals).
For as good as he was in 2017, he clearly regressed in almost every area last year (career high in Rebound-50s shows he was playing behind the ball more than he ever has).
The clear variable in that equation is Ablett, but with talk of midfields getting quicker this year, and the names Quinton Narkle and Nakia Cockatoo being floated as important pieces in the middle this year, will Duncan’s smooth and efficient style be more suited on a wing with the new 6-6-6 format? Menegola would also make sense to take Ablett’s midfield minutes in a straight swap in starting positions, and Charlie Constable is also high regarded internally and, at this stage, it’s hard to see him playing a non-midfield position.
The beauty of Mitch Duncan is the floor he represents. In the past two seasons, he has only dropped below 80 points on two occasions (72 and 70). This is because of his surgical precision with his kicking, and well rounded game that features above average tackles, marks, and he has 22 goals over the past two years.
But due to the largely uncontested nature of his game, there is a ceiling concern. From his 17 games in 2018 where he scored 94+ points, he only managed to hit 125 on three occasions (high of 134). This means you are likely spending 570k on a midfielder who is not a realistic captain option.
For all the ceiling concerns, and the lack of a clearly defined role, Mitch has the ability to be one of the top midfielders in the game. In his last 10 games of 2017, including three finals, he averaged 122.7.
Consecutively, he scored 144, 108, 106, 118, 132, 109, 125, 131, 144, 110, flashing the ability to go huge and string it together in a way that few in the game are capable of.
If he moves back into centre bounce arrangements, then he is automatically a candidate to average 110 for the year, and is a very good chance at playing 20+ games (touch wood).
He uses the ball well which makes him an asset in Supercoach more than fantasy, and he stuffs the stat sheet with tackles, marks and goals. He has single game career-highs of 18 tackles, 14 marks, 38 touches and 11 clearances, all while rarely missing a target, illustrating the variety of ways he can score.
It is very possible that midfields are moving more towards quicker, more dynamic players, and Mitch will be destined to be an outside contributor, but he represents a high floor in any situation, and he is the type of player who will never cost you a week’s matchup, but he also may not be a match-winner.
Is this the kind of player you want to spend 570k on? It is a congested price bracket, but he is one of the lower risk options if you are looking for a safe POD with upside. Watch JLT closely for role.
What do you think, community?