Similar to yesterday, today’s slate has great potential from a DFS perspective. North Melbourne should go to town on the Suns who hit the road yet again in season 2018. The resurgent Bombers face the Magpies in what could be an absolute classic at the MCG. It pains me to say that Collingwood is playing finals footy at the moment. So complete is their game plan right now that they are probably the only team that on current form could take it up to Richmond at the ‘G. Finally, the Eagles host the Giants in Perth in a game that they have to win to arrest their mid-season slump.
With Nic Nat returning and the Lycett time-sharing arrangement working out so well, Nathan Vardy has been starved of opportunities. The Eagles journeyman was the last man standing last year and played 20 games almost entirely as a solo ruck. I can’t quite see how a Vardy/Lycett/Nic Nat team would work and that leaves me to believe that Nic Nat will be a late withdrawal (Adam Simpson had mentioned that Nic Nat had been sore this week). As we’re unlikely to know Nic Nat’s status before lockout, playing Vardy is a bit of risk.
The Gold Coast Suns haven’t been horrible against key forwards but they have struggled to contain the real dominant big men of the competition. Following this theory, a big bag beckons for Ben Brown. The Suns have been horrible against opposition mids and this should result in Brown getting some silver service under the roof today.
A special mention to Brodie Grundy. The Pies big man hasn’t scored below 100 since Round 1 and has only scored below 110 on two occasions since then. In addition, 5 of his last 7 scores have been over 120. If you can afford him today, Grundy will surely be the highest scoring ruck on the slate.
There aren’t many cheap defenders who stand out to me today. So instead, I’m going to focus on the mid-tier options. Andrew McGrath has been a really solid contributor this season. He hasn’t broken through the 100 barrier yet but he’s continuing to post some promising scores. The Bombers will need his drive again today so look out for another 80-90 score.
Matt Scharenberg should be able to plonk himself at centre half-back and control the air today. Scharenberg has been super consistent this year and his form at the MCG has been very good (average 85).
Jarrod Harbrow will spend most of his afternoon clearing the ball out of the Sun’s defensive 50. Harbrow is averaging 21 kicks over his last 4 games and that trend should continue today.
Heath Shaw has found his way into my teams a few times this year and I think he will again today. The West Coast forward line is a mess and Shaw should be able to capitalise on their disorganisation and inexperience.
A few rookies to consider before we get into the real value plays for today. Brent Daniels makes his debut for the Giants and will play a pressure forward role. Daniels is a tough customer and will look to build his fantasy scores through goals and tackles. The Giants will have a makeshift forward line for the next few weeks so they’ll have to score their goals from somewhere. In the same game, Eagles tall forward Oscar Allen also makes his debut. Allen is a raw big man who is capable of taking some good marks. I don’t love rookie key forwards for fantasy so I’m leaving him alone today.
Over the past four weeks, the Suns have leaked points against opposition small/medium forwards. During this period, small/medium forwards have averaged 90 points against the Suns. Now North Melbourne don’t exactly have amazing small forwards but this could be a good day to target players like Kayne Turner, Jy Simpkin or even the more expensive Jack Ziebell. The scores will be there for North forwards, it’s just a matter of how they share them around.
Jed Anderson is another Roo would I don’t mind targeting today. Anderson continues to spend a decent amount of time at centre bounces and as I’ve mentioned earlier, the Suns are poor against oppositions mids. Anderson should be able to accumulate a fair amount of both inside and outside ball today.
You know what happened the last time I played Josh Thomas? Yep, he had a season-low 26. Thomas backed that dismal performance up with a 4 goal, 98 point outing against the Suns. Now granted, the Suns are terrible against players like Thomas but Essendon have also given up some big small forward scores. This means that Thomas’ forward/mid teammates are also in the frame.
I don’t think I’ve ever recommended this many North Melbourne players before but Shaun Atley could be an overlooked avenue to points today. Listed only as a midfielder, Atley has been playing a half-forward role for most of the year. Atley sits fourth on North’s list of goalkickers this year with 22 goals from 14 games.
Brayden Sier fit right into Collingwood’s midfield rotations and looked like he’d been there for years. He’ll set you back $9,500 today so it’s difficult to justify spending this much for a 2nd gamer.
Luke Shuey tackled his way back to form last week, laying 10 tackles on route to his first 100+ score since April. Shuey is still underpriced for his potential and is a good spot against the Giants who don’t tag and sit 4th in points conceded to opposition midfielders. Jack Redden is also a good target for the same reason and if he could ever score in first quarters, he’d be a regular 120+ scorer again.
Ben Cunnington and Shaun Higgins are the last North players I’ll mention and their matchups are absolutely amazing. Both love a goal (especially Higgins) and I’ve got no problems putting them both into my team today.
Thank goodness for the new anti-stacking rule but otherwise, I’d have a North Melbourne stack and that would make me physically ill. Today should be another slate with even ownership and I’m interested to see how many people are seduced by another bunch of $5K rookies.