Prices, locks, bargains, draft sleeper, more

CARLTON has been ‘building’ for a number of years but the only player consistently reflecting that is young star Sam Walsh.

I think we will see significant improvement across the board under Michael Voss, which makes a number of players under-priced if he can get the best out of them.

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Lock them in

The man, the legend. Sam Walsh (MID, $914,000) continued his impressive rise to the elite ranks, once again adding a new career-high to the resume with an average of 109 points per game. Although we know he is all class, there were questions over his ceiling leading into last season but he blew that concern out of the water with six scores in the 120s, a 132 and a whopping 155. He learned on the fly last year how to deal with a tag with minimal support and his high workrate ensured he was hard to run with. He is more than capable of reaching 115.

Track their pre-season

Patrick Cripps (MID, $686,000). The inspirational leader was a shadow of his former self last year and looked every bit a player that carried a team on his own back for a number of years. With the emergence of Walsh and some smart recruiting in the midfield, a good bill of health will give ‘Crippa’ every opportunity to return to his premium heights. A friendly reminder that he averaged 109 in 2018, so the Fantasy game is there and if he is moving freely over the pre-season, it will be hard to say no given he is priced at just 82.

Patrick Cripps during a Carlton training session on December 6, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Dual-position tempter

George Hewitt (MID/DEF, $537,000). Z Will take two? That is certainly a possibility, but he isn’t coming in with the same scoring expectations or price tag. Selected by the Blues to fill a contested midfield void to ease the pressure on the likes of Cripps so he will be given every opportunity to prove his worth in there. He is priced at 64 and averaged 80 from round 18 onward. Well worth bumping up the Draft rankings.

Bargain basement

Luckless Blues defender Caleb Marchbank (DEF, $294,000) has missed a couple of years due to a horrible run of injuries which leaves him basically rookie priced. Although he hasn’t traditionally been the highest scorer, in 2017 he did average 69 from 16 games and if he can replicate that he would be the perfect D6 cash cow. Charlie Curnow (FWD, $347,000) is in the same boat with a price tag that certainly doesn’t reflect the talent of a guy who is capable of dominating, as we saw in round 13 of 2019 where he took seven marks and kicked seven goals for a score of 122. I know many will scoff at my talking about Curnow, but if he is fit, he is priced at just 41 and he has averaged over 70 on two occasions.

Charlie Curnow in good shape at Carlton training on December 6, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Draft sleeper

Zac Williams (DEF, $600,000). Let’s just say last year Z Will fell well short of my expectations last season. Projected to have an instant impact in the Blues midfield, it didn’t take long until he was thrown down back and he basically stayed there. I still think back to 2019 when he was flying as a midfielder for GWS while averaging 106 for the last 10 games. If fit, he is under-priced based on his scoring potential.

Custom stat star

Harry McKay (FWD, $589,000). If your league shows a bit of respect to the big boys up forward by putting some sauce on goals, the Coleman medallist is coming off a career year where he kicked 58 through the big sticks. His average of 70 would push toward premium status with the boost of inflated scoring to reward goalkickers.

Buyer beware

Matthew Kennedy (MID, $720,000). The former Giant became Fantasy relevant last season when he was finally given an opportunity in the midfield after making limited contributions as a forward. He finished the season in outstanding fashion with eight scores over 90 in his last 10 games, which included 131. The issue was, one of those scores under 90 was when he was thrown forward … for a score of 43. The Blues added midfielders including young star Adam Cerra (MID, $732,000) to their list in the off season, so Kennedy may well find himself fighting for a game once again, let alone midfield time.

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