AFL Fantasy Guide for 2022 – Best Players, Top Tips, Sleepers, and More

| February 9, 2022 8:56 am PST

The 2022 AFL Season gets underway on March 16. That means AFL Fantasy coaches have just over a month to finalize their teams.

Of course, a month is a long time. Most Fantasy AFL coaches won’t be thinking about their squads right now. But if you want to get a head start on the competition, my AFL Fantasy tips will give you an edge.

In this post, I will take you through the best players for AFL Fantasy 2022. In addition to looking at the top 10 defenders, midfielders, rucks, and forwards, I examine the best sleepers and bargains for the upcoming season.

I also study the AFL Fantasy stats from the previous campaign before checking out the best Fantasy player from every AFL club. If that all sounds good to you, let’s get right into it.

Who Were the Best AFL Fantasy Players in 2021?

Before we dive into the best AFL Fantasy players for 2022, let’s take a quick look at the top 10 AFL Fantasy players from last season.

The table below ranks players based upon average points per round. If you’re completely new to Fantasy AFL – or you need help selecting a few star performers for your team – this useful information should point you in the right direction.

Player Club Games Total Points Average Points
Touk Miller Gold Coast 21 2,565 122.1
Jack Steele St Kilda 22 2,670 121.4
Jarryd Lyons Brisbane Lions 22 2,576 117.1
Jack Macrae Bulldogs 22 2,550 115.9
Tom Mitchell Hawthorn 22 2,543 115.6
Ollie Wines Porth Adelaide 22 2,462 111.9
Rory Laird Adelaide 22 2,457 111.7
Christian Petracca Melbourne 22 2,439 110.9
Zach Merrett Essendon 22 2,427 110.3
Callum Mills Sydney 18 1,980 110.0

As you can see, Touk Miller averaged the most AFL Fantasy points per round last year. The Gold Coast midfielder took his game to another level in 2021 and even earned himself an All-Australian call-up for his troubles.

However, it was Jack Steele who racked up the most Fantasy points in 2021. The St Kilda midfielder picked up his second Trevor Baker Award last season and will head into the new campaign as club captain.

That’s enough about last season. It’s time to check out the best Fantasy AFL players for 2022, starting with the premium option from each club.

Best AFL Fantasy Player from Every Club (2022)

It is important that you are aware of the best AFL Fantasy option from each club. Naturally, you won’t be able to select every player from this list, as you need to stay within the $14.8m salary cap.

But you will need to have a handful of these players to succeed.

  • Adelaide: Rory Laird ($937k)
  • Brisbane Lions: Lachie Neale ($792k)
  • Carlton: Sam Walsh ($914k)
  • Collingwood: Brodie Grundy ($893k)
  • Essendon: Zach Merrett ($925k)
  • Fremantle: Caleb Serong ($691k)
  • Geelong: Tom Stewart ($812k)
  • Gold Coast: Touk Miller ($1.02m)
  • GWS Giants: Lachie Whitfield ($795k)
  • Hawthorn: Tom Mitchell ($969k)
  • Melbourne: Christian Petracca ($930k)
  • North Melbourne: Aaron Hall ($914k)
  • Port Adelaide: Ollie Wines ($938k)
  • Richmond: Jayden Short ($783k)
  • St Kilda: Jack Steele ($1.02m)
  • Sydney: Jake Lloyd ($823k)
  • West Coast: Andrew Gaff ($815k)
  • Western Bulldogs: Jack Macrae ($972k)

Of course, all the obvious names are here. I already mentioned Miller and Steele in the previous section.

The likes of Sam Walsh (Carlton), Aaron Hall (North Melbourne), Jake Lloyd (Sydney), and Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs) are also must-have picks.

In the following sections, I will share my top 10 players in each position – examining the best defenders, midfielders, rucks, and forwards for AFL Fantasy 2022.

Best Defenders for AFL Fantasy 2022

  • Aaron Hall, North Melbourne ($914k)
  • Jake Lloyd, Sydney ($823k)
  • Jayden Short, Richmond ($783k)
  • Tom Stewart, Geelong ($812k)
  • Lachie Whitfield, GWS Giants ($795K)
  • Jack Crisp, Collingwood ($854k)
  • Jack Ziebell, North Melbourne ($839k)
  • Daniel Rich, Brisbane Lions ($832k)
  • Dyson Heppell, Essendon ($795k)
  • Christian Salem, Melbourne ($779k)

Hall is the most expensive defender for a reason. The North Melbourne star averaged a whopping 109 points per round last year, makings him the best AFL Fantasy defender for 2022.

