AFL Dream Team Forward Analysis

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Check out our AFL Dream Team Ruck Analysis for the players you should own and avoid in 2013!

Also, check out our AFL Dream Team Midfield Analysis for the players you should own and avoid in the competition’s most exciting position!

Finally, check out our AFL Dream Team Defender Analysis for the backs you should own and avoid in the most challenging position of 2013!

Typically, AFL Dream Team Forward Analysis is unnecessary as the forward line of any Dream Team selects itself with Chapman, Franklin, Goodes, Riewoldt, Harvey and Pavlich proving to be prolific and reliable scorers each and every season. In 2013 however, a changing of the guard may be in order with age now a major consideration when selecting any of these elite players. Players returning from long-term injury, others moving clubs and the impending breakout of potential superstars is threatening to completely altered the landscape of AFL Dream Team this season.

With a restructured trade system, 2013 is the year to take a risk on some of these players, maybe at the expense of one of their more proven counterparts. Taking the right risk is the difference between a poor start to the season and your eventual loss of interest and a dream run to League or even Overall glory.

This season, we don’t see any player as a ‘must-own’. Unlike the Dane Swans and Garry Abletts in the midfield, forward lines will be a significant point of difference and as such, need more attention. Whilst there were 20 midfielders in 2012 that averaged over 100, just Lance Franklin achieved such a feat up front. Even more importantly, there were 6 players eligible as forwards in 2012 that achieved this in 2011.

The reality is that there aren’t the standout players there used to be, eligible for forward line selection in 2013. That means we have to sort out the best from the rest, starting now.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll examine options across all positions, from all teams and within two key price brackets; Elite and Value. Our rookie evaluation will follow but in the meantime, these are the players we know in detail and who have proven themselves in the AFL prior to this season.

 

AFL Dream Team – ‘Elite’ Forwards to Watch ($400,000+)

Target

Consider

Avoid

Tom Rockliff (MID) Lance Franklin Paul Champan (MID)
Matthew Pavlich Taylor Walker Brent Harvey (MID)
Nick Riewoldt Dustin Martin (MID) Stevie Johnson (suspended)
Dean Cox (RUC) Jarrad Waite Greg Broughton (DEF)
Jimmy Bartel (MID) Adam Goodes

 

Tom Rockliff (BRI – $481,700)

Tom Rockliff has been covered in our AFL Dream Team Midfielder Analysis. Rockliff should be the first player selected in all forward lines this year for the reasons we’ve highlighted in that article.

Nick Riewoldt (STK – $441,400)

Riewoldt hasn’t been himself since a prolific 2010 season was cruelly interrupted by injury. His past 2 seasons have by no means been poor though with his consistency a major selling point for the St Kilda forward. Opening 2013 with matches against the Suns, Giants, Swans, Bombers and Tigers, Riewoldt gets his campaign off to the perfect start, having averaged 119.4 points against these 5 sides last year. In fact, of his 7 centuries last season, 5 came against these teams, making ‘Roo’ the perfect player to start this coming campaign with whilst you wait for the premier players for the season to reveal themselves. Don’t feel obliged to hold onto him past round 5 though as age will catch up with Saint Nick. If you feel like it, ditch him after Round 3 after he has ideally capitalised on a perfect opening schedule.

Taylor Walker (ADE – $448,900) and Jarrad Waite (CAR – $454,800)

It is with great reluctance I mention key forwards in a Dream Team analysis. Typically, the more mobile the player and the more time they spend in the midfield, the more prolific the Dream Team production, however in rare cases, players like Walker and Waite deserve a chance.

Compared to Wayne Carey in the off-season, Taylor Walker has an enormous amount of potential that may be realized with Kurt Tippett having departed the Crows set-up. Renowned for his immaturity, the added responsibility of being Adelaide’s attacking focus could be the incentive Walker needs to exploit the fragile teams he will face in the opening month of 2013. Averaging 98.25 last season against his first 4 opposition for this coming year, look for an explosive start from a man who alongside Nick Riewoldt, Goodes (after the opening month) and Dustin Martin, is the best option in his price range.

With Malthouse at the Blues, Waite’s great contested mark may transform him from an unreliable player who scores primarily through marking on the lead outside 50 to a giant resembling Cloke in 2011. Averaging 104 in his last 3 matches in 2012, Waite opens this season with games against Richmond, Collingwood and Geelong, sides against which he’s scored centuries 60% of the time over the past 2 seasons. Walker may be the more appealing option in my books but should injury allow Waite to take the field from Round 1, he provides a great point of difference for any coach willing to take a risk.

Paul Chapman (GEE – $502,600)

It is always a sad moment when a legend is no longer a viable Dream Team option. Unfortunately, Paul Chapman appears to be falling into that category and with so many promising elite forwards coming in between $30,000 and $70,000 cheaper, there is no reason to select a player on the decline. Chapman averaged over 100 points for 5 of the last 6 seasons before falling to an average of 97.4 last year. Whilst not a huge drop, he failed to reach a century in 6 of his last 7 home and away matches, averaging only 81.14 in the process. If that average continues, Chapman should be priced at $415,000, not $502,600. News out of the Cattery is that the veteran is setting personal-best times around the track but we’re not expecting him to mirror those efforts in Dream Team production.

Dean Cox (WCE – $512,400)

Eligible to be selected as a forward this year, Dean Cox is almost a must in 2013. In years gone by, selecting Sandiands and Cox in the ruck and leaving them for the duration of the season has been a flawless tactic, however with the Sandi’s injury issues, Cox’s dual-position eligibility and ruck bargains on offer, shifting the West Coast star to the forwards could be an ingenious move. With Sam Rowe also FWD/RUC eligible, he makes a great complementary selection. With Natanui missing out on pre-season and the Eagles opening 2013 against a Sandilands-less Fremantle, expect a dynamic performance against the only team he struggled against last year.

