AFL Dream Team Midfield 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 Forward Analysis for the players you should look to pick up this season!

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

Without a doubt the most vital position, your AFL Dream Team midfield will make or break your entire fantasy campaign. In 2013, afl.com asks you to select 10 midfielders, 8 of which you need to play in your starting 22. This increase in available midfield spots may seem a luxury, however with the increased number of trades available to coaches this season, more thought than ever needs to go into this key position.

Not only do you need to have the best players this year, but match-ups are more vital than ever before. Pre-empting player form changes, isolating favourable schedules and in-depth statistical analysis are more important than ever as sideways trading is no longer a detriment, but a necessity to maximize your score.

Without a doubt, players like Dane Swan, Gary Ablett and Matthew Boyd are essential selections and won’t be analyzed in this section. If you look to pick and choose the weeks these elite players will score prolifically, you are undoubtedly damaging your scores. For example, Gary Ablett’s proposed move into the forwards last season didn’t damage his scores as significantly as many thought it might. Similarly, those waiting for Dane Swan to return from his mid-season trip to Arizona before selecting him passed on two months in which the Collingwood star scored at an average of 123.38.

Once you move past these players though, selections in your initial team and ensuing trades become more difficult. These other players create your ‘point of difference’ from other teams and form the basis of how you build a lead in your league and overall standings.

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’ Midfielders to Watch ($500,000+)

Target

Consider

Avoid

Kieran Jack Marc Murphy Trent Cotchin
Jack Redden Scott Thompson Josh Kennedy
Scott Pendlebury Brendon Goddard Stevie Johnson (suspended)
Joel Selwood Dayne Beams Brock McLean
Patrick Dangerfield Brent Stanton Sam Mitchell

 

Sam Mitchell (HAW – $523,500)

Generally the epitome of consistency, Mitchell wasn’t his usual self at the back end of last season. The Hawks midfielder is under-valued if he can reach his prime in 2013, but with no shortage of elite midfielders in his price range, wait and see if he can get back to his best before committing a hefty sum of money.

Jack Redden (BRI – $531,100)

Redden may have receded in 2012 from his career-best 2011 but that was largely due to a slow start. The Lions open 2013 with games against Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide, North Melbourne and the Bulldogs in the first 5 weeks of this season, sides against which Redden averaged 116.33 since Round 9 last season.

Patrick Dangerfield (ADE – $525,000)

Having not missed a game in the last two seasons, a rarity for any premium midfielder, Dangerfield is without a doubt one of the toughest players in the league. Many expected 2012 to be his breakout season and the Adelaide man didn’t disappoint, averaging 101.91. Inconsistency was Dangerfield’s greatest flaw though, failing to reach a century on 10 occasions, but considering he averaged 120.71 in his last 7 home and away season in 2013, this blemish on his otherwise very promising record should be overlooked.

Josh P. Kennedy (SYD – $523,900) v Kieran Jack (SYD – $505,800)

No team in the AFL has as favourable of a schedule to begin their 2013 campaign as the reigning Premiers. Without a doubt, Josh Kennedy was the most impressive of the two last year averaging 101.68 compared to Jack’s 98.18. In 2012 against GWS and GCS though (Sydney’s first two opponents in 2013), Jack averaged 122.33 in 3 fixtures compared to Kennedy averaged 103.33 in the same three matches.

Marc Murphy (CAR – $522,000)

Murphy is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders in the AFL and deserves his status amongst the Dream Team elite. After returning from injury in Round 16 last year though, he wasn’t his usual self, making just 3 centuries in his 8 remaining matches at an average of 102.87. Whilst increasing roles for McLean, Judd and Gibbs may take away from the 25-year-old’s prominence at Carlton, he is drastically underpriced and with Malthouse’s Dream Team friendly philosophy, he is definitely worth the risk.

Joel Selwood (GEE – $530,900)

Despite being a fan of Joel Selwood, the Geelong captain is often a Dream Team liability with his kamikaze playing style and aggression conducive to injury and suspension. With trades no longer as significant of a consideration, look to Selwood early in the year with the Cats facing fixtures against Hawthorn, Carlton, North Melbourne and Sydney. In 2012, Selwood played 6 matches against these sides, recording over 100 points on each occasion.

Trent Cotchin (RIC $570,200)

General Dream Team policy suggests you never select a player after a breakout year. Cotchin may have had a 2012 to remember, however during his incredible run of form from round 14, his top 3 scores were against the Bulldogs, Essendon, Gold Coast. Only 1 of his first 8 fixtures is against those sides (Bulldogs in Round 3). On the other hand, the Tigers face St. Kilda and Collingwood in the opening month, 2 of 5 sides that held Cotchin to under 100 points last season. Another favourable match up against the Blues in Round 1 doesn’t outweigh this. There are better options out there than the future Brownlow winners, even if only for the first 2 months of 2013.

