Ross the Boss came back into the fold at the Saints and delivered us seven players who produced quality AFL Fantasy results in 2023. This included some unlikely types like Mason Wood and Callum Wilkie who both rose to prominence and could have been deemed “league winners” if you were lucky enough to get them off waivers or draft them super late.
My boy, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, also broke out in 2023 delivering a 91.3 AFL Fantasy average, and looks to be a top 5-10 defender for a long time.
The Saints are a high-possession team and like to defend both with and without the footy, so there will be opportunities for others to break out in 2024.
Bradley Hill has been an average contributor in AFL Fantasy since he rose to a 93.7 average in 2017 (a lifetime ago) but now equipped with forward status, and having gone at 74.5 and 74.9 in the past two seasons he promises to be an F3 – F4 in 2024 which is going to be incredibly valuable where some coaches might fade him due to age and lack of upside.
A perennial fantasy tease, Paddy Dow, might finally be allowed to thrive in a new environment. After struggling to break into a strong Carlton midfield, he comes to the Saints where he should sit behind only Jack Steele and Brad Crouch for a spot as an inside midfielder. He will sit on draft boards with an AFL Fantasy average of 56.7, and if given 70%+ of CBA’s in 2024, his scoring should improve.
Tim Membrey has also previously been quite a handy fantasy forward in draft and he will likely slide a fair few slots on the back of a 54.4 AFL Fantasy average in 2023. I expect that to improve this year.
The Breakout Contenders
Mitch Owens is a genuine gun and excitement machine. Has all the tools to be an inside midfielder but is valuable due to his versatility. He played as a full forward, a pressure forward, on-ball, and even in the ruck in 2023, and comes into this season with forward status which will see him fly off draft boards. Even with this mixed bag of roles in 2023 he managed a more than commendable average of 73.9. In time, I can see Owens settling as a permanent inside midfielder and his combative style will mean contested footy and tackling will come easy. Even if he doesn’t settle into that role this year he’s proven that he will perform for you in whatever role Ross puts him in.
Another member of his draft class, Marcus Windhager, is someone I will be keeping a close eye on this Pre-Season as well. He finished the season with an 82.1 AFL fantasy average from his last 9 games after suffering from sub-affected games earlier in the year. He is available as a defender in 2024 and is someone who should comfortably exceed his 63.2 average from 2023.
Another young breakout contender, Mattaes Phillipou, promises to be another one of the Saints youngsters who will lead the club into the next generation. It might be a year early for the true breakout, but if given further opportunities in the midfield, plus natural growth, he should surpass his 2023 average of 52.2. Drafting him as a forward is a bonus!
The Stash Options
St Kilda drafted a few fantasy-relevant players in this year’s draft class. Darcy Wilson comes with a 102.5 AFL Fantasy average from the Talent League and Arie Schoenmaker, who some have said might already be the best kick in the AFL, averaged 104.2 for Tasmania in the Talent League. Jack Hayes is another to keep on the radar, and as a ruck/forward he could be an invaluable backup for owners of Marshall.