Crows vs Cats
This race for the finals is on in earnest and while it’s unlikely that the Crows will make it, every win is crucial for the Cats. Geelong is part of the finals peloton (the chasing pack all on 36 points including Melbourne, Hawthorn and North Melbourne) and simply has to keep chalking up wins. Adelaide are a better team than they were a few weeks ago but they are still a long way off their excellent 2017 form. A look at 2018 fantasy data suggests that there are some clear trends to follow tonight but some interesting selections last night have stirred things up a little. Geelong will start the night with Narkle (2), Buzza (2), Jones (4), Simpson (5), Henry (14) and Kelly (15). That’s 42 games of experience shared between players (granted, Tim Kelly is an exception). Adelaide’s ‘ins’ might be more experienced but they’re not players known for their consistency. This points to a fascinating contest with both teams having a lot on the line.
The last time I was this definitive about my ruck choice it completely blew up in my face (yeah I’m looking at you, Toby Nankervis). But I just think Sam Jacobs is a great spot tonight. Jacobs has had a great fortnight of footy averaging 40 hitouts and 13.5 disposals. When you factor in the improving but still inconsistent Rhys Stanley and Buzza providing some comic, sorry ruck relief, playing Jacobs makes even more sense. My other hope is that people are seduced again by playing a $5,000 player (Buzza) on a night when there are multiple $14K+ studs available. Oh and in case you needed more convincing, Adelaide concedes the 4th least points to opposition rucks.
My takes: Jacobs.
On a night that offers so many expensive forward and midfield options, it could pay to think a little differently and spend up for some expensive defenders. With only one score below 100 at home this season, the first and most obvious choice is Rory Laird. The Crows defensive general had a huge game in the preliminary final (the last time these teams met) and Geelong don’t often run a forward tag. The other thing I like about Laird is that win or lose, his scores don’t differ that much. The Crows have been relatively good against opposition defenders until the last month or so. This brings Tom Stewart into play for me. Stewart would have to be one of the league’s most improved players and he represents a dual threat with his kicking and intercept marking ability.
Paul Seedsman started last week’s match against Richmond strongly with 8 disposals in the first quarter. In that quarter, Seedsman’s outside game was working a treat and he enjoyed having Sloane and Crouch back to dish him the easy ball. However, Seedsman faded after quarter time, finishing on a disappointing 67 points. Seedsman should find it a little easier against Geelong and hopefully he can rediscover is sensational early season form.
If Tom Doedee played for a Victorian club it would be the first year Crow who would be the $1.53 Rising Star favourite instead of Jaidyn Stephenson. Doedee has become a key member of Adelaide’s back six, playing with composure and confidence that belies his youth. Last week Doedee scored his first 100 of the year and unfortunately, this has pushed his salary up just a little too high for my liking.
If you look up a football dictionary for the word role player, you’d see a photo of Kyle Cheney. The ex-Demon, ex-Hawk has never been a flashing player (or even a particularly good player) but he does play his role well - usually a lock-down back pocket job. If you want to fit multiple studs into your lineup then you’ll need some value. Cheney should be good for between 50-70 points - not bad for $6,600. Lachlan Murphy has struggled for consistency in his debut season as is the case for other young small forwards. I’d love to see Murphy played off a back-flank or wing but until his role is more secure, it’s difficult to take a risk on him.
My takes: Cheney, Seedsman, Stewart.
If you’re a fan of using 2018 trends as the basis of your lineup creation then it’s tough to play any Adelaide forwards at all. Geelong concedes the least amount of fantasy points to key forwards and the 5th least to small/medium forwards. Now you could look at this and say ‘rightio - it’s Geelong forwards for me then’. Alternatively, you could make a contrarian play and roster Crows forwards. If you take that risk then I’d be looking at Taylor Walker. Though he’s not in great form Walker is one of those players who can throw the rest of his teammates on his back. Tom Lynch is also on my hit list. Like his captain, Lynch’s form has been poor this season. But Lynch’s ability to collect marks and kicks up the ground makes him a safer play. Lynch’s price is also fantastic as he usually costs around $12-13K. The more I think about it, the more that Geelong appear a little undersized against Adelaide’s big men. If the Crows can win the midfield battle, perhaps will see some trends broken tonight?
With Harry Taylor missing due to injury, Jack Henry could have a more prominent role tonight. This could mean an increase in fantasy output but it could also mean that he’ll be required to play a closer marking role on Jenkins/Walker.
Patrick Dangerfield presents an interesting dilemma tonight. Clearly, his price is great at a tick under $14K and he’s the cheapest of Geelong’s studs. This also means that his ownership is likely to be high tonight. Dangerfield’s output has been limited by his dual forward/midfield role but last time I checked, he’s still Patrick Dangerfield. A little revenge game narrative makes this a little interesting as well.
Of the cheapies tonight, Sam Simpson and Wylie Buzza are fades for me tonight. While they both could get 35-40s, I don’t like their respective chances of producing much more than that. I’ve also noticed that people have been drawn to $5K players like moths to the proverbial light bulb, so from a strategic GPP perspective, fading both makes a lot of sense. I do, however, have a soft spot for Riley Knight, especially when he’s so cheap ($5,580).
My takes: Knight, Lynch, Dangerfield.
Again, the 2018 data presents some compelling trends tonight. Adelaide have given up the second most fantasy points to opposition midfielders. Over the last three weeks, the Crows have given up 9 100s to opposition mids. This is a significant trend, especially considering the quality of Geelong’s midfield.
Scott Selwood is a below $10K again and as such presents an excellent value option. Selwood had an interrupted pre-season before missing much to season proper with injury as well. He doesn’t quite stuff the stat sheet like other Geelong mids but his excellent tackle floor gives you confidence.
With a price still influenced by his pre-injury poor form, Rory Sloane is sure to be a popular selection tonight. Sloane is likely to cop the Selwood tag tonight and that makes me a little cautious, but if he can get anywhere near his 2017 ceiling, well that's a different story.
Tim Kelly has a mix of inside toughness and outside speed that separates him from most midfielders. It’s this speed that could trouble the sluggish Crows.
My takes: Selwood, Kelly, Studs…
The Crows have a decent record against the Cats (especially at home) but they’ll need to overcome a team hungry for another crack at finals football. Geelong should sneak home but for selfish reasons, I hope the Crows get up.