I’ve been promising a monster list of all my favourite points of difference (PODs) for AFL Fantasy Classic for a while now. Finally, with the season-opener just hours away, it’s time to reveal them!
I’ll be keeping my AFL Fantasy PODs to anyone with less than 10% ownership, for a truly authentic POD experience. Just understand that the numbers could shift after publishing, so don’t come with your pitchforks when Zach Guthrie has 99% ownership by lockout!
If you love your AFL Fantasy Classic, get around the Point of Difference Podcast (#PODPOD) in 2022 – our weekly member-exclusive salary cap podcast featuring last year’s runner-up, Kyle Holmes, and five-time top 100 finisher, The Statesman.
Now, let’s dive deep into our POD journey…
Harry Schoenberg | MID | $582k
Practice match score: 57 | AAMI Series score: 67
A PODYPODPODPOD to start with! Schoenberg’s numbers were gross in the pre-season games but he certainly passed the ‘eye-test’. Priced at 69, Kaes’ boy averaged 84 in his final five games last season and will get plenty of midfield clock early with Laird missing the opening rounds due to injury.
Reilly O’Brien | RUC | $723k
Practice match score: 48 | AAMI Series score: 109
Stating he wants the be “the best ruckman in the competition” in January, ROB’s out to prove a point in 2022. Yes, the Bambi gait is tough to watch at times, but his running style shouldn’t dissuade you from selecting him if you’re keen. He can go big on any given day and looked great in the AAMI Series.
Zac Bailey | MID/FWD | $610k
Practice match score: 100 | AAMI Series score: 63
One of the many players promised more midfield time this pre-season, Bailey might be one that actually gets it. He attended the second most CBAs for the Lions behind Lachie Neale in their AAMI series game but didn’t score as nicely as he did in the practice match. Priced at 73, though, there’s plenty of upside.
Hugh McCluggage | MID | $839k
Practice match score: 74 | AAMI Series score: 94
McCluggage managed to average 100 last year playing almost exclusively on a wing. Set for more CBAs in 2022, the 24-year-old hits all stat lines and even kicks snags — all he needs is a few more touches. I don’t see him going under 100 and with the added CBAs, he could truly explode into top 8 MID calculations.
Adam Cerra | MID | $732k
Practice match score: 103 | AAMI Series score: 94
The Blues new recruit arrives at the club following a scintillating end to his career with the Dockers. Cerra averaged 104 in his last five games after receiving a significant spike in CBAs. Scoring well in both of his trial runs in Blues colours, he’s priced at a measly 87 to start the year and presents juicy value as a POD.
Matthew Kennedy | MID | $720k
Practice match score: 98 | AAMI Series score: 135
A high points-per-minute scorer, Kennedy clearly has a new lease on life under Michael Voss. However, he already showed a ceiling when playing an inside role last year — averaging 110 across five games where he received 60% or more CBAs. With Sam Walsh’s return looming, it’s still a super risky play to start him.
Patrick Lipinski | MID | $606k
Practice match score: 68 | AAMI Series score: 18
There’s good reason Lippa had a song written about him this year. Waiting years to get an inside role at the Dogs, the 23-year-old walks into a team where he’ll finally get his wish. Injured in the AAMI but looking set for round 1! La-La-Lipinski, trust the GOAT to win your league. His ownership is rather unique!
Jordan De Goey | MID/FWD | $707k
Practice match score: DNP | AAMI Series score: 57
Given the off-season De Goey’s had, it’s no surprise he’s lowly owned in fantasy circles, adding a broken rib in recent weeks to his off-field discretions. Regardless, De Goey was a beast to end the season playing as a midfielder and had 15 CBAs in the AAMI Series despite playing just 71% TOG, clearly taking it easy.
Sam Draper | RUC | $481k
Practice match score: 41 | AAMI Series score: 75
If you’re bold enough to go against Holmesy this preseason, then don’t forget about big Sammy D! He looks primed to go to a new level at 23 years old, coming off 135 AFL Fantasy points in the elimination final last year. He’ll get basically every CBA this season for Bombers, with every opportunity to build form.
Darcy Parish | MID | $885k
Practice match score: 109 | AAMI Series score: 79
The biggest name in AFL Fantasy last season is the forgotten man in 2022. Incredibly low ownership despite being a ‘must-have’ for the top coaches last season. Injured players returning, a slow finish to the season and the risk of a tag is scaring off coaches — making him an awesome POD, given his upside.
Andrew Brayshaw | MID | $875k
Practice match score: 122 | AAMI Series score: 102
Despite being priced at his 2021 average of 104, I strongly believe Brayshaw has another level to reach this season and beyond. He hits every stat line, has shown a huge ceiling, and there’s even the promise of more Fyfe in the midfield (someone to take the tag). Brayshaw has top 8 midfielder potential this season.
