In the Saints' first season back under the guidance of Ross Lyon, their Fantasy game was strong.
A whopping six players averaged 90 or more points in 2023, the most in the League. They also scored the most points as a team and averaged the most scores over 100 for the season. Ross made Fantasy coaches happy last year.
Rowan Marshall (RUC, $1,045,000) was the best of the Saints last season and proved to be one of the picks of the season. He took his price of $808,000 to $1,036,000, playing all 23 games for an average of 115.8. This was 25 points better than 2022. We can expect much of the same this year as Marshall should be a popular early selection in Draft as he is the third ranked player by average.
In his three years in the red, white, and black, Brad Crouch (MID, $932,000) has proven to be a gun Fantasy player. He’s missed just three games and averaged 102. It’s all about the ceiling with Crouch. Last year he scored more than 120 on six occasions with high scores of 133 and 137.
Lock them in
As the mullet has grown thicker and lusher, so has the Fantasy game of Jack Sinclair (DEF, $922,000). He had a huge breakout in 2022 after eight years in the system to average 102.9. He backed it up last year with 102.2. Playing every game of the last two seasons, and relishing his role off half-back, an increase in marks and disposals has been what has made Sinclair the Fantasy player that he is. Most are ranking Sinclair as the second best defender behind Nick Daicos this season. If you’re looking for a consistent performer, Sinclair's your man!
Track their pre-season
Back in 2021, Jack Steele (MID, $884,000) was awarded joint Dane Swan medallist for the Fantasy MVP (with Touk Miller) for his epic season average of 121.4 from his 22 games. The following season his average dropped to 110.4 and further regression saw Steele finish last year with an average of 97.9, pricing him the lowest he’s been since 2019. He didn’t get going in 2023, hampered by injury and as a result recorded nine scores under 90, the most in a season since 2016. Fantasy coaches like a bargain and if things go his way this pre-season, Steele could be an absolute steal.
Marcus Windhager (DEF/MID, $570,000) played 18 home and away games in 2023 to average 63.2. Early on he was used as the Saints’ substitute and spent some time in the VFL. His four games at the lower level returned an average of 116.5 before getting back in the team post-bye to play 12 games at 77.7. With a couple of Fantasy tons, Windhager played as a midfielder and behind the ball which helped boost his scoring. Consider moving him up your Draft rankings.
Taken at pick No.18 in the 2023 AFL Draft, Darcy Wilson (MID/FWD, $249,000) had some of the best results at the Draft Combine testing. The lively midfielder-forward averaged 16 disposals, three marks, three tackles and a goal per game to average 70.8. His numbers for the Murray Bushrangers in the Coates Talent League were even more impressive with an average of 102.5 from his 11 games. One to monitor as a cash cow if he gets his opportunity.
Can a change of club equal more Fantasy points for Paddy Dow (MID, $512,000)? Last season at the Blues, Dow played 10 games for an average of 56.7. This is not a true reflection of his ability as he was the starting substitute in five of the games. His non-sub affected scores saw him average 80.2, more than 20 points better than where he’s been before. A role as a midfielder for St Kilda would make Dow excellent value for deeper Draft leagues where an 80-plus average for a midfielder is fieldable.
Custom stat star
Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (DEF, $824,000) took the most kick-ins for the Saints with 104 for the home and away season with Sinclair sharing the duties for 90. He played on 80 per cent of the time. An increase in this figure, and greater responsibility in making the job his, could be one way of adding some points next season. If you’re looking to add rebound 50s to your custom stats in Draft, NWM averaged 4.3 and 31st in the league for this statistic.
I don’t think too many coaches will be looking at Callum Wilkie (DEF, $787,000) in Classic, but he’s coming in as the 16th defender ranked by average in Draft. This feels super-early for someone who’s previous best output was nearly 20 points lower than last year’s return of 87.1. Can he maintain his nine marks per game? Even after his epic season, he scored just 43 points in the Saints’ elimination final.