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Fantasy Focus: Robbie Gray

Dunny  March 16, 2015 5:11 PM

PTV: Robbie Gray amazing hurdle clearance - 27 February, 2015 Watch Robbie Gray's amazing clearance during the internal match simulation from Alberton.
Robbie Gray

Robbie Gray

ROBBIE Gray has been someone we have expected big things from now for a long time and in 2014 he certainly delivered for us Fantasy coaches.

He also had only his second year where he played every game (this last occurred in 2011). That year also saw his previous best average of 81.2, so he bettered that by 13.4 points.

Gray has the ability to go big and turn a game on its head and he proved that last year with seven games over 110 including a 137 v Carlton, 121 v Sydney, 120 v Brisbane and 124 v St Kilda.

Yes I know, three of these teams were outside the eight, but the significant thing is ALL of these game were at the Adelaide Oval where he has 12 games a year. He averaged 101 for the year at Adelaide Oval. Always a positive when your players love playing at the grounds they play at most!

One thing that did worry a lot of people last year was whether he would get a tag, I guess this is why his ownership was so low. However, when you look at the Power midfield there are others that usually cop a tag before Gray will – with Boak and Hartlett who will normally get the tag first.

With Port Adelaide making their way up the ladder in the past few years, this means there are a few players that need to be watched by the opposition and this means Gray along with Boak, Hartlett, Wines and Ebert are more likely to get the attention so he should be able to get off the leash at some stage during each game.

1.7 is the key stat here. 1.7 goals a game from a guy who predominantly plays through the midfield is what we are looking for, it would have also been the key thing that led to him keeping his Forward eligibility. This along with 12 kicks, 12 handballs and nearly three tackles a game is what made his score what it is. One of the things I like here is that Kick to Handball ratio, he likes to throw it on the boot.

I have predicted him to have only a slightly higher average than last year, but I won’t be surprised to see it slide just over the 100 mark. My concern is that he will get a bit more work put into him, but if he can be crumbing the packs to not only Schulz but also Ryder up forward there could be more goal scoring opportunities as the defence is more concerned with those big marking guys than players like Gray, Neade and Wingard.

Now I did mention he likes to go big, however, he can go missing from a fantasy scoring point of view at times. Last year saw a 45, 61 and a 70 from him. Certainly not what we want when a guy is costing us this much cash! Those games came against Collingwood, Adelaide and North Melbourne. Interestingly in each of those his kick to handball ratio was 3:11, 6:7 and 8:16. Clearly more pressure not allowing those kicks. If other teams are now onto this it may cause problems for his scoring ability.

Being the sixth highest priced forward means he may be difficult to fit in your starting squad, and this isn’t a bad thing. Port has a very tough start to the year. They face Freo (PS), Sydney (AO), North (ES), Hawthorn (AO) and Adelaide (AO) in the first 5 games. He scored well against Freo and Sydney with 106 and 108 averages against both of them, but against the next three he had 70, 78 and 72.5.

This leads me to expect a price drop early on so if you are really set on getting him but you don’t have the cash then you may want to look at waiting til your first upgrade. Just the one concern on the upgrade is Port have the R13 bye, so that doesn’t make him the easiest to upgrade as to go to him you will be without a player for a week (if he was R11 or R12 you could take an R13 rookie and upgrade to a R11 or R12 player and not miss a player for a week).

Whilst we are looking at Strength of Schedule let’s look at the finals. Port has GWS (AO), Hawthorn (ES), Gold Coast (MS) and Fremantle (AO) in the Fantasy Finals. To me that just doesn’t look as good as it could. Obviously we will get a much better read on what this will mean as the season progresses, but on paper right now that doesn’t look like a very easy run for those last three games. The only potential positive will be if Fremantle have wrapped up their spot in the eight and can’t move, then Ross may rest a few stars which could help Gray and the Power.

Injuries. We can’t write about Robbie without mentioning them. I know this put a lot of people off last season, but given he played all 22 plus all three finals for the Power he showed me enough to say he is over the soft tissue injuries he was having. The knee injury was one of those unlucky things and his agility last year showed it wasn’t bothering him at all.

We have seen one game of the NAB Challenge featuring Gray and that was fantastic! 111 AFL Fantasy points is the most we had seen to that point. He looked like he was playing a game in round 15, not a pre-season game.

I think for the price you may struggle to fit Robbie into your starting line-up, but he is an absolute must for your watchlist and he will certainly be one of my first upgrades if his price does exactly what I think it will do.

You can find me on twitter @pkd73 and weekly throughout the season here on the PAFC website and also at www.dreamteamtalk.com 

Robbie Gray AFL Fantasy vital stats
AFL Fantasy: $545,000
2014 Average: 94.6
2014 Games Played: 22
My Predicted Average: 102