Heath Chapman | DEF | $408k
Practice match score: 78 | AAMI Series score: 90
Some quality scores against the decimated Eagles this pre-season is only part of the Chapman breakout story. He passed the ‘eye test’ with flying colours and looked at home in the Dockers +6 happy backline, composed beyond his years. It’s an awkward price, but the signs were fantastic and our D5-6 is dire.
Zach Guthrie | DEF | $508k
Practice match score: 64 | AAMI Series score: 92
Zach Guthrie might just be my favourite PODYPODPODPODLYPODPOD for the season! His work rate, spread and intercepting have gone to a whole new level this season. He also averaged 8 points better with Tom Stewart in the side last year, so his absence in pre-season doesn’t scare me. Zach GOAThrie.
Patrick Dangerfield | MID | $728k
Practice match score: 84 | AAMI Series score: 76
Some injury-affected games last season and some less than ideal CBAs at times make Dangerfield’s price pretty tempting to start the season. In fact, it’s his lowest starting price since 2011, and at 31 years old — Danger isn’t done just yet. He cruised in the practice games, so don’t be too concerned about the scores.
Gold Coast Suns
Noah Anderson | MID | $679k
Practice match score: 61 | AAMI Series score: 79
Don’t worry, I already wrote about Brayden Fiorini for DT Talk, so I’ll give Noz some love instead. Entering his third year, Anderson showed a ceiling last year, scoring more than 115 on four occasions. Already in the Suns leadership group, Anderson can score in a flurry and is certainly underpriced to start 2022.
Wil Powell | DEF | $606k
Practice match score: 70 | AAMI Series score: 91
If Lachie Weller didn’t move into defence, Powell would be locked into my starting side this season. Regardless, I like him more than Weller at his price given the steady role he should have across the season. There’s upside to be had, but without a mortgage on the kick-ins, it’s a wait-and-see.
Josh Kelly | MID | $870k
Practice match score: 92 | AAMI Series score: 122
It’s easy to forget that Josh Kelly played a chunk of last season as a forward. Up until round 7, Kelly averaged just 15% CBAs and 91 AFL Fantasy points. After that, he stormed home for a 110 average the rest of the way with plenty more CBAs. The new co-captain feels like a super safe starting POD.
Tom Green | MID | $602k
Practice match score: 78 | AAMI Series score: 95
It seems Leon Cameron is moving the magnets to get this bloke in the guts. Callan Ward has moved to a half-back flank to facilitate some more CBAs for the 20-year-old bull, who averaged just 41% attendance last season. I’ll wait on him due to Leon’s unpredictable nature, but he’s one to watch early.
Jack Scrimshaw | DEF | $669k
Practice match score: 62 | AAMI Series score: 71
There’s a lot to like about Scrimshaw from a fantasy perspective. He lirks loose in the backline, loves a +6, and the Hawks want the pill in his hands. Sicily’s return is concerning for his production, but something tells me they’ll co-exist just fine in the season proper. I wouldn’t start with him but he’s one to monitor.
Max Lynch | RUC | $392k
Practice match score: 85 | AAMI Series score: 54
A cheeky one for the coaches backing in their ‘Manscaped Smooth Ball Call’ to go cheap in the ruck line. Lynch has McEvoy and Reeves to contend with but has shown an ability to score when given the role. He played just 39% TOG for his 54 points in the AAMI Series, so keep an eye on the team sheets for round 1.
Christian Petracca | MID | $930k
Practice match score: 96 | AAMI Series score: 96
Petracca just edges the self-imposed rule I’ve set for these PODs (<10%), but I’m super keen on his potential to go to even greater heights in 2022. CP hits all stat lines, including the scoreboard, and I think he increases the 28 disposal average of last season. A high price, but it could be very worthwhile.
Jake Bowey | DEF | $371k
Practice match score: 55 | AAMI Series score: 61
In a year where we seem to be struggling for defensive rookies, Jake Bowey is a unique option with some job security. Coming off a strong performance in the grand final, he should slot straight into the Dees back six rotation from round 1. If cheaper options are named, it’ll be hard to pay up, though.
Tristan Xerri | FWD | $281k
Practice match score: DNP | AAMI Series score: 110
My second breach of the <10% POD ownership rule (only just) is the darling of the AAMI Series. If named in the ruck round 1, he won’t be a POD — and rightly so! Xerri averaged 21 disposals, 26 hitouts and 105 AFL Fantasy points in the VFL last season, and even if it’s a 50/50 split with Goldy, it’s super juicy.
Tarryn Thomas | MID/FWD | $681k
Practice match score: 80 | AAMI Series score: 78
Tarryn’s modest pre-season has probably put a few coaches off, meaning he’s still a POD! If you were keen before, I don’t see a reason not to be now. He still had the CBAs you want to see, and North tried a bunch of different things — meaning they got smoked more than usual. Plenty of upside in 2022.
