Beyond 18: Delayed breakouts edition

Playing fantasy draft formats for a long time I’ve developed a theory with young players. We analyse their potential to death and hype up players that are expected to have a break out or even a good season, but when for one reason or another that breakout doesn’t come in that particular year, we tend to forget about them.

Unfortunately these players often come up out of the blue in the following season or two to their expected break out season and have a really good year. It’s happened so many times with me where I’ve been on a player for a one or two years, they don’t break out for one reason or another and I’ve forgotten about them or stopped trusting them – then a year or two later they’ve come back to be very fantasy relevant.

Jack Steven was one of those. I owned the St Kilda midfielder for a number of years, steadfastly believing in his talent and ability, but his foot injury in 2014 and lack of help against the tag in the Saints midfield led me to sell him in my keeper league and not draft him in 2015. Unfortunately for me Steven had a career best year in 2015 and averaged over 110 fantasy points.

Another example is Taylor Adams move from Collingwood. Everyone expected big things from the former Giant at his new club, yet he only averaged 76 in his first year at the Magpies – mostly due to injury and the sub vest. However the following year his fantasy average rose to 105 after being thrust into the heart of the Collingwood midfield.

Max Gawn is another. Most knew the ability was there, as his fantasy scores were enormous in the VFL, but it just took a little longer than expected for him to unseat Mark Jamar and take over the number one ruck position. Those that jumped off after believing in him last year, would’ve regretted it big time after he had a monster second half to the season.

Featured here are four players you shouldn’t forget about in your 2016 draft. They’ve all been highly rated and touted in the past, and all have ability yo be very fantasy relevant in 2016 and have a delayed breakout year. Have you got any other players in mind that may be forgotten about? Let me know in the comments.

Will Langford

Langford came into the 2015 season as one of the trendiest draft picks out there. Even as a centre only, he had form to back up fantasy owners taking a chance on him. During the course of the Hawks successful 2014 finals campaign, in the eyes of many Langford cemented a permanent position in the Hawks midfield. He averaged 95 fantasy points over that finals series, capped off by a magnificent three goals and near best on ground performance in the Hawks Grand Final win over the Swans.

2015 didn’t end up being the great year for Langford many expected. He played 13 games, averaging 19 disposals and 72 fantasy points, and was in and out of the strong Hawks side and at times used in the non-fantasy friendly tagging role. 2016 may present different fortunes for Langford, with the likes Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge all a year older, coach Alistair Clarkson will need to turn to the likes of Billy Hartung, Jonathan O’Rourke and Will Langford to step up into those midfield spots.

Langford has a ton of natural ability. The question is whether he can put it together over the course of a season to make him a fantasy viable option. He’s one to keep an eye on over the course of the pre season to see what role he will play, at the very least he could be worth a later flyer in drafts.

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  1. Jamie

    February 7, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Whitfield & Coniglio. Had huge hopes last year. They did okay, but not great, so I’ve ‘stopped trusting them’. Not a part of my keepers, so just my luck they’ll breakout THIS year. Too much competition in that midfield.

    • Matthew James

      Matthew James

      February 8, 2016 at 9:29 am

      I’m huge on Coniglio this year, Jamie. I think he’s just as talented as the other mids at GWS, and with Treloar gone I think he moves into a really prominent midfield role. Expecting 95-100 point production out of him.

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