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The Value Hunter: Round 4 - Crows vs Magpies

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Rain is forecast for tonight and this always causes an interesting debate within AFL DFS circles - we talked about it in today's podcast. I’m of the belief that unless it’s torrential rain, weather doesn’t have a significant impact on player performance. It can however, make you reconsider the types of players you might roster. For example, if it was dry tonight, I’d be doing everything I could to fit Tom Lynch in my team. The forecast makes me cool on key forwards like Lynch. Watch the Stats Insider models update when weather news comes in here.

The last time these teams met, they played out a thrilling draw at the MCG. In that game, Collingwood’s midfielders went absolutely HAM with some massive fantasy scores (Adam 151 - 3 goals; Wells 143 - 3 goals; Treloar 119 and Sidebottom 116). But a year is a long time in football and the Pies will have their work cut out for them tonight. The Crows have been hit hard by injuries but as good clubs do, they’ve used their enviable depth to start the year 2-1. 

Rucks

There are only two real choices for me tonight and neither of them are value plays. Sam Jacobs and Brodie Grundy have had some fantastic battles over the last few years and both regularly score well against each other. Over the past four times they’ve played each other, Grundy averages 104 and Jacobs 101. With only $500 difference between them, I’m expecting a fairly even ownership split. I think Grundy has a higher ceiling and is probably in better form around the ground. For that reason, it’s Brodie for me.

My take: Grundy.

Defenders

Well that’s what I get for being organised and writing my articles early! Lachlan Murphy’s omission completely scuttled my plans for tonight! But no matter, we’ll just have to look harder for value.

Sam Murray's work across half-back was important last week as the Pies looked to slow down Carlton’s early onslaught. Murray has settled seamlessly into Collingwood’s back six and has the kind of high marking and kicking game that we love here in fantasy land. Murray’s price is creeping up a bit ($9,000 this week) and this might be the last week we can call him a value play.

Speaking of former value plays, Tom Doedee could have a great night if Collingwood aren’t careful with their disposal inside 50. The Pies don't have the most reliable kicking skills in the competition and Doedee and his backline companions could have a field day picking them off. Similar to Murray, it’s Doedee’s price that makes me a little cautious. Luke Brown is an interesting pivot away from Doedee if you’re keen on Adelaide backman.

Paul Seedsman’s stats have been treading up and for some added spice, he comes up against his old club. Seedsman is one of a number Crows 2nd tier players who continue to benefit in the absences of Brodie Smith and the Crouch brothers. His price is stable, so I’m still very keen on Seedsman.

My takes: Murray, SeedsmanBrown.

Forwards

Callum Brown was in a few Top 10 lineups last Friday scoring a 10 x value 72. I’ll be honest, I don’t rate Brown very highly but I was impressed with some of his midfield link work last week. Brown is averaging 4.5 tackles a game and given that his price actually dropped a few hundred to $7,050, he’s worth considering tonight - especially as we need to make up the salary we’re forced to spend on ruckmen.

Wayne Milera has had an inconsistent start to the season but I like his chances of reaching value against a slow Magpies team. An interesting side note is that Milera has never played against the Magpies! Josh Thomas is another sub $10K option who is likely to be popular after his 5 goal performance against the Blues. Buyer beware - Adelaide backline is just a little more formidable than Carlton’s.

Jordan De Goey’s quest for redemption begins tonight. It’s amazing how your team’s poor performance can influence your supposedly ‘indefinite’ suspension. De Goey will have a lot to prove and definitely has an attractive upside at $11,300.

My takes: Brown, Milera.

Midfielders

Today’s midfield review is sponsored by Sizzler. Why? Because it’s an absolute mid-priced smorgasboard of value. If not for the midfield studs on offer, I could happily roster a midfield stuffed with $10-12K plays. Starting with James Aish ($9,900) and ending with Cameron Ellis-Yolman, there are seven viable options.

I’m finding it a real challenge to identify my favourite plays out of this group but I find myself drawn to Tom Phillips and Rory Atkins for different reasons. Collingwood don’t exactly play with a high degree of accountability which could allow Atkins to run loose on the outside (This part was written before the weather forecast). I’m going to back to the well with Phillips largely on the back of his superior running ability. Even if the game gets away from Collingwood (and it will), Phillips will run until the siren sounds. 

If you’re looking for wet weather beneficiaries, then consider contested ball pair Cam Ellis-Yolman and Hugh Greenwood.

My takes: Phillips, Douglas, CEY.

Final thoughts…

Whether my lineup will weather the weather remains to be seen. I’m backing the Crows to win and win comfortably. While I can’t fit them into my lineup, I wouldn’t be surprised to the Crows forward line flip a collective bird to the weather gods and win by 60 points. More info on tonight's game here.