Let’s make one thing clear, the majority of the players on this list are in line to be stars in 2023.
However, not all fantasy players are created equally and even some of the mainstream GDS Women's Fantasy Footy stars have red flags attached to them. Injury issues, role changes and less midfield time usually send alarm bells ringing for coaches and while these popular picks are bound to succeed at some point, there is plenty of cause for pause.
Ebony Antonio, FWD, Fremantle Dockers
2022 GDS AVG: 84
In case you aren’t up to date, Ebony Antonio is every chance to play Round 1 for Freo but copious injury concerns mean that there’s no guarantee she will take the field. Antonio made a successful return late last season from a PCL tear, posting noteworthy GDS scores of 83 and 85 in her two games. The Dockers star being available as a forward will undoubtedly increase her popularity and there’s every chance she records another average in the 70-80 range if she can feature regularly. That will see her fall in line with the best FWD options, but it’s not a terrible idea to be cautious with the 30-year-old. Having her preseason disturbed isn’t ideal and there are enough warning signs to suggest Antonio won’t fire right away.
Hannah Ewings, MID, Port Adelaide Power 2022 GDS AVG: 76
Selected 3rd overall by Port Adelaide in the 2022 AFLW Draft, Hannah Ewings went on to excel in her rookie season. Her high kick-handball ratio and almost five tackles a game saw Ewings average a healthy dose of GDS points while also claiming the Rising Star award and the Power’s best and fairest. The downside of such an impressive rookie campaign is that Ewings only qualifies as a MID this season after previously holding FWD status - despite the fact that she will likely continue to split her time between both positions. I can’t imagine Ewings will be an incredibly mainstream selection given the abundance of reliable midfielders you can choose from, however I’ll certainly have her on my watchlist as someone to target should her midfield minutes climb.
Caitlin Gould, RUCK, Adelaide Crows
2022 GDS AVG: 76
On the surface, Caitlin Gould seems like a smart starting pick for your RUC department. A closer look reveals that she may have some competition for hitouts in 2023, with one-time Crow Jess Allan back at the club and ready to eat into Gould’s workload. Entering this season, the word out of Adelaide is that both Allan and Gould are expected to form a one-two punch as the primary rucks. That could lead to Gould playing forward as a marking target in front of goal, which is enough for me to ignore her until we see what the ruck split looks like.
Brianna Davey, MID, Collingwood Kangaroos 2022 GDS AVG: N/A
Ok, hear me out. Everyone will want Bri Davey in their fantasy side at some point of the season and including her on this list may blow up in my face. With that said, the former AFLW Best & Fairest winner is returning from a second ACL tear in her right knee while ALSO having her preseason interrupted by a nagging hamstring complaint. As a result, the smart tactic may be to start the season without Davey on the field as she works back to full fitness and once she returns to the peak of her powers, then you can reinsert the Magpies skipper into your lineup.
Emily Bates, MID, Hawthorn Hawks
2022 GDS AVG: 90
Premierships, B&F wins, All-Australian awards, MVP trophies – there isn’t much that Emily Bates hasn’t won in her AFLW career to date. The newest addition to Hawthorn’s midfield will look to bring her wealth of knowledge and experience to the club, coming off a somewhat down year by her lofty standards. In 2021, Bates won the competition’s B&F award and averaged an eye-popping 104.4 GDS points a game, however, her scoring average dipped to just 90.5 GDS points in her latest campaign. Most W fans expect her to stay in the conversation as one of the game’s best, but with a constant tag threat set to follow Bates to the Hawks, I’d rather invest in other MID’s at the beginning of the season.
Katie Lynch, FWD, Western Bulldogs
2022 GDS AVG: 71
At the age of 23, it’s fair to assume Katie Lynch still has her best football ahead of her. Lynch has established herself as one of the W’s best defenders and she was rewarded for her stellar 2023 season by earning a maiden All-Australian blazer. After almost leading the competition for marks, the stars are aligning for the Bulldogs DEF to have another impressive season. Although, when it comes to constructing a fantasy side we don’t usually want to start with players who missed taking part in the practice matches prior to Round 1 and an Achilles issue may see Lynch come into the season underdone. It’s a small concern, but it might be wise to look for alternative options.