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AFL Fantasy preview: Defenders

Voss on round 1 selection - PTV Michael Voss from today's presser

WITH the AFL season less than a week away, some of us are madly scrambling to put together our AFL Fantasy teams.

For most, we might as well not even bother, but at least we have fun. wants to help and has taken a look at some of our club’s best bets to help you at least get close.

Today we have a look at our defenders.


The absolute lock:

Dan Houston ($522,000) For a guy who is still just 21, Houston took his game to another reliable level in 2018, playing all 22 games. He averaged 72 AFL Fantasy points, not a huge score but the highest by any Power defender in a backline which features a host of strong reliable performers.

2018 was his first full season and he averaged 16.8 disposals, 5.3 marks and 2.7 tackles per game. His pre-season has been strong, and he scored 102 AFL Fantasy points in the JLT2 game against North Melbourne after 21 touches and 12 marks. His previous career best score was 101 against West Coast in Round 7, 2018. If that JLT2 performance is a sign to go by, Houston represents good value for money and could be set to get even better in 2019.


The roughy:

Darcy Byrne-Jones ($519,000) A defender who can get you 80 points or more is usually a pretty useful selection in AFL Fantasy and Byrne-Jones is certainly one of those. IN 2018, he got 80 or more points on nine occasions in his 21 games. He averaged 71.6 points per game and passed 95 points on five occasions.

At 23 and having now played 64 AFL games, Byrne-Jones is settling into a half-back role and each season has improved his averages. In 2018 he averaged 17.4 disposals, 4.2 marks and 3.1 tackles. In JLT2 he was the third highest-scoring player on the ground in Port Adelaide’s win over North Melbourne after having 25 disposals, eight marks, a tackle and two goals. That earned him 106 points, nearly matching his career high 108 points.


The rookie:

Xavier Duursma ($236,000) is fast, clean and courageous and he could be the guy to invest in for a reasonable return down the track. More likely to play on the wing than in defence, but still likely to score some AFL Fantasy points, Duursma showed signs during the JLT Community Series that he will be one to watch in 2019. Against Adelaide he scored just 46 points in 58% of game time and then doubled that against North Melbourne in just 67% of time on the ground. Duursma had 24 disposals against the Kangaroos to go with 11 marks and a goal assist.

A young leader, he captained Gippsland in 2018, guiding his side to second on the ladder and a preliminary final, while averaging 22.8 disposals and 5.2 tackles. He then finished third in Gippsland’s best and fairest and was claimed by the Power with 18 in the NAB AFL Draft. Expect him to get games early in the season in particular, and then it will be all about him building consistency.