Lance Franklin (HAW – $521,300)

In theory, Lance Franklin should be the first forward selected in 2013. Taking the mantle as the best forward in Dream Team off Paul Chapman last season, Buddy’s potential was epitomized perfectly in his massive 13-goal, 204 point effort against North Melbourne. Coming in at $521,300 though, he’s a serious investment for someone who scored under 100 points in 9 of his 16 matches last season. Hawthorn open the season with matches against Geelong and West Coast, sides against which Franklin has failed to register a century against in his last 6 match-ups! Off-season contract controversy and a terrible attitude in the Hawks’ NAB Cup opener are also cause for concern. Make a decision on him after the pre-season is complete but don’t be scared to start the season without this elite player.

Adam Goodes (SYD – $424,700)

With his injury-impacted 2012 meaning Goodes comes at a discounted price this season, the dual-Brownlow winner may be an attractive option but unfortunately, history doesn’t support the Swans star scoring well at the start of 2013. Facing Gold Coast and GWS in the opening 2 rounds may sound appealing but Goodes failed to register a century against either of those teams in 3 meetings last year, averaging just 74.33 along the way. Moreover, Goodes is a repeat offender when it comes to starting a season slowly. In 2012, he averaged 86 through the first 3 rounds, in 2011 he averaged 86.8 through 5 rounds and in 2010 he averaged 88.29 through his opening 6 matches. These aren’t poor numbers but when you combine this trend with his matchups and consider Goodes is coming off an injury and is another year older, he isn’t the guaranteed scorer you might be hoping he’ll be.

Jimmy Bartel (GEE – $492,700)

Jimmy Bartel is one of the most selected forwards in the early preliminary stages of Dream Team 2013. It may be surprising when you consider the Geelong sensation has been on the decline since 2007, averaging just 95.5 last season. When you look at the numbers more closely, he isn’t a poor option to start the year with. Bartel’s greatest weakness these days is his inability to break a tag, having scored well when running free. In his last 7 home and away matches of 2012, Bartel was tagged on 3 occasions (average 77) and ran free on 4 occasions (average 106.75).  In his opening month of 2013, Geelong face Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Carlton and Sydney, team against which he will most likely only be tagged once (Hawthorn) and even then it will most likely come from a player who isn’t renowned for their defensive capabilities like Liam Shiels.

 

AFL Dream Team – ‘Value’ Forwards to Watch ($185,000-$399,999)

Target

Consider

Avoid

Mark LeCras Colin Sylvia (MID) Alan Didak
Arryn Siposs Angus Monfries (MID) Shaun Higgins
Travis Varcoe (MID) Andrew Krakouer Chris Dawes
Josh J. Kennedy Shannon Byrnes Michael Hurley

 

Mark LeCras (WCE – $355,400)

LeCras seemed to breakout in 2011 when he was injected into the West Coast midfield, however injury halted an incredible run of form and ruled him out of 2012. Entering this season as an unknown in many respects, LeCras is being touted by many as the bargain buy of the season up front. Playing for a team that hits the scoreboard with great proficiency, LeCras has an incredible scoring ceiling with highs of 140 in 2011 and 176 in 2010. With favourable scheduling in the opening half of the season, people are right to jump on the bandwagon.

Arryn Sippos (STK – $325,000) and Travis Varcoe ($234,400)

Two players who look set to move into a creative role off halfback this season, Siposs and Varcoe have been hyped all off-season but which player should you select? Varcoe was impressive in Geelong’s opening NAB Cup round but even then, Thurlow, Enright and Mackie all have the potential to create and take away from Varcoe who may even find himself tagged. Siposs on the other hand has a hole in St Kilda’s halfback line in which he can make a name for himself. With the departure of Goddard, Siposs will adopt a significant role in the Saints’ organization with many expecting him to average 80 and 90 points this season. More encouragingly, Siposs thrived against the Suns and Giants last season, teams he’ll face in the opening weeks of 2013.

Even with Siposs costing significantly more than Varcoe, he is a safer and potentially more dynamic selection.

Angus Monfries (PTA – $352,300)

Monfries has threatened to become an elite Dream Team player at times throughout his career but irregular roles and scoring inconsistency undermined his value at Essendon. Joining Port Adelaide in the off-season, Monfries becomes an intriguing prospect in a midfield that lacks quality when compared to the Bombers. Monfries’ statistics tell us very little about his production for this coming year as he is in a completely new system, however with a team-high 11 possessions against Adelaide in NAB Cup Round 1, he looks set for an increase in scoring this season. An average of 85 isn’t beyond him.

Shaun Higgins (WBD – $396,200) and Michael Hurley (ESS – $336,800)

An annual disappointment, Shaun Higgins is one of those players who promises so much every season but fails to deliver. His shift into defence midway through 2011 saw a jump in Dream Team production, however 2012 saw a return to the forward line and his worst output in 4 seasons. Last year, Higgins performed reputably against his first 4 opponents of 2013 but he is still an unwise decision, even if the Bulldogs defy expectation and improve markedly this year.

Hurley may not have been in the AFL as long as his Bulldogs counterpart, however he fits the Higgins mould to perfection. Whilst many thought 2012 would be Hurley’s breakout season, he failed to impress with only one regular season score of over 100 (the same as Higgins). Without a new role promised in 2012, Hurley appears destined to average between 65 and 75 points as part of an Essendon forward line dominated by talls rotating out of the ruck.

Don’t forget to comment below with your thoughts and join Blindside’s AFL.com Dream Team group to compete for ultimate glory!

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On twitter @rombarbera. Australian sports by day, international sports by night. Co-founder of Blindside Sport. Fantasy sport addict.

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