Who’s Number One?

You have the first pick in your fantasy football draft. So who are you taking? While some fantasy players don’t want the first pick, especially if using a snake draft, this decision can make or break your season.

Let’s crunch the numbers to help you decide between two players considered the best candidates – Dane Swan and Gary Ablett. Let’s compare their 2012 stats.

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  • AFL Fantasy Average: 134
    SuperCoach Average: 126
    Games Played (not including finals): 18
    Disposals: 34.5
    Contested Possessions: 13.5
    Kicks: 21
    Handballs: 13.5
    Tackles: 3.4
    Goals: 25
    Minutes: 102
  • AFL Fantasy Average: 125
    SuperCoach Average: 139
    Games Played (not including finals): 20
    Disposals: 33.8
    Contested Possessions: 14.9
    Kicks: 19.5
    Handballs: 14.4
    Tackles: 5.5
    Goals: 26
    Minutes: 111


As you can see, it’s difficult to separate both players. In draft fantasy, everyone wants players who will generate consistent scores.

In the past two years Swan has played 39 AFL games not including finals. He has scored less than 100 AFL Fantasy points on six occasions in those 39 games. That means in the last two years he is reaching 100 AFL Fantasy points or more in 84.62 per cent of the games he is playing. Ablett has played 40 AFL games in the past two seasons. However, there have been 12 games where he has scored less than 100 AFL Fantasy points. In the past two seasons, Ablett has scored 100 AFL Fantasy points or more 70 per cent of the time. Based on these statistics, it makes it easier to pick Swan considering he is the more consistent scorer over the stretch.

Maybe we can look to Collingwood and Gold Coast’s strength of schedule in 2013. According to our rankings, Collingwood have the second most difficult fixture and Gold Coast have the third easiest. However, when you look at how both Swan and Ablett will individually match up against the teams their clubs play twice in 2013 a different story is told.

The above tables reveal that despite Gold Coast having an easier fixture than Collingwood, Ablett’s fantasy scoring isn’t as impressive compared to Swan against the teams their respective clubs face twice in 2013. Swan has averaged 100 AFL Fantasy points or more in the last two outings against all five teams he will meet twice this season. In comparison, Ablett has only been able to do the same thing against three of the teams and has struggled on the past two meetings against Sydney and Port Adelaide.

Perhaps one way to decide might be dependent on the scoring system used in your league. If you play SuperCoach, go with Ablett and if you play AFL Fantasy or Ultimate Footy pick Swan. While currently leaning towards Swan, you can’t go wrong with either. Just hope like hell whoever you pick plays every game and has an injury free season!


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If I end up with number one, Dane Swan is the man that I will pick.
[/pullquote]“There are a few obvious contenders for number one fantasy pick this year, with Gary Ablett, Lance Franklin and Dayne Beams all capable of racking up huge scores, but if I end up with number one, Dane Swan is the man that I will pick. Swan averaged 133.6 AFL Fantasy points last home and away season, almost nine points higher than second placed Gary Ablett for averages. Swan finished the season averaging 150 in his last five home and away matches, finishing strong and showing he can still improve his consistency. Swan averaged 2.8 more disposals in 2012 than 2011, in a team where players like Pendlebury, Beams and Sidebottom shone, showing that he is capable of improving within a strong midfield unit. He also has the ability to move forward with effect, kicking goals in 11 out of 18 matches last season, including six with multiple goals. From all reports Dane Swan has improved his already impressive engine, by being fitter than ever in preparation for the 2013 season. Providing he stays injury free and out of trouble, he is a standout selection for the number one overall pick for your fantasy team.” - Lachlan McLean (@Lachdown)

“Dane Swan averaged more points than any other player last year by a significant margin, eclipsing Gary Ablett by nine points a game. The only problem along the way was that fantasy owners had to swallow the bitter pill of a club-imposed suspension (which limited him to 18 games). If we are to assume that won’t happen again, he’s very hard to go past. Despite the fact last year saw yet another high-scoring Pie emerge in Dayne Beams, Swan’s numbers actually improved as the year went on. In his first nine games he averaged 125 fantasy points. In his last nine games he averaged 141. What’s more interesting is that the Pies played seven non-finalists in those first nine games. In the last nine they played just four. All in all, that’s some serious momentum to carry into 2013, and it seems to have already carried onto the training track. Nick Maxwell has said Swan is in career-best shape and has been one of the club’s two most impressive trainers this pre-season.” - Michael DiFabrizio (@mdifabrizio)

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