Eagles vs Bombers
As the season continues each game takes on more significance, especially for those teams who are still a chance of playing finals. The Eagles are flying high (even after their reality check against Sydney) and while the Bombers are still a mathematical chance to make the finals, they’ll need everything to go right from here on in. Already two games behind the chasing pack, the Bombers simply have to win tonight. With JJK and Darling both out (this is the first time that the Eagles have played without either forward this year), they won’t get a better chance than tonight.
You can make a case to play each of the three key rucks (Nic Nat, Lycett and Bellchambers) available tonight. If the Eagles are caught short in attack, Scott Lycett could spend significant time in the forward 50. Lycett has a solid 70-80 floor these days and I think he’ll be the least popular of the three. Tom Bellchambers is the least skilful of the three but he can have random high scoring games (2 x 100s this year). The few grand that you can save by playing Bellchambers boosts his appeal.
Nic Naitanui is still pulling in excellent numbers from limited game time. Last week played his highest percentage of game time this year but still only clocked in at 64% TOG. As I keep saying, if he ever gets above 75-80% TOG, some huge scores will fall. Nic Nat was quoted saying that he feels like he’s ready for more midfield time perhaps tonight is the night.
West Coast have selected Fraser McInnes tonight in an attempt to ease the pressure on their young forwards. McInnes has been playing well in the WAFL and although he has kicked a few goals this year, he has mainly been playing as a ruck. There’s not a lot of historical data to support playing McInnes tonight but I think he’s a decent chance of an 8-10 value night.
My takes: Nic Nat, McInnes.
If you can spare the cash then I’m a big fan of Elliot Yeo tonight. Playing up for defenders can often be a great GPP play as most coaches tend to save their cash for midfielders. Playing Yeo in Perth when the Eagles are favourites is also a great option.
Shannon Hurn is another player who may slip under the radar tonight. The West Coast captain averages 98 at home this year and a return somewhere around that figure would be excellent. Jeremy McGovern will be a popular selection and if the McInnes experiment doesn’t work well early on, we may see Shooter McGovern move forward.
Cale Hooker’s price isn’t bad and depending on his role, he could easily chance 9-10 x value. Hooker has been playing in the backline recently and if West Coast’s forward line is understaffed, then Hooker could be a great option. You can also throw him forward if you’ve chosen to stack West Coast defenders like me.
The output of tonight’s forward options is difficult to predict. Without Darling and Kennedy, the Eagles will need to find different ways to score. There’ll be a lot of pressure on young tall Jake Waterman.
Waterman knows how to use his massive lump of a body quite well. Liam Ryan will be a popular play and I suspect people will take another chance of Willie Rioli as well. However, I’m targeting Jamie Cripps tonight. Cripps isn’t traditionally a big fantasy scorer but usually has a pretty safe floor. Out of all the alternative goal scoring options the Eagles have tonight, it’s Cripps who I like the best.
Jake Stringer’s form has been terrific over the past month as he continues to spend more time in the midfield. This form and $11K price tag will make him a popular play tonight. I don’t trust Stringer just yet but his 2018 ceiling makes him difficult to ignore. Playing Cale Hooker as a forward is also a decent option.
My takes: Waterman, Ryan, Cripps.
With my point of difference back and forward line plays, I haven’t exactly left myself much to play with in my midfield today. And that’s a shame too as there are a couple of excellent higher priced players to target in this game. After some indifferent form earlier in the season, Zach Merrett has put together a much more consistent month. Merrett has 3 x 100s over his last four games and with David Zaharakis still missing with injury, Merrett should be able to continue this trend. Dyson Heppell has had a little price drop on the back of his concussion-influenced score of 42 last week. It’s worth noting that Heppell was on fire before getting whacked by Hodge.
Chris Masten is a mid-pricer who I’m strongly considering tonight. Masten was busy against the Swans last week and I don’t think the Bombers pressure game will work in Perth. This means that Masten should be able to play the outside game that he loves so much. I’m not sure that I can play Luke Shuey again, which probably means that he’s going to have a 130+ game! Shuey looked off the pace after missing a month of football and I may need to see some results before I jump back on.
It’s been a couple of months since a Brendon Goddard 100+ score. The veteran has looked disinterested on the field and has even publicly said that he’s considering his retirement each time he plays. I think BJ still has some big scores left in him but his recent form doesn’t instill me with confidence.
My takes: Masten, Shuey, Heppell.
Even with West Coast’s weaker forward line, I still think they’ll have a handsome win tonight. They might not kick a huge score tonight but Essendon simply won’t be able to find a way through the rock-solid Eagles back line.