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The Value Hunter: Round 9 - Saturday Special

Posted {{post.formattedDate}} by Roody

Saturday Slate

Just like most of the products we buy, today’s slate was made in China. The AFL’s Chinese experiment continues this year with Port Adelaide taking on Gold Coast at Jiangwan Stadium. Just when the Suns thought they’d eaten enough aeroplane food, off they go on an 8-hour flight to China. Last year’s match was a fantasy bonanza with 11 100s being scored. It’s interesting to note that the majority of players who scored 100+ were running midfield/half-back types. Other games of note include Geelong against the struggling Dons and Collingwood against the inaccurate Saints. I never thought I’d say this, but I also like the idea of targeting some North Melbourne players in their match against GWS in Tasmania.


We love solo rucks in DFS-land and any non-time sharing ruck should always be carefully considered. On paper, Zac Smith is again Geelong’s only ruck but not according to Brad Scott. Smith only played 72 percent of the game and with his limited ceiling, this just wasn't enough time for Smith to work his way to a value. I think that at $9,200 we can still give him another run.

Two solid games have pushed Mark Blicavs’ price up a little. Blicavs is still spending most of his time down back but as his confidence has started to build, he is beginning to leave the sanctuary of the backline. Blicavs has scored well in recent weeks against smaller forward lines (GWS with no Cameron, Collingwood) and gets an Essendon team with no Daniher today.

Ben Brown could be the next quality key forward to beat up on GWS. Franklin, Hawkins and Jack Darling all had 90+ scores against the Giants and with Phil Davis expected to miss again, I don’t mind using Brown as a ruck/forward option.

My takes: It’s either Brown or Blicavs for me today.


We have three backline debutants today and they’ll all priced at $5,700:

  • St Kilda half-back Bailey Rice has been made to wait until his third year at the club to make his debut. Rice is in good VFL form having had two consecutive games above 25 possessions. Playing across half-back provides Rice with a great chance of hitting value.
  • Essendon’s Jordan Riley is a great size for a defender and has a terrific marking ability. He gets a tough first matchup against Geelong but if Hooker or Dea takes Hawkins, then Riley could be free to ease his way into senior footy as a third man up.
  • Gold Coast rookie-list player Jacob Heron becomes the first player to debut in China. Heron hasn’t exactly been bashing down the selection door but he’s fit and fast, something the tired Suns will need today.

Flynn Appleby started well last week but then faded as most youngsters do. If you want cheap access to Collingwood’s kick-mark happy back six, then Appleby is your man. He’s also a nice pivot off the bottom priced debutants.

The Gold Coast forward line is dysfunctional at the moment so this could be a good week to target Port Adelaide key defenders. It’s a risky strategy as key defenders often have the lowest floors of all positions but I think this could be a really good, low owned source of points. With three scores above 90 already this year, Tom Jonas is the man you want to focus on here.

Speaking of risky key position players, I think North Melbourne are one of the value bets of the week. GWS are in a funk and a trip down to Tassie won’t help them at all. With Jeremy Cameron shouldering the load as a one-man forward line, Robbie Tarrant and Scott Thompson could have a field day down back. Conveniently, they’ve both dropped in price on the back of some recent low scores.

Tom Langdon comes back into the Collingwood backline just in time for soft matchup against St Kilda. At $10,500, Langdon is another cheaper way to get exposure to this game. As I mentioned in my intro, it’s the running players who I think will score the best in China. Perhaps this gives Lachie Weller an important to show the world the kind of pig I know he can be. This season Weller has established a safer floor although we’re yet to see his true ceiling.

Finally, I love the mid-priced defensive options in the Saints/Pies clash. Scharenberg, Murray, Webster and Crisp should all score well again today.

My takes: Cheapies - Rice, Ridley. Value plays - Jonas, WellerLangdon.


Last week it was Ed Phillips and Brayden Ainsworth and this week it’s the defensive trio I mentioned earlier and Dylan Clarke. Available as a mid/forward, Clarke is likely to be the most popular of the debutants today. His VFL form is excellent and with Essendon continuing to struggle, Clarke should be given a fair opportunity to show his talent. I think he’ll reach value and perhaps exceed it too.

