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The Value Hunter: Round 5: Easter Monday Special – Hawks vs Cats

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Hawks vs Cats

In today’s Easter Monday clash, we have another chapter of the Hawthorn-Geelong rivalry. The Cats are purring and the Hawks are faring better than many predicted without talisman Tom Mitchell. All signs point towards a big Geelong victory today but we also know that nothing is guaranteed in games between these two sides.

Rucks

Just two choices today - Ben McEvoy or Rhys Stanley. I think the basis of this decision comes down to two things - salary cap management and ownership. McEvoy is $2,500 more expensive than Stanley which will probably make Stanley the more popular selection. We’ve seen ruck scoring down in the majority of games this year which will also drive Stanley’s ownership up. If you think you can use that extra $2,500 to gain an edge, then go for it. However, if you can salary cap space to play McEvoy, then I think you’ll get him at much lower ownership.

Defenders

With the high ceiling forward/midfielders that we have to choose from today, I expect that many coaches will choose to pay down with the defenders. Hawthorn have conceded the second highest fantasy points to opposition defenders. For these reasons, coaches will hunt value games from Mark O’ConnorJordan Clarke and Harry Taylor. I don’t hate this tactic but just be aware that the ceilings of this trio are limited. As always, you’ll need 10-11x value games from these players and you’ll have to nail your premium selections to be in with a chance.

I don’t love the $9-10K options at all. Cam Guthrie will find it hard to hit value; Jack Scrimshaw’s price is now too high; Jarman Impey could conceivably hit value but I can’t see him beating the cheaper priced options by that much.

This leaves the top-priced Tom Stewart - one of the competitions most in-form fantasy defenders who just happens to be playing against one of the competitions most fantasy friendly opponents - and the volatile James Sicily - arguably the defender with the slate’s highest ceiling. I think both of these players will have lower ownership than they should have today but it’s Stewart who I prefer.

My takes: O’Connor, Clarke, Stewart.

Forwards

We have a really interesting selection of forwards at opposite ends of the scales here. Both teams have been miserly against forwards, so be wary of that when making your selections. First, we have the bottom-priced group of low-ceiling players who you’d play only in the hope that they meet value. Of these players, it’s probably Gary Rohan who has the best chance of exceeding value. It pains me to write that as I don’t rate Rohan as a fantasy player at all. But I can’t see why you’d play Mitchell Lewis or Connor Nash over Rohan (who is only $1,200 more expensive than these guys) if you were looking for a value play. For a little bit more, you can go for the busy Gryan Miers. Looking and playing like a young Luke Dahlhaus, there’s plenty to like about Miers’ game. However, it might be difficult for him to hit value at $8,600.

There are plenty of mid-priced forward options to consider, all with reasonable ceilings. I won’t mention all of these guys but just make sure that the players who you target fit into your expected game script predictions. For example, if you think Hawthorn are going to win, then they’ll need to get their goals from Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead or Jack Gunston. Just to be clear, I’m not condoning the selection of either of these players, but I just wanted to use an example! Of this group of players, Luke Dahlhaus is someone who I’m seriously considering. The former Bulldog has surprised me this year but I like that his fantasy scoring is not reliant on scoring goals. James Worpel is the other clear option here.

Tim Kelly and Sam Menegola are well-priced today, especially considering that Charlie Constable’s midfield minutes are going to be up for grabs.

My takes: Rohan, Miers (value plays only), Dahlhaus, Kelly.

Midfielders

Our last value option to consider is mature-aged rookie, Tom Atkins who had his first value exceeding game last week. At this stage of his career, Atkins relies heavily on tackle stats for this fantasy scores. Atkins’ has an interesting heat map which shows that he’s actually getting more stats around the ground than you might first think. There is a possibility that Atkins, who was a midfielder in the VFL gets some more pure midfield time today as well.

Hawthorn second-tier mids Dan Howe and James Cousins took points away from each other last week but they aren’t terrible mid-priced options. I’ve played a lot cousins this year and I’m starting to lose patience. But you know what happens when you don’t roster that guy who’ve been playing year? Just ask me about McKay and SPS yesterday. Sigh!

Issac Smith has a solid floor and you’ll get him at single figure ownership. Joel Selwood’s rule change has been well documented but with Constable out, does Selwood come back into the middle today? Solve mystery of the Constable effect and you’ll be well on the way to winning today. Gary Ablett is another clear candidate but his ceiling days may be over as he continues to spend the majority of his time up forward. Finally, Ricky Henderson has been one of Hawthorn’s most consistent players so far this season. From a fantasy perspective, Henderson’s scores have been excellent, averaging 102 fps. I’m just not sure that he is capable of a 120+ score and at $13,660, you’d want a little more than low 100s.

My takes: Atkins, Selwood, Kelly, Studs.

Final thoughts…

Hawthorn have been hit hard by injuries this season and I think they’ll struggling to match the Cats today. However, this rivalry has produced some amazing games and if the ridiculousness of season 2019 is anything to go by, this outcome of this game may surprise.