Connor Rozee | FWD | $567k
Practice match score: 21 | AAMI Series score: 106
With Butters ownership skyrocketing, fellow Port young gun, Connor Rozee is getting no love in fantasy land. Rozee, much like Butters, has been touted for more midfield minutes in 2022 (albeit in more of a chop out role) and can score in bunches. A riskier starting selection, but one to track in the early rounds.
Lachie Jones | DEF | $368k
Practice match score: 43 | AAMI Series score: 77
We’re now dangerously close to round 1, and the D5-D6 crisis is making us do some crazy things. But maybe selecting second-year, grown-ass man, Lachie Jones isn’t one of them. He looked much-improved in the AAMI Series and could take on a prominent role in the Pear’s back six immediately.
Daniel Rioli | DEF/FWD | $469k
Practice match score: DNP | AAMI Series score: 87
A role shift to defence last season saw Rioli average 78 in his last 5 games, including a 99 in round 21. The change is reminiscent of a Nick Hind of last season, with the lingering forward status of a role gone by. The most promising sign of all? Rioli illustrated some observable thirst in the AAMI Series, eager for a +6.
Nick Vlastuin | DEF | $638k
Practice match score: 113 | AAMI Series score: DNP
With Bachar Houli retired, there’s a bit more Sherrin to go around. While I like Rioli to take a big jump (as well as a few kicks going to Ralphsmith — NOT a POD!), I still think there’s plenty of ball for Vlastuin. Priced at 76, he averaged 92 in his last 5 games and was 13 points better without Houli in 2021.
Josh Battle | FWD | $517k
Practice match score: 80 | AAMI Series score: 78
I love Josh Battle. He’s “on my bus” as we say at The Keeper League, and I’ll tell you why. A shift into defence will finally allow Battle to use his elite peg, intercepting and solid tank. Low TOG and swingman duties have limited him thus far, but he’ll score in this new role, and is even taking some kick-ins.
Ben Paton | DEF | $380k
Practice match score: 82 | AAMI Series score: 66
I thought Holmesy might have a fit if I mentioned another ruck alternative, so I better stick to another option for that nasty D5-D6 slot. Ben Paton returns after a brutal leg injury that saw him miss the entire 2021 season. He was a reliable 60s guy in 2020 and is a coach’s favourite for the best 22.
Errol Gulden | FWD | $609k
Practice match score: 97 | AAMI Series score: 79
Errol came out the blocks HOT in his rookie year, averaging 98 in his first 3 games. He slowed down a bit, and missed time with injury, but had a strong finish to the season, dropping 2 tons in his final 6 games. Firmly in the mix for a second-year breakout, Gulden oozes class and loves to get amongst the action.
Callum Mills | MID | $922k
Practice match score: DNP | AAMI Series score: 86
A fantasy stud, Mills’ injury-interrupted pre-season is the only reason he’s a POD. After a dominant year in 2021 and averaging 115 in his last 5, he’s now Sydney’s co-captain. Mills’ performance in the AAMI Series was utterly ridiculous — 15 disposals, 5 marks, 8 tackles, 86 AFL Fantasy points… in 41% TOG. Yikes.
West Coast Eagles
Tim Kelly | MID | $707k
Practice match score: 68 | AAMI Series score: 110
Kelly posted the lowest AFL Fantasy average of his career last season, which included 2 games of less than 40% TOG due to injury. He’s also basically the only man left standing in the Eagles midfield with the team decimated by injuries. TK has a big ceiling, is looking fit, and might be the only Eagle playing in round 1.
Brady Hough | MID | $230k
Practice match score: 18 | AAMI Series score: 65
Hough is a worthwhile starting rookie going under the radar. A tall, outside midfielder by trade, Hough played as a running defender for West Coast in the AAMI Series, even notching 83% TOG. A quality junior scorer, he could surprise us with his job security across the early rounds.
Tim English | RUC/FWD | $673k
Practice match score: 80 | AAMI Series score: 106
If you buy the ruck time, English could be hat-winning level POD in fantasy. The 24-year-old is entering his ruck prime and actually averaged well when handed the reigns last season — averaging 92 when he attended 70% or more of the Dogs CBAs. With Martin still around, I think it’ll still be a bumpy ride.
Bailey Dale | DEF | $700k
Practice match score: 101 | AAMI Series score: 82
Making a permanent shift into defence was a game-changer for Dale, earning an All-Australian jacket in his defensive debut. Given it was his first season playing in the role, what’s to say he can’t lift his game to new heights in year two? Daniel is still there eating up pill, but there might be enough to go around.
The #PODPOD in 2022
If you love a POD, and you love a pod… cast — join The Statesman, Holmesy, Lewy and I for the #PODPOD in 2022! We’ll be doing weekly AFL Fantasy classic podcasts exploring strategy, trades, and answering plenty of questions along the way.
The #PODPOD is available exclusively to silver or gold members of The Keeper League, which also includes access to CBA analysis, state league and draftee fantasy scores, kick-ins, The Breakout Tracker, and much more!
Join in the fun by becoming a member. Good luck in 2022!