Super Saturdays are back in the AFL and so is the 5-game mega contests on Draftstars. Some very interesting AFL matchups and therefore a mammoth 220 players to select from in your 9 player Draftstars team. Draftstars veteran player ‘Tbetta’ goes through slate and has his comprehensive preview for Saturday below.
$60,000 Main ($15 entry, 100 max)
$10,000 High Roller ($150 entry, 3 max)
$5,000 Fiver ($5 entry, 50 max)
$3,000 Mini ($2 entry, 15 max)
$2,000 Buck Hunter ($1 entry, 100 max)
$2,000 Micro ($0.50 entry, 100 max)
COLL vs FREM – MCG: Showers.
GCS vs STK – Heritage Bank Stadium: Fine.
CAR vs PORT – Marvel Stadium: Under the roof.
GEEL vs ESS – GMHBA Stadium: Showers.
ADE vs GWS – Adelaide Oval: Showers earlier in the day.
St Kilda has given us some fresh meat in the form of Jack Peris ($6,000 FWD), but I’m happy to let his one slide through to the keeper on a 5-game slate. He’s a speedy small forward averaging just 65 in the VFL, and I suspect he’ll scale strongly with goals kicked. I’d rather nudge up the list slightly to someone like Jackson Mead ($6,340 MID/FWD), who has a rare chance to do some damage with Port pulling the trigger on 7 changes.
The most interesting subplot of this slate is the Collingwood rucking situation, with both Billy Frampton ($8,450 FWD) and Mason Cox ($8,500 RUC/FWD) in the frame to get the #1 role with Darcy Cameron injured. I can make an argument either way given that Frampton held a 76/24 edge at the ruck contests the last time the Pies rolled out this combo, but Mason Cox went on to smack out a monstrous 129 as the solo ruckman the very next week following a Frampton injury. This is a perfect example of when you might want to consider anti-correlation while splitting your exposures.
One thing I noticed with Fremantle’s Teamsheets was the addition of tall forward Sam Sturt, which hints at a potential midfield role for Luke Jackson ($12,080 RUC/FWD). Coach Justin Longmuir floated the concept of Jackson playing as a big-bodied midfielder when Nat Fyfe went down a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like the one-week suspension for Caleb Serong has brought those words to life.
Gold Coast caretaker coach Steven King hasn’t wasted any time stamping his mark on the Suns senior team, axing Brayden Fiorini in favour of young gun Elijah Hollands ($8,920 MID) out on the wing. The elite runner has been averaging 24 touches and 87 fantasy points over the last month of VFL action, so I’m interested to see whether he can transfer that form over at this modest salary.
His main competitor in the same price-range is Zak Jones ($9,610 MID), whose time-on-ground should grow as he builds match fitness. The in-game hamstring injury to Seb Ross last week probably gave him a significant inside role a bit sooner than I expected, but the Teamsheets suggest he’ll be involved at the CBAs (54% last week) once again. I’m expecting something more substantial than last week’s middling 60 up on the Gold Coast.
As I mentioned above, the Dockers are without Caleb Serong and such a significant absence creates ripples of fantasy value. Youngsters Neil Erasmus ($9,490 MID) and Matthew Johnson ($9,910 MID) are both in play again as midfielders, although consistency hasn’t been their strong suit lately. The sneakier play is James Aish ($10,300 MID), who could see a repeat of the inside midfield role he enjoyed earlier in the season with 75% CBA action against the Eagles – a role that resulted in a season-high score of 106.
Of course, the safe bet is veteran Jaeger O’Meara ($12,340 MID). This is the first time this year that the Dockers have been without one of the Andrew Brayshaw/Caleb Serong duo, and they also don’t have the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option of Nat Fyfe sitting up forward. JOM could be looking at season-high KPIs, which is usually a recipe for success – his two games with more than 70% CBA share this year have resulted in season-high fantasy scores of 103 and 102.
It’s about the time of the year where the redemption arc is in full force for some players, and Jack Steele ($14,640 MID) made an early start on his with a huge 146 last week in season-high TOG – largely due to that early injury spree that crippled the Saints. While the heavy minutes probably won’t repeat in Round 18, hopefully it sparked some confidence in the St Kilda skipper. He’s loved playing the Suns in the past, posting a low score of 111 in his past four clashes against them.
I flagged the swathe of changes for the Power above, one of which was resurrecting their Captain Tom Jonas ($6,000 DEF) from his SANFL purgatory. Port will be very keen to jump-start his form in his return to the AFL side, a feat which is made simpler by the fast deck at Marvel that allows defenders to rack up a few extra easy marks. If that’s the case, pair him up with fellow backline inclusion Jase Burgoyne ($7,080 DEF) for some correlation goodness. He’s been banging the door down in the SANFL with scores of 100, 115 and 105 on the trot, so don’t sleep on the son-of-a-gun.
An alternative in the same real estate is Corey Wagner ($6,630 DEF), who gets another crack with Hayden Young ruled out due to injury. Fremantle loved his run-and-carry off half-back during his latest brief stint in the seniors, and he’s certainly earned the opportunity after averaging 90 across his last 7 WAFL games.
Geelong is in the midst of their regular late-season resting carousel, which is great news for Jack Bowes ($10,480 DEF) and his fantasy buyers. He played a perfect quarterbacking game against North Melbourne for his 101 points last week, and the resting of Zach Tuohy gives him a strong shot at retaining that role. The Bombers rank as the 2nd-best match-up for defenders this season, so maybe he can dispel the assumption that last week’s big score was simply a standard Roo boost?
