Ultimate Footy: The Hunch Report – Pre-Season edition

Each week, the team at Footy Prophet cast a glance across each of the 18 AFL clubs to help benefit coaches and their Ultimate Footy teams.


Swan song: Who will fill the void in the midfield left by Patrick Dangerfield? Replacing the best clearance player in the side is tough, but while he is entering the twilight of his career, Scott Thompson remains one of Adelaide's best fantasy combatants and a steal in any draft.


Sure thing: If your first pick in the draft is in the middle-late first round, you should select Stefan Martin, period. He is arguably the best in his position and has a low score of just 87 since mid-2014.



Game changer: There were many changes at Carlton in the off-season, but perhaps the biggest was the appointment of Brendan Bolton. The fantasy reputation of many players flopped under Malthouse, but things could be much different in 2016.


Untimely: If there was ever a more comical headline than "frisbee incident gone wrong", it's probably "man getting hit by football." Jeremy Howe's hand injury will dampen his worth in Ultimate Footy and will put more emphasis on Travis Cloke.


Wise head: If there is one lingering question from the supplements scandal fallout, it's that we don't know, and probably won't know, how the remaining players' fantasy output will fair. What we do know, is that Brendan Goddard will need to perform.


Renaissance: Last season was by far Barlow's worst, however Ross Lyon's comments last week about moving Barlow back into a contested ball-winning position is a big tick. Add in forward eligibility and Barlow will probably be a first round pick in most drafts.


Thoroughbred: Even if Mark Blicavs doesn't play in the ruck at all this season, fantasy coaches shouldn't worry. It simply means more pure midfield time and he should have even more opportunity to improve.


Breakout: Before his debut, Jack Martin was the next big thing, but he has failed to meet the high expectations thus far. With Harley Bennell gone, Martin will need to fire in the Suns' forward line this season.


Dependent: Finals are not out of the question for GWS this year, but their hopes may rely solely on one man: Shane Mumford. His ability to stay injury-free will benefit his team immensely, and will also give him a new reputation in fantasy circles.


New lease: It's already been well-documented, but the removal of the substitute's vest may perhaps have the greatest impact on Billy Hartung. He should be given plenty of opportunity.


Rising star: Navigating the back end of fantasy drafts is risky business, much like picking a needle in a hay stack. Fortunately for us, Christian Petracca will fit the bill and will be a regular this season.


On the comeback: Although the season proper is still some time off, all indications suggest Daniel Wells is fit and firing. With a pedigree for fantasy, he is more than worth a late draft punt given he stays fit.


Rags to riches: With the ramifications of Essendon suspensions reaching further than Tullamarine, the impact will have huge ramifications at Port Adelaide. With Angus Monfries and Paddy Ryder gone, expect Matthew Lobbe and Sam Gray to benefit most.


Line ball: If Chris Yarran is ever going to be fantasy-relevant, now is his chance. A fresh club and a new attitude hint to things positive, but a career best average of 73 Ultimate Footy fantasy points suggests otherwise.


Rising stock: 2015 was a decent year for football, although some things were left unfulfilled. One of those being Jack Billing's breakout season. We saw glimpses, but could this be the year he makes his mark?


Role player: Should Lance Franklin return to his best form as has been reported, Kurt Tippett will spend more time in the ruck than forward. He showed great potential in 2015 and averaged almost 20 more points.


All purpose: Should Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown stay fit and healthy for the season, there's every chance we could see Jeremy McGovern play multiple roles. He is good enough to play in defence or attack, and has recently stated a desire to play in the ruck.


Forgotten: The Bulldogs are rapidly progressing as a team, but still lack an established ruckman. Out of favour Will Minson is the only likely candidate to take helm and will do so. A down season last year makes him the perfect sleeper come draft day.

Article supplied by Footy Prophet – football analysis with a fantasy focus. Footy Prophet is fantasy football.