AFL Dream Team – ‘Value’ Midfielders to Watch ($185,000 to $499,999)

Target

Consider

Avoid

Nathan Fyfe Andrew Embley Dale Thomas (FWD)
Ben Cunnington Hamish Hartlett (DEF) Dayne Zorko (FWD)
Tom Rockliff (FWD) Dyson Heppell (DEF) Toby Greene
Nick Lower Leigh Montagna Kamichael Hunt
Ryan O’Keefe Claye Beams Brent Moloney
Travis Varcoe (FWD) Shane Savage Colin Sylvia (FWD)

 

Nathan Fyfe (FRE – $458,500)

Considered amongst the most promising talents in the AFL, Fyfe’s 2012 was persistently interrupted by injury. With his shoulder issues hopefully behind him and Fremantle’s midfield depth facing early challenges, expect Fyfe to assume a more substantial role than he saw in a prolific 2011. The open spaces of Patersons Stadium are a dream for any midfielder, and with matches against West Coast, Essendon, Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Gold Coast and Richmond to open the season, Fyfe faces several sides who have up mammoth scores to opposing midfielders in 2012. He is without a doubt the most promising player valued below $500,000, even if he can’t be selected in the forwards this year.

Dayne Zorko (BRI – $487,800) and Toby Greene (GWS – $495,700)

These second-year players are in a similar position to Cotchin having already taken the league by storm last season. Neither will have a poor season by any means but with their prices so heavily inflated, there are plenty of alternatives in a similar price-range who are more proven and most importantly, consistent. Last year, Greene scored just 2 centuries in 7 matches against his first 5 opponents for 2013 whilst Zorko is sure to draw more attention from opposition taggers than he did last campaign. A large portion of his possessions in 2013 were in garbage time or were uncontested. In Round 23 when he drew by the very capable Picken, he scored just 78 Dream Team points.

Tom Rockliff (BRI – $481,700)

Possibly my favourite DPP available this season, Rockliff should be amongst the first forwards selected this year. After a phenomenal 2011, Rockliff drifted into the forward line last campaign, limiting his scoring at stoppages. After recording over 10 tackles in a match 3 times in 2011, his highest tally was just 8 in 2012. Set to drift back into the middle of the park this year, we’re expecting the newly appointed vice-captain to resemble the Rockliff of 2011 who averaged 112 points a contest.

Brent Moloney (BRI – $309,800) v Nick Lower (WBD – ($352,200)

Two players who have changed clubs in the offseason, both Moloney and Lower have a lot to be optimistic about heading into 2013. From the outside, Moloney’s move from the troubled Demons to an improving Lions outfit appears promising, however the clearance master enters a midfield already boasting Rockliff, Redden, Rich and Black. Lower on the other hand moves from Fremantle to a Bulldogs side that will threaten for the wooden spoon. More of an outside player than Moloney, Lower should drift through halfback, racking up cheap possessions off the back of Matthew Boyd’s elite work at the stoppages. He’ll push to average over 95 for the season whilst Moloney will struggle to maintain scores around 80.

Ryan O’Keefe (SYD – $499,300)

A recommendation from our own Nick Francis more so than my own opinion, O’Keefe is a blast from the past, however his permanent injection into the midfield last season showed the potential he still possesses. Whilst players of O’Keefe’s class will always lift in the finals, the veteran scored 140, 154 and 140 at the elimination stage of last season. In fact, he averaged exactly 120 points per contest in his last 13 matches! Just as importantly, O’Keefe opens the season against GWS and GCS, sides against which he averaged 128 points last season.

Hamish Hartlett (PTA – $421,400) v Colin Sylvia (MEL – $393,100)

Injury-prone but potentially amongst the competition’s most skilled players, will 2013 be the season for these two DPP superstars? For Hartlett, the answer is maybe. The Port midfielder has shown glimpses but struggles with consistency. His 4 centuries in the opening 10 rounds of 2012 were matched with 4 scored of under 75. Promisingly though, his career-best 2011 saw him score over 80 points in 12 of his 16 fixtures. Sylvia on the other hand is let down by his attitude as often as he is his body. Off-season controversy in Melbourne would hardly have been positive for the Demon and as such, even the potential he showed in 2009 and 2010 isn’t enough to make him a worthwhile risk.

Andrew Embley  (WCE – $264,300) and Travis Varcoe (GEE – $234,400)

Under priced through lack of opportunities last year, Varcoe and Embley have terrific potential for growth this coming season. Neither will rival Rockliff, Jack or Zorko in terms of potential, however at their price, they provide a guaranteed source of points at minimal cost. Varcoe’s shift into the halfback line has given the small forward a new lease on life following a season missed through injury. For Embley, injury also plagued his 2012 but unlike Varcoe, he’s a proven commodity. After averaging over 85 for 4 straight seasons and having missed just 5 games over that time, Embley finished last season having averaged 102.67 in his final 3 games, proving that age hasn’t wearied the 31-year-old veteran.

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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