I’m getting a little tired of seeing 35 man squads being named on Thursday nights. Doesn’t the AFL know that I like to get my articles finished on Thursday so I can actually enjoy sitting down to watch the Friday night game! It’s almost like the Gil and the team don’t even know that I exist. Today is a nice little three game slate with each game having its own interesting narrative. The Essendon/Melbourne game almost feels like a mini final between two teams who promised so much during pre-season and so far, have both delivered so little. The Collingwood army is up and about but today faces a huge challenge as it battles the Richmond pressure cooker. Finally, both Perth teams are in good form and this should actually be a fascinating derby.
I’ve been warning you about this day for weeks and it’s finally come. Max Gawn is no longer an automatic ruck play. Gawn is averaging, yes a-v-e-r-a-g-i-n-g, a massive 53 hitouts a game. That’s 10 more than second place Sandilands and nearly 20 more per game than media darling, Brodie Grundy. If it want to play Maxy, it will now cost you $17,200.
This is your weekly reminder that Nic Naitanui is averaging 81 from around 50 percent game time. Adam Simpson was on record post-game saying that Nic Nat would see a minutes increase soon.
Finally, Mason Cox is always a risky play but Richmond will struggle find a matchup for him if Collingwood to get on top.
My takes: Nic Nat.
Slim pickings on offer today for sub $10K defenders. I liked Taylin Duman’s debut last week and he’s a good chance to get close to value at only $6,900. Angus Brayshaw and Christian Salem could both see an increase in usage with Stretch and Wagner being dropped. They may not play identical roles but I think their absences clear the way for Brayshaw especially. Salem has had a decent three weeks of footy and should easily clear 80 points again today. While we’re on Melbourne, Michael Hibberd revenge narrative?
Jackson Merrett had a decent return to the big leagues and his ability to play both forward and back adds to his scoring potential. Essendon have made a massive five changes including Begley, Green and Myers. All three of these positions can easily spend time filling each of these positions.
I really fancy Fremantle’s chance to win today and if they do win, there’s a fair chance Nathan Wilson and Luke Ryan junk it up later. Both are reasonably priced and I particularly like Ryan’s upside.
Finally, James Aish has been in solid form in recent weeks. Although I love playing Collingwood players in fantasy, I’m a little unsure about how this match is going to play out.
My takes: Salem, Merrett, Ryan.
We’ll kick off proceedings with the return of Mitch Hannan at $6,100. Hannan was the surprise packet of Melbourne’s 2017 season, providing an unlikely forward 50 target. Don’t expect a big score from Hannan but I think we will see him reach value. Fellow Demon Charlie Spargo makes his debut today. Spargo has been selected as Jeff Gartlett’s replacement but it’s work around forward 50 stoppages that I’m interested to see. Melbourne hasn’t been scoring well at all recently, so I’m a little cautious playing Demons who are reliant on goals.
Turning to the match on the other side of the town, Kane Lambert has been named in the guts for another game after pulling down 94pts and 122pts in the last 2 weeks. He had a slow start to the season which has seen his price come down to $11,900 but it won’t be that low for long so take advantage while you can.
Sticking with mid-priced guys that can get you in excess of 100, I’d be investing in the Jordan De Goey redemption story. Despite Richmond’s great form on the park they do allow for opposition teams to rack up the fantasy points even if they’re being soundly beaten. At $10,800 and a point to prove, De Goey is a versatile option to slide into your forward line.
My takes: Hannan, Lambert.
As the season goes on the value starts to dry up but I reckon we’ve found a gem here in a kid called Kobe Mutch. I admit I hadn’t heard of him until Essendon released their post-Anzac clash depleted team sheets but stick with me on this one. He’s 20 years old so he isn’t too raw, he’s named as starting on the wing, he’s averaged 103 in his 3 games in the VFL this season and he’s priced at $6,750. Lock him in.
We’re stretching a bit for some more super value here, but an understandably popular pick will be Jack Higgins. Still only valued at $8,000 but has kicked 5 goals in his first 2 AFL games. There is a threat here that he needs to kick goals to be fantasy relevant but his low-ish price means you might be able to wear it even if he doesn’t.
Here’s a bloke that surprisingly pops up into the value hunters cross-hairs - Nathan Jones. With the Dee’s under siege at the moment, I’d happily punt on this guy giving 100% to turn it around. He’s a paltry $12,900 for a bloke that averaged 104.2 last season that’s a bargain.
My takes: Mutch, Jones
It’s a tough day for value rookies but it could be a ripping day for mid-prices. You can make some more than handy line ups using player like De Goey, Salem, Hibberd and Lambert as your starting point and throwing in some punt plays around them.