Eagles vs Magpies
The Second Qualifying Final takes us across the country to Optus Stadium. It’s Collingwood’s second trip to Perth in three weeks and although their win against Fremantle was far from convincing, they’ll benefit from having played at the ground recently. Aside from Nic Naitanui and Andrew Gaff, West Coast will be close to full strength for close to the first time this year. Their twin forwards towers of JJK and Darling are back together and they could cause real trouble for a shaky Collingwood defensive unit.
Tonight we have one of the highest scoring fantasy teams in Collingwood going up against the second stingiest team in the league - West Coast. Collingwood have been an excellent source of fantasy points for several years now, particularly through the midfield - and of course Brodie Grundy. West Coast have some high ceiling players of their own but have restricted opposition teams to an average of 1519 per game (Collingwood’s average is 1671 per game). The other factor to consider is Optus Stadium. Almost every Eagles player averages more points at home and any fear we had that the Eagles’ fantasy output would be negatively affected by the move from Subiaco to Optus has been put to bed.
Ins and Outs
Both teams have inclusions which will impact the game and fantasy scores. West Coast finally welcomes back spreadhead Josh Kennedy and outside runner Lewis Jetta. While Collingwood have brought in Tyson Goldsack, Jeremy Howe and Adam Treloar. Wow. That’s a lot to dissect! Collingwood have allowed some big scores to opposition forwards this season, a trend I can easily see continued tonight. I also really like the inclusion of Lewis Jetta who should thrive in this kind of game. A $5K Goldsack is very tempting and Jeremy Howe will score well if the Eagles fail to deliver the ball properly inside 50. Adam Treloar could have the biggest fantasy impact of all these inclusions but not just for his own score. It will be interesting to see how Treloar’s return affects the scores of his fellow Collingwood midfielders.
Make no mistake about it, Brodie Grundy will be the highest scoring ruck today. It’s just a question of whether or not you want to play a $17K ruckman. Grundy's worst score of the season was against the Eagles but I wouldn’t look too much into that fact. Scott Lycett has been serviceable since taking over from Nic Nat and at $11K, you could argue that a value game is possible. But I have little interest in either Mason Cox or Nathan Vardy.
A $5K Tyson Goldsack will be a popular pick. Goldsack is returning from partial ACL tear after only six months on the sidelines. The veteran utility has never been a big fantasy scorer and in fact, his career average hovers around 50. If you want to play Grundy it’s hard to fade Goldsack but a 20-30 return could sink your team even you do play Grundy as your ruck.
Regular readers of my articles will know that I’m a big fan of Jeremy McGovern, especially when he’s a little underpriced - as he is today. Similar to what I wrote about Howe, McGovern will score well if the Pies just slam the ball inside 50. When Collingwood’s game is up and running, McGovern won’t get these opportunities at all. But if they start to hit and hope, look out Shooter.
Do you know who has scored 23 goals for Collingwood this year? I’ll give you a clue, he scored 93 points the last time these two teams met. If you said Brody Mihocek, you’d be correct. Mihocek has been an underrated addition to the Pies lineup and he plays the Ben Reid swingman role better than Ben Reid has played the Ben Reid swingman role for years! Mihocek could be a sneaky pod play here. I’m also hoping that Lewis Jetta goes under-owned. I really his spot today and can easily see him racked up 20+ soft outside possessions.
Brad Sheppard’s last three games at home have netted him an average of 98 and Shannon Hurn also has a strong affiliation with Optus Stadium.
My takes: Goldsack (salary saver), McGovern, Jetta, Sheppard.
Full disclosure here - I think the Eagles are going to win tonight. For this reason, I’m running with a mixture of threes forwards only - Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling and Jamie Cripps. I think I must be Jamie Cripps’ biggest Victorian fan. Cripps has been exceptional in the second half of the year and his output hasn’t been affected by Darling’s return. It does, however, remain to be seen whether he can perform at the same level with both Darling AND JJK around. Speaking of these two, both are really well priced tonight and as I alluded to earlier, I think they can really grab hold of Collingwood tonight.
Jaidyn Stephenson pace could trouble the Eagles and they don’t really seem to know who they have who can keep up with him. However, with only one 100 to his name this year, I’m not entirely comfortable giving him a spot at $9,760 (especially when Kennedy is $300 cheaper).
My takes: Kennedy, Darling, Mihocek.
There’s a great collection of medium-high ceiling players around the $10-$13K mark tonight. I’m a huge fan of Brayden Sier although I’m also a little worried about the impacts of Treloar’s return. Dom Sheed has had a few huge scores at home this year and he was seriously impressive when the Eagles hosted the Demons a few weeks ago. Because of this form and his $10K price, expected Sheed to be a popular choice. Chris Masten could be a nice little pivot away from Sheed if you’re concerned about ownership.
Tom Phillips’ price continues to drop on the back of some indifferent form. What concerns me about Phillips is that just hasn’t been able to become involved in games. His trademark gut running seems to have dropped off and despite his fair price, I don’t think I can give him a spot. Luke Shuey, however, will definitely be a part of my team. Although he’s likely to get some attention from Levi Greenwood, I think Shuey will still score at least 90.
Finally, I really like Scott Pendlebury’s price ($13,790) and I also believe Jack Redden will be one of the highest scorers of this slate.
My takes: Sheed, Shuey, Pendlebury.
This game will be won and lost in the midfield. If the Eagles can get the ball into their forward quickly, it will be game over quicker than a Collingwood supporter can remove their false teeth. However, if the Pies can get their fast-moving, out-the-back game style working properly, it will be the Pies who earn the week off.