In 2015, Cripps announced himself on the AFL stage. With Carlton champion Chris Judd going down to a career-ending injury, the Blues youngster stood up and took control. That year, he finished 2nd in the Rising Star and posted insane clearance numbers.
Fast-forward two years and Cripps is now a known quantity. However, he has serious competition from an array of young guns for the title of best young midfielder in the league. In fact, Cripps is at a point now where he should be hitting his peak and will quickly move away from the ‘young gun’ title. In 2018, he’ll have nowhere to hide and you better believe his name will be on the lips of every opposition coach.
2017 was supposed to be the year we saw the 195cm Blues extractor rise to the AFL’s elite, but injury stopped this coming to fruition when a hot run of form was cut short due to a stray kick in the back of the leg from Jayden Hunt in Round 16. This resulted in a broken fibula and ended his season there and then.
The year was far from a write off, however – with Patty posting an admirable 98.3 fantasy average for the year from his 15 games. His best streak (from Rounds 5-15) saw him dominate games with an average of 107.6 (110.5 in SuperCoach), proving that his upward trajectory towards elite status is on track.
With Sam Docherty out for 2018, expect Patrick Cripps to become the Blues’ number one scorer in all forms of fantasy.
In Round 8, 2017 we saw the best of what he has to offer – a career-high game that saw the midfield giant tally 30 possessions, 11 marks, 5 tackles and 2 goals for 143 DT/157 SC points. Expect this to become a regular feat come 2018.
In draft circles, Cripps had an average draft position (ADP) of 48 this year and will likely be picked up around the same mark next season – in the 4th or 5th round – and will prove to be an excellent pickup, one of the more likely players capable of increasing their output by 10+ points per game at the top end of the draft.
So in short, what do we know?
Patrick Cripps is about to hit his peak in both AFL and fantasy means, approaching 23 years old and his fifth season. He’s an absolute beast, boasting the biggest frame of any midfielder in the game and near impossible to stop at the coal face. The man-mountain is looking fit having recovered from his injuries and is ready to assume the top spot at Carlton – who looks to be firing up a more fantasy-friendly style of play in 2018.
With many of the star midfielders of the game now approaching their decline, it’s time for a new wave of stars to step up. Expect Cripps to join the likes of Tom Mitchell and Zach Merrett at the top in 2018 and continue that trend.