I’m glad that I’m away for the weekend so I can avoid watching Melbourne play a game they should win. In fact, I’m not sure how many Melbourne games I can watch until I know that we’re either in the finals or that we’ve blown our chance yet again. The closest game of the day should be the Bombers/Roos showdown at Etihad. The Bombers were on fire early against the Eagles and if they can recapture that energy this game should be a cracker. To finish the slate, the Lions travel to Perth to face the Dockers. The Dockers haven’t taken long to get used to their new surrounds and have an average winning margin of 29 points at home. The Lions haven’t been quite as bad as their ladder position might suggest. They’ve largely been competitive but do have an average losing margin of 37 points away from home (this average is heavily influenced by the embarrassing Richmond thrashing).
Tom Bellchambers was everywhere last week and comprehensively beat Nic Nat and Lycett. Yet even though he was so dominant, Bellchambers only pulled in an 88. Now you might argue that this is a reasonable effort from a $11K player, but I expect a little more than that from my mid-priced players.
It sounds strange but I’m considering both Max Gawn and his opponent, Billy Longer. Gawn is clearly in a great spot and should again be the highest scoring ruckman on the slate. But Longer is a solo ruck who only costs $6,530. We’d be silly to not at least consider playing Longer despite his low ceiling.
I’m not sure that I can resist the temptation to stack Fremantle defenders today. Even though I’ve got a horrible track record of predicting blowouts, I’m going to be put my faith in the Purple Army again. Especially with Connor Blakely out, Luke Ryan, Tommy Sheridan and even Stephen Hill should have high scoring days at home. For some reason, not many people share my love of Docker stacks but when they have a soft matchup at home, it’s one of the best sources of fantasy points in the competition.
We get two defensive debutantes today but unfortunately, they’re both key defenders - Melbourne’s Harrison Petty and Saints' Irish recruit Darragh Joyce. I usually shy away from key defenders, let alone debutant key defenders.
Andrew McGrath is enjoying a solid run of form. He’s only been under 70 once in his last six games and his run and carry will be crucial if Essendon are going to be successful today.
Tom Cutler was a few straight kicks away from having a huge game last week and I’m backing him to repeat the dose again this week. Cutler and Alex Witherden are thriving under the tutelage of Luke Hodge and they should all enjoy the wider wings of Optus Stadium.
Travis Colyer makes his first appearance for Essendon this season and for some reason, he does at a price of only $5,000. This is really strange considering he played 21 games last year and averaged 68. As odd as it may seem, Colyer pricing does reflect the Draftstars model which heavily discounts players if they haven’t played yet this year (see Peter Wright and Marcus Adams last week). I’m confident that Colyer can easily reach 10 x value today (he's also available as a mid).
Mitch Hannan is a cheap way to get exposure to Melbourne forwards if you’re banking on a shootout. Hannan has hit the scoreboard in all but one of the games he’s played this season and his half-forward link work will be needed today. Sam Weideman get another turn at the Demons' revolving third tall/back-up ruck spot. In the past three games, Melbourne has used Pederson, Smith and now Weideman in that role. The youngest of the three is fresh from kicking 7 goals in difficult conditions for Casey.
Brennan Cox could prove a handful for Brisbane who’ll be without Harris Andrews in defence. I also don’t mind taking a punt on Brandon Matera. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a huge Matera day but he’s definitely got it in him.
Christian Petracca took a ride down media street this week and announced that he knows he needs to improve his performance. Specifically, Petracca mentioned the need for him to have prolonged impact on the game instead of drifting in and out in patches. The Saints passed up the chance to draft Petracca when they took Patty McCartin so it would hurt to see Trac go nuts today.
Jack Billings and Alex Neal-Bullen could have big games for similar reasons. Both players prefer an open game and I think that’s just what this contest will be.
Jesse Hogan hasn’t had a great couple of weeks but he won’t get a better opportunity to run himself back into form.
There’s a large amount of good to decent plays in today’s midfield group around the $9K-$11K mark. David Armitage, Jed Anderson, Adam Cerra and Hugh McCluggage are all in this group and could easily reach value. However, if you’ve saved some money around the ground, then you can afford to spend a little more cash on your midfielders.
Dom Tyson was disappointing last week and his ownership will suffer because of this. Tyson has a great ceiling and he’ll also know that another bad performance will see him playing for Casey next week.
A few weeks ago Angus Brayshaw was a fantasy god worth $16K. He’s only had one dud game in his last four (including another 100 last week). Gus is one of my first picked today and I think he’ll have another strong game.
Zach Merrett has a 3 game average of 110 and is still below $15K. North tagger Ben Jacobs has been named but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be a late out. Unfortunately, we probably won’t know about Jacobs before lockout. This may scare some people off Merrett which makes him an even better play.