For the rest of the sub $10K option, there are a lot of ‘coulds’. For example, Jake Neade could have a value game over in China if Port beat up on the Suns as I expect they will; and Mason Cox could kick the 3+ goals that he’d need to reach value as the Saints will struggle to find a matchup for him. Yet with the bottom price value on offer today, I don’t think we need to take a chance on the "coulds".

I’ve got the strangest feeling that Jack Watts and Chad Wingard will have big days in China. Now this feeling could just be the dodgy curry that I had last night, but as I’ve mentioned a few times already, I really think Port will do a number on the Suns. As a Demons man, my heart sank when Watts scored a 112 in the opening round of the season, but since then, he hasn’t really done much at all. In fact, since the 3.3 he kicked in Round 1, Watts has only managed another 5.3 for the rest of the season. So I’ll admit, there is little logic behind this selection! Chad Wingard, however, is getting back to full fitness is priced well considering his excellent ceiling.

Tom Hawkins has had two 90+ games in a row and comes up against the underwhelming Bombers. Although Essendon have fared relatively well against key forwards (4th best in the comp), there is good chance that Hawkins keeps his good form rolling.

In the $11K - $12K bracket, I think the Collingwood mid/forward brigade is in a great spot, as are the roaming forwards of North Melbourne - Jarrad Waite and Mason Wood.

Finally, Tom Rockliff had his best performance in Port colours and is still only $13,000.

My takes: Clarke, Waite, Hawkins, Rockliff.


Ed Phillips debuted last week and immediately looked at home. The younger Phillips brother busted through his value to record an excellent first up 80. If he reached that figure again, then he’d be smack on 10 x value. I think there’s a great chance he does just that. While we’re talking about the Phillips clan, if Tom is given the all clear after last week’s concussion, then I’ll be all-in on the brothers Phillips. Tom’s elite running ability has taken his fantasy game to another level this year. If he is cleared to play, I think he’ll have a great night.

Nick Coffield has had a solid start to his AFL career. The Saints are undermanned tonight and Coffield has already been given a fair amount of responsibility this year. Coffield also hasn’t dropped below 70 at Etihad yet.

It’s the mediocre form of players like Jack Newnes which is partially responsible for St Kilda’s disappointing 2018 season. Statistically, Newnes is having his worst year since 2013 but just last year, Newnes averaged 88.6 and reached 100+ 6 times. I’ve been waiting for Newnes’ price to drop and at $10,700, the time could be right to jump on.

From here, I’m going to jump straight to a couple players around $13K. Aaron Hall looked better after being dropped to the NEAFL and his work-rate definitely lifted (although it was quite low to begin with so that isn’t saying much!). Brendan Goddard is an emotional player and his habit of letting these emotions erupt has made him a media target recently. Goddard has battled against a forward tag over the last few weeks which has caused his output and price to drop. I doubt that Geelong will employ the same strategy and a Goddard bounce back could be in order.

Luke Parker should return to a more permanent role in Sydney’s midfield with the inclusion of Buddy Franklin. It’s still unclear whether Buddy will play but if he does then I’ll be more confident of Parker’s fantasy potential today.

After having us all believe that the pig was back, Zac Merrett has put in back-to-back stinkers. This recent form might scare away some people and lower Merrett’s ownership.

It’s a bit of a risk to play a $15K Brett Ebert in China, but if the game pans out the way it did last year than Ebert could be in line for a huge game. The same goes for Jared Polec.

Finally, Patrick Dangerfield is yet to go absolutely HAM this year. I have the suspicion that today could be that day.

My takes: Phillips x 2, Newnes and studs.

Final thoughts...

Some viable rookies allow us to get really creative on this slate. Don't be too concerned if you leave a fair amount of salary left over - stick with your gut and simply pick the players who you think are going to score well, instead of being blinded by the studs.