Welcome to my first 2018 Team Reveal!

I used last years ultimate team structure – as a starting point. One of my biggest challenges is that the wallet was more constrained than ever. I have gone for a a more rookie-heavy mid-field – given some solid choices this year which should drive growth and hold me in stead for the season ahead.

The Team

Remaining Salary Cap: $6,000

Defenders

Rory Laird – As one of the premium defenders in the competition, Rory doesn’t need much introduction. While he won’t improve much but barring injury he’s a safe bet to finish in the top few defenders at the end of the season. Given Docherty’s injury and Simpson and Shaw’s age there are few premium defenders to choose from making him one of the most selected.

Jack Crisp – During last season Jack seems to have found his spot as a rebounding half-back. This resulted in an increase in his output – putting him in the frame as a top 6 defender. I expect a few up and down prices this year, but he’s at an enticing price with plenty of up-side. Collingwood have a star-studded mid-field but fewer options in defence. So his job security should be good.

James Sicily – This is a player who will drive a lot of coaches mad. During the last 6 rounds he smashed 100 four times along with a paltry 24 points in one game. As one of the most hyped players this year if James fails to fire at least you won’t be alone. So far this pre-season he’s looked good in their intraclub hit-out playing as a defender (which is where he plays his best footy). For me, the possibilities for his price are tempting which is why he’s in my team.

Andrew McGrath – Reports up in Bomberland have last years #1 draft-pick training exclusively in the mid-field. His vacant position in defense has been filled by Adam Saad so I don’t think he will be pushed back there too often. He has been slated as this years Clayton Oliver, but to be fair I think his improvment will be more modest. One concern I have is his kick to handball ratio – but he’s a nice user of the ball so I think he will prosper in his new role.

Coffield, Mirra, Doedee, and Murray – Placeholders: The jury is out on rookie players until after the JLT and the lead-up to Round 1.

Mid-Fielders

Tom Mitchell – My main reason for selecting Tom Mitchell is he’s a ‘set and forget’ Captain. He’s a rare quality in that he’s both a fantasy pig and durable. This has giving him the the title of the highest scoring fantasy player ever. The next in line, Patrick Dangerfield, now has pressure from Gary Ablett which makes it hard to recommend him at this stage.

Zach Merrett – It’s easy to forget that Zach is merely 22 years old and still has room for improvement. One of his major attractions for me is Essendon’s easy start to the season. Essendon’s mid-field has changed which is some cause for concern. Similar predictions were made last year when the banned-bombers returned, but Zach flourished starting the season on fire averaging 127.4 in his first 5 games.

Josh Kelly – Josh is similar to Zach Merrett in that he’s a young-star of the competition. The best thing about Josh is that there’s very little down-side to him. He’s dependable. Last year he finishing his season with 7 x 100’s in a row (including finals), and only dipped below 100 on 5 occasions. And even they were all 80 and above. The Giant’s also have the easiest start to the season of any team, so there’s little reason not to start with him.

Matt Couch – The young crow finished off the end of 2017 in scintillating fashion, averaged 120.3pts in the finals series. Priced at 106.7, he still has up-side given his excellent ceiling. He has to be given the nod over his brother, Brad, who still has injury concerns this pre-season. The big unknown is how Bryce Gibbs will affect the Adelaide mid-field, and his scoring potential.

Isaac Heeney – Yes, you are reading it right – he’s in my mid-field. The reason is due to structure: I have three rookie priced players on the ground in my forward line – and this year there isn’t much depth there. Should I need to plug a hole in the forward line, I don’t need to settle on a rookie with the job-security of Harley Bennell after a night out. This gives me more options, and the ability to swing Isaac forward where I think he will finish as one of the highest scoring forwards.

Dow, Davies-Uniacke, Kelly, Worpel, and Brayshaw – Placeholders: The jury is out on rookie players until after the JLT and the lead-up to Round 1.

Rucks

Sam Jacobs – One of the ruck-men who is in the prime of his career. I mainly picked ‘sauce’ because he is safe. He doesn’t have another ruck who risks bleeding points from him, unlike Grundy or Martin. Kreuzer may average more, but Sauce is far more durable. This allows me to take more risk with…

Max Gawn – The bearded giant is a far riskier pick – and I don’t like picking players who have missed so many games. However, Max represents great value – and it was only two years ago he was one of the premier rucks in the competition with an average of over 106. He showed glimpses after his return last year, and apparently has been training well. And he doesn’t have a young ruck that’s likely to cause alarm. Given his undeniable upside, I’ve decided to take the punt on him.

Forwards

Toby McLean – This guy has flown under the radar, and doesn’t have the fan-fare of others. My mate, Dylan Holt selected him in his Team reveal, and I can see why. Between round 14 and round 23 Toby averaged 95 points – and saw a lot of action in the mid-field. And my preferred archetype of forwards are those who will swing through the middle and get plenty of touches. If Toby can average in the mid-90’s for the entire season, he should be a top-3 forward come seasons end.

Devon Smith – The small-forward from the Giants has joined Essendon, and will take Colyer’s spot in the mid-field. Apparently him and Stringer have been dominating in practice at Bomberland – and Devon without doubt is the less risky of the two. I don’t see a lot of competition for his spot with Colyer still in a moon boot and well behind in the pecking order. Also, Essendon has an easy start to the year, so I think Devon will get off to a good start. I think he will push his average above 90.

Mitch Robinson – Mitch can almost be described as a fallen-premium – with previous purple-patches of 110. He’s definitely a high-risk-high-reward player – and is one of only two discounted players I’m looking at this year. With Rockcliff’s departure and I believe Mitch is going to be the prime benficiary. Apparently he’s in excellent fitness after last years lay-off so hopefully he’ll be ready to go. He’s every possibility to finish as a top 6 mid.

Setterfield (RIP) Rayner, Stephenson, Fritsch, Rioli, and Ahern – Placeholders: The jury is out on rookie players until after the JLT and the lead-up to Round 1.

Conclusion

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