AFL TBETTA SATURDAY
DFS Fantasy

Draftstars AFL 23 Saturday Round 21 Tips

We’ve turned the page to August and the run to the finals is on. 5 games of Draftstars AFL goodness is once again available and Draftstars Veteran ‘Tbetta’ is back with a BUMPER edition of ‘Stargazing’. 

MAIN CONTESTS:
$60,000 Main ($15 entry, 100 max)
$10,000 High Roller ($150 entry, 3 max)
$3,000 Mini ($2 entry, 15 max)
$2,000 Fiver ($5 entry, 20 max)
$2,000 Buck Hunter ($1 entry, 100 max)
$2,000 Micro ($0.50 entry, 100 max)

SATELLITE:

ESS vs WCE – Marvel Stadium: Under the roof.
ADE vs GCS – Adelaide Oval: Fine.
HAW vs COLL – MCG: Showers.
GEEL vs PORT – GMHBA Stadium: Showers.
GWS vs SYD – GIANTS Stadium: Showers.

 

INNER CORE:

FWD
It could be a double-ruck Saturday, with a couple of value options available as stashes in attack. Dante Visentini ($7,020 FWD/RUC) is the solo ruck for Port Adelaide again and showed positive signs amongst his 55-point effort last week, while Peter Wright ($10,800 FWD/RUC) will have plenty of suitors preparing for an upswing against the Eagles. The reigning Crichton Medallist has bagged multiple goals in his last three games versus West Coast for scores of 91, 76 and 90, but this will be his first crack at them in 2023.

Xavier O’Neill ($8,270 FWD/MID) attracted 50% CBA action last week, and with West Coast since losing Dom Sheed and his 83% share, I’m expecting a full-time midfield role to come his way. His 74 points from last week is probably a solid projection against the Bombers, balancing the increased midfield time with the increased opponent quality.

If you’re looking for pure point-per-dollar value, Ryan Clarke ($6,000 FWD) will rarely let you down at basement price regardless of role, while Jacob Koschitzke ($6,350 FWD) could sneak a few extra points as the back-up ruckman for the Hawks. He’s averaged 68 points from 2.5 goals and 5 hitouts in the VFL over the last fortnight.

MID
We’re getting biblical in the midfield this week, with a pair of Elijah’s projecting out as great DFS value. Elijah Tsatas ($6,000 MID) is our basement-priced option, walking into a dream opponent in West Coast for his AFL debut. He’s averaged 27 touches and 104 points in the VFL over the past month, and while the Bombers are jam-packed with midfield types, I can see them giving Tsatas a few extra CBAs than he might otherwise command against a Premiership contender. Eagle Elijah Hewett ($8,170 MID) is pricier of the two, but is short odds to exceed last week’s career-high 58% CBA share, which netted him a healthy 73 points against the Roos.

The mid-price range is again littered with high-risk, high-reward types in the midfield – highlighted last week by the 5 points to Zak Jones while David Swallow pumps out a random 102 at roughly the same price. Travis Boak ($9,650 MID) on a wing in a full game, Brandon Ellis ($11,240 DEF/MID) with a potential midfield run, Callan Ward ($11,330 MID) as a likely stopper and Tom Atkins ($11,920 MID) with even more midfield responsibility this week all qualify.

Of course, the ultimate boom-or-bust pick is Elliot Yeo ($12,780 MID). He either replaces Dom Sheed in the midfield or racks it up in defence against the soft Bombers match-up, both of which are fruitful fantasy roles. He’d be outrageously underpriced at his best, but unfortunately the threat of an injury recurrence and his limited minutes linger.

As per usual, we have plenty of viable Premium picks in the midfield on a 5-game Saturday slate, so I’ll just cherry pick a few whose value I like here. The Matt Crouch ($13,910 MID) redemption arc is in full swing, and his 105 points from 75% CBAs with Rory Laird back in the side alleviated all fears of role erosion. Luke Parker ($14,410 MID) had a downswing with 52 last week, but he loves playing GWS and has converted that into scores of 112, 118, 119, 115 and 117 in his last five against them. And then we have Darcy Parish ($16,090 MID), who can’t be overlooked as a contrarian play to the red-hot Zach Merrett. He missed the party against West Coast earlier this year, but posted 122 against them last year and has a ceiling that few others possess.

DEF
Josh Rotham ($6,000 DEF) will have his hands full trying to contain Peter Wright defensively, but if the Eagles slow it down out of defence, he’s always a chance to reach value through cheap +6 combos alone. I’m still not convinced that Tom Jonas ($6,000 DEF) is done as an AFL player, so if you can stomach it, a few entries featuring Port’s skipper against a Hawkins-less Geelong could reap rewards.

