For those wanting to get out of the AFL Dream Team rat race, it’s always tempting to find a couple of ‘uniques’ that will help you stand out from the crowd. These are the players not many other teams have that can potentially earn major points for you – and you only.
Sometimes, there’s a reason these players aren’t wanted. But for those willing to take the risk, the rewards can be great.
For the next week and a bit, we’ll be releasing a few unique options for you to consider. Today’s pick is Essendon’s Jobe Watson.
’11 average: 99
Why pick him?
Watson is priced at a 99 average, but we’ve seen that when injury doesn’t intervene he is capable of so much more. Remember the start of last year? He was absolutely dominating – he averaged 117 from the first seven games, with scores ranging from 96 to one 135 and one 134! Game No. 8 was when he was injured against the Brisbane Lions, and unfortunately he never quite returned to the same level.
Don’t let that scare you off, however. There were only four games where Jobe scored less than 90. And they all came with legitimate excuses – the first was that game against the Lions, then his first game back after that, then a game where he did his hamstring and then a game where he was concussed and couldn’t return. Every other game was 90+ and half of those were 110+!
Another advantage here is that the Bombers have plenty of talent that have the potential to step up this year and help take the pressure off Watson – think Melksham, Heppell, Zaharakis et al. The more these players improve, the better it will be for Watson’s fantasy numbers. An injury-free year should see his output improve above 110.
Why not pick him?
Will we get “an injury-free year”? He had two layoffs last year because of injury. That’s not a particularly good sign. To be fair, he played 19 games or more in each of the five seasons prior to last year, but there’s an element of risk there. The other thing is that he shares both a price range and bye round with Michael Barlow, meaning there might not be a spot for him within your structure if you’ve already committed to Barlow.
Essendon shares their bye with Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Melbourne and Sydney.
How unique is he?
He is one of the more popular picks from Essendon, but overall just 4.8 per cent of teams have selected Watson at this stage. Karmichael Hunt is in more teams!
You’d have to really love this pick to go with both Watson and Barlow. But, Watson has the advantage of being unique and it’s worth mentioning this article that quotes Barlow warning fans against expecting a 2010-esque output. For mine, currently I’ve found room for both but time will tell whether I go with that for Round 1 or not.
Michael DiFabrizio is a journalism student at the University of Wollongong. As an AFL writer, he has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009 and has appeared in The Age and on ABC television and radio.