There are a few quality draftee dual-position midfielders/forwards worth taking a look at for AFL Fantasy in 2013. We know that natural key-position forwards take the longest to develop. So it’s probably better to draft a dual-position player who will spend time in the middle. In addition, the more dual-position players means the more flexibility in a squad for coverage of injury or byes.
Sam Mayes is headed to Brisbane after being selected with the overall eighth pick in the 2012 draft. Mayes is another MID/FWD dual-position player. In the long-term, Mayes will probably end up a complete midfielder but he may develop at AFL level playing up forward. He has an elite kick, is dangerous around goal, has good speed and is a strong mark. He played 15 games of senior footy in the SANFL for North Adelaide in 2012, including a finals series. For North Adelaide he averaged 13.7 disposals, 8.4 kicks, 5.3 handballs, 5.2 marks, 1.5 tackles and 0.8 goals a game. His best was four goals and the highest amount of disposals was 19. He played an integral part starring for South Australia in the National Championships where he played all five games and averaged 78 AFL fantasy points. It seems Mayes is durable and Lions assistant coach Mark Harvey thinks that he can have an immediate impact at AFL level in 2013. Take Mayes with a late-round selection.
Carlton’s first round selection Troy Menzel is probably one of the better draftees in the forward position. He is listed as a dual-position MID/FWD on AFL Fantasy. Best known as a medium forward who can take a grab, kick goals. Menzel is a natural athlete It’s likely he will spend time running through the midfield. Menzel played seven games in the seniors for the Central Districts in the SANFL. He averaged 12.7 disposals, 8.7 kicks, 4 handballs, 4.1 marks, 1.6 tackles and 1.7 goals per game. He seemed to show steady improvement throughout the year. He booted four goals for Central Districts in round eight and in round 22 he was able to amass an impressive 19 disposals. He was only able to play two games in the National Championships after suffering a groin injury. He averaged 128 AFL Fantasy points over the two games and kicked two bags of nine and six goals versus Tasmania and NT respectively. If you were hoping Menzel doesn’t have the same dodgy knees as his brother Daniel then think again. He has already had LARS surgery on one of his knees. It might be a good idea to think of Menzel as a potential free agent selection. Carlton assistant coach Gavin Brown said that given Menzel’s history with injury that they won’t be rushing him. Malthouse likes giving games to most players on a list but it seems like Carlton will be wrapping him in cotton wool.
Ben Kennedy is yet another South Australian option for the forward line. Drafted by Collingwood with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 draft he is another dual-position MID/FWD threat. Kennedy can play both as a small forward or run through the midfield. He has explosive pace, great skills, and kicks goals. With a booming left foot he will be a great addition to the Collingwood forward line. He is probably going to be best as a high forward who can rotate through the midfield. Kennedy played four games in the seniors for Glenelg last year. He averaged 9.8 disposals, 6 kicks, 3.8 handballs, 2.3 marks, 2.3 tackles and 0.5 goals. He had an outstanding carnival for South Australia in the National Championships where he averaged 97 AFL fantasy points over five games. Kennedy is someone who should get opportunities throughout 2013. Keep him on your watchlist as a potential late-rounder.
Josh Simpson is someone to take a look at. Drafted by Fremantle with the 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Simpson is an exciting prospect. He is noted for his quickness, speed, ability to use the ball on either side of his body, evasiveness and ability to kick goals. Simpson is another dual-position player, listed as a MID/FWD. He averaged 64 AFL fantasy points, 14 disposals and 3 tackles a game for Western Australia in the National Championships. Last year, Simpson played 12 games for East Fremantle at Colts level. He averaged 13.9 disposals, 8.9 kicks, 5 handballs, 1.3 marks, 2.5 tackles and 0.9 goals per game. Whether he can be a valuable player for fantasy is the biggest question. Physically he may not be up to it at this time and could struggle at AFL level due to his slight build. He may take time to develop. Think about Simpson as a possible waiver wire acquisition. He might be someone to draft if you’re in a keeper league and want to build a strong fantasy team for the future.
Joe Daniher is ready made for the AFL. If he didn’t get to Essendon under the father-son rule he would have been a top two pick. Daniher is an elite contested mark, is quick for 201cm and 89kg and has good clean skills. He only played one game in the National Championships but it was enough. He took 11 marks and booted 4.6. More importantly, he scored 110 AFL fantasy points. In the pre-season, Daniher has only been involved in 60 to 70 per cent of drills to manage his workload. It has also been reported that he had minor knee surgery but this hasn’t caused disruption to his pre-season. Most believe Daniher can play round one but whether coach James Hird gives him the opportunity is another question. Take Daniher with a late-round pick.
The Western Bulldogs selected Jake Stringer with the 5th overall pick in the draft. Stringer is another forward like Daniher who is ready made for the AFL. At 190cm and 93kg he will be able to physically compete at the top level if given the chance. Stringer is the type of player who can be used as a utility. He can play as a key position forward, run through the midfield as an inside mid with good pace or even move into defence. He’s strong overhead and attacks the ball. The biggest worry about drafting someone like Stringer is his past injuries. He severely broke his leg in 2011, wiping out his season. He returned in 2012, but whether he gets back to his best is still questionable. He played three games for Vic Country in the National Championships and averaged 44 AFL fantasy points. The Bulldogs are in the middle of a rebuild. If Stringer finishes the pre-season strongly, he should get his chances in the regular season. Take him with a late-round pick.
Honourable mentions: Tim Membrey (averaged 53 AFL fantasy points in the National Championships), Marco Paparone (averaged 79 AFL fantasy points in the National Championships), Matthew McDonough (averaged 92 AFL fantasy points in the National Championships).