Quality in the forward line always seems to be slim pickings. It’s always a good idea to look for potential sleepers that can boost the fantasy output up forward. Even if some of these players don’t have a starting role in your team, they can be used to cover injuries or byes. They can even be valuable as possible trade bait. Finding late-round sleepers who improve their fantasy scoring is the key to victory in any league, especially keeper leagues.
Chris Knights is set to have a productive fantasy year as he looks to rejuvenate his career at Richmond. Fantasy owners will be hoping the Knights will be able to replicate his 2009 form where he averaged 85 AFL Fantasy points. Since then injuries have taken their toll. Since signing with Richmond as a free agent, it’s hoped that Knights will get back to his best. In 2009 he averaged 17.6 disposals, 9.4 kicks, 8.3 handballs , 4.7 marks, and 3.2 tackles from 20 games. He was also a damaging forward booting 43 goals for the season. If he can get back to his best then he will be a very good selection for any owner.
After a season-ending knee injury in last year’s pre-season, Brent Macaffer is likely to go under the radar in many fantasy drafts. In 2011 he averaged just 53 AFL Fantasy points from four matches. However, he looks like a player who is making good strides and is set to improve in 2013. He was impressive in the first week shortened pre-season games where he scored 28 and 30 AFL Fantasy points against the Western Bulldogs and Essendon respectively.
Arryn Siposs is someone who will benefit from the Goddard move to Essendon. He is listed as a forward but is poised to fill the void as St. Kilda’s playmaker in defence. His elite kicking and pace are a highlight. In 2012 he managed 11 games and averaged 63 AFL Fantasy points. He averaged 13.2 disposals, 9 kicks, 4.2 handballs, 5.3 marks and 1.7 tackles. With his new role fantasy owners will be hoping his stats will continue to improve in 2013.
With Shannon Byrnes moving from Geelong to Melbourne as an unrestricted free agent, he’s a fantasy sleeper for any forward line. Byrnes had limited opportunities at Geelong managing just nine games in the past two years. With Melbourne having a much weaker squad it’s believed that Byrnes will get more opportunity. His fantasy output hasn’t been great in the past where he averaged 45 AFL Fantasy points in 2012. Although, in 2009 and 2010 he averaged 85 and 79 AFL Fantasy points respectively. Fantasy owners should definitely keep Byrnes on their watchlist as a potential late-round bargain pick.
Richmond have given Ricky Petterd a lifeline after Melbourne delisted the forward at the end of 2012. It’s hoped that a new environment will see Petterd flourish. He had a disappointing 2012 where he managed just four games returning an average of 47 AFL Fantasy points. He has impressed in the pre-season competition and you’d think that Richmond wouldn’t draft someone like Petterd if they didn’t plan on using him at some point. He is a good sleeper pick and is someone to potentially select late in fantasy drafts or acquire on the waiver wire.
Perhaps Mark LeCras shouldn’t be in this sleeper list but considering his ACL injury in 2012 many fantasy owners might be cautious about selecting him. In 2011 LeCras averaged 86 AFL Fantasy points. He averaged 16.3 disposals, 10.8 kicks, 5.5 handballs, 4.2 marks and 3.9 tackles. He also booted 47 goals. LeCras has been one of the best forwards in the competition. If you can get him with a low pick then you might be reaping the rewards throughout the season.
Mark Nicoski is another West Coast Eagle to keep on your fantasy watchlist. Nicoski is coming back from a hamstring injury that ruined his 2012 season. He averaged just 65 AFL Fantasy points in 2012. Don’t expect him to ever be a prolific fantasy scorer but he is definitely a sleeper pick considering that he should be available as a late-round selection in most fantasy drafts.
Josh Kennedy is yet another Eagles player to consider in your forward line. Kennedy managed just nine games in 2012 after injuring his ankle. He averaged just 53 AFL Fantasy points. He had a breakout season in 2011 where he averaged 79 AFL Fantasy points and booted 59 goals. Fantasy owners will be hoping Kennedy can recreate his 2011 form. He will be an invaluable player in any forward line if he can do this.
Geelong’s Allen Christensen is another sleeper option. He played 17 games in 2012 averaging 74 AFL Fantasy points. He averaged 19.4 disposals, 9.8 kicks, 9.6 handballs, 2.8 marks and 3.7 tackles per game. One of the advantages in drafting Christensen is his flexibility as a dual-position midfielder and forward. Christensen has a lot of upside and will be a great pick if his numbers continue to improve this season.
When many fantasy players think of Greg Broughton, they shudder. The fact is that Ross Lyon didn’t do any favours for Broughton at Fremantle last year. Now at the Gold Coast, we should see him get back to his best fantasy output. In 2008-2010 Broughton averaged 88, 89 and 84 AFL Fantasy points respectively. This was down in 2012 where he averaged 79. He also played fewer games last year with just 15 under his belt. Another advantage of Broughton is his dual-position eligibility as a defender/forward.
Honourable mentions: Hayden Crozier, Zac Clarke, Sam Rowe