Updated: Mar 1
Welcome to all GameDay Squad coaches, AFL fantasy coaches, 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 Collingwood Magpies.
Must start player:
Maybe… just maybe the hottest commodity in all of footy fantasy right now and rightfully so! Nick Daicos has earnt himself a change in position where he’ll line up in many GDS owner's backlines for season 2023. It wouldn’t be a proper pre-season without talks about Daicos spending more time in the Pies midfield this year, but with evidence of him taking kick outs in early match sims, I think we’re safe to assume the defender role he relished so well last year is here to stay… for now. It’s easy to project that Daicos will take a natural leap in fantasy scoring, but just how much of a leap? I think a conservative guess is an easy top-10 finish amongst defenders and that just might be his floor!
Dream legend card:
I’m aware of the risk of making this a Nick Daicos propaganda piece but if there is a legend card you want in all of the game, not just Collingwood, the entire player pool - it’s Nick Daicos! There are a few that are in the same echelon, Bailey Smith, Sam Walsh ect but Daicos might just hold the crown for the most desirable legend card in the game. It truly is a matter of when, not if Daicos can become one of the league's best fantasy players. Coming off a season of just dominating, averaging 25.8 disposals, 4.1 marks and 2.2 tackles a game at just 20 years old, you can imagine the only way is up for him and that card will take you a long way in GDS.
Avoid this Bust:
*News Headline* "Taylor Adams injures groin making vegemite toast in the morning". Adams, unfortunately, cannot stay healthy and even when he is playing footy, there always seems to be reports around him not being 100% or carrying a "niggly" injury. Which is a shame, because Taylor Adams was blossoming into one of the best fantasy players in the game in his younger years, until health struggles kicked in, Adams averaged three straight seasons of 100+ GDS fantasy score averages. His injury history aside, Collingwood has brought in fantasy stud Tom Mitchell who should relish a much-needed change of scenery and they are still developing the likes of Nick Daicos, Josh Daicos, Patty Lipinski and we still see the likes of Scott Pendlebury, Jack Crisp and Jordan De Goey running through the guts. Don't be enticed to start Taylor Adams, he will only hurt you eventually, just like he does himself.
Value on the rise:
With the entire position up in flames, I think we'll see Darcy Cameron become one of the most used ruckmen in GDS. The 27-year-old big man is coming off his best fantasy season by far! Mostly due to superstar Brodie Grundy going down with a season-ending injury, but the opportunities were there, and big Darcy Cameron took them and ran. Cameron finished the 2022 season off with a 94 GDS average on the season and with ruck studs like Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy playing together at Melbourne and young stars such as Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson now teaming up, options are thinning fast and Cameron could be the beneficiary of that!
Value on the decline:
I don't have the guts to come after Collingwood legends Scott Pendlebury or Steele Sidebottom here but I will go after another old head who was a good fantasy servant for a long time and that is Jeremy Howe. Which is a bit of a tough pill to swallow for me because he was one of my favourites growing up, but the proof is in the numbers - Jeremy Howe is on the decline. 2022 was Howe's worst season numbers-wise since 2015! He only averaged 16 disposals, 5.9 marks and 1.5 tackles and a GDS average of only 78 points per game. At 32 years old and with some recent injury troubles it seems as though father time is catching up with old Jeremy Howe, which again, is a shame! But all good things must come to an end.
2023 Hot take:
I'm not entirely sure how hot this take is... maybe we can call it a warm take, but it is that Darcy Cameron will finish as a top 3 ruckman come the end of the season on an average score-per-game basis. My thoughts and feelings surrounding the ruck position at this point are no secret, it has been decimated, obliterated, and ravaged by GMs all around the country. There are questions around Cameron's health right now, but I think he finishes top 3 even if he is missing a hamstring...