The Suns/Power early bye means that we only have a small four-game Saturday slate this week. What’s refreshing about this smaller slate is that all of the games are fantasy relevant: Richmond is likely to feast on the Saints at the G; there are several good targets in Brisbane/Swans game; Geelong players score better at Kardinia Park, and the GWS/Essendon game should be a free-flowing affair. So while we have a smaller player pool today, there are still plenty of great options around.
Unless we get some late news re: Ivan Soldo, the rucks are looking very uninspiring today. Toby Nankervis has been supposedly under an injury cloud for a few weeks. The Tigers play the early game today so we’ll know well in advance if Soldo is a late in. If Soldo does play, he’s the best ruck play of the slate, maybe even the weekend.
Tom Bellchambers gets a soft matchup against GWS. As long as Rory Lobb continues to hold court as the Giants solo ruck then I think they’re a good matchup to target. Bellchambers isn’t exactly a premier ruckman but is capable of some big scores. He should be good for 90+ today but I’d love a little more for a ruck who costs $12K.
Shaun McKernan is here for a good time, not a long time. McKernan has had a habit of making some impressive fantasy cameos in the past - flying in for some big 100s and then vanishing for months at a time. Available as a ruck/forward, McKernan is likely to spend most of the game playing out of the square. GWS have given up some big 100s to key forward in recent weeks, so it’s entirely possible that McKernan chalks up another ton.
Matthew Kreuzer is also in a good spot against Geelong. The Big Blue looks to be over his injury worries and should be able to put a good score up against Geelong’s part-time ruck crew.
My takes: McKernan, Kreuzer.
Sydney suffered a cruel blow on Thursday with young guy Callum Mills breaking his foot. However, when one door closes, another player debuts. Riley Stoddard is highly rated at the Swans and showed some talent during the JLT series. He’ll come straight into half-back role vacated by Mills and gets a good matchup against the Lions today. His bargain price of $5,700 adds to his allure.
Jordan Ridley’s marking prowess was on display last week with the debutant reeling in an impressive 7 marks. Unfortunately, Ridley price has already started to rise but I think he’s worth consideration if you’re looking to save some cash.
Tom Stewart is having a career-best fantasy year and averages 84 down at Kardinia Park. The Blues are bad, especially up forward and face a Geelong team at home after an upset loss. Yikes.
It was late one-night watching Rage when I first heard Kanye West’s All Falls Down. I thought to myself - this kid is gonna be a star. So what I’m trying to say is that I discovered Kanye. I’ll also add Tom Cutler to that list of discoveries. He’s as expensive as I’ve ever seen him and it’s a difficult outcome to predict, but Cutler’s upside is always strong.
Jarrad McVeigh has slowly worked himself into form and last week raised the bat for the first time this year. McVeigh should benefit from Mills’ absence and also from a good matchup.
My takes: Stoddard, Stewart, McVeigh.
Jamaine Jones will make his debut for Geelong today and is likely to play exclusively as a pressure forward. This position doesn’t always lead to fantasy riches but it’s a good matchup and Jones is only $5,800.
Dan Butler is one of the only original Mosquito Fleet members left standing today. Richmond is taking the opportunity to rest some of its sore small forwards which could lead to increased opportunities for Butler. Jack Higgins comes back into the team and will be keen to impress the selectors.
Brisbane give up the most points to small forwards so perhaps it’s time for another big score from Sydney rookie Ben Ronke?
Darcy Lang returns to Kardinia Park to face his old team for the first time. Lang had a huge first quarter last week but then fell away. Lang’s tackling pressure will be important today and his awkward price of $11K might scare some people away.
If you’ve stayed thick with Jack Billings then you have more patience than I do (and I have two toddlers and teach Year 7 kids). But imagine you’ve played Billings for 9 weeks and the day you fade him is the day he tons it up? He’s not for me but surely someone that talented doesn’t stay down for long.
Tom Hawkins has enjoyed an excellent few weeks and gets a fantastic matchup today at home, on the rebound against Carlton. We could easily see a 10 mark, 4 goal game from Hawkins here.
Another key forward in form is Jack Riewoldt. The shining light in Richmond’s loss last week, Riewoldt will be even more important than usual today with the number of regular Tigers forwards who are missing. Josh Caddy is another Richmond forward who I like today.
Finally, although Brisbane have been quite good against key forwards this year, I like Buddy Franklin’s chances of a huge game today.
My takes: Higgins, Lang, Caddy, Hawkins.
I don’t think he’ll play today but I always need to mention Connor Menadue when he plays. The Richmond depth player was in my best ever team and I remember him fondly. In all seriousness though, he’s not a bad play today when you consider that Castagna, Townsend and Lloyd are all missing.
Ed Phillips was a little down on his excellent debut but it’s worth noting that he’s still averaging 21 disposals after two games. Phillips has a tougher matchup today but he could also see some additional usage with Coffield, Weller and Armitage missing.
If you’re looking at a Tigers stack then you need to consider Kane Lambert as well. There will be plenty of goal scoring opportunities for Richmond today so it could pay dividends to load up on Richmond forwards. Lambert hasn’t quite reached the heights of his excellent 2017 season but he’ll get plenty of chances to do so today.
St Kilda seem to have a lot of players who play similar roles. Jack Sinclair is one of those players. Asked to play a number of roles from pressure forward to half-back, Sinclair has a wide range of footy skills. I’m hoping that Sinclair gets some more midfield time today or at least is allowed to roam along the wing. Whatever his role, I think he is good value at $11K.
If a week is a long time in football, then a year is ever longer. It’s been a year since we saw the absolute best fantasy output from Dan Hannebery. This time last year, Hannebery was at the end of an excellent stretch of six games in which he averaged 117. But since that time, he’s only scored two 100s. Hannebery is a too young (27) and too good a player to stay down for long. The Swans have a soft matchup against Sydney, so I don’t mind backing Hannebery for a bounce-back game.
The Giants have only played three games at home this season, but over those three games Tim Taranto averages 108 points. Isaac Heeney has hit some good form and what I like about him is his ability to collect stats across all categories.
Finally, Dustin Martin is only $13,200 and he comes up against St Kilda at the G. Plenty of people will pick Dusty at this price, especially considering his matchup.