The 2020 Honeyball AFL Fantasy Winners & Losers awards

We thought it’d be worthwhile to wrap up the 2020 AFL Fantasy in a fun, subjective way by making up a whole series of awards and ‘handing’ them out. So here goes for Honeyball’s inaugural AFL Fantasy night of nights!

*Note this is strictly for AFL Fantasy not SuperCoach

Best & Fairest

Aggregate points is always a pretty cut and dry indicator of the best player in AFL Fantasy, as opposed to average score, highlighting durability, consistency and quality and no one goes past Lachie Neale in 2020.

Clayton Oliver and Taylor Adams were podium finishers, particularly given their relative POD value early in the season. Oliver and Adams finished with 11% and 13% ownership respectively, compared to Neale’s 44%, so if you had those two all season, you had a jumpstart on the rest.

Winner: Lachie Neale

Bolter of the Year

This isn’t about rookies, instead it’s highlighting the mid-pricers (starting between $350k and $500k) who you took a gamble on which paid off. Most AFL Fantasy experts insist on avoiding mid-pricers given more often than not they don’t produce the desired result, but when they do, you need to tip the hat.

Players like Nic Naitanui and Andrew Brayshaw were around the mark but didn’t quite fit the criteria. Essendon’s Jordan Ridley was runner-up, starting at $464k and ending the season as the seventh top-scoring defender and going up $162k.

But the biggest bolter was North Melbourne’s Luke McDonald who dropped as low as $409k early in the season, before growing to a peak of $773k with consistent 70+ scores in the back-half including three scores beyond 115.

Winner: Luke McDonald

Rookie of the Year

Seldom do you finish the season with rookies, so the criteria for this one is largely around price rises. One of the key parts of that is efficiency in value growth which means we simply cannot go past Matty Rowell despite not playing after being injured in Round Five. Rowell grew more than $250k in five games, and while he frustratingly still had price growth left in him, only two other rookies ended on a higher value, which is critically important when you upgrade your rookies.

One of those two was Caleb Serong who ended up on $613k, but the fact he didn’t play Round One and his starting price was $256k meant he wasn’t a popular pick. The other was Noah Anderson who did play Round One and rose to $543k but his weekly scores were steady, thus his growth was inefficient. Shane McAdam’s late season surge earns an honourable mention too.

Winner: Matt Rowell

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Cherry Ripe Pick of the Year

In a shortened 17-round season, the shrewd coaches quickly discovered that recruiting fallen premiums at their bargain basement price was the recipe to success. Spotting an in-game early injury, positional change or an unusual form blip before monitoring the break-evens to wait for the ideal time to strike plays a big part in landing fallen premiums.

Geelong pair Tom Stewart and Mitch Duncan were prime examples, along with Richmond’s Dustin Martin who got as low as $614k. But top of the list was Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko who would’ve rewarded any faithful coaches handsomely if they picked him up when he dropped to $622k in Round Eight after two early season injuries. Zorko had a run of six straight games where he scored 80+ and to top it off, he even became DPP. In saying all that, some coaches may bemoan his final few rounds during AFL Fantasy finals but his rise was epic.

Winner: Dayne Zorko

Shocker of the Year

Brutal title for a brutal award. The criteria for this gong is the player who completely flopped in 2020 when expectations were for the opposite.

In terms of mid-pricers there was a fair bit of pre-season hype around Darcy MacPherson which was misguided given his total price drop of $226k, while premiums Bachar Houli, Toby Greene and Tim Taranto underwhelmed but had interrupted years, so that’s always a risk.

But the winner of the harshest award in footy goes to Gold Coast’s Jarrod Witts who went from averaging 104.4 in 2019 to failing to reach triple figures for the duration of 2020 (yep, shortened game-time noted). He averaged 64.5, got more than 80+ only three times all season and dropped $237k. Any coaches who got him at his starting price of $742k, would’ve fumed all season as cheaper rucks Reilly O’Brien, Todd Goldstein, Tim English and Rowan Marshall raced ahead.

Winner: Jarrod Witts

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