We have a unique little slate today with no games being played in Melbourne at all! The Eagles make the long flight to Tasmania to face North Melbourne in what shapes as a crucial game to the latter team’s finals chances. North simply have to win if they want to keep in touch with the finals peloton (I’m just gonna keep using this phrase until it catches on). The Bulldogs host Port in Ballarat in a game that shouldn’t have too much influence on the finals race. Venue form is irrelevant in this game and I suspect that a few coaches may be cautious of this factor (when they shouldn’t be). To bring us home, the Dockers and Hawks clash in Perth. Season 2018 has given us our fair share of surprised but the Hawks should win easily here.
There are some decent cheaper ruck options today, all with good ceilings for their respective prices. Nathan Vardy exceeded value last week and he’ll be job-sharing the ruck duties again today. His salary is still affected by his first-up bomb, so you can still pick him up for $6K.
Jono Ceglar is a $8K solo ruck going up against two kids. Now granted, one of those kids is the living mountain, Sean Darcy, but for his price, Ceglar is a good play (as is his opponent).
Unfortunately, we probably won’t know if Paddy Ryder is playing before lock today. Personally, I think Port are insane for risking further injury to their star ruckman. There are few softer matchups for ruckman than the Bulldogs at the moment and it’s perfect opportunity to blood Billy Frampton. It’s a real shame for us that we won’t be able to take this chance.
Todd Goldstein is in an excellent spot against Vardy and Lycett. Goldstein relishes these kinds of games and I think he could slip under the radar today.
My takes: Ceglar, Darcy, Goldstein.
Port Adelaide have named their second debutant in as many weeks - Kane Farrell. In a nice little narrative quirk, Farrell grew up in Castlemaine - not too far from Mars Stadium in Ballarat. It’s difficult to predict Port Adelaide roles at the best of times and Farrell is yet another Port utility player. If you want to fit Tom Mitchell in today then these $5K need to be considered.
A few years back Cameron Sutcliffe appeared to be Fremantle’s defensive quarterback in waiting. However form, injury and the rise of teammates like Connor Blakely and Luke Ryan have seen Sutcliffe take a back seat. This will be Sutcliffe’s third game in a row and his fantasy scoring, as well as his place in the team, appears to be more settled.
Tom Clurey is a good chance to have one of his random 8-12 mark games against the Dogs and teammate Jasper Pittard is still $8K despite reaching 100 last week.
Hayden Crozier will yet again be the Bulldogs main defensive outlet and he’s likely to have a big workload today. Crozier’s a little more expensive at $11K, but his job security should allow him to get close to value.
Bulldogs running machine Fergus Greene makes his debut today. Greene was drafted in 2016 but had an injury-interrupted 2017 season. He’s yet another Bulldogs forward/mid but be warned - the Bulldogs are down to 26 fit players on their list so there might not be much merit behind his selection.
Although he wasn’t great last week, Jack Watts did respond well initially to being dropped. The Bulldogs have been poor against key forwards and Jacky sure does like a soft game.
Jarman Impey has been solid in his new colours this year. This contest is likely to be pretty free and open, suiting Impey’s game perfectly.
Robbie Gray scored his first 100 for a month and is in a good spot today. His good mates Wingard and Rockliff are too but I think Gray presents a difficult matchup for the Dogs today.
Luke Breust is enjoying the form of this career at the moment. He’s scored 4 100s in his last 5 games and gets another favourable matchup today.
Ed Langdon had an absolute stinker last week and I’m not sure how his price hasn’t fallen more. However, his Optus Stadium stats are remarkable. Langdon averages 103 over 9 games at home this year - a stat that hard to ignore.
Finally, Josh Dunkley has been in sensational form and despite playing a heap of Dunkley last year, I’m yet to give him a run this year. You know what that means? Yep, he’ll stink it up for my lineups today!
James Worpel finally gave us a glimpse of his fantasy potential last week with an eye-catching 88. Worpel’s value exceeding score include 20 handballs - most of which were delivered with blinding speed. O’Meara returns but Howe misses, so there’ll still be some decent minutes for him.
There’s a group of $11K - $12K players who could have big days. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Brad Ebert go nuts and Michael Walters is being wasted a permanent forward. Jared Polec will see a lot of outside ball, as will Isaac Smith on the wings of Optus.
Jaeger O’Meara returns and will hopefully pick up where he left off. O’Meara has scored 5 100s in his last 7 games and I like his ability to prop up his score with a few goals.
Finally, Jack Redden will spend a lot of time in the middle today to cover the loss of Luke Shuey.
Admittedly, I made a meal of yesterday’s slate, so I’m down on confidence today. But what doesn’t win you money makes you smarter and back on the horse we get!