Underpricer – DEF#4 – Dan Houston

Written by allsaints on February 17 2020

Dan HOUSTON (PTA), $484,800, BE: 89.28

Age: 22yrs 10mths

Games: 60

2020 Season: 4th

Draft Pick: Rookie Draft, Rd3 Pick 45

SC history (2019-17): 89.3, 77.5, 73.4

SC % ownership: 22.8% and rising

Dan was recruited as a mature-aged rookie who bolted into Power’s best 22 in 2017 as a replacement across half-back for the injured Jasper Pittard.  He hasn’t looked back since, with his poise and kicking efficiency the standouts.  In Rd14 last year he was asked to do a specific job on Tim Kelly and came away with 110 SCpts.  After a poor showing in the midfield the following week, he returned to half back and got injured.  On return he played predominantly across half-back again, before playing out the last 5 games of the season in the midfield.  In total he played seven games in the guts with a high of 134 (four tons of which three were 110+) and a low of 54.  He averaged 99 exactly, when playing MID.

So that’s what he looks like!


What do we need?

At his starting price, we need him to become a keeper.  You’d think that means we want 20+games min. at an average of 98+.



Still young and has shown natural improvement since he came onto the AFL scene.  Hinkley stated last week that “Houston is a lock for an inside midfield role in 2020”.  He has trained purely with the midfield group in this off-season and it is these facts that make him ‘underpriced’; it’s a positive role change.

Whilst still unproven (our sample size isn’t big enough), his SuperCoach scoring trends, together with # of games, age and role suggest he can only improve on last season.


Hinkley has talked up Port’s chances in 2020 (not for the first time) and is considered the bookies’ short-priced favourite for the chop.  He has created a rod for his own back in making his bold statement regarding this year’s premiership aspirations.  If Port don’t win their first three, they may have a negative win:loss ratio come the end of Rd6 and the pressure will be mounting.  What effect would that pressure or a new coach have on Houston’s position in the guts?  Wines’ eventual return could also negatively impact his midfield minutes.

[I’m trying to find excuses to not start him]



Even across HB last year, he averaged 84.5 over 14 games which also demonstrates slight SC improvement on his previous year.  Port have a pretty decent early fixture and are the best ranked SC scoring side in the competition (relative to ladder position).  I see him kicking on in 2020, especially in the midfield.  Before I wrote this I wasn’t so sure, but now I’m locking him in; unless I see something to the contrary during the Marsh Series.



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20 thoughts on “Underpricer – DEF#4 – Dan Houston”

  1. Currently trying to get him in my team, however it looks like I can only have 2 of the following 3;


    Which one do I leave out?!?!


        1. Roberton surely not a medical risk…..I had a cardiac arrest 5 years ago, was resuscitated 9 times and still going strong!! Reckon robbo in better shape than me.
          All three subject to pre-season but huge upside if they come off. Cant win this thing being the same as everyone.


          1. Roberton is the biggest risk of the lot. He was going to play last year but his defib device went off and he missed 12 months. Only has to happen once more and his career is over. Way too much risk.


            1. I have a pacemaker AND defib and can say for a fact that they don’t hinder physical activity if properly monitored (my 24yo gf loves it !!). They actually are going the whole time which is what they are meant to do. Roberton last year was a freak recurrence, and could well have been as a result of incorrect programming of the device. It wont happen again and is why if he gets through the pre-season, he is a lock….no way he would be allowed back if even a 1% risk.


  2. I wasn’t on the Houston train a while ago, but Hinkley and Houston himself have come out this week and said that he’ll be playing pure midfield this year – all but shored up by Wines’ injury.

    As so long as the Marsh Series affirms it, you’d be hard pressed to not start him.


  3. i don’t like picking breakout players that arnt pods. I like him as a top 8-10 defender but I don’t see him hurting me if I don’t start him.


    1. That doesn’t make sense mate.

      You’re not asking him to breakout, but to continue doing what he did in the same role last year, with another pre-season under his belt, specifically learning that craft and still only 23.
      You then say that you think he’ll likely finish top8-10, yet he is the 15th most expensive DEF in 2020. So unless you think that at least five of those likely to finish higher than him are even cheaper, you can’t possibly be better off not picking him.

      Hope that makes sense. Good luck.


      1. On the second point, I think the argument is that Houston could reasonably average ~95-100, in which case he will definitely be cheaper than his starting price at some point. For comparison, Laird got as low as 466k last year and spent 8 weeks under 500k.

        Due to elevated starting price, this argument doesn’t always work and could be applied to most premiums (ie: they’ll be cheaper than their starting price at some point).

        But Houston isn’t a premium – yet. And his price vs. potential (based on 2019’s small sample size) doesn’t suggest he’ll hurt non-owners like Dunkley did last year.

        I think he’s a solid pick, but personally I’d look at him if I had 29 players picked and 485k left over, rather than building my side around him.


        1. Chips, I reckon Houston is the big conundrum of SC this year. But I can’t agree with your “def be cheaper than his starting price at some point”. He is priced at an average of 89, and is going into the mids as a contested ball winner. If his price was to fall to say $400k which is low enough to not start him, that implies a three round average at some stage of 72…..good luck if you can guess at what stage. If that happens, I clearly have made a mistake starting him, but what odds do you really think of that happening ?? If on the other hand, he pumps out 95’s, his price will rises to about 522k, and he’s a gift at d2/3.
          As the great As says, a trade is worth about $140k, so if you plan to get Houston later as a def, that average will need to drop to about 63 to be $140k cheaper.
          I do love the exchange of thoughts on this site….always different opinions with respect.


          1. I should add add that if he does average 95-100, my above example is at the bottom of that range, and he will spend just as much time above that suggested average as below it.


          2. Yeah he’s an interesting one, and it won’t take much for him to jump into the top 6, unlike Petracca, for example, who would be coming from much further back to be a top forward.

            If Houston scores exactly 95 every week until his bye, he’ll be 479k, losing 5k on his starting price. If he’s going well, I’m aiming to pick him up after his bye.

            If he scores straight 100s to his bye, he’ll be 501k.

            TBH I don’t think he’ll hurt either way Those that grab him will be happy with 95s, those that don’t will be fine without him.



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