Five more AFL games greet Draftstars players on this fine Saturday. The race to the finals is on and the race to snap up an elusive AFL Star ticket is also on. ‘Tbetta’ is back with another bumper preview of Draftstars goodness in this week’s edition of Stargazing.
$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)
NTH vs ESS – Marvel Stadium: Under the roof.
SYD vs GCS – SCG: Fine.
BRIS vs ADE – Gabba: Fine.
CAR vs MEL – MCG: Showers.
WCE vs FREM – Optus Stadium: Potential Showers.
There are no obviously mispriced players in the forward line this Saturday, so I’m mainly looking at guys who could be staring at more midfield time as “core” picks.
Luke Edwards ($8,140 FWD/MID), Son of Tyson, collected a season-high 20 touches from his 44% CBA action against the Bombers. Unless the Eagles change their thought-process on Elliot Yeo, he’s looking at another week of development in the midfield group. Deven Robertson ($8,240 FWD/MID) is forever on the fringe at the Lions, but at least he’s playing a full game this week. You can disregard his recent scores of 14 and 20 as the starting sub and use those previous totals of 55 and 61 as a rough baseline this week.
Jye Caldwell has succumbed to injury, so Essendon’s midfield log-jam eases ever so slightly. Archie Perkins ($10,050 FWD/MID) is far from someone I’d regard as “consistent”, but he should see plenty of CBAs (56% last week) and combining that with a match-up against the Roos is an excellent recipe for an upswing. Ben Hobbs ($10,440 FWD/MID) is in the same boat following 44% centre bounce action last week, and hopefully the role boost can help him rediscover his ceiling from earlier in the year.
The Swans lose Braeden Campbell through suspension, which has thrust a couple of salary relief options into focus. Matt Roberts ($6,000 MID) has been consistently overlooked for centre bounces when playing at AFL level so I’m expecting more of a high half forward role again, but he’s shown an ability to score heavily at VFL level by averaging 103 in the past 3 weeks. Dylan Stephens ($7,230 MID) will have a wing role on lock, and is too cheap after a pair of games as the starting sub.
It looks like I might have gone a week early on a bargain David Swallow ($9,280 MID) after failing to predict his tagging role last week for a modest 46 points. He’s even cheaper now, and presumably back to a more offensive role through the return of Touk Miller, so keep in mind while the field avoids him like the Port Adelaide doctor and his concussion training modules. An alternative in the same price range is a retiring North Melbourne legend in Ben Cunnington ($9,750 MID). Farewell game bumps are a thing in the AFL, so hopefully he can squeeze out a few more points than the 77 he was ticking over at in the VFL this year.
We then move into the blatantly-underpriced gun zone, headlined by the reigning Brownlow Medallist Patrick Cripps ($12,770 MID). He produced just 62 last week but this is simply way too cheap considering he averaged 97 across his previous 5 games with a low of 88 in that span. Meanwhile, Jy Simpkin’s ($12,890 MID) 105 against the Demons signalled a return to form and he could be worth a honeymoon selection as the Bombers have been giving up plenty to premium midfielders of late.
Moving up another bracket, we have a couple of bounce-back options in Callum Mills ($13,520 MID) and Matt Crouch ($14,660 MID). The sore Swan was back to his best against the Giants with 117 points after being managed through a reduced role over the past month or two, but can it continue if he’s going to attend just 19% of centre bounces? Meanwhile, the Crows are showcasing Matt Crouch ($14,660 MID) to the market and he hasn’t done his 2024 chances any harm with a season-high 120 against the Suns. He fronts up against the Lions this week, who leaked some big scores to Fremantle’s onball unit in Luke Jackson (149), Caleb Serong (125), Hayden Young (119) and Andrew Brayshaw (109), giving hope that he can join mainstays in Jordan Dawson and Rory Laird in reaching triple figures this week.
We have another bargain basement option to consider in young Docker Karl Worner ($6,000 DEF/MID), who has been averaging a healthy 90 in the WAFL this year. He’ll replace Ethan Hughes in defence, but with more established ball-users in Luke Ryan, Jordan Clark and Corey Wagner, I’m not sure about the offensive nature of his role. Still, he’s as cheap as they get and he’s only playing West Coast, so Worner’s almost all upside here.
The Suns are now without their two preferred half-back users in Lachie Weller and Wil Powell, so it could be a veteran that helps out with distribution. Brandon Ellis ($10,880 DEF/MID) averaged an extra 16 points without Powell last year (including a low of 86), and even if he doesn’t slide back to the backline per se, he’ll still play a big role in linking defence to attack for the Suns. Nick Hind ($11,920 DEF) is another option in this zone, interestingly leading the kick-ins for the second week in a row without the injured Jordan Ridley, scoring 87 and 113 from those outings.
The Dockers found their best midfield mix with Hayden Young ($13,980 DEF/MID) playing a lockdown role in the guts, logging a hefty 77% CBA share last week. It’s a small sample size obviously, but he’s averaging 101 in this new role and has to be considered given his modest price and soft opponent in West Coast this weekend. Nic Newman ($14,620 DEF) has also been in red-hot form, notching big totals of 123 and 139 over the last fortnight. Melbourne is generally a middling team for defenders DvP-wise, but Jack Ziebell just dunked a 138 on their heads and they’ve copped some injuries to their tall forward stocks.
