SAM MITCHELL was a Fantasy star during his career, averaging 92 in his 303 home and away games including his personal-best return of a 112 average in 2011.
Fantasy coaches hope that his Fantasy scoring ways can rub off on his young charges.
Although he plays a completely different position, one of the most selected players already this pre-season is James Sicily (DEF, $510,000).
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The 26-year-old missed the 2021 season due to an ACL injury. He had fully recovered by the end of the season and the intercepting defender is on track to complete a full pre-season.
Sicily’s 30 per cent discount on his price for missing a full season priced him at 61. This is a cheap price to play as in 2018 his last three seasons returned averages of 96, 84 and 97. A lock for your backline and the risk is limited due to how many coaches are bullish on his potential output in 2022.
Lock them in
Once a pig, always a pig. Tom Mitchell (MID, $969,000) was awarded Fantasy Pig status in 2018 after he returned averages of 127 and 129 in his first two seasons as a Hawk. While he missed the entire 2019 season because of a fractured leg, he was back to his best last year. Mitchell played all 22 games at an average of 116. The ball-magnet racked up four 130-plus scores following Hawthorn’s bye while averaging 126 in his last 11 matches.
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Jack Gunston (FWD, $468,000) comes in heavily discounted which prices him at 56 points per game. Considering he has been 20-plus points better than that in every season since 2013, there is upside for the 30-year-old. Gunston builds his Fantasy scores through marks. If he’s fit and firing to go following the back injury that restricted him to just one game last year, then he’s worth a look as an under-priced forward.
Holding FWD status, Conor Nash (MID/FWD, $466,000) showed signs late last season that he can put together some decent Fantasy numbers given the right role. Nash collected scores of 95, 92 and 98 in his last month of football. There’s plenty of risk, but if he’s given the opportunity, a bench spot beckons in Draft for a forward with that kind of potential.
Hawthorn’s first-round pick in the NAB AFL Draft was 181cm midfielder Josh Ward (MID, $278,000). He was the only other midfielder alongside Nick Daicos to average 30 disposals in the NAB League last season. Ward’s 108 Fantasy average for the Northern Knights was built not only on disposals but marks and tackles where he averaged five apiece.
In just his second season, James Worpel (MID, $661,000) averaged an impressive 96.7 and backed it up with 96.5. Everything was looking up for the hard-working inside midfielder. He dropped off significantly in 2021 only managing to crack the Fantasy ton on three occasions. Worpel should bounce back this season as the Hawks look to the future with their midfield group and the 22-year-old should be smack bang in the middle as they rebuild.
Custom stat star
Chad Wingard (MID/FWD, $740,000) had his best season since joining the Hawks, averaging 88.3. While he missed six games throughout the season due to three different injuries, his end to 2021 was outstanding, averaging 109 in the last five rounds. Wingard is likely to be a popular option in Draft after being the fifth-ranked forward by average. He would give added value in a customised Draft league which awards points for inside 50s. Wingard averaged 4.8, ranking him fourth of all available forwards.
We may have seen the last of Ben McEvoy (RUC/FWD, $671,000) as a Fantasy option. Big Boy has been a solid contributor for Draft coaches who have opted to punt their rucks and pick up solid, best-22 types who are likely to average 80, in the later rounds. The Hawks are likely to get more games into Ned Reeves and new recruit Max Lynch which would mean McEvoy plays more forward, or rests, which will impact his Fantasy numbers.