Devil’s Advocate: To Steele or not to Steele, AFL Fantasy’s $1.02m dollar question

Jack Steele averaged 121.4 points for the season in 2021. A massive year that not many saw coming. Yes, he had an increase from his season averages of 93, 94 and 96 in AFL Fantasy. Then in 2020 he had a 91 which was then adjusted up to 113 points per game.

Photo Credit: Lucy Edwards, St Kilda Football Club

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The biggest change that happened was Steele went from being a tagger in his first few seasons at the Saints. Still averaging mid 90s was nothing to sneeze at.

Then he became a ball magnet and coach Brett Ratten unleashed him on the midfield and the other AFL teams. Even in 2020, the adjusted year, he put up big numbers.

He started 2021 as he had averaged for the 2020 season. First half of 2021 he went at 112. Still a great pick and player. Scoring at an average over 110 points per game in AFL Fantasy, as we know, is elite.

Then came the back half of the year. Most people playing Fantasy already know the ending. He averaged in the second half of the season 134 points per game. Including 128.8 in his last five and 125.3 in his last three. For the season he went over 120 an incredible 10 times.

So he should be ready to rockโ€™nโ€™roll into this season and push the scoring limits even more. Thatโ€™s why we have all picked him. Expensive, but we think there is upside.

However, here are a couple of caveats to this scenario. Towards the end of last year the Saints were trying to make the finals. In Round 15 they beat the Tigers and they found themselves only four points out of the top 8. Over the rest of the season the Saints got to the same points as the teams in the finals, but they eventually fell short of making the eight. They end up one game and percentage out of the finals. Is there potential that Steele was going all out for his team, trying to take the whole team with him on his shoulders? Doing whatever he wanted and whatever he could do to get his team over the line.

The Saints finished the last nine games with five wins and four losses and just missed playing finals as they had the year before. Maybe thatโ€™s what was driving Steele in the back half of 2021.

Also Steele signed a five-year deal in mid-December that ties him to the Saints until the end of 2027. Does that mean that there could be a dip in his scoring, with the captaincy and salary locked away for years to come?

We all know that he is going to give 100%. Anyone who has seen him live can tell you his heart and soul are in his effort every game. However, to be a player that averages over 120 for two seasons in a row, you need to be champing-at-the-bit and working at 110% for the entire year. Is that what Steele is going to give us this year?

Final words: He is in my team as we speak. But I am still considering swapping him. Not for the price. But for the lack of potential upside. Will he average at least 110 points per game? Ninety nine per cent surety. Will he average his 121 points per game or more? I just have a few aforementioned reservations.

Dale Clohesy @dpc888 is a former DT Talk writer, four-time top 5000 AFL Fantasy finisher, with a best rank of approx 1200th

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