He may not be Mr Popular in Fantasy Land, but this next inductee in to The +10 Club may be our forward line savior.
Or a back-to-back spud…
Name: Jack Billings
Team: St Kilda
Bye round: 12
2018 average: 80.6ppg
2018 games played: 21
Why will Billings improve by 10 points?
“WTF?” I hear you say.
“Billings? Thommo can get stuffed!” you exclaim.
I know, I started with Billings in 2018 as well and it was pretty ugly. After a 133 point monster in Round 1, Billings spent the next 10 weeks in the forward line for an average of 62.6ppg.
Ok, perhaps that’s worse than ugly!
However, as much as we all hated his early 2018 form, it was not his fault! Here we have a guy who has always struggled with his goal-kicking accuracy being made to play as a forward.
Genius! Next thing we know, St Kilda will have Seb Ross rucking and Billy Longer roving!
When the Saints actually played Billings in his best role on the wing after the bye, he averaged 93ppg. It should come as no surprise that Billings also averaged 93ppg across 22 games in 2017. Yep, when playing in the correct role, Billings actually pumps out a pretty consistent 93ppg average.
Normally I wouldn’t be overly so excited about a forward averaging 90-95ppg but 2019 is shaping up as a difficult season. With few forwards demanding selection beyond Patrick Dangerfield, I have convinced myself that I would rather choose a forward with a big discount than risk an overpriced risky selection.
As much as I don’t like to read too much into preseason form, Richardson does seem to have found the ‘right’ role for Billings now. Across both JLT matches he has again played on the wing but skewed towards a defensive position.
Now we just need to pray that the St Kilda coaching staff don’t change their minds and play him forward again.
Why won’t he improve?
Because 2018 may be the status quo for Billings! We all reckon he has talent, but sometimes we overrate players based on a few good matches early in their careers.
With the additional of Ratten to the St Kilda coaching panel, we can only hope that the Saints will make smarter decisions on players like Billings, but who really knows if he will return to that 90+ average? As mentioned above, Billings is one of the worst kicks for goal in the AFL so if he gets sent forward again, expect more sub-80 point scores.
And even if he does play on the wing, Billings does tend to play a relatively uncontested style of footy, limiting his upside. As most of you know, I am a big wrap for Jack Steele at the Saints because his contested, defensive style of play is perfect for Supercoach. The same does not apply to Billings. With a retention rate of only 67%, only 3 tackles per match and a contested possession rate of only 27%, he will struggle to push his average above 95ppg.
And if he does struggle to impact matches on the wing, there are a couple of handy types ready to take his role. Remember Steven and Hannebery will return to the AFL at some stage!
I think Billings will return to his 2017 average of approximately 93ppg. Is that enough to select him? Most years I’d say no but this season…
It’s a solid maybe!
Leave a comment / Scroll to bottom