Eyecatchers

Eyecatchers Round 4 – Jamie Cripps

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While there were a number of notable performances from lesser credentialed players in Round 4, the majority of those would have been snapped up from Free Agents on Monday night.

One who hasn’t, and is still available in 60% of Ultimate Footy leagues is West Coast small forward Jamie Cripps.

At 25 years of age and into his ninth season of AFL football, Cripps has only reached a fantasy average above 80 once in his career in 2015. In the three years since he has returned season averages 71, 71.8 and 74.8 so far in 2018.

However, following a disappointing 50 in the opening round Cripps has produced scores of 79, 74 and 96 against the Gold Coast, which is a more than reasonable return for a small forward who are renowned for their up and down fantasy outputs.

Usually, the 96 could be written off as a good day for Cripps for that very reason, and a score in the 60s or 50s next week would hardly be a surprise too many, and why he is still available in so many leagues.

Yet, it was not his score alone that made his performance against the Suns noteworthy, but rather the role that Cripps played.

Only five of his 17 disposals were in the forward 50, with most of his TOG spent in the middle of the ground. He had 9 contested possessions and three clearances – two of those centre clearances, which shows he spent a fair chunk of the game playing on the ball.

Jamie Cripps heatmap

Cripps was also directly involved in 10 of the Eagles 34 scoring shots, while booting four goals straight himself.

It was an impressive performance from Cripps, and one he should be able to emulate consistently if given the same amount of time in the midfield as he was against the Suns.

Another positive about Cripps is his durability and job security. In the last four seasons, he has missed less than a handful of games.

While Ultimate Footy coaches shouldn’t expect a score in the 90s each week, if Cripps plays the same role regularly a solid fantasy average in the low to mid 80s is more than possible for the ex-Saint. Which could make him very handy as a fifth forward or reliable cover on the bench.

There’s little doubt Cripps will still produce the occasional fantasy stinker, but if he can emulate and perhaps even surpass his 2015 season in which he returned five scores of over 100, he could be a handy addition to your Ultimate Footy squad.

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