DFS Fantasy

Draftstars AFL 23 Finals Demons v Blues Tips

From now on it is knock out and only 5 games left in the AFL season. With all AFL Star tickets snapped up, the lucky last two will come from Friday’s match between Melbourne and Carlton. Tbetta is back breaking down this epic AFL match for Draftstars contests. 

$75,000 Main ($15 entry, 125 max)
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$2,000 Micro ($0.50 entry, 100 max)


Melbourne vs Carlton – MCG: Fine.




We already knew the omissions coming in – Angus Brayshaw & Harry McKay through injury, Jacob van Rooyen & Jack Martin through suspension and Michael Hibberd to an ominously-timed retirement announcement – so the reinforcements were generally easy to foreshadow. The only eyebrow-raising replacement for me was Matthew Kennedy ($10,900 MID) over Jack Silvagni as a Harry McKay substitute, which gives us a huge clue about his likely role.

It’s been a few years since the Blues have used Bam-Bam as a forward marking option, and for good reason – that 2019 season was easily his worst at AFL level, ultimately averaging 48 points as a forward. Pass.


When everyone is fit, the Demons have a surplus of midfielders and a dearth of reliable forwards, a structural imbalance that is solved by having Christian Petracca ($16,080 MID) jumping between roles as required. While shifting him forward is clearly a win for Melbourne on the scoreboard, Petracca’s fantasy output suffers as a result – which is exactly what happened during Clayton Oliver’s hamstring episode. Petracca’s average plummeted from 113 without Clarry (when needed as a midfielder) to 101 with him (as he was allowed to play more in attack).

In fact, his 110+ rate alongside Oliver is just 14% this year compared to 43% last season, which is something you should strongly consider given the $16k price-tag.


Melbourne have been the toughest team for Key FWDs to score against over the past two seasons, and despite back-to-back Coleman Medals, Charlie Curnow ($12,980 FWD) hasn’t been able to overcome the strength of that trend. He kicked just 4 goals over three clashes with the Demons in that time, managing scores of just 72, 59 and 58.

There’s no Harry McKay to help protect him from a Jake Lever/Steven May double team either, so I’m very happy to avoid the most expensive forward on this slate.



James Jordon ($8,210 MID) always seems to pop up around September and 2023 is no exception, with the hybrid midfielder winning the vacant midfield spot for Melbourne. There’s a strong chance that it could result in some valuable inside time too, based on trends from earlier this year – Jordon was averaging 49% CBAs over the 5 games prior to Clayton Oliver returning from his hamstring issue, which dropped to a grand total of 0 in the month since. Will Brayshaw’s absence thrust him back into that rotation?

The Demons wanted to go taller in defence, which paved the way for Adam Tomlinson ($7,820 DEF) to return to the senior squad. He’s probably the 22nd player picked in this line-up so I wouldn’t rush to snap him up, but he’s cheap and has produced scores of 86 and 62 within his last four starts. Brodie Kemp ($9,410 DEF) is Carlton’s equivalent but with a much more clearly defined role and some exposed form to back it up; he notched scores of 73 and 84 with an average of 9 marks against the Demons this year. So far.

I don’t care how poor his last fortnight has been on paper, this is a ridiculous price-tag for Christian Salem ($9,480 DEF) and it needs to be punished. One of those sub-par scores was due to a Ryan Clarke tag, too. With scores of 88 and 75 against the Blues this year, Salem is no-brainer.

The other cheap midfielder that could benefit from Brayshaw’s bitter misfortunate is Tom Sparrow ($10,650 MID) with an 18% inside midfield spike against the Pies. He’s only topped 80 once against a top-8 side this year, so I’m not overly optimistic of a noticeable improvement in scoring this Friday.

Patrick Cripps ($13,720 MID) has spent an entire career putting Carlton on his shoulders, so if they are able to advance to a Preliminary Final, you’d have to think he’d form a big part of that effort. The Carlton skipper dropped a 120 against them only a month ago – his best fantasy performance since Round 6 – so there’s a big case to be made that he’s underpriced at $13.7k.

You can still search for value with your big dawgs, which is why I like Jack Viney ($14,520 MID) so much here. His 142 against the Blues in Round 22 proves he has the same ceiling as the big-name Clayton Oliver ($16,980 MID), but is much less likely to cop opposition attention and is significantly cheaper. If you can’t get both in, defaulting to Viney and his three scores of 129+ within his last six games is the way to go.

I hate the Carlton ruck combination and I love that the Demons are letting Max Gawn ($15,220 RUC) roll as the solo ruckman rather than succumbing to the sunk cost fallacy, so that’s where I’d focus in the ruck department this week. Gawn was cucked by Grundy against the Blues both times this year for scores of 87 & 84, and I’ll leave you to do the maths on what those could have been given that Max has proven to be 26 points better off without the former Pie this year.

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Melbourne – Inside Midfield Targets

The Round 22 clash was largely played between the arcs and it’s always the contested types that thrive when the ball is trapped in this third, which is what we saw as a huge 10 players notches double-figure CP figures. Unsurprisingly, tackles figures were also up, with Jack Viney (11), Clayton Oliver (13), Angus Brayshaw (9) and Patrick Cripps (9) all using this category to push their scores past the 120-point threshold.

Finals are famous for being anything other than clean and fancy, so pay extra close attention to this particular game script.

Carlton – DEF Targets

Melbourne’s forward line mix has been a disaster all year, largely relying on Christian Petracca to work overtime as Ben Brown, Tom McDonald, Jacob Van Rooyen, Harrison Petty and of course Brodie Grundy failed to show any form of consistency. If the key forwards aren’t plucking them, the opposition rebounders are perfectly placed to rack up touches, and maybe even add a few cheeky intercept marks to the mix.

Nic Newman (138) and Adam Saad (104) both tonned up last time, and the sweeping Sam Docherty (92) would’ve joined them in triple figures if he hadn’t been nixed early with a calf strain. The inflated numbers trickled down to the more defensive types too, making this a strong micro-stacking play on Friday night.


Ready to go? Draftstars Blues v Swans contest will close at 7.50pm AEST. ENTER NOW!

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For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit gamblinghelponline.org.au.