I think I’m too nervous to write this article. I think I’m too worried about tonight to think clearly about value plays. By the end of today’s slate, I’ll know if my beloved Demons are contenders or, as most of the football world already think, pretenders. Even if Melbourne beats Geelong tonight, they’re still not guaranteed a finals birth. However, as the two teams are neck and neck on the ladder, this game has added significance. The only other game on today’s slate with any real consequence is the Collingwood / North Melbourne clash. Like Melbourne, the Magpies have only beaten one team currently in the top eight. Barring a monumental attack of the Collywobbles, it’s almost impossible for the Pies to miss finals. However, they’d want to beat a fellow contender to prove to themselves they can beat a quality opposition. In our other games today, the Swans get a soft matchup against the Suns and Essendon hosts the Dockers at Etihad.
Darcy Cameron has been a NEAFL beast this season and finally gets his chance to prove his worth. Cameron checks in at a tasty $5K and should split is time is a key forward and second ruck. He’s in an absolute smash spot against the Suns at the SCG and Cameron is also likely to highly owned.
Peter Wright struggled to find the football last week but I actually like his matchup today. The Swans have been surprisingly poor against key forwards (5th most points against) and just last week Ben Brown and Majak Daw kicked 4 goals apiece. I’m also hoping for relatively low ownership on Wright. Playing Wright as a forward also allows you to play on the many gun rucks on offer today.
Sean Darcy pulled up sore but has been named to play. Unfortunately, we won’t know for sure on Darcy before lock but he could be a pivot away from the cheap chalk (Cameron) and the studs.
The Lions could struggle for a matchup against Josh Jenkins. The 200cm Jenkins will be the focal point of the Crows attack with Taylor Walker missing this week. Jenkins should be able to account for Daniel McStay and if the Crows get cooking, he could be in for a big score.
Apart from these value plays, it’s all about Big Maxy today. Max Gawn returns to the ground that made him. In 2015, a dominant Gawn lead Melbourne to its famous drought-breaking victory at Kardinia Park. Gawn will need to do the same again today if Melbourne is any chance of winning.
My takes: Cameron, Darcy, Jenkins (sneaky low owned option - hopefully).
Essendon, Fremantle and Gold Coast have all been poor against small-medium defenders, so there are a fair few options to consider today - both at the value and premium ends of the scale.
If there’s a player who’s been injured and hasn’t played this year, you can guarantee that Draftstars will take their price waaaaay down. Not even experienced players like Lachie Henderson are immune to this pricing quirk. Put simply, Henderson is just not a $5K player. Sure, he might not get you 80-100 every week (hard to do as a key defender), but I’ll be staggered if he doesn’t reach 10 x value today.
Colin O’Riordan looked fantastic on debut and handled himself well in what was a high-pressure game. As expected, the Irishman gets a little price bump but I’m still keen on him, especially considering the soft Suns matchup. Kyle Cheney delivered some excellent 11 x value goodness last week and I don’t mind his chances of another value score today. Cheney took a season-high 10 marks and with Brodie Smith playing SANFL this weekend, Cheney will be keen to prove his worth.
Since returning to the Swans’ lineup, Aliir Aliir has averaged 8 marks and 10 kicks per game. This week, Aliir gets a great matchup against the Suns who concede the 2nd most points to opposition key defenders. Dane Rampe and top priced Jake Lloyd are also in great spots today.
With Michael Hibberd missing through injury, there’ll be some scoring opportunities for Melbourne defenders. Tread carefully though - Hibberd hasn’t had a great year and this potential usage bump could be a red herring.
Andrew McGrath broke through for his maiden 100 last week. The running defender has another favourable matchup under the roof against Fremantle. I’m backing him in for another ton. Brendon Goddard and Michael Hurley also have fantastic matchups for this game.
My takes: So many options here! Will play combinations of the players I’ve named.
With scores of 39, 24 and 59 in his three 2018, can we really trust Travis Colyer to deliver value, even at $5,100? The answer is no but there are two reasons why I’m still considering him today. First, he does have a great matchup against Fremantle under the roof. Second, with the free hit that Darcy Cameron provides, the risk of playing Colyer is somewhat mitigated.
Darcy Moore had a great first half and looked like his was cruising to a 10 x value score. Unfortunately, Moore struggled to score in the second half and finished well short. He’s only $6K today and he isn’t the worst play if you’re fading Cameron in the ruck and need to save some money.
I’m interested to see how a forward line of Buddy, Darcy Cameron and Tom McCartin works. I’d love to see McCartin play a Tom Lynch link role and if he did, I think he’d easily return value at $6,610. This is another great option if you’re playing an expensive ruck or mids today.
Tom Lynch is still far too cheap and his mix of athleticism and height makes it hard to see who Brisbane sends to stop his link work.
Hugh McCluggage is in excellent form and Adelaide are still giving away the second most points to opposition midfielders. McCluggage is a great way to access to this matchup.
Speaking of great matchups, Buddy Franklin. Do I need to say more?
Tom Hawkins is arguably in the form of his career and Melbourne still struggle against quality opposition key forwards. If Geelong take hold of this game, Hawkins will be a big reason why. Melbourne will also struggle to contain Patrick Dangerfield. I can’t really see who we have who will watch Danger when he goes forward and this troubles me deeply!
My takes: McCartin (salary saver), Lynch, McCluggage, Franklin.
Jay Kennedy-Harris tackled his way past value last week, although he did leave his run a little late. JKH should have similar midfield/half-forward role again today and Melbourne will need another strong pressure effort.
Nic Newman faded in the second half last week but will be better for the run. Newman spent his time between half-back and half-forward and will benefit from a lopsided matchup. Newman could go a little under-owned today and is a great way to get exposure to the Swans.
Adam Cerra has been a major beneficiary in the absence of Nat Fyfe. Mixing his time between half-back and on the ball, Cerra has already shown he can mix it with the best. His price tag is a little high, but Etihad does strange things to fantasy scores.
Rory, Rory, Rory. My good mate Rory Atkins burnt me badly last week. I’ve played Atkins so much this year but after his last dud score, I vowed that I’d never play him again. And what does he do? Goes and scores a hundred. Personal history aside, Atkins is in a good spot here and has scored well at the Gabba before. His namesake Rory Sloane is still too cheap at $12K and is likely to be a popular selection.
Jarrod Berry is another mid-priced way to access Brisbane midfielders. It may seem strange to target Lions mids against the Crows, but if you trust 2018 trends, this is what they tell you to do. Berry has scored 3 100s this season and I love his blend of inside/outside skills.
Christian Salem appears to the most likely to get a Hibberd injury bump, but I’m a little bit hesitant to lock him in. Consistency isn’t exactly Salem’s strong point and when I roster $12K+ players, I can’t afford them to not score 100+.
Do you know what Taylor Adams did 8 times last year - score over 120+ points. Do you what Taylor Adams has done once this year - score over 120+ points. Adams has had a role change and hasn’t been relied upon as much as he was in 2017. I’m not convinced that his high ceiling days are completely over and $13K is still a good price if he can hit that mark.
Luke Parker sunk my battleship last week but his price and matchup have me considering giving him a chance of redemption.
My takes: Newman, mid-priced Lions.
This is a really fun slate. There are so many ways to attack it that you can even avoid rostering any of the cheap chalk. Identify a strategy and stick to it and don’t forget that it’s ok to leave some salary leftover.