The first rule of a successful AFLW strategy is to largely disregard the salary cap, at least for the first round.
With over a quarter of Round 1 AFLW players at rookie minimum price there is going to be money left over, often despite your best efforts.
Second thing to be aware of is that scores in AFLW are around about 65-75% of those in AFL. 30-40pts won’t kill your team, 50-60pts is a solid return whilst 80+ is happy days. Anything over 100pts is like getting a 150+.
Anything over 600-650pts should be well and truly over the cash line tonight.
The Cats host the Pies and the Crows host the Bulldogs and outside of looking at the named teams, there is not too much data we can sift through to find some fantasy gems.
Fear not - this team we’re building here is cashing all day long!
I’m going to be pretty heavy on the Crows / Dogs game tonight and just fill some gaps with some cheapies from the early game but overall my strategy is to pay up for forwards and mids who I know will score and take risks in my defence.
Right, let’s rip into selection shall we…
Erin Phillips ($11,880): First picked, set and forget. If Phillips is not over 80% owned in this contest I’ll eat my favorite golf hat. Daylight was almost third behind Phillips in 2017 and the only reason she didn’t repeat those efforts last season was she was pretty much on one leg. Phillips should split her time onball and deep forward and she will impact both. Just imagine Dangerfield was under 12k and the question answers itself.
Mon Conti ($11,990): With Phillips likely to be an incredibly popular #1 FWD selection, your #2 FWD spot means a lot more. Conti is a risk because she could spend majority of her time playing as a pressure forward against a team that may not let the ball get down there much, but with no Kearney, Bruton or Lochland for the Dogs, the upside of Conti is if she gets to play on a half back flank or through the midfield, she will absolutely rack them up. They love it in her hands and she is always there for a short spot up kick. I’m happy to take the risk because she is too good to be wasted in a position that’s not seeing the footy.
Ebony Marinoff ($20,200): On a slate with so much min-priced value it is easy to pay up for Marinoff here. Averaged 12 tackles and 17 disposals last season – that’s almost 100pts before she catches the footy! This game is likely to be brutal in close which suits Marinoff perfectly.
Jamie Lambert ($16,840): With Amelia Barden out of that Magpie midfield Lambert will need go up another gear this season. Her 2018 numbers (14 disposals, 4 tackles, 3 marks) are less flattering than they should be as the Magpies initially made the same mistake the Bulldogs did in 2017 and played her on a forward flank the first few games. She is an out and out inside mid and any game where she plays as such she can crack the fantasy ton.
Ellie Blackburn ($14,320): Like Conti, Blackburn gets a huge bump in 2019 given the absence of Kearney and Bruton. Averaged 17 disposals, 3 marks and 3 tackles last season and I expect to see all three of those stats go north this season. Taking a third elite, expensive midfielder bites our cap a little and forces us to go cheap in defence but all three of these girls can crack the 100pt mark here.
Renee Garing ($5,000): if you are looking at high draft picks for your fourth midfield selection you will likely have missed Garing, but if you are selecting on VFLW form then Garing is an absolute must. In five games for Geelong she averaged 27 disposals and a tick under 10 tackles, ranking as the #1 midfielder in the league. Mature body in a midfield of youngsters, Garing will need to grab this AFLW chance with both hands so expect a solid return.
Ash Brazill ($5,000): Didn’t get much run at it in 2018, playing just the two games but her 11 disposals, 2.5 tackles and 2.5 marks put her right around that 50pt mark that we can accept for a min priced player. Those numbers were from just 35mins of game time so I can see Brazill, with a pre-season behind her and more minutes, getting upwards of 65pts here.
Sharni Layton ($5,000): Taking both former Australian Diamonds into this contest and I feel pretty good about it. Suspect there are some ducks and drakes being played with Layton being named in the ruck but regardless of where she plays, she is white-line-fever personified, she just won’t be able to stay out of the contest. If she does end up in the ruck for more than part-time minutes then she is a great selection. Her tackle count alone may justify her price tag!
Jess Foley ($5,000): The ruck options in this contest are pretty horrible, with the exception of Foley on debut for the Crows. Averaged 24 hitouts, five marks and 18 disposals (!!) in nine games for Sturt in the SANFLW this season. That’s a lazy 85-90pt fantasy average before she lays a tackle or kicks a goal. If she returns even half that here I’ll be happy given the alternatives on offer.
Salary Remaining: $370
If playing multiple lineups it is not a bad idea to look at playing a few min priced midfielders and paying up for a few backline stars because very few defenders in the AFLW score well. This team above is taking a few risks on some min priced players whilst fitting in as many guns as we can in the hope those min pricers don't have to do too much to take this team past the cash line.
Enjoy the AFLW season opener!