It’s a weird slate today with absolute crackers bookending some uninspiring matchups. We start with a bang with Richmond taking on Collingwood at the MCG. In a game that could break some attendance records, we’ll finally get a real measure of Collingwood’s progress this season. The Pies have still only beaten one team currently in the top eight (Melbourne) and as good as they’ve looked this season, they need a big scalp to prove their true credentials. To close the slate, Adelaide hosts Melbourne at Adelaide Oval. After last week’s final quarter disaster, this game is another must win for the Demons. One of Melbourne’s best performances on 2017 was their win in Adelaide against the Crows and they’ll be hoping to repeat the dose. Sandwiched in between these two encounters are three games that I’m just not that interested in (except for DFS reasons). Geelong should beat up on the Lions at Kardinia Park; the Giants will all kinds of ugly things to the Saints, and the Suns host the Blues in a battle of the cellar dwellers.
If I was a big multi-entry shark, I’d be almost 100% on Peter Wright. First, I think that the Suns will be full of confidence from their upset of the century last week and will come out and absolutely smash Carlton. Second, we know that Carlton have been terrible against key forwards all year and they’ll be even worse with spud-turned-star-turned-spud Liam Jones out for the rest of the season. Wright’s a lock for 8-12 marks, 10 kicks and a few goals. The only negative is that his price is a little higher than I’d like it to be, thanks to some fourth quarter junk last week.
Rowan Marshall has given us excellent value over the past fortnight but with a price now just short of $10K, it becomes a little more difficult to make a case for the young Saint. The Giants have improved their defence of key forwards over recent weeks but Marshall’s ruck relief role will still provide him with access to points. In the same game, Dawson Simpson could have a big game as the Saints give up the second most points to opposition rucks.
Josh Jenkins is flying under the radar a little and has a three-game average of 84. Melbourne sits around the middle of the table when it comes to points against key forwards but they’ve also given away a few big scores including, sorry - I’m not kind ready to talk about this - last week’s 7 goals to Tom Hawkins.
My takes: Wright, Simpson, Jenkins.
The frenetic pace of last week’s game never allowed Lachie Henderson a chance to really get into the game. It was a classic “he’ll be better for the run” kind of game from Henderson and should be able to score more freely against Brisbane this week. If you played him last week, I can’t see why you wouldn’t give him another run today. Hopefully, a bit of recency bias scares the field away.
Jacob Heron had a sneaky 10 x value game playing as small forward and should get a fair bit of opportunity again this week in a likely blowout. If you're looking for a cheap edge player then can I interest you in Alex Keath? Now bare with me here as you might be questioning my sanity. We know that Melbourne are recording obscene numbers of inside 50s but we also know that their kicking efficiency while doing so is disgusting. This means that there will be plenty of intercept marks to be had. Keath is only $5,150 and should be able to pull in a value game in this spot. Keath would also be a nice pivot away from Henderson.
I’d be staggered if young Carlton defender Lochie O’Brien has more than 2% ownership but he could be a sneaky little play today. With speedster Zac Fisher out for the rest of the year, Carlton will need some run and carry today. O’Brien has two scores over 70 in his last two games and with some increased responsibility, I think he’s a good chance of getting value today.
Speaking of increased responsibility, Darcy Gardiner may get a little usage bump with Tom Cutler ridiculously suspended. It would take a brave coach to pick Brisbane defenders for a matchup against Geelong in Geelong but Gardiner won’t go near Tom Hawkins and the rest of Geelong’s forward line is relatively small.
Kade Kolodjashnij made a successful return from a long absence due to concussion. KK could have a good day against Carlton and his price isn’t too bad at $10K. Teammate Lachie Weller has hit some good form and I’d love to see him smash through his ceiling. Steven May is another mid-priced Sun who could enjoy himself today if things get out of control for the Blues forward line.
Collingwood’s running defenders are all similarly priced but this previously rich source of fantasy points has run dry recently. It’s been six weeks since ANY Collingwood defender has scored a 100.
