Welcome to all Gameday Squad managers, AFL fantasy managers, AFL fans or just the curious. GameDay Squad is going to be releasing a series of AFL seasonal reviews that will provide you with all the fantasy insight and recommendations your heart desires. We are just weeks away from the commencement of the 2023 AFL season and if you are late to the party and haven’t done your fantasy research, let GameDay Squad handle that for you. Enjoy this installation of fantasy breakdowns for the Brisbane Lions.
Must Start Player:
Arguably the most significant acquisition during the 2022 trade period, Josh Dunkley is a player you must have in your squad given his forward status. I expect him to attend more than a few centre bounces this season and I can see him getting his hands on a lot of the footy. Dunkley recently commented that he has had a great pre-season and has done more running than he ever had as a Bulldog (shots fired). I think he is the missing piece that these premiership contenders need and by all reports he has settled in really well at the Den, which is living up to its reputation as a 'destination club'. Don't sleep on Dunkley.
Dream Legend Card:
Hardly a surprise to anyone, the Will Ashcroft Legend player card is my pick of the Pride and we will discover this year that he is absolutely deserving of all the hype surrounding him. Already a proven fantasy scorer in the NAB league and VFL in 2022, Ashcroft is going to be a superstar for years to come. He's already shown in recent trial matches that he can play with the big boys and it looks like he is set to get some midfield minutes this season. I'd go as far as saying that in a dynasty-style fantasy sports game like GameDay Squad, a Will Ashcroft Legend player card is the #1 card I would love to pack out of the entire player pool.
Avoid This Bust:
Cam Rayner was given a chance to cement his spot as a midfield rotation in 2022, however, he will not be provided with the same opportunity this year with Dunkley & Ashcroft pushing him down the priority list. Rayner's confidence in front of the big sticks is also a massive red flag, especially in GDS footy fantasy scoring where kicking goals are worth a huge 8 points. I can see Rayner spending some time in the reserves this year as he discovers where he fits into this star-studded Lions squad. He was trialled in the back six during a recent trial match, but I don't think that's where he will end up. Stay away from Rayner this season.
Value On The Rise:
2022 was a breakout year for Keidean Coleman with several standout performances that resulted in multiple 100+ GDS scores that cemented himself as a key part of the Lion's back-line. Keidean's value is set to skyrocket in 2023, that is as long as he looks after his hamstrings which gave him grief last year. However, if there is any medical team that can help him overcome this challenge, it's the Brisbane Lions, who have a track record of delivering remarkable results. Coleman is such an effective user of the ball and his teammates love to handball off to him when they see him streaming past. At only 22 years old, Coleman is an excellent choice for dynasty fantasy and should feature in your squad for many years to come.
Value On The Decline:
New recruit Jack Gunston is my favourite addition to the Brisbane squad this year. He brings with him a wealth of experience and skill that is sure to add some class to the Lion's forward half. But now that he's not the primary target in a developing forward line, I can't see Gunston kicking as many goals and getting as much of the footy as he has in previous seasons. Gunston's best fantasy days are behind him.
2023 Hot Take:
Heartbreak for Dayne Zorko as he gets dropped leading into the 2023 Finals series and has to watch from the sidelines as the Lions win the premiership.