Analysis

2015 Draft Bargains and Backfires

Just like the AFL, we – as Fantasy coaches – undertake a vigorous and high-pressure draft prior to the commencement of every season. As with any group of talented players, there will always be some booms, busts and serious backfires when it comes to selections.

So who were some of the biggest bargains in the 2015 Draft with the beauty of hindsight? What would the top 20 look like if coaches could have seen into the future to this very day?

Bargains

As is the case every year, the bargain picks or ‘sleepers’ are the ones that bring real excitement. Difficult to pick, but hugely rewarding when it comes off – correctly selecting the ‘bolter’ can set up any team for fantasy success.

Highly rated and widely discussed this pre-season, Lachie Neale was publicly backed by some big names, and punted on earlier by those who had faith in the gun midfielder. This faith has been rewarded to date – putting in a premium year and starting to display his potential consistently.

St Kilda has been in the fantasy spotlight this year, with three players in the top eleven scorers as at Round 20. Along with star Saint and top-performer Jack Steven, David Armitage and Leigh Montagna were the two others to round out this trio – with both going well after 100 in Ultimate Footy drafts. Armitage has finally had the breakout season many thought would never come, whilst Montagna has returned to prominence after being written off by almost everyone in fantasy circles pre-2015.

Others to be enjoying stellar seasons are Sydney jet Dan Hannebery, former number three pick Andrew Gaff and ex-Docker Dylan Roberton – who was undrafted in just about every league to be one of the finds of the season.

The last player I’ll mention is Geelong’s steeplechaser Mark Blicavs. Possibly the only Ruck-Centre we’ll see in the game, ‘Blitz’ is forging a new position in fantasy and on the field – becoming one of the best pickups this year. Drafted by many in the final rounds, if there’s a name for the bargain of the year, I believe it should henceforth be known as ‘The Blitz’. It’s fitting then, that his nickname also reflects his 2015 performance.

Backfires

Not one for negativity (and I may or may not have/had a number of these players), I’ll keep this section short and bitter. 2015’s ‘naughty list’ includes a few flops from this year’s draft and some who’ve just let down their coaches – plain and simple.

Jobe Watson has tried his hardest but couldn’t continue to shoulder the burden that the Essendon saga had left. The Bomber captain failed to retain his fantasy premium status and was beaten by injury to end an average year for the Brownlow winner. The question now begs, are his best fantasy days over? Bryce Gibbs typifies Carlton’s year – dropping his average by over 20 points and playing just a few decent games before his season was also ended by injury – a far cry from a 2014 season that brought him a club Best & Fairest.

Sam Gibson & Nick Malceski have both played enough games this season to make an impact. Sadly, neither has. Gibson owes his fantasy coaches more after pushing the 100 barrier just last year, whilst Malceski was deemed the ‘must have defender’ in the pre-season after moving to the Suns as a free agent. Those who drafted ‘Eski’ as the cornerstone of their defence will be devastated at the year he’s had, and have good cause to place him on the ‘never again list’ as soon as this season is done.

So what would a Top 20 look like if the draft was done today? The answer is simple: very different. Here’s a peek at what could have been using perfect hindsight.

2015 Draft in Hindsight (as at Round 20)

  1. T. Goldstein (NM, R)
  2. L. Hodge (HAW, B/C)
  3. J. Steven (STK, C)
  4. J. Lewis (HAW, C)
  5. D. Swan (COL, C/F)
  6. L. Montagna (STK, C)
  7. S. Pendlebury (COL, C)
  8. D. Hannebery (SYD, C)
  9. P. Dangerfield (ADE, C)
  10. S. Martin (BRI, R)
  11. L. Picken (WB, B/C)
  12. M. Boyd (WB, B/C)
  13. D. Armitage (STK, C)
  14. A. Gaff (WCE, C)
  15. D. Martin (RIC, C/F)
  16. R. Gray (POR, C/F)
  17. L. Dahlhaus (WB, C/F)
  18. D. Mundy (FRE, C)
  19. J. Macrae (WB, C)
  20. M. Blicavs (GEE, C/R)

Leave us your thoughts on my revised top 20 in the comments below. Who would your top pick be, if 2015 drafts were done-over?

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Jamie Radford

    August 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Looks pretty good to me Matt, although I’d have Swan in front of Steven and Lewis due to his dual position status, and I agree with a few others in that I would have Fyfe instead of Macrae. I would also have Taylor Adams in there somewhere. Before he got a corkie leading to a dismal 40 points last week, he was averaging 100 as for/mid which put him in front of both Dahlhaus and Gray.

    Thought both Gaff and Hannebery were in for good years, and happy to say have Gaff in five and Hanners in four of my sides.

    • Matt McGrath

      August 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Adams was in my top 15 or thereabouts before this week Jamie – has been one of the best picks all year imo. Will be many 2016 draft predictions in the next few months so I’ll stay away from that but interesting to match up our own top 20 with this one…

      From our Div 1 Shiva Draft, only 5 of those I listed in the Hindsight Top 20 actually got drafted in our Top 20 – Lewis (9), Swan (3), Pendles (6), Dusty (4) and Gray (4).

  2. Jack

    August 12, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Both Martins should be higher IMO (Dusty & Stefan)

    On a slightly different note. My projected top 10 for next years draft…

    1. Goldy
    2. Rocky
    3. GAJ
    4. Stefan Martin
    5. Dusty Martin
    6. Hodge
    7. Selwood
    8. Gray
    9. Pendals
    10. Picken/Murphy

    I think you can’t ignore Rocky as his year has been affected by injuries. Same with Selwood, he has had an off year but is an elite fantasy scorer. Stefan Martin I feel doesn’t get the credit he deserves and with potentially no Leuenberger next year he will be a safe pick.

    Based on that I think you Rocky & Selwood might slide or be projected worse than above and be bargain picks.

  3. matt

    August 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Macrae over Fyfe or Priddis is a questionable call, especially considering he was dropped for a few games.

  4. Nathan

    August 11, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    No fyfe?

    • Matt McGrath

      August 12, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Fyfe was on the borderline and realistically would be selected inside the top 15 due to the name-value and potential captaincy double points. I just thought Macrae’s points gave him a slight edge.

      Note: this top 20 is slightly subjective so everyone’s would be very different.

  5. Dean

    August 11, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    No Goddard in your revised top 20? One of only 3 forwards averaging 100 (more than Gray or Dahlhaus).

    • Matthew James

      Matthew James

      August 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Yeah I’d have Goddard ahead of Gray (who missed one game). Not Dahl though. That 29 v St Kilda from Goddard was an absolute disgrace.

    • Matt McGrath

      August 12, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Goddard has been okay this year – up, down and thereabouts but hasn’t done enough to suggest his value would be higher than picked initially (fell to 20-25 in most drafts I saw)… on the borderline and likely the next forward to be called in my ‘rankings’ within the mooted top 20.

      • Dean

        August 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        Funny you say that because if you put aside his awful 29 against St Kilda, since round 2 he’s got 10 hundreds and nothing else lower than 88.

  6. Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott

    August 11, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Goldsteeeeeeeeeeeein

    • Rally Monkey

      August 11, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Drafted five of the top 20 in Shiva including Goldsteeeeeein….only to trade out 4 of them….I feel like Carlton!

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