Of the more expensive players - Melbourne won’t tag Rory Laird and Lachie Whitfield could also run amok again.
My takes: Henderson and Keath (salary savers), O’Brien (punt), Weller, May.
I’m not inspired by many of the cheap options in the forward line today. Jack Silvagni is a reasonable chance to hit value as he continues to play behind the ball.
Taylor Walker could be in for a massive night if the Crows can get hold of the Dees. Melbourne has struggled to contain big key forwards this season but Walker’s success all depends on his midfield’s ability to get the ball to him quickly. If this happens, watch out. Tom Lynch is still underpriced in the same game.
Checking in at just over $10K, Toby Greene is likely to be a popular forward choice today. Greene now has two games under his belt after returning from injury and kicked two goals in each of those games. Greene averages 90 at home and I like the matchup against the Saints.
Charlie Curnow is in a decent spot today. The Suns have conceded some big scores against roaming forwards like Curnow (Cameron 135, Hogan 110, Darling 103). Curnow loves to stretch his opponents up the ground and his link work could allow him to collect +6s all day.
If you believe the Suns will win big today then Aaron Young will be a great way to get low owned exposure to this game. Young had a big day out last week, kicking 4 goals on his way to his second 100 of the year. Young often features prominently in winning games as well.
There are several candidates for the DeGAB (De Goey Absence Bump) but the player who seems most likely to fill De Goey’s mid/forward role is Josh Thomas. Josh Diacos has also shown some promising glimpses recently but he’s a little too expensive for me today.
I was heavy on Hugh McCluggage last week and that didn’t end well for me. McCluggage still found the ball (20 disposals) but struggled to do much else, recording one 1 tackle and 1 mark. The Lions will need more out of the kid if they’re a chance to upset the Cats at home and I think he still represents decent value.
Kane Lambert has been in better more recently and has seemingly recovered from his mid-season slump. I don’t expect high ownership on Jack Riewoldt either today.
Dustin Martin is still underpriced and loves a big game and Tom Hawkins could feast against the Lions even with Harris Andrews returning.
My faith in Matthew Kennedy was rewarded with the Blues mid notching up his first 100 of the season. Kennedy’s price is still good and I’ve got a feeling he’ll go well again today.
Jordan De Goey has kicked 13 goals in his last four games, so the Pies will need to find other avenues to goal. Will Hoskin-Elliott will be important today and as most people expect Richmond to win, his ownership is unlikely to be high.
Christian Petracca has responded well to media criticism and has put together an impressive few weeks of football. Petracca’s tackle count has improved over this time and he seems to be willing himself to more contests.
Rory Sloane continues to be underpriced and although James Harmes has been handed the tagging duties recently, Sloane is still a great chance to smash through value.
Brayden Fiorini rejoins the Suns' lineup and exactly the right time. Fiorini loves a bit of outside ball and I think he’ll have a great day running up and down the wing. My concern is that as he’s missed some much footy this year that it may take him a while to pick up the pace of the game. That said, he does have a fantastic ceiling when he’s up and running.
Tim Kelly continues to go overlooked as coaches prefer to go with his more fancied teammates, while Marc Murphy got moving late in the game last week and looked a lot better than he did the week before.
The Giants rarely tag and this means Jack Steven could have a very big day. If the Saints are any chance of causing an upset, they’ll need Steven’s run through the midfield.
My picks from the $14K+ category including:
- Ed Curnow - shouldn’t have a tagging job and will be able to free-wheel all day.
- Mitch Duncan - could junk it up in his 2018 half-back/midfield role.
- Patrick Cripps - the Suns don’t have anyone big enough to run with him.
- Clayton Oliver - should feast in a fiercely contested game.
My takes: Kennedy, Fiorini, Kelly - Studs.
I’m a big fan of today’s slate and the multitude of strategies you can use to attack it. Fading Liam Baker will either prove a masterstroke or it will be my downfall but I just think that he’ll struggle in front of such a big stage on debut. I’m really looking forward to the most flexible slate we’ve had in ages.