There’s been much debate about the new anti-stacking feature of the Draftstars website. Entrants are now only allowed to have a maximum of 4 players from one team (the previous limit was 8). This recent change may have come just in time with two extremely stackable games on this Saturday slate. Melbourne and West Coast are in absolute smash spots and the Eagles, in particular, should kick a massive score today. Personally, I like this new feature and think it will force entrants to be more creative with their lineups. The Sun/Cats game should also be a decent source of points.
It’s not often that we get rucks around the $5-6K mark but today we have two bottom priced options to consider. Jonathon Ceglar returned to the Hawks lineup last week to help combat the dual threat of Naitanui and Lycett. Despite a poor return of 38, Ceglar will keep his place. While this score isn’t anything to get excited about, Ceglar will be better for the run and is a decent chance to return value at $6,380.
The other bargain option is Wylie Buzza who checks in for season 2018 at an even $5,000. Playing Buzza might seem like a pure punt at first glance but if you try to forecast his role it becomes a little less risky. Buzza has been named at CHF but will give Stanley a break as the backup ruck. He’s been in good VFL form kicking 5 goals and taking 17 marks in his last two games.
Paddy Ryder is finding his feet after an injury lay-off and this has driven his price down to $10K. The price is tempting and does have the advantage of having another week off last week.
I’ve been talking about Nic Naitanui for weeks now. Each week I’ve been reminding you how well Nic Nat has been scoring off limited game time and last week he scored his first 100 of the season. So naturally, you’d assume this meant that his TOG had increased? Nope. Nic Nat scored 100 fantasy points by playing just 56% of total game time. I’m sorry but that is just ridiculous. He’s a little bit more expensive this week but still worth considering.
On the expensive end of the scale, Witts and Gawn are in great spots.
My takes: Buzza (punt), Nic Nat, Gawn.
Instead of rambling on about a bunch of low-cost low-ceiling defenders, I’ll just focus on a couple of teams who I think are in excellent defensive matchups. This season, Richmond’s relentless forward pressure has often correlated with high scores from opposition defenders. Just look at last week’s scores for evidence of this trend: Savage, Austin, Carlisle, Webster and Geary all scored 80+ and even second gamer Bailey Rice scored 75. Essendon’s dramatic form turnaround has also been closely linked to forward pressure but tonight they face the best in the business. Look to target the Don’s prime defensive movers in Brendon Goddard and Michael Hurley but also running half-backs Andrew McGrath and Connor McKenna.
You can use the pattern explain above and also apply it to the West Coast/St Kilda game. This game threatens to be one of the pastings of the season. St Kilda are going into this game with only one real key defender - Logan Austin. Put simply, it’s going to be really ugly for the Saints. Similar to last week, there will be countless inside 50s leading to increased opportunities for St Kilda defenders again. The best options to target here are Brandon White (price), Jarryn Geary and Jimmy Webster.
Can you see a theme developing here? Yep, that’s right the next defensive stack option is Melbourne. Now the only issue I have here is that Melbourne should be doing all the attacking in this game and their defenders might not get the same exposure to the ball as the teams mentioned above. That said, the Demons love to switch the ball. Look out for Christian Salem and Michael Hibberd but also Jake Lever who, without a decent matchup, could just roam around the back plucking marks with ease.
Lastly, Brad Sheppard is putting together some solid scores and should be considered in a game in which West Coast will dominate.
My takes: Webster, Geary, Lever, Sheppard.
If you didn’t play Wylie Buzza in the ruck, you can still take a punt on him as a forward and that’s exactly what I’m going to do today. The other spot in my forward has been reserved for the entire week for one man only - Josh Kennedy. If I was a big, scary multi-entry shark, I might be tempted to have 99/100 of JJK. With only Logan Austin to keep him company, I think could legitimately be about to kick 8+ goals.
I also don’t mind targeting the Eagles second tier forward in Jake Waterman and Willie Rioli. The scoring opportunities will definitely be there, it’s just a matter of how the Eagles share the wealth. Mark Lecras is a little more expensive but he could easily wind back the clock today as well.
Charlie Spargo is the cheapest way to gain exposure to Melbourne’s half-forwards today. I’ve been seriously impressed by Spargo both as a Melbourne supporter and as a lover of the game. Players short as Spargo (173cm) can only survive in the AFL if they have elite football brains. From only three games, it’s obvious that Spargo has exactly that.
Kane Lambert’s output has dropped recently and so too has his price. With a few of Richmond’s small forwards still out, I don’t mind Lambert tonight. His scoreboard impact has dropped a little but this could change on the big stage. Sam Gray is in a similar run of form to Lambert - he hasn’t been horrible but he just hasn’t consistently produced this year. It’s a tough assignment down in Tassie for Gray but I always consider him when he’s around this price ($11K).
I love Christian Petracca but we’re still yet to really see him explode. I really like his chances today as I think he exposes the Bulldog’s mid-sized defenders.
Now I’m definitely going to play one of, if not both, Tom Rockliff and Dustin Martin. It’s just a matter of where. Dusty has finally been named forward/mid, as has the $14K Gary Ablett.
My takes: Buzza, JJK, Eagles forwards, Rockliff.
It’s taken a while but we finally get to see Will Brodie this year. Despite being a top three draft pick, we haven’t seen of the big-bodied Suns midfielder yet. He gets his chance today and is listed at the bargain price of $5K.
With a price rise taking him to $10K, I don’t think many people will be on Ed Phillips. The new Perth Stadium isn’t as wide as the WACA, but it’s not far off. Phillips has the tank to deal with this stadium and despite the awful matchup, he could go alright today.
Luke Shuey returns at the perfect time (and a perfect price - $11K) for a downhill skiing event. It will be interesting to see the impact of Shuey’s return on Jack Redden (and vice versa). While I love the Eagles forwards today, I might give their mids a bit of space.
And now it’s time to mention today’s discount pigs - Dustin Martin and Tom Rockliff. Dusty’s numbers have been well down on his spectacular 2017 but his impact has remained the same. On the big Dreamtime stage, I suspect many coaches will build around Dusty tonight. By his own admission, Tom Rockliff wasn’t fit for the start of the season. But he’s fresh from a bye and has started to see more midfield team in recent weeks. They’ll both be chalky but with good reason.
Aaron Hall has responded well since being dropped to the NEAFL. Hall has a sky-high ceiling and I’m going to keep giving him ago until his price rises a little more. Yet another forward fantasy pig’s price continues to tempt him and that’s Zach Merrett. Consistency has been a major issue for Merrett and his struggles with tags and positional changes. However, I shouldn’t have to remind you of what he’s capable of.
Devon Smith’s price continues to rise and he’s statistically nearing career-best form. What I like about Smith tonight is his tackling pressure in what should be a fierce contest. Smith has averaged 12.6 tackles over his past three games and I see no reason for this not to continue tonight.
Regarding the expensive stud options today: I don’t think Melbourne will tag Macrae and Mitchell should run relatively free against Port as well. Dangerfield and Gaff also find themselves with great matchups.
My takes: Brodie, Martin, Hall, Rockliff.