It’s a potent ruck offering this Saturday, headlined by Essendon project player Nick Bryan ($8,680 RUC). This will technically be his second game as a solo ruckman, but it’ll be the first time he’s actually ready for AFL footy, averaging a hefty 115 in the VFL this season. Of course, he’s still very inexperienced compared to other ruckmen in the league, which frames Rhys Stanley ($10,600 RUC) as an interesting prospect following that season-high 97 against the Roos.
Sean Darcy ($15,210 RUC) is easily the best premium option on the slate, running into yet another team without a ruckman. The Pies have lost his namesake in Darcy Cameron to injury just in time for Hodor to feast on them, just as he did against a ruckless Carlton last week for his 58 hitouts and 124 fantasy nuggets.
Brad Crouch ($15,210 MID)
This is more of an excuse to talk about correlation than a Brad Crouch cancelling, but I find it very interesting to see how he and Jack Steele see-saw each week. With the vast majority of midfielders in the vast majority of teams, fantasy scores correlate very positively – whether it’s overall team success or midfield dominance or a combination of both, it applies across the board. This is so common that it forms the foundation of the team stacking strategies that most DFS punters employ every slate.
Not for Jack and Brad. While the centre bounce rates remain quite steady between the pair – ruling out obvious role flips – they never seem to fire in the same game. In fact, they haven’t both scored over 112 in the same game this season, despite Crouch reaching that figure 7 times and Steele on 4 occasions.
I put Crouch’s name in the title, because it’s almost like he picks up any slack (read: fantasy points) that Steele – who has been dealing with a number of health issues this year – leaves behind each week. In Steele’s three games this season where he’s looked like himself for scores of 128, 121 and 146, Crouch has managed totals of just 77, 79 and 96. We don’t talk about anti-correlation often in this article, but this is something to keep in mind.
Ben Keays ($14,340 MID/FWD)
Keays regaining forward status on Draftstars probably says everything you need to know about his season arc, which is projecting out as a perfect parabola. After a mid-year purple patch in the guts, he’s now attended just 3 centre bounces over the past fortnight, with a forward tag on Bomber rebounder Mason Redman the latest task on his list of odd jobs this year.
I don’t know how Matthew Nicks is planning to use him against the Giants, but consider this a friendly reminder that Keays has averaged just 76 points with less than 55% CBA share this season, compared to 93 when going above that figure.
That’s essentially what we were given last Saturday night as co-captain Touk Miller ($15,190 MID) was reintroduced to senior footy… via the forward line? The ball magnet showed his class by still managing to rack up 97 points despite the sub-optimal role, but it’s not going to cut the mustard long-term with his salary still north of $15k.
Weirdly, the sacking of Stuart Dew could be a gamechanger for Touk this week. Interim coaches often take the easy wins when taking over – Andrew McQualter did that by moving Trent Cotchin into the centre bounces and Jayden Short to defence when taking the reins at Richmond, while Brett Ratten took a “win” in the form of fast-tracked development for young stars Will Phillips, George Wardlaw and Harry Sheezel as midfielders when he stepped in for Clarko. The easiest move that Gold Coast caretaker coach Steven King will ever make is to put his best player back into the guts, so I’m expecting something closer to Miller’s season-average of 68% centre bounce presence this Saturday afternoon.
And, not that it really needs mentioning, but Touk was the second-highest scoring Sun against the Saints back in Round 4, where he pumped out a season-high 120 from 72% of their centre bounce restarts.
Hear from Touk Miller as he takes us through the trials and tribulations of his meniscus injury in the latest edition of the Qscan Road to Recovery. pic.twitter.com/Oy1kZ9WmGs
— Gold Coast Suns (@GoldCoastSUNS) July 12, 2023
Another Sun worth paying attention to is Wil Powell ($12,140 DEF), who has slowly become Gold Coast’s premium ball-handler in defence, leading the kick-in tally for 6-straight games. Of course, St Kilda is famous for the numbers they concede to their defensive opponents, so Powell was already in for a busy afternoon. But what I love the most about this pick is that he tends to follow the trends quite closely this year – his scores against the next softest teams for defenders reads 127 (RICH), 105 (COLL) and 105 (MEL).
While the door has likely shut on Matthew Kennedy’s season, George Hewett’s ($10,870 MID) has swung wide open. He hasn’t fired a shot in months, so this might be one that sneaks past the casual players who are only looking at his scores and/or form line without context. In reality, Hewett’s price is only so low due to a concussion-affected score sandwiched between three games as the starting substitute – in the month prior to that wretched run, he was averaging 27 touches and 93 fantasy points. Bargain.
Gold Coast – DEF Stack
As if we weren’t already salivating at the thought of another Backline Party against the Saints, the Fantasy Gods have added to our thirst with untimely injuries to Max King (shoulder) and Zaine Cordy (concussion) – two players that were keeping St Kilda vaguely balanced height-wise. You’ve seen this all before so I won’t rehash the same old spiel, as long as you promise to stack those Suns defenders. Deal? Deal.
Port Adelaide – DEF Stack
An alternative down back is Port Adelaide’s distributors, with Carlton sitting third for points conceded to opposition wings/attacking defenders. While this has proven to be much more hit-and-miss than the above trend, the value was clear to see in the Sunday twilight game last week with Luke Ryan (142), Hayden Young (108) and Jordan Clark (98) still racking up despite a heavy loss to the Blues.
Adelaide – Full Stack
Without our usual bunnies in West Coast, North Melbourne and Hawthorn on this slate, you’re going to have to get creative in your stacking ventures this Saturday. One team I have an eye on is the Crows, back on their hallowed South Australian turf.
While their overall numbers conceded balances out over the season, removing games on the road reveals a tasty pattern – the Crows have outscored their opponents by a whopping average of 383 fantasy points in their past 4 games at Adelaide Oval. Insane numbers.
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