The 2022 AFL regular season has ended, and with that, so has the most challenging fantasy season in recent times. Big name injuries, covid-19 protocols and an entire positional group decimated. That didn't kill the spirits of all the fantasy coaches around the world who stuck it out for the entire season! Now that the season is over for another year, it's time to hand out some online hardware. We will be reviewing every team's fantasy season and awarding those who stood out. To kick us off we have the Western Bulldogs! Let us know your thoughts on who we have included below on all of our socials - twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.
C- Another team along with Port Adelaide that I was extremely wrong about going into the season. All cards on the table I had them winning the minor premiership and giving it a fair shake for the flag at the end, but to my chagrin, the Doggies only just scraped into the top 8 and didn’t do much with the opportunity. They bowed out in the first round of finals, losing to a classy Freo side out west, something the Dogs supporters won’t be too pleased with given the talent of their list. Talent that should have taken them a long way in real footy, and talent that ultimately, for the most part, didn’t really perform in a fantasy sense either. Players that are generally mainstays at the top of rankings like Jack Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli, Adam Treloar and Caleb Daniel all missed the mark in terms of fantasy average compared to how they have performed in past seasons. While the likes of Josh Dunkley, Tim English and Bailey Dale outperformed their pre-season projections, becoming more than feasible options. So with all that said, let’s take a look at some players who deserve some hardware for the numbers they put up this season.
Most Valuable Player
Smooth operator Josh Dunkley was by far and away the Western Bulldogs’ best fantasy option in 2022. Dunkley who was listed as a midfielder in GameDay Squad Footy finished the season with a per-game average of 124 GDS fantasy points and ranked 11th overall amongst all GDS footy players in 2022. His stat averages were elite across the board with 25.4 disposals, 6.2 marks and 6.1 tackles per game to add to his impressive 2022 resume. The bad news? It seems all but likely that The 25-year-old will be donning the Brisbane Lions colours next year as he sets to be one of the biggest names on the market to move this off-season. Be sure to follow us as we assess how that move will impact fantasy as the off-season progresses.
Performance of the Year
Bailey Smith had the biggest score for the Bulldogs in 2022. His big day against the Melbourne Demons in round 1 included :
5 Free-kicks for
179 GDS fantasy points!
Rookie of the Year
Admittedly this is a very small sample size but I’m very excited with the play that father-son rookie Sam Darcy displayed in his limited game time. Darcy displayed immense versatility, mainly deployed across the half-back flank as a tall for the doggies but he wasn’t shy about pushing up the wing. Bevo even chucked him up at full-forward in the last round of the season as the dogs took on Hawthorn, where Darcy kick 2 goals - 2 behinds and had 13 disposals to go with it for 81 GDS points. While he may only own a GDS fantasy average of 74 points, he’s only had a limited chance to show his stuff, and he’s shown enough to warrant keeping a seriously close eye on him over the off-season.
Surprise of the Year
Bailey Dale was a player I fell in love with as the season went on. He made his way into my team and his consistency meant that once he was in, he was in for good. He took his game to another level averaging 18 kicks, 4.9 marks and 557 meters gained per game, which took his GDS fantasy average to a career-high 110 points per game. Dale finished ranked as the 9th defender in GDS footy and at 26 years old, he may not be stopping there!
I kept the receipts! Not many people had Tim English concluding the 2022 season as the number 1 ruckman in GameDay Squad fantasy footy. 25-year-old, mobile ruckman Tim English packed on the kilograms over the 2021/2022 off-season as a sole ruckman job was on the cards for him. As the old saying goes in fantasy sports, with opportunity, comes productivity. He had his best season by a country mile, averaging 18.1 disposals, 23.7 hit outs and 5.4 marks a game, which helped improve his 2021 GDS fantasy average of 80 points per game to 116 GDS fantasy points per game in 2022. English goes into the 2023 seasons finishing 2022 as the 2nd ranked ruckman in the game, expect him to take the crown sooner rather than later.
Disappointment of the Year
2016 Norm Smith medalist Jason Johannisen has continued his rapid regression in fantasy averages in 2022. Since that 2016 season where he finished the year with an average of 90+ AFL fantasy points, Johannisen has really struggled to stay on the park and that was proven again in 2022 as he only managed to play a total of 7 games this year. What's even more worrying for Johannisen is that of those 7 games, he only had 2 games over 65+ GDS fantasy points. Johannisen's 2022 average of just 62 GDS fantasy points per game, paired with his inability to stay on the field means that he should be viewed as unstartable for all fantasy teams going forward.
The fact of the matter is that the Western Bulldogs team is incredibly talented. Yes, you lose Josh Dunkley. But to have the likes of Bailey Smith, Bailey Dale, Tim English, Aaron Naughton, Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae all within the ranks already, expect the doggies to work their way back up the ladder in 2023.