Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook
Selecting your fantasy team before the season gets underway is always a tedious and time-consuming affair. It's always tricky trying to fit those big-name players into a budget that always seems just a little too small, as well as looking for that diamond in the rough that no one else will have in their side, but you have a feeling it's their time to shine.
Quite often, many people will have the same top-tier stars and it's usually the breakout players that tend to make the difference between winning and losing. We're talking about young talent that is about to have their best season yet, someone that is on the verge of unleashing their full potential upon the league. Predicting who these new game changers are going to be is no easy task, but if you can manage to pick them correctly, the rewards for your team will be massive. There are several things to consider when scouting for one of these players, so let's take a look at a few viable candidates that could be ready to explode in 2018.
Callum Mills (Sydney Swans - DEF)
After a solid rookie season in 2016 that saw him average 73, Mills was tipped for a big year last term. Unfortunately, he stepped off the gas a little and subsequently his average went down to 69. But now he is looking like a prime selection for a breakout player, with the Swans most likely to use him more in the midfield than across half-back. All things are pointing to a big year for the 20-year old that may see him pull an average of 80 or more.
Put that together with a team that was in devastating form towards the end of last season, and it's easy to see why he would be such a handy asset. The Swans don't look like slowing down this year either and are currently equal favourites for the flag at $5.00 according to the latest AFL odds. Adelaide Crows and the Greater Western Sydney Giants are the other two teams whom bookmakers are liking to win the Grand Final.
Source: Melbourne Football Club via Facebook
Angus Brayshaw (Melbourne Demons - DEF/MID)
Picked at number three in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, Brayshaw has had an unlucky run with concussion injuries over the past two years, resulting in him missing a total of 14 games. But that's the reason you can pick him up on the cheap this year and he looked fantastic when he returned to the senior side in round 21. In his last three games of the season, he recorded fantasy scores of 89, 83 and 86, and if he can keep improving on that, he could be scoring an extremely valuable 90-plus per game.
Source: Corey Cornell via Facebook
Christian Petracca (Melbourne Demons - FWD/MID)
Here we have another Demon who looks set to have a breakthrough season, with a lot of talk suggesting he will be spending more time in the midfield, where he was an abundant scorer during his junior years. He hit 80-plus in eight games last campaign and is only cheap due to a couple of below-par performances, which saw him rack up scores of 33 and 39. It seems like the 22-year old has put those howlers behind him now, though, and his round-23 result of 87 points is the new benchmark for 2018.
Source: The Zanotti Files via Facebook
Rory Lobb (Greater Western Sydney Giants - FWD)
At 24 years of age, Lobb has never jumped out as a must-have for the majority of fantasy players. However, during the absence of Shane Mumford in the finals last season, Lobb finally got his chance to impress when he took over the ruck position. He was extremely impressive throughout the campaign and recorded scores of 90 and 83. Great value for money in this year's league and it wouldn't be surprising to see him posting scores of 85 and up.
So, there are a few breakouts that may have gone under your radar while looking for some quality but cheap options. Now we just have to wait to see if they can bring home the points from their performances out on the pitch.