Then we have a couple of new roles to talk about. Jake Kelly ($8,740 DEF) moved up to a wing against the Swans, shaving 71 points off his Round 19 score. I like him more much in fantasy as a link in the Essendon backline chain, rather than a ballwinner up the ground. Nick Hind ($9,350 DEF) is probably to blame as he came into the 22 in a half-back role. He’s still pickable at a bargain price after a pair of games as the starting sub before his 87 last week. Speaking of sub involvement, it’s a similar story with Jeremy McGovern ($9,350 DEF) after 3 games in a row as sub, except those were subbed out games. Getting through a full match is his biggest challenge currently, but the DFS value is basically guaranteed if he does.

The role switch was better news for Josh Worrell ($8,790 DEF), who churned out a career-high score of 81 with a team-topping 5 kick-ins. The move of Brodie Smith to a wing made this possible, and Adelaide’s benign Teamsheets suggest we’ll see more of the same in Round 21.

If you’re looking for ceiling in defence, I’m still a James Sicily ($15,890 DEF) truther. If you take out his tagged games of 65 against the Roos (Eddie Ford) and last week’s 95 (Cooper Sharman), his last four scores are 125, 165, 130 and 121. Collingwood hasn’t run a forward tag all season, so it would take a big shift from Craig McRae’s systems-based approach to change things up for one defender.

RUC
I’m usually a big hater of the dual ruck set-up as you might know, but Nick Bryan ($8,070 RUC) is cheap enough that value could still bleed through Essendon’s self-cockblock. He went 50-50 with Andrew Phillips in terms of ruck contests last week for the first time, and even outscored him 81 to 58. He gets the Eagles boost this week too… but I’m still taking the safety of Ned Reeves in this price range.

While we’re throwing up left-field options, how about some solo Rhys Stanley ($11,010 RUC) action? He’s only got Port Adelaide and their two-game ruckman to deal with, and it will be the first time since late 2021 where he won’t have his fantasy value eaten into by Mark Blicavs. His scores in those games where Blicavs didn’t chop out in the ruck? 108 and 123.

 

BLACK HOLES:

Ben Keays ($12,220 FWD/MID)

It’s officially time to keep the door locked on Keays, who had a big fat 0 CBAs against the Power in a win – with Matt Crouch having his best game since the end of 2020 to kick a man while he’s down. He’s arguably even less likely to receive CBAs now that Rachele is back too, and Adelaide rolling with Rory Sloane as the super-sub is yet more bad news because you just know the veteran is coming in and taking plenty of midfield time in the second half.

Of course, the subtext here is that he requires that midfield time to reliably access his fantasy upside. Keays has averaged an impressive 98 when reaching that standard 65% of centre bounces for the Crows this year, but that drops down to an alarming 73 points across the other 14 games where he’s been marooned forward this season.

Nick Daicos ($16,760 MID)

Hawthorn coach Sam Mitchell has already confirmed a Finn Maginness tag is in store for the raging Brownlow favourite, words that should already have you running for the hills. The Hawk stopper has been in and out of the senior side all year, but has hit a rich vein of form that’s resulted in the scalps of Josh Kelly (30), Tarryn Thomas (61), Daniel Rioli (83), and Jack Sinclair (12 points in the first quarter) over the past month.

More importantly though, he tagged Daicos to 58 in the pre-season, which included just 17 touches – that’s the second lowest figure of Nick’s entire career. Pass.

Lachie Whitfield ($14,770 DEF)

Moving into the final third of the ground now, and I’d be wary of buying Whitfield stocks this week. Sydney’s bizarre calf epidemic has come at the worst possible time for the Giant distributor, because it’s opened the door for the unkillable Ryan Clarke to sneak back into the 22. The Sydney stopper went straight to Whitfield with a forward tag last time around, keeping him to a score of 88 that was only saved by a 36-point final quarter.

Potential forward tags aside, Lachie hasn’t scored a fantasy ton against the Swans since 2019, so I’m happy to give him a wide berth this Saturday.

STAR SIGNS:

Zach Merrett ($17,390 MID)

Essendon’s young skipper is the only player in the league to have produced 4 scores of 140+ within the past 10 games, and 3 of those were under the Marvel mat! Consistency used to be Merrett’s strong suit, but now it seems to be his ceiling – with the architecture strongly reliant on whether the opposition team lets him run free or not. West Coast can’t afford to win another game so I’m doubtful a shutdown role is happening, which means another worthy addition to his 123-point average against the Eagles over the past 4 seasons is in the works.

