Apparently Alan Richardson had not seen Lewis Pierce play this season before last week’s game. Given St Kilda’s struggles in the ruck this year, this story is just staggering. Pierce was fantastic last week and easily beat Bellchambers in the ruck and even around the ground. The only concern here is that Ben McEvoy is returning from injury and will present Pierce with a tougher challenge than Bellchambers.
Ryan Abbott gets another shot at the big time with Rhys Stanley reinjuring his troublesome calf. Abbott was excellent on debut just two weeks ago, kicking two goals on his way to value smashing 93. At first, you might think that Abbott could be disadvantaged by playing against man mountain Sean Darcy but don’t forget that Abbott is 27 and has a battle-hardened body. Darcy himself is also worth considering.
Let’s throw one more ruckman of circumstance into the fray with Rory Lobb. In a career-best performance, Lobb reminded us of the incredible talent that he possesses. We’ve rarely seen Lobb’s full potential on display but if the young ruck/forward could play like that every week, he could become one of the league’s best ruckman. Lobb gets a great matchup today against Callum Sinclair who has only managed 29 hitouts in two games. The only redeeming factor about this stat is that he was playing against Grundy and Gawn.
Speaking of Grundy, we’ll know before lockout if he’ll be lining up against Ryder or debutante Billy Frampton. If it’s the latter, then watch out because Grundy might just set some records.
My takes: Pierce, Abbott, Lobb.
I was one of the thousands of coaches who were completely burnt by Adam Oxley last week. Contrary to most of the other games of his career, Oxley was used almost exclusively as a stay at home defender against the Lions. This significantly impacted his fantasy output and has completely scared me away from rostering Oxley again this week. Oxley is joined by fellow bottom pricers Ben Paton, Connor Nash and Hugh Goddard. While value games are possible for these blokes, I don’t think any of them are going to go nuts.
The five worst teams against opposition defenders are all in action today (Suns, Saints, Pies, Dockers and Cats). So theoretically, this slate could see some of the highest defensive scores of the year. Plenty of coaches will use their full quota of Brisbane players today against the leaky Suns. Considering this, the edge will come with which Brisbane players you select. I’m targeting Brisbane defenders primarily on the basis of how poor the Suns kick inside 50. Unsurprisingly, the Suns rank dead last for marks inside 50 and Harris Andrews and Josh Walker could easily have 12+ marks each today. I’m also looking at Daniel Rich, Luke Hodge and Alex Witherden to score well and of course, my man Tom Cutler.
Behind the Lions, my second favourite defensive stack are the Hawks. Ben Stratton could have another 10+ mark day and I’m a big fan of Teia Miles across half-back. Even forgotten DFS darling, Ryan Burton could be about bust through for his biggest score of the year.
Surprisingly, it was tackles and not marks that helped Lachie Henderson to his best score of the season and he gets a great matchup against Fremantle today. Jeremy Finlayson comes in to help the depleted GWS backline and will take over the Heath Shaw role.
Tom Stewart’s price and matchup are tempting and Jack Crisp appears to have shaken off his mid-season scoring slump.
My takes: Stewart, Burton, the entire Brisbane back six.
Brady Grey has hovered around 10 x value for two games now and although both of these games have been in Perth, I think another value game is in the offing. I’d love to see Grey behind the ball and seeing him named at half-back has me strongly considering this value play.
Michael Barlow comes in for just his second game in Suns colours. Barlow’s NEAFL numbers have been amazing and it seems that the Suns have left him in the reserves so that their young mids can learn from him. Barlow will be seriously chalky today (30 - 40 percent) but with good reason. I think it’s more than reasonable to expect 75-95 from Barlow today.
Eric Hipwood enjoyed a breakthrough game the last time he played a defence as bad as the Suns. The big Lion could prove to nimble for Steven May who, incidentally, is coming off an absolute nightmare against Jack Riewoldt. Hipwood could go under-owned as coaches target other Brisbane players.
Brandon Parfitt loves a soft matchup at home and that’s exactly what he gets today. This season Parfitt has played Carlton, St Kilda and Brisbane at home - averaging 104 points. Another sneaky play is Jeremy Cameron against the Swans. Playing key forwards against the Swans hasn’t quite paid off for me as much as it could have. However, it is not for lack of opportunity but rather inaccurate kicking. I’d be staggered if Cameron was over 4 percent owned and if the Giants do a number of the Swans, Cameron is likely to be a big contributor.
Buddy Franklin is still too cheap and Jack Billings has been in excellent form under the roof (107 over the last four games at Etihad).
Finally, there are few dual positions solo rucks that I’m tempted to squeeze into my forward line.
My takes: Barlow (chalk), Parfitt, Cameron, Billings.
After considering the DPPs that didn’t make my starting back or forward line, my attention first turns to James Worpel. The young Hawk has been highly rated internally and the rest of the football world is beginning to see why. Worpel was understanding on the weekend and his contest with Joel Selwood is one of my highlights of the season. With Mitchell, Shiels and O’Meara taking most of St Kilda’s attention, Worpel has a great chance to record another big score.
David Swallow is somehow still $10K despite raising the bat last week and Nic Newman is doing a good job of saving his career with an excellent run of form.
Jarrod Berry will be under 5 percent and his height around the contests will trouble the Suns. Patty Cripps and Josh Kennedy are some big bodied mids to have record big 100s against the Suns recently. Even Shaun Grigg scored 93 last week.
Despite star-studded midfielders around him, Brayden Sier continues to impress. Sier’s been able to use his big body around the stoppages to great effect. Port will come hard at the Pies today and Sier’s solid tackle floor will come in handy.
David Armitage is also worth considering without Luke Dunstan around and he’s also well priced at $11K. Also around that price is Port Adelaide match-winner Robbie Gray. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Robbie Gray switch his beast mode on but we all know what he’s capable of.
Shaun Burgoyne could make a fortune if he sells the recipe for his fountain of youth elixir. The Hawks talisman just keeps on pumping out consistent performances and recorded an incredible 13 tackles last week. Brayden Fiorini is one of my favourite fantasy players. His ceiling is excellent and especially tonight, I can see him having a 30+, 8+ tackle night.
Geelong mids are in an excellent spot but the best targets are all above $14K. Enter Tim Kelly. If Kelly was a little younger, he’d have won the Rising Star fifty times over by now. If Kelly is on today, I think a value score is there for the taking. My other preferred Geelong mid is Sam Menegola and Mitch Duncan is underpriced.
Of the expensive plays, I like Stephen Coniglio without Josh Kelly around, Dayne Beams against the Suns and Seb Ross against the Hawks who haven’t been tagging recently.
There are plenty of ways to attack this slate and for me, none of them involves any $5K plays. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of value around but I’ll be avoiding the bottom priced plays today.