Although Llyod averaged less than 100 points for the first time in four years last season, it is important to remember that he averaged 114 in 2020. He also averaged 105 across the last six weeks of the previous campaign.

Player Club Kicks
Daniel Rich Brisbane Lions 514
Bailey Dale Western Bulldogs 447
Jack Macrae Western Bulldogs 435
Zack Ziebell North Melbourne 426
Aaron Hall North Melbourne 423

Three of my top 10 defenders for Fantasy AFL finished inside the top five on last year’s kicks leaderboard. Alongside Hall, Daniel Rich (Brisbane Lions) and Zack Ziebell (North Melbourne) finished first and fourth, respectively.

Let’s not forget that players receive three Fantasy points for every successful kick. That’s why Rich, Ziebell, and Hall are among the best AFL Fantasy defenders for 2022.

Top AFL Fantasy Midfielders for 2022

  • Touk Miller, Gold Coast ($1.02m)
  • Jack Steele, St Kilda ($1.02m)
  • Jack Macrae, Western Bulldogs ($972k)
  • Jarryd Lyons, Brisbane Lions ($982k)
  • Tom Mitchell, Hawthorn ($969k)
  • Zach Merrett, Essendon ($925k)
  • Clayton Oliver, Melbourne ($912k)
  • Ollie Wines, Port Adelaide ($938k)
  • Christian Petracca, Melbourne ($930k)
  • Sam Walsh, Carlton ($937k)

Only two players – Miller and Steele – are priced above $1m this year. Although they are the most expensive AFL Fantasy players in 2022, you need to have at least one of them in your team if you want to do well.

At $972k, Macrae is the fourth most expensive players in the game. The ball magnet finished miles clear of his nearest challengers on last season’s disposals leaderboard, so you can’t really afford to leave him out.

Player Club Disposals
Jack Macrae Western Bulldogs 880
Clayton Oliver Melbourne 789
Ollie Wines Port Adelaide 777
Tom Mitchell Hawthorn 754
Christian Petracca Melbourne 730

Clayton Oliver (Melbourne), Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn), and Christian Petracca (Melbourne) also get tons of touches every game. With two points awarded for a handball, these guys rack up Fantasy points at a rapid rate.

It is worth noting that players receive four points for a tackle, too. Steele was the competition’s top tackler in 2021. Jarryd Lyons (Brisbane Lions) is also among the best midfielders for AFL Fantasy, having finished third in the tackles charts last year.

Player Club Tackles
Jack Steele St Kilda 186
Willem Drew Port Adelaide 164
Jarryd Lyons Brisbane Lions 154
Touk Miller Gold Coast 149
Dayne Zorko Brisbane Lions 140

Wines won the 2021 Brownlow Medal following a standout campaign in Port Adelaide’s midfield. According to the bookmakers’ 2022 Brownlow Medal odds, guys like Walsh, Petracca, and Oliver are among the favorites to snatch Wines’ crown.

Best Rucks for AFL Fantasy 2022

  • Max Gawn, Melbourne ($911k)
  • Brodie Grundy, Collingwood ($893k)
  • Sean Darcy, Fremantle ($786k)
  • Reilly O’Brien, Adelaide ($723k)
  • Rowan Marshall, St Kilda ($752k)
  • Scott Lycett, Port Adelaide ($718k)
  • Todd Goldstein, North Melbourne ($720k)
  • Nic Naitanui, West Coast ($713k)
  • Toby Nankervis, Richmond ($699k)
  • Oscar McInerney, Brisbane Lions ($643k)

It’s fair to say that two ruckmen stand out from the crowd – Max Gawn (Melbourne) and Brodie Grundy (Collingwood). They are the most expensive ruck options by some distance, with Sean Darcy (Fremantle) viewed as the “best of the rest”.

