Let’s be honest, there’s only one game on today’s slate that people are actually interested in and that’s the important clash between Melbourne and Sydney. Both teams are on 48 points and a win to Melbourne will send them back to fourth on the ladder. A loss, however, will leave the Demons on shaky ground with games against the Eagles (Perth) and Giants (MCG) to close out the season. Sydney also have two tough games with the Giants (Spotless) and Hawks (SCG). We’ve seen some critical games over the past few weeks but this one could be the most important so far. In other games, North take on the Bulldogs at Etihad and the Dockers host the Blues in Perth.
My heart rate hasn’t fallen since I saw images of Max Gawn walking laps at training. We won’t know if Gawn is out before lockout and that means it’s tough to play a ridiculously priced Cam Pederson. A price of $6,330 has been determined on his below-par performances in season 2018. However, we all remember what Pederson did last year in Gawn’s absence.
Majak Daw should have no problem continuing his third man up role at the dome. The Roos would be absolutely over the moon with Daw’s development this year having invested a lot of time into the project player. Daw could easily have 10+ marks today and might even roll forward at times.
The lucky key forward who gets to take on Carlton today is Matt Taberner. The big Docker struggled in a lop-sided Derby last week but still managed to kick two goals (and give away 12 points in free kicks). Carlton have been horrible against key forwards all year and this time, Fremantle have a home ground advantage.
A third dual position ruck to consider is Ben Brown. Like Carlton, the Bulldogs leak points to tall forwards and they don’t come much taller than Brown. After a few lean weeks, Brown’s grip on the Coleman Medal has slipped and he’ll be keen to make a statement today. Teammate Todd Goldstein is also in a smash spot.
My takes: Daw, Brown.
Ahhhh, that’s refreshing! For the first time in a few slates, we don’t have any bottom priced defenders to consider. You could take a punt on running defenders Brad Lynch and Jayden Hunt, however, Lynch has had a bad run of form and Hunt hasn’t played in months. Brennan Cox is another left of centre selection but could score well in a good matchup at home.
North Melbourne defensive duo Robbie Tarrant and Scott Thompson could have a day out but their floors send shivers down by fantasy spine. The Dogs haven’t been too bad against key defenders but the matchups look every one-sided on paper. Sam Wright will be a low-owned access point to North Melbourne’s fantasy points. Wright is frequently the short kick-in target for North - an excellent source of +6s.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a big Luke Ryan day and he won’t get a better opportunity than Carlton at home. The Blues have a tall forward line today, so I’m hoping that Ryan can run off and create across half-back. Ryan Clarke is another mid-pricer who I’m interested in today.
My takes: Wright (punt play), Ryan, Clarke.
Fremantle have offered us debutante Sam Switkowski to consider today and if this kid’s nickname isn’t ‘Crystal’ then I’ll be extremely disappointed. The mature-aged Switkowski has been injured for most of the year but has played the last three games in the WAFL. He’s hardly been bashing the door down in those games but he does get the benefit of a soft matchup. The more experienced Brady Grey is just a little more expensive and if taking one of these guys, it’s gonna be Grey.
Jordan Dawson has a few games under his belt now and he is likely to fly under the radar after failing to live up to his NEAFL reputation. I think a value game is achievable for Dawson today and who knows - we might just get a glimpse of his true fantasy ceiling. Aaron vandenBerg got his value last week but he didn’t blow us away. He’ll be under-owned due to his price increase but there’s no reason not to play him again.
That might have been the first 100 we’ve seen from Patrick Lipinski but it definitely won’t be the last. Lipinski had a breakthrough game last week and he’s been playing the Bailey Williams half-back/wing role quite well recently. They’ll be plenty of rebounding needed today, so I don’t mind point chasing Lipinski here.
Mason Wood and Jy Simpkin could go under-owned as people are drawn to sexier North Melbourne plays in this suspected blowout. P.O.D plays like this are vital in GPPs and both of these players are capable of 100+ scores. Jarrad Waite could also terrorise a fragile Bulldogs backline.
Ed Langdon had his first poor score at Optus Stadium last week but he gets a chance at redemption against Carlton today. Buddy Franklin could grab hold of Melbourne - a team he has never lost to (14-0)!
My takes: Grey, Langdon, Franklin.
Dan Hannebery rejoins the Swans lineup at $8K but despite his stellar fantasy pedigree, I just can’t bring myself to give him a spot. He’s looked so far off his best and reports of a 5-year offer from St Kilda are simply baffling.
Brad Hill raised the bat last week and he should have no problems doing that again in a soft as butter game over in Perth. Michael Walters is also worth consideration although he is still being played far too deep for my liking.
Sam Kerridge comes back in, should score well and then get dropped the next week - as seems to be the case during his time at Carlton. This game could easily see the fewest tackles laid all season and that’s exactly the kind of game that Kerridge loves.
Shaun Higgins and Ben Cunnington are both in smash spots, as are Lachie Neale and David Mundy. Bailey Banfield will probably run with Patrick Cripps but the Carlton star should be too strong for him. Marc Murphy is the other $14K+ player who I love today.
My takes: Hill, Kerridge, Neale, Cripps.