Melbourne vs Geelong
Let me start by saying this - I genuinely believe that it’s Melbourne turn for a fairy tale. We’ve had two fairy tale premiers in the last two years and I think that my Demons will make it a hat-trick. There are significant hurdles in the way of this dream result, the first of which is the three-headed dog that is Geelong. The two games these teams have played against each other this year and have both been nail-biters with the Cats getting up both times. Despite finishing 8th, the Cats will be full of self-belief and on paper, their team still sends shivers down the spine of any opposing midfield. The first 10 minutes of this game will be as fierce as they come and we should get another cracker of a game between these teams.
Both Melbourne (ranked 2nd for fantasy points) and Geelong (6th) have been a rich source of fantasy points all season. Led by Gawn, Oliver and Brayshaw, Melbourne’s midfield has been a preferred spot to target all season long. With Dangerfield, Ablett and Menegola all having DPP, Geelong’s forward/midfield studs have also been a favoured avenue to fantasy points. Melbourne have given away some big scores to opposition mids, it’s just a matter of which Geelong studs take advantage of this fact. Out of all the finals this weekend, I think this is the hardest DFS contest. With hardly any value plays and plenty of $14K+ to consider, it will be a very creative lineup that takes home the big prize.
Ins and Outs
Geelong go into this contest with unchanged lineup whereas Melbourne have made two changes. Jack Viney and Mitch Hannan replace the injured Dean Kent and Jay Kennedy-Harris. Viney returns from another foot injury and he looked sharp at training during the week. Viney only has one speed and he’ll be going all out tonight. I can see Mitch Hannan kicking a few goals but I doubt it will be enough to snag value.
The main ruck contest will be between Max Gawn and Ryan Abbott. Gawn is yet to play against the mature-aged Abbott and despite Abbott’s decent 200cm/100kg frame, Gawn should still be able to dominate the contests. Gawn’s work around the ground is seriously under-rated and this is another area in which the Bearded One will thrive. It’s tough to fit multiple $14K+ studs in your team tonight but I can see a 120+ night for Maxy on the cards. Abbott himself is just too expensive to play for me. At $11K, I can’t see him returning anywhere near value.
The other two ruck options are worth considering. Since Ryan Abbott has been in the team, Mark Blicavs has spent far more time in the ruck than he has all season. You’d expect this to continue tonight as Abbott will be exhausted trying to contend with Gawn all night. At $8,800, Blicavs isn’t expensive but he is probably just a little overpriced. The same could be said about Sam Weideman's price of $7,450. Weideman has taken his chances over the past fortnight and is beginning to play some good footy. He provides a decent forward target and has also spent a little time as a chop out ruck as well.
My takes: Gawn, Weideman.
Similar to last night, there aren’t many reliable cheap defenders on this slate. Jed Bews could get you a 60 but he could just as easily kill your lineups by chipping in with another sub 30 score. Neville Jetta is a little more reliable than Bews, but he’s never going to give you the 80+ score you need from a $6K player to really give you a chance of taking home a GPP.
Michael Hibberd’s fantasy form says no, but his salary says yes. Hibberd burnt many season-long fantasy coaches this year a 2018 average (68) a huge 24 points less than his 2017 average of 92. Hibberd is one of the few coaches on the cheaper scale who have a high ceiling, so I don’t mind giving Hibberd an opportunity in my backline tonight.
Tom McDonald has scored multiple goals in 82 percent of games this year and without Hogan around, McDonald and Melksham have become the focal points of the Melbourne forward line. McDonald’s positional flexibility increased his scoring potential and his healthy 80-90 floor provides a fair bit of security.
Tom Stewart’s fantasy scores have been a little inconsistent lately but what I like about Stewart tonight is his importance to Geelong’s success. Stewart’s intercept marking and his creativity across half-back will be critical to a Geelong victory. Melbourne’s disposal inside 50 has improved in recent weeks but can still be poor.
My takes: Hibberd, McDonald, Stewart
Part of what makes this contest of the most challenging single slates of the year is the lack of bankable sub $10K value. If you thought the cheap defensive options were uninspiring, wait until you see the forward line options. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, poor cheap options and multiple expensive options increase the variance of lineups and make for a more interesting contest.
Daniel Menzel has struggled to make an impact this season both on the field and in the realm of fantasy scores. Menzel does have game-breaking ability and when he’s hot, he can score quickly. That said, he’ll need to kick at least 3 goals to get anywhere near value.
Harry Taylor is underpriced for his capability but about right for his form. Out of all the cheaper options tonight, Taylor is probably the most likely to hit value.
I don’t quite understand the capitalisation of Aaron vanderBerg’s name but I do understand that he had his best game of the season last week. vanderBerg’s output could be negatively affected by Viney’s return and a price tag of $9,480 will make it a little difficult for him to hit value.
Jordan Murdoch’s last two games have been excellent value outings. However, I’m not sure how much we can read into two ridiculous thrashings. Murdoch will enjoy the space of the MCG but at a tick under $10K, another value game might be beyond him.
If you ignore his 49 point effort against West Coast, Christian Petracca is averaging 94 against his past 5 games (86 if you include that game). Petracca’s game-breaking style of play was made for finals so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him dominate on the big stage.
It’s not often that becoming a tagger increases your fantasy output, but that’s exactly what has happened to James Harmes. The hard-nut midfield has been a revelation for Melbourne who had previously struggled to contain the opposition best midfielders. Just be aware that Harmes tagged Joel Selwood in Round 17 and played him quite defensively (only scoring a 54).
Gary Ablett is going to get 30+ touches tonight, it’s just that simple. GAJ moved back to the Cats for the very reason that he wanted to play finals again. With Harmes likely to run with Selwood, GAJ will skulk around the contest getting his trademark one-two handballs and accumulate possessions all tonight long.
My takes: Taylor, Petracca, Harmes, GAJ
I’ve spoken about Jake Melksham’s forward link role a lot recently. Melksham continues to present well across half-forward and a goal is never far away when the ball is in his hands. Dom Tyson will play with arm guard but that shouldn’t stop him accumulating another 90 odd.
Brandon Parfitt is someone who I prefer to play in softer matchups, but on a night like this, we need access to high ceiling players who won’t break the bank. If Geelong do manage to break this game open, Parfitt’s run and carry could be an important factor.
The returning Jack Viney is an easy fade for me. Viney hasn’t been injured for long enough to make his price drop. A string of good scores before his injury means that his salary is still quite high for his current scoring potential ($12,930). At full fitness this is a reasonable price for Viney but it’s a little too high for tonight.
Tim Kelly’s salary is a little higher than it’s been recently but there is a good reason for that - the ‘kid’ is a dead set gun. Kelly is a great way to access Geelong’s midfield points.
Finally, Sam Menegola and Mitch Duncan could possibly fly under the radar as coaches struggle to fit multiple studs into their lineups.
My takes: Tyson, Kelly, Whoever you can afford!!
Maybe I’m too invested in this game but I think this is one of the hardest DFS contests of the entire year. If you want the high ceiling studs you’re going to have to take a hit somewhere. I expect Harry Taylor and Sam Weideman to be high owned because of this. It’s going to be one of those nights were picking the right studs will lead you to glory.