A career-best season has seen Rory Laird become Adelaide’s most valuable defender in AFL Fantasy this year.
Laird was the fourth-highest scoring pure defender in the competition last season and added an incredible $146,000 to his starting price along the journey.
The reliable backman played every game, averaging career-high figures in disposals, marks and Fantasy points. Laird cracked the 100-point barrier eight times and posted another six scores in the 90s. The 22-year-old still has his best footy ahead of him and could push his overall price above the $500k mark with another consistent season.
Crows fans are spoilt for choice with four dual-position players available in the backline this year. Ricky Henderson, Brodie Smith, Nathan van Berlo and Paul Seedsman are all DEF/MIDs in 2016.
Smith in particular looks well underpriced at just $391,000 after an injury-affected 2015.
His 111 against Collingwood in Round Two proved Smith is a Fantasy weapon when fit and firing. As is the case almost every pre-season, talk has surrounded the dashing defender and if he will feature more regularly up the ground this year. More midfield minutes could result in a healthy boost to Smith’s Fantasy output.
Former Magpie Seedsman is another who could prove popular at $353,000.
The long-kicking recruit averaged 79 points in 2013 and knows how to go big. Seedsman has scores of 121, 128 and 148 next to his name from his four years at Collingwood. A new environment could bring out more of the best from the 23-year-old and Fantasy coaches should be keen to cash in.
Curtly Hampton is another new Crow to keep a watchful eye on.
Hampton is a bargain buy at $227,000 given his experience at AFL level. He’s played 51 games but is priced among the League’s newcomers, making him a solid cash cow choice. A creative playmaker at the Giants, Fantasy coaches should keep close tabs on Hampton’s role during the NAB Challenge to determine his scoring potential.
Andy Otten ($205,000) and Sam Shaw ($162,000) are others with AFL experience who appear underpriced.
Otten hasn’t played since Round 20, 2014 which has seen his Fantasy value plummet. He’s currently undergoing rehabilitation from minor knee surgery, but is still expected to be available come Round One.
Shaw has had his own injury troubles in recent years. The tall defender played 12 games in 2012 with an average close to 60 points per game, but has played just 10 games since in the past three seasons.
There’s money to be made from the pair with some better luck on the injury front.
Click back to afc.com.au in the coming days to preview the Crows forwards and midfielders on offer in AFL Fantasy 2016
2016 AFL Fantasy prices - Defenders
|Nathan van Berlo||DEF/MID||$377,000|