ESPN's Top 20 Must-Watch Players: 20-11

Every season, footy fans and experts alike love putting together lists of the AFL's best players, either looking back at the previous season or projecting ahead to the new one.

And who doesn't love a list, right? We certainly do, but ahead of the new season, we wanted to do something a little bit different.

This isn't a countdown of the competition's finest players, but a ranking of the players we simply can't wait to watch in action in 2019. Be it superstars of the league, big-name players who have switched clubs, young guns who look ready to explode, top draftees or basically anyone who we expect to have us jumping out of our seats and yelling in excitement during the season.

Welcome to ESPN's inaugural Top 20 Must-Watch Players list.

This is the players ranked 20 to 11. The top 10 will be revealed on Monday.

20. James Sicily

One of the AFL's more polarising figures, Sicily is also undoubtedly one of the competition's most talented. A genuine -- and we don't use this word lightly -- utility, Sicily is able to be used as an elite interceptor in the back 50, a rangy wingman with a penetrating right boot, or a more-than-handy forward option. His niggly attitude can infuriate opponents and rival fans alike but at just 24 years of age, the young Hawk could be set for a Peter Crimmins Medal-winning year.

19. Jack Lukosius

Although taken by Gold Coast with pick No. 2, Lukosius -- who many feel is arguably the most talented young forward to emerge in over a decade -- would have been a worthy top pick. Season one at the Suns is going to be a challenge, but it's one that could fast track his development into a very scary prospect. Make no mistake, there will be a game in 2019 where Lukosius announces himself to the football world.

18. Eric Hipwood

Dubbed by many as 'the next Buddy', Hipwood has already proven himself as one of the Lions, and the league's, most eye-catching players, and you feel as though he's only just scratched the surface of his crazy potential. The 203cm, 93kg forward is naturally strong overhead but it's his acceleration and agility for a man of his size that's so outright ridiculous. If he puts it all together, then he may quickly live up to his billing as Lance Franklin's heir apparent.

17. Ollie Wines

He turned his back on the idea of returning to Victoria, got injured while waterskiing and was named a co-captain at Port Adelaide. It's fair to say it's a been an interesting 12 months for 24-year-old Wines. Now well and truly into the prime of his career, Port Adelaide fans know what they get with him; he's a big body who throws his weight around and should (along with Tom Jonas) prove to be a sage choice as skipper.

16. Marcus Bontempelli

The Bont may surprise a few by making this list after a pair of somewhat uninspiring seasons but there were signs towards the end of 2018 that the young Bulldogs star is returning to his dominant best. He is one of the hardest players in the league to match up on as he can be damaging in both the midfield and the forward line from just a handful of possessions. You just cannot afford to give this guy an inch.

15. Andrew Gaff

If it wasn't for his inexplicable brain-explosion late last season -- an incident which busted Andrew Brayshaw's jaw and cost Gaff a premiership medal -- Gaff would unlikely feature on this list. He's an elite, consistent ball-winner who makes sound decisions and generally uses the footy well. But his return to football after the eight-week suspension in Round 3, for the Grand Final rematch against Collingwood, will be fascinating to watch. Will he return the same player? Mark the dates of Saturday April 13 and Saturday July 6 in your diaries - the two Western Derbies against Fremantle will be compulsive viewing.

14. Chad Wingard

Involved in one of the trade period's more peculiar moves -- which resulted in Wingard finding his way to Hawthorn in exchange for up-and-comer Ryan Burton (and some picks being exchanged either way) -- the Hawks' star recruit will not feature in Round 1 after aggravating an existing calf injury. The entire competition is well aware of what Wingard brings to the table, but you only need to ask Brett Deledio how tough it is to manage reoccurring calf issues. Can he get back to his best?

13. Toby Greene

There may only be half a dozen genuine and regular match-winners in the competition and Greene is certainly one of them. The lively small forward thrives on the big stage, always knows where the goals are and has the ability to push into the midfield if required. Greene managed just nine games in 2018 as he battled injury but his 99 goals in the previous two seasons shows just how important he is to the Giants' forward line make up. He also loves getting under his opponents' skin, which can be compulsive viewing.

12. Isaac Heeney

Don't take our word for it - Heeney is one of the players Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe is most excited about watching in 2019, telling ESPN: "he [Heeney] has the potential to be a top five player in the league." The gun Swans youngster -- he is still just 22! -- can dominate through the midfield and up forward, gliding through traffic and snaring grabs thanks to his elite overhead marking. Come the end of this season and Fyfe's prediction may well prove correct.

11. Patrick Cripps

He finished equal-fourth in last year's Brownlow Medal count in a team that won just two games. He also reminded everyone how good he is in AFLX (no, really!), and has developed an on-field edge and swagger which suggests he knows he's just about the competition's best midfielder. Is this the year that Carlton co-skipper Cripps takes home Charlie?