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Hawthorn Hawks – AFL Fantasy Analysis 2024

In the midst of a dynamic phase, the Hawthorn Hawks have boldly moved on numerous players over recent trade periods, pivoting their focus to nurturing young talent. This article explores the fantasy potential hidden within this youth-driven lineup, spotlighting undervalued players, emerging breakout contenders, and intriguing stash options. As the Hawks invest in their future, these young guns present exciting opportunities for AFL fantasy managers looking to gain an edge.

The Undervalued

Mitch Lewis

Mitch Lewis is an interesting prospect for AFL fantasy this season, despite key forwards not typically being top picks in fantasy circles. With a shortage of forwards in fantasy this year, players like Lewis might just become our secret weapon. Known for kicking bags of goals when he’s on form, Lewis has the potential to rack up decent scores. His prowess in taking strong marks is another avenue for fantasy points, though it’s crucial to note his susceptibility to injuries in his first few seasons so to truly be a valuable asset for our teams, Lewis needs to stay on the park. If the stars align for him, I’m anticipating an average around the 70 mark, making him a potentially handy inclusion in our fantasy lineups.

Changkuoth Jiath

Changkuoth Jiath, the Hawthorn Hawks’ dynamic half-back intercept defender, was quickly emerging as a potential AFL fantasy star. His combination of athletic prowess and skills earmarks him as a promising figure in fantasy football. Despite being hampered by injuries in the past couple of seasons, Jiath’s potential remains high. His speed and agility off the half-back flank are crucial, as the Hawks are likely to rely on him to break lines and efficiently deliver the football into the forward 50. Hawthorn’s backline, however, is a competitive space, packed with several capable fantasy options. This makes it challenging to predict point distribution, but Jiath is still a worthy pick. If he can maintain a prominent role in the Hawks’ defense, he could be a valuable asset for fantasy teams.

The Breakout Contenders

Josh Ward

Josh Ward is a name that’s been on the lips of many AFL fantasy managers, and for good reason. When we look at his early career games and stack them up against some of the best midfielders in the competition, Ward is keeping pace, indicating a bright future in AFL Fantasy. Over his first couple of seasons, he’s predominantly been seen on the wing, but there’s an exciting development on the horizon. Ward has been training with the inside midfield group during the preseason, suggesting a shift towards a more inside role in 2024. This transition could be expedited with Will Day sidelined due to a foot injury, making Ward the likely candidate to fill that void. His playing style aligns well with what Day brings to the table, making him a seamless fit. As we move into Ward’s third year of football, a time often marked as a breakout period for younger players, he’s certainly one to keep a close eye on in your fantasy team.

Connor Macdonald

Connor Maconald is shaping up to be a key player in the realm of AFL fantasy, especially when you consider his trajectory in comparison with the top 10 forwards during the early stages of their careers. Like Ward, he’s tracking on par with the elite players at his line, signaling a promising future. Despite the likelihood of Macdonald spending more time in the forward line rather than seeing a significant increase in midfield minutes, this positioning could actually work in AFL Fantasy coaches’ favor. Given the current landscape of AFL fantasy, where there’s a notable demand for forwards, Macdonald stands out as a potential gun. His likelihood of retaining forward status in the coming years only adds to his appeal, making him one of the more compelling options in that line. For those strategizing their fantasy teams for the future, keeping an eye on Macdonald’s progress and role could pay dividends in the seasons ahead.

Cam Mackenzie

Cam Mackenzie has been generating a lot of buzz this preseason, with speculation rife about him taking on a more substantial midfield role. In my view, he’s likely to stick to his mid-forward duties for the upcoming season, focusing on further honing his skills. Despite this train of thought, Mackenzie remains a player with considerable potential for the future. His forward status in AFL fantasy is an added bonus, making him a smart pick now, particularly if he’s poised for a breakout in 2024. For fantasy managers, keeping an eye on Mackenzie’s development could be a savvy move, as he could emerge as a key player in the coming seasons. With everything falling into place, I anticipate Mackenzie could average around the 70 mark in 2024.

The Stash Options

Josh Weddle

Josh Weddle is shaping up to be a notable AFL fantasy player, boasting attributes that are tailor-made for the game. His slightly taller stature gives him an edge in taking intercept marks, a valuable skill in fantasy scoring. Additionally, Weddle possesses the athletic ability to run off the half-back line, breaking the game open with his agility and skillful use of the ball to set up Hawthorn’s attack. However, the path to a regular spot in the Hawks’ defense isn’t without its challenges, especially with the abundance of talented younger defenders on the roster. In the long term, I see Weddle as a potential successor to James Sicily’s role in the team. In the shorter term, he’s likely vying for a position alongside players like Changkuoth Jiath. Despite the competition, I have no doubts about Weddle’s future as an AFL Fantasy star. It’s a wise move to pick him up now, although it might be a couple of years before he truly shines in the fantasy realm. His development is definitely something to keep an eye on for those looking to bolster their fantasy defense with a future star.

Seamus Mitchell

Seamus Mitchell displayed encouraging signs emerging from Hawthorn’s defense last season, hinting at his potential in AFL Fantasy. However, like many of Hawthorn’s promising defenders, it’s challenging to pinpoint exactly where he fits into the team’s structure. Mitchell seems poised to eventually adopt a role akin to Blake Hardwick’s, contributing solidly from the backline. Nevertheless, for him to become a consistent week-in, week-out contributor in AFL fantasy, we might need to wait for the likes of Hardwick or Jarman Impey to step aside. It’s a waiting game with Mitchell, but the talent and potential are there. Fantasy managers should keep a close eye on his development and team dynamics, as he could emerge as a valuable asset once he secures a more prominent role within Hawthorn’s defensive setup. For now, patience is key with Mitchell, but he’s certainly one to watch for the future.

Massimo D’Ambrosio

Massimo D’Ambrosio’s recruitment by Hawthorn is particularly intriguing, especially considering how the Hawks actively targeted and swooped him from Essendon’s grasp. His addition, however, adds to Hawthorn’s already abundant pool of running defenders. What sets D’Ambrosio apart are his elite foot skills, a trait Hawthorn is keenly focusing on, especially in light of their struggles with ball use last season. Additionally, there’s a chance he could fill a wing role, especially with Karl Amon looking likely to continue on the halfback line in 2024, as he did towards the end of last season. This shift for Amon could pave the way for D’Ambrosio to bring his skills to the wing, offering a fresh dynamic to Hawthorn’s lineup. While I’m not expecting him to slot straight into the lineup, D’Ambrosio is definitely a player to keep on your radar. The fact that Hawthorn targeted him so deliberately suggests they have specific plans for his development and integration into the team. I believe he has a strong chance of making his mark in 2024 and becoming a consistent figure in Hawthorn’s side For AFL fantasy coaches, D’Ambrosio is a name to remember and monitor as the season progresses. 

Henry Hustwaite

Henry Hustwaite is emerging as a player to watch at Hawthorn, particularly for his silky, smooth left-foot kicking ability. With the potential to slot into either a wing or half-back role, Hustwaite could be a key piece in addressing Hawthorn’s disposal efficiency issues of 2023. While he’s likely to need another year or two to fully develop, the signs are there that he will become a prominent figure in Hawthorn’s plans going forward. For AFL fantasy coaches, Hustwaite is a name to keep on the radar.

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