Eyecatchers Round 3 – Bailey Williams

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You’d have to literally blind if the Western Bulldog’s Bailey Williams didn’t catch your eye as a fantasy coach in Round 3. The 20-year old collected 26 disposals and 12 marks, as well as kicking a goal to register 114 points against the Bombers at Etihad Stadium.

It was a standout performance from Williams and the first ton of his 21-game career, with his previous best an 86 against the Tigers in Round 7 last year. His next highest score of 83 was produced last week, meaning two of the three highest fantasy scores he has produced have come in the last fortnight.

In his third year of senior football, Williams made just the six appearances in his debut season for a fantasy average of 50.3, followed by 12 games in 2017 at an average of 62.1. While those figures are not outstanding, they are pretty solid for a young defender, and in only two of those 12 did he fail to reach 60.

Looking at Williams short career thus far and the figures he has produced, all the signs are there that he could be in for a break-out season. With each game he appears in he seems to be gaining in confidence, which is shown by his willingness to run up the ground out of defence.

Amongst his 26 disposals against the Bombers were seven rebound and three inside 50s, as well as a goal, while his kicking efficiency of 92.3% was second only to Brendon Goddard on the day.

Williams was originally drafted by the Bulldogs with selection 48 in the 2015 National Draft. Hailing from South Australia, he played in the SANFL for Glenelg during that season, which included a 58-disposal haul against Woodville-West Torrens, which again shows he can get plenty of the ball.

Perhaps the only knock on Williams’ game from a fantasy perspective was his lack of tackling. While he had a team high five one percenters, he failed to register a legitimate tackle, and laid only three over the first two rounds of the season.

While tackles are not the be all and end all of how you rate a player from a fantasy viewpoint, a player who lays plenty can always be counted on for a semi-decent score, while one who doesn’t relies purely on getting the ball.

Although only three games into the new season, Williams appears to have already consolidated his spot in the Bulldog’s senior line-up, and although he cannot be expected to crank out tons each week, it would not surprise to see the 20-year old produce a fantasy average in the high 70s to low 80s in his third season.

It also doesn’t hurt his fantasy prospects that the Bulldogs play another 11 games at Etihad Stadium in 2018 – a ground synonymous with decent fantasy scoring.

Currently available in 51% of Ultimate Footy leagues at the time of writing, all the signs are there for Baily Williams to have a break-out season in 2018, but no doubt that will not be the case for long. Jump on board if you can.

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