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 Hawthorn Football Club.
Must start player:
James Sicily's high half-back role makes him play as a 5th on-baller. This creates a scenario where a defender-eligible player is accumulating midfeld type numbers, so expect top-tier production throughout the 2023 season. James Sicily last year was the 5th rank defender, so coaches have already seen the level he can play at. Tom Mitchell's departure leaves a void of fantasy opportunity for those who are willing to step up and take it, and James Sicily is one of the front runners to be taking these statistics. Being excited about what Sicily is going to bring to the table throughout this season would be a massive understatement!
Dream legend card:
Dylan Moore finished last year as the number 1 ranked forward in AFL fantasy, at just the age of 23 years old. What else is there to say, that fact alone should be enough for all Gameday Squad coaches to be securing a Dylan Moore and placing him in your forward pack for the season. He finished last season with a healthy 109 fantasy points per game, bagging a goal a game along with it. He ticks all the boxes when looking for elite dynasty options, youthful, raw talent, great fantasy situation and role. Plus, no more Jack Gunston and no more Tom Mitchell for Hawthorn this season, two players whose playstyles overlap with Dylan Moore's. Could what we saw last year only be a taster for the quality of footy which is yet to come?
Avoid this Bust:
Chad Wingard is an interesting prospect for this upcoming AFL season. There is some upside that Wingard carries with the voids of the team which were outlined earlier. But the fit for me isn't great at all, we say Wingard struggle to score fantasy points last season. Finishing 2022 with an average of 68 fantasy points per game, which equates to the worst fantasy average of Chad Wingard's career. Those indicators are frightening for all Gameday Squad coaches, there is no world where I can start or even consider playing Chad Wingard this upcoming season. So beware and stay clear of any Chad Wingard hype because 2023 is going to be a struggle, but the only scenario where Chad Wingard doesn't bust this year is if he gets his average kicks and handbells per game to over 10.
Value on the rise:
Mitch Lewis is in for a great season, he lead Hathorn last year in goal-kicking average per game. This was with Gunston around the club, which is no more. Mitch Lewis is 199cm, weighs in at 101kg, and surprisingly is light on his feet. He has all the intangibles you want from your star forward. All of these elements will be on full display early and often this season, as Hawthorn will make a point of transiting the footy out of the defence and finishing with the ball in Lewis's hands inside forward 50. He has a great set shot and was been patiently waiting for his time to dominate Hawthorn's forward line, and that time is now! It will be interesting to see whether or not this scenario turns Mitch Lewis into a regular feature in Gameday Squad Coaches teams, but his stocks will most certainly be up.
Value on the decline:
Karl Amon is a player I will be avoiding starting this season. He is Hawthorn's latest acquisition, but how will a new club and a young core of players ready to prove their worth impact Karl Amon's fantasy production? Not well, over the past two seasons, Karl Amon has finished with a fantasy average score of 114 per game. Which is respectable and could warrant Gameday Squad coaches starting him depending on their team depth. But 2023 is going to see Karl Amon in form similar to pre the 2021 season. He will sit around that 70-85 fantasy score average per game, which is a significant decrease from years prior. I would be offloading Karl Amon ASAP before everyone else catches on.
2023 Hot take:
Hawthorn will have two players who rank within the top 5 for their respective positions. They are going to be a team who scores and concedes a tonne of fantasy points, which has all Gameday Squad coaches licking their lips for their Hawthorn players, or others who face Hawthorn for that week.