Averaging 106.4 Fantasy points per round, Gawn played a key role in Melbourne’s minor premiership and premiership triumphs last year. He totally dominated the hit-outs leaderboard and also kicked a number of important goals.

Player Club Hit-Outs
Max Gawn Melbourne 804
Nic Naitanui West Coast 683
Oscar McInerney Brisbane Lions 671
Todd Goldstein North Melbourne 652
Brodie Grundy Collingwood 648

Grundy (106.4) was the only other ruck to average 100+ points last season. Darcy (93.9) also finished 2021 with a healthy points-per-round average, ahead of Rowan Marshall (89.8) and Reilly O’Brien (86.1).

Remember – you only need three rucks in your squad. With two active rucks and one emergency ruck required, picking the right rucks is vitally important.

Top AFL Fantasy Forwards for 2022

  • Tim Taranto, GWS Giants ($904k)
  • Mitch Duncan, Geelong ($841)
  • Adam Teloar, Western Bulldogs ($731k)
  • Josh Dunkley, Western Bulldogs ($767k)
  • Dustin Martin, Richmond ($682k)
  • Jed Anderson, North Melbourne ($794k)
  • Steele Sidebottom, Collingwood ($741k)
  • Jordan De Goey, Collingwood ($707k)
  • Stephen Coniglio, GWS Giants ($695k)
  • Chad Wingard, Hawthorn ($740k)

Having posted a hugely impressive 107.6 average last year, Tim Taranto (GWS Giants) is undoubtedly the best forward for AFL Fantasy in 2022. The 24-year-old played every single game for the Giants last season, booting 13 goals while averaging 26.5 disposals per game.

Mitch Duncan (Geelong) was the only other forward to finish the previous campaign with a 100+ average. Although he made just ten appearances last season, he averaged 100.3 points per round.

At $682k, Dustin Martin (Richmond) looks like an excellent budget forward. The Tiger – who can double up as a midfielder – looks destined to bounce back this year after an injury-plagued season in 2021.

It is no secret that forwards are not the biggest point scorers in Fantasy AFL. If you choose the right ones, however, you can gain a significant advantage over other coaches.

Top 10 Sleepers – AFL Fantasy Bargains for 2022

  • Nick Daicos, Collingwood ($284k)
  • Jason Horne-Francis, North Melbourne ($290k)
  • Elijah Hollands, Gold Coast ($190k)
  • Will Gould, Sydney ($190k)
  • Will Kelly, Collingwood ($191k)
  • Josh Ward, GWS Giants ($278k)
  • Sam Hayes, Port Adelaide ($190k)
  • Nathan O’Driscoll, Fremantle ($190k)
  • Sam Skinner, Port Adelaide ($190k)
  • Greg Clark, West Coast ($190k)

As you can see, all the players in this section are priced under $300k. If you’re looking for an AFL Fantasy bargain, the players above could fill some gaps in your team.

Nick Daicos and Jason Horne-Francis are the standout names here. Collingwood newbie Daicos heads into his debut AFL campaign on the back of an amazing season in the NAB League, while Horne-Francis was selected by North Melbourne as the No. 1 pick in the draft.

In the eyes of the best AFL betting sites, Daicos and Horne-Francis are the frontrunners to win the 2022 AFL Rising Star Award. Be sure to follow the link below if you’re planning to bet on the Rising Star this year.

Betting on the AFL Rising Star Award (2022) – Breaking Down the Odds and Top Contenders

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Wrapping Things Up

Whether you’ve played AFL Fantasy football before, or you’re completely new to Australian Football League Fantasy, the tips on this page should stand you in good stead for the upcoming season.

Not only have I picked my best AFL Fantasy players for each position, but I have also shared my top 10 AFL Fantasy sleepers with you. What more could you ask for?

If you enjoy playing Fantasy AFL, the chances are that you also enjoy betting on the AFL. If that is the case, make sure you check out my 2022 AFL premiership betting preview.

Who knows? Some of your AFL Fantasy picks could find themselves among the greatest AFL players of all time!

Greatest AFL Players of All Time – Ablett, Lockett, and Others

Aussie rules has been played since the mid-1800s. Consequently, naming the top ten greatest AFL players of all time is a thankless task. Luckily for you, I decided to compile a list of the best players in AFL history – so you don’t have to! This...

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Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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