Kicks, marks, and potentially some midfield time is the recipe for points this season for defenders! In this year's instalment of GameDay Squad fantasy football, one of the biggest winners of our new scoring system are defenders who take kick-ins and/or rack up disposals by foot. A good example of this is Aaron Hall, who would have finished as the 6th best player in fantasy football last year with our scoring system. So, let’s have a look at some defenders who fit the bill and who you should target if you're looking to win it all this season!
1. Aaron Hall
1st in meters gained per game, 2nd in kicks per game, 3rd in rebound 50s per game and I can’t see Aaron Hall slowing down anytime soon! The 2021 season was a monster season for the former Gold Coast Sun, who found himself down back occupying a flank and working the ball up the wing and through the middle of the field with class and precision (see the highlights video below!) - something North Melbourne has missed for a very long time. North love having the ball in Hall’s hands he had over 22 kicks in a single game 7 times last year! That is enormous usage, and he’ll continue to kick on in his new role as a defender for the Kangaroos and be the number 1 fantasy option for defenders going to this season.
2. Jayden Short
There’s a gargantuan gap that's just been opened up by the retirement of club legend Bachar Houli and Jayden Short is tipped to fill that quarterback-type role the Richmond use so well. Short has one of the best kicks in the game and he uses it a lot! Ranking 5th in kicks per game and 6th in meters gained on the season last year. He’s poised to get a ton of opportunity down back for a Richmond Tigers team that is going to look to bounce back in a major way! Short is one of my favourite picks for a top 6 finish at the defender spot.
3. Jack Crisp
Consistency, consistency, consistency. Jack Crisp has not missed a game of AFL footy in 7 seasons! That’s a 163 game streak. If owning an elite scorer who has proven he can stay on the field isn’t enough, he also attends centre bounces for the pies. While he does predominantly man a half-back flank, in season 2021 he attended 38% of Collingswood’s centre bounces. Crisp has shown he has a high ceiling, consistency, versatility, and the potential to crack into Collingwood's midfield on a more consistent basis. He’s a top 3 defender for me and a lock if you can pack him.
4. Lachie Whitfield
We have Lachie Whitfield down as a defender but if anyone watched GWS live (crickets) you’ll know that he isn’t tied down to any position at all, he’s got the keys to go anywhere he pleases and boy does he do a good job of it. Last year he averaged 25 touches a game and 6 marks as well to go with it, including some monster games that included leather poisoning against the bombers in round 19 that saw him have 35 touches and 10 marks. He also finished second in kick-outs for the Giants and he played on from kick-outs a massive 34 times. Whitfield is an absolute ace at the defender position and should be targeted by everyone.
5. Jordan Dawson
What interests me most about Jordan Dawson is that he should line up along the wing across from Paul Seedsman. And as a lot will know, one of the tricks of the trade when selecting defenders for your fantasy teams is to pick a defender who is playing some midfield time like Callum Mills from 2021 or Rory Laird even. Opportunity = points and when you’re around the ball more as a midfielder, you will rack up more fantasy points, simple recipe. Another enticing asset to Dawson this coming season is the way he plays. His kick-mark game is perfectly suited to the GameDay Squad AFL 2022 scoring system with 4 points being awarded per kick and 3 points for each mark. Dawson is a fantastic fantasy option for this upcoming season.
So, there we have it. For me, these are the defenders I will be crossing my fingers to pack early on in this year's version of AFL Fantasy. These guys are the cream of the crop so if you pack them this year, you will be well on your way to creating your AFL Fantas dream team!
GameDay Squad is an NFT fantasy sports platform that is being released for the 2022 AFL and NRL season. Subscribe below to keep up to date with all things GameDay Squad and NFTs in sport.