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Fantasy: Forwards

Dem Panopoulos – Footy Prophet  January 29, 2016 9:09 AM

AFL 2015 Rd 23 - Geelong v Adelaide

Tom Hawkins looms as the main main in Geelong's forward for 2016.

The Cats are once again thrilled to be partnering with fantasy experts footyprophet.com to bring you all the insight you need about the Cats players and their fantasy value in 2016. Stay tuned for a wealth of information from the experts as they help you to fantasy glory.

With the big name inclusion of Patrick Dangerfield joining the Cattery this season, Geelong’s forward line will be licking their lips in anticipation of what an unbelievably strong midfield can deliver them, after injury and form hurt its firepower in 2015.

THE MAIN MAN

Tom Hawkins (FWD, $364,000) doesn’t seem a natural AFL Fantasy selection, given the tendency for most experienced coaches to avoid key forwards as much as possible. However, a big man from a good team can become the left-field selection that sets you aside from the pack, and pushes you up the rankings.

Hawkins had a tough 2015 and will be looking to lead the Cats to a much improved 2016. While everyone discusses how the arrival of Patrick Dangerfield will help captain Joel Selwood’s game, Hawkins is clearly the understated beneficiary of the former Crow’s move. We need only look at Taylor Walker’s fantasy scores when fully fit to understand how important Dangerfield will be for Hawkins.

The fitness of Lachie Henderson, Nathan Vardy, Mitch Clark, Zac Smith, Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs, who will all rotate forward at various stages throughout the season, will help ease the scoring pressure on Hawkins, who might be able to move around more freely as a result.

With a career-high average of only 79.5, selecting Hawkins represents a risk. However at $364,000 and with the potential to push his scoring up to the mid-80s in a big year for the Cats, it could be a risk worth taking.

THE X-FACTOR

Steven Motlop (FWD/MID, $496,000) re-signed with the club towards the end of 2015, which delighted Geelong and the fans. Spending time on the wing and in the forward line, Motlop cemented himself as one of the most exciting talents in the league.

Motlop’s improved consistency was evident while many of his teammates had disappointing seasons. He had career-highs in disposals and tackles, while still averaging comfortably over a goal a game, making him one of Geelong’s most important players.

We’ve seen his AFL Fantasy average increase every year he has played at the top level, getting up to 89.7 last season. He enters 2016 with a big price tag, however with less attention on him from the opposition, he has the ability to become an elite DPP selection.

THE COMEBACK KID

Daniel Menzel’s (FWD, $266,000) return to the AFL after 4 long years was an emotional and rewarding one. The cult hero returned for two matches, including 20 disposals, 4.2 and 93 AFL Fantasy points in his comeback against Collingwood.

Everyone knows Menzel’s story, and we don’t make sentimental picks in AFL Fantasy, however, in the past, he has shown that he can score quite well; he had five scores of 80+ in 2011, including 113 against Collingwood.

Menzel will cost a little more than the top draftees from last season which, for a player of his talent and ability, is cheap enough to make an early season profit. We’d like to see him play NAB Challenge and find out what Chris Scott has planned for him in terms of resting throughout the season, but he’s definitely one to think about.

THE BEST OF THE REST

Rhys Stanley (FWD/RUC, $351,000) showed us his capabilities in his final match before injury, scoring 101 in about a half of football. Playing as a mobile ruckman who can is versatile enough to play just about anywhere, he has the ability to score big. A clearly defined role would be needed before selecting him though.

Darcy Lang (FWD, $322,000) played 20 matches last season, an outstanding feat for the 20 year-old who became a favourite of Chris Scott. With increased midfield depth this season, Lang may find it difficult to break into the team as regularly as he did last season, or he may play on the half-forward flank permanently. Either way, he’s likely to be an average-to-solid scorer in 2016.

Another player to monitor during the NAB Challenge is Nakia Cockatoo (FWD, $199,000), Geelong’s first selection in the 2014 draft. He played 11 matches last season, however his average of 36 was impacted by the substitute vest, which he wore on a number of occasions. Whether he gets enough games to warrant fantasy selection is up in the air, but there’s a feeling that he may be a regular fixture in a team looking for that extra creativity to help Steve Motlop.