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 St Kilda Football Club.
Must start player:
Jack Sinclair is a player you need to be rostering if you have the opportunity this season. I have been wondering what is better to watch, his mullet soaring through the wind whilst coming off the half-back flank or his fantasy average score per game from last season. Expect much of the same from Sinclair throughout 2023, this superstar finished last year as the second-ranked defender in fantasy. He is an absolute stud and will quickly become your favourite fantasy defender if given the chance.
Dream legend card:
Rowan Marshall is currently the most desirable legend card for the Saints. The ruckman position in 2022 was extremely top-heavy, with minimal positional depth and options to consistently roster if you wanted reliable fantasy production. Rowan Marshall fortunately was one of the few elite ruckmen, finishing the year ranked 3 and with a healthy 106-point fantasy average per game. At 27 years old, St Kilda will be relying on Marshall to fulfil his ruckmen duties for the immediate and foreseeable future. I will be starting Rowan Marshall with a tone of confidence this season, and so should you!
Avoid this Bust:
Tom Campbell is going to struggle to produce healthy fantasy scores next season and is a player I will be avoiding at all costs. Firstly, if Rowan Marshall is going to be as good as we know he is, Tom Campbell is going to struggle to score in fantasy and will find it hard to get into the Saints best 22 throughout most weeks. Tom Campbell's biggest opportunity to produce fantasy scores would be in St Kilda's forward line, but he will need to carve himself out a consistent role, which at this point I just don't see happening. Furthermore, Tom Campbell's most games played in an AFL season since 2013 is only 9 for an entire season. Consistency, health concerns and being behind Rown Marshall in positional depth are just a couple of reasons why Tom Campbell shouldn't be on your fantasy team's radar at all this season.
Value on the rise:
Jade Gresham is a player who will see an increase in Gameday Squad card value for the upcoming season and let me tell you how. Firstly this season is vastly different for Gresham, as his position allocation has been changed from a midfielder in 2022, to a forward for the 2023 season. This fact alone already screams value, for new fantasy coaches who don't quite understand why this is significant, I'll briefly explain. Midfielders in AFL fantasy score more points on average than the other fantasy positions due to their favourable role and increased opportunity to accumulate points whilst playing the midfielder position. Midfielder players or forwards who have a midfield rotation will naturally accumulate higher fantasy statistics in comparison to players from to same fantasy position who don't. Of course, outlier games occur, but as a general rule. The more midfield time a player has, the better! To summarise why, if Jade Gresham is to play equally well as last season, he will finish as a top-10 fantasy forward this year. That is a wildly contrasting outcome in comparison to his 65th-ranked midfielder output from 2022.
Value on the decline:
Zak Jones is a player whose Gameday Squad card price will see a decline throughout the 2023 AFL season and there are plenty of indicators as to why. Analysing the past 4 fantasy seasons, Zak Jones in the 2022 season saw his worst tackle, handball and kick average per game. Inversely, in 2022 Jones had career-high in average frees against per game. These figures are extremely concerning and are portraying a picture of what the 2023 season is going to entail for Gameday Squad coaches of Zak Jones cards. Additionally, I am expecting decreased midfield minutes for Zak Jones this season, the feeling is that he is plummeting down the midfield depth chart, with this scenario only generating negative fantasy implications. Lastly, there is an old saying in fantasy sports, 'the best ability, is availability'. Unfortunately, this is not an ability Zak Jones has had on his side. Playing in only 13 games last season, and 13 games again the year before last. Please stay clear of Zak Jones this year as his fantasy shortcomings, heavily out-weight any upside.
2023 Hot take:
The Saints will have 3 separate players finish in the top 3 in their position for fantasy this season. These players will be Jack Sinclair (Defender), Rowan Marshall (Ruck) and Jack Steele (Midfielder). These three are going to be elite fantasy options, and are players that most Gameday Squad coaches will be welcoming to their team with open arms.