 

David Swallow ($10,070 MID)

The 11th hour suspension for Touk Miller has released his (squirrel) grip over the CBAs following his team-high 84% in a tagging capacity last week, which opens the door for Gold Coast’s other engine room personnel to crank it up a gear. Sam Flanders (down 37%) and Noah Anderson (down 21%) will definitely see some relief, but with the Suns declining to bring in more midfield support, that extra clock will spill over to others like David Swallow.

In fact, across the 7-game stretch without Touk Miller and Brayden Fiorini in at the centre bounces midyear, Swallow averaged a huge 73% CBAs and increased his output by 10 points per game. If he replicates last week’s 102 at his $10k price-tag, you’ll be spitting chips if you didn’t get on board.

 

Ned Reeves ($8,820 RUC)

It was a weird call to drop Lloyd Meek after his impressive 89 as the solo ruckman last week, but it looks like Sam Mitchell has settled on his ruck Superman in Reeves – and thankfully for fantasy purposes, the dual ruck scenario at Hawthorn remains a thing of the past. Reeves has been my DFS kryptonite all season and despite some bad luck and questionable coaching moves from the Hawks, I’m gearing up for another run at him.

Sub-$9k is simply too cheap for an established solo ruckman, and coming up against the Pies is another welcome boost for Reeves. Collingwood have conceded the 5th-most points to RUCs over the past ten weeks, and have just dropped Mason Cox to make Ned’s life easier against whichever pinch-hitter they settle on when Darcy Cameron has a spell.

 

GALAXY CLUSTER:

Essendon – Full Stack

West Coast on the road is a wet dream for any DFS enthusiast, but getting the team that takes the most uncontested marks playing the team that concedes the 3rd-most uncontested possessions is next level.

The Bombers had 8 players top 90 against the Eagles earlier this year, and all of those players reeled in at least 7 marks. This is by far the easiest and best place to start with your stacking journey this week, but just be wary that every man and his dog (and his dog’s dog) will be thinking the same thing.

West Coast – DEF Stacks

The Bombers trail only St Kilda as the best match-up for wings/attacking defenders in the league of late – which is exactly how West Coast wants to play. We keep hearing talk of a more attacking game style from Adam Simpson, but we’re yet to see it. Slow, methodical ball movement across halfback and connecting up with the wings is simply in the Eagles’ DNA.

When these sides met in Round 11, that’s exactly how the game panned out as West Coast’s top-three scorers were Liam Duggan (140), Jayden Hunt (120) and Shannon Hurn (109). Throw in some Andrew Gaff, Alex Witherden, Elliot Yeo and Jeremy McGovern action with those names above (sans the rested Hurn, of course) and you have a very potent micro-stacking building block ready to go.

Collingwood – FWD Targets

The Hawks have given up the 2nd-most points to FWDs over the past 10 weeks, marginally overtaking the lowly Roos after allowing four St Kilda forwards to kick multiple goals against them – this is the team that had only managed 8, 9 and 9 goals overall in the preceding three rounds.

Collingwood are typically very economical up forward, but that’s obviously baked into their Draftstars prices at this point of the season. Based on the success of this tactic for DFS studs like Jjway18 & BrownlowFyfe lately, I can easily see a combination of these cheap Pies (Bobby Hill, Beau McCreery, Brody Mihocek, etc) hitting max value in a slate-winning side.

 

MULTIVERSE THEORY:

In a parallel universe…

  • The Cats were already light-on for inside midfielders, but the loss of the versatile Mark Blicavs puts them at breaking point. Could we see Tom Stewart ($14,860 DEF) in the midfield to fill the void? Chris Scott experimented with this move a fortnight ago as the career defender attended a career-high 53% CBAs against the Lions, against whom he scored 116 – his best fantasy haul in the past two months.
  • What does Jeremy Cameron’s role look like without Tom Hawkins? He’s never played in Geelong colours without the TomCat, whose streak of 90 consecutive games comes to a close this weekend…
  • Tags are back in vogue, which means we have plenty of minefields to dodge this weekend. Besides those already covered above, we have a likely Mark O’Connor tag for a Connor Rozee or a Zak Butters for the Power, as well as a potential Errol Gulden tag according to GWS Coach Adam Kingsley – who masterminded Callan Ward’s tagging job on the brilliant Bontempelli last weekend.

 

Tbetta.

Ready to go? Draftstars multi game Saturday slate will close at 1.45pm AEST. ENTER NOW!

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