Max Gawn ($16,290 RUC) month has sadly come to an end with the return of Brodie Grundy ($10,120 RUC/FWD), although I do think the Demons will stick to a 65/35ish split to see if they can fine-tune this ruck combination. That price-tag is too exorbitant to cop even a small reduction in rucking time though, so we dig deeper for another option.
Jarrod Witts ($13,610 RUC) pumped out a season-high 137 against Sydney back in Round 1, and while they have Tom Hickey back to stem the flow of hitouts somewhat, they still conceded 14 points to Kieren Briggs last week. Bailey J Williams ($12,880 RUC) is another option with the Eagles dropping the only recognised ruck support in their squad, and he’ll have only Luke Jackson to deal with in the ruck.
Errol Gulden ($17,480 MID)
The Suns have been turning up the heat on opposition guns lately, and if you’ve seen any of Sydney’s games this year, you’d agree that it’s Gulden then daylight for the most influential Swan. David Swallow went to Jordan Dawson with the handsy Touk Miller out through suspension last week, but I think we can probably expect the Suns skipper to regain tagging duties after his successful stalking of Lachie Neale back in Round 20.
From Errol’s perspective, how does he traditionally handle a tag? We have limited data due to his meteoric rise, but he did cop the watchful eye of Bailey Scott in Round 10. He still managed to collect 24 touches for his 106 fantasy points that day, but given that he’d averaged 157 over the previous fortnight, I’d consider that a win for the Roos. Something to mull over this week.
Liam Duggan ($14,920 DEF/MID)
It feels weird suggesting that “more midfield time” is a negative thing after so many articles fuelled by the exact opposite claim, but that’s the current situation at West Coast. They don’t want to use Elliot Yeo as a midfielder due to injury concerns from overloading, so it was Liam Duggan attending 72% on centre bounces against the Bombers instead.
The most worrying thing is that he earned 2 Coaches votes for efforts, while collecting just 96 fantasy points. For the record, that’s 1 more vote than what he was awarded across his 7 tons this year combined, all playing in defence. Getting better footy out of Duggan is great for West Coast, but it’s no good for us if he’s struggling to make it to triple figures along the way.
Tim Kelly ($14,890 MID)
Timing has never been Tim Kelly’s strong suit, so racking up a game-high 8 Coaches Votes against the Bombers while Hayden Young is sniffing out new scalps is just another faux pas from the West Coast onballer. If you’ve been reading this article throughout the year, you’d know I’m not a fan of Kelly in DFS at the best of times – this is your weekly reminder that he’s only scored above 112 once this year – so any hint of a tag and he’s radioactive as far as I’m concerned.
Jack Ziebell ($13,770 DEF)
Alistair Clarkson returns and the veterans return with him! After a few weeks in the green vest, Jack Ziebell returned to prominence with a huge 12 marks and 138 points versus Melbourne, who are usually quite restrictive to defensive types. Not content with stealing Harry Sheezel’s hard-earned touches, he also stole the freebies, edging out the first-year Roo with 6 kick-ins to 3.
While Ziebell’s fantasy days appeared dead in the water following his retirement announcement, this proves that a week is a long time in footy. Suddenly he’s in a great spot – his salary is down due to that month spent as the tactical subs, and he’s running into the Bombers, who are the 2nd-best match-up for Premium DEFs this year.
Zac Fisher ($10,190 DEF/MID)
He’s not the first highly-talented-but-much-maligned mid-forward to make a switch to defence and thrive – and he certainly won’t be the last – but I don’t think anyone was expecting Zac Fisher to rack up 32 touches and 108 points last week, regardless of role. But he looked right at home back there, using his sublime skills, sound decision making and leg speed to provide the Blues with a point of difference across half-back.
Given that he attracted a couple of Coaches Votes in his defensive debut while allowing Sam Docherty to remain in the guts, I think it’s a foregone conclusion he retains this shiny new role for a date with the Demons. At just $10.2k on Draftstars, I’m very interested in exorcising them right there alongside him.
Zach Merrett ($17,970 MID)
It’s extremely difficult to return value when you’re priced at a lick under $18k, but Zach has proved that if anyone can reliably do it, it’s him.
Just look at the key form indicators coming in – his last two scores against North are monsters of 155 and 172. He also loves it under the Dome, averaging 132 from his last 5 games at Marvel Stadium. On top of all that, no one has scored at a faster clip than Merrett over the last 12 weeks, with the Bombers’ squadron leader scoring at a brisk 1.20 points per minute. You won’t be able to afford him in every line-up, but that’s a ceiling worth chasing.
Essendon – Full Stack
North is conceding a hefty 1684 to opponents over the past 10 weeks, which is +141 on the average. Essendon has already had the pleasure once this year and scored +165 on the Roos back in Round 12, but they were off that day and only walked away 6-point victors.
If you back in the bookies’ 4-goal line over their woeful effort against West Coast last week, then a much bigger fantasy margin is on the cards. As is always the case with the Bombers, stacking up DEFs and MIDs is the way to go – provided you think they can get their ball-hogging gamestyle popping.
Fremantle – Full Stack
The stats suggest that the Eagles are much more formidable opponents at home, but that’s arguably due to the other team having to travel before playing at an unfamiliar stadium in front of a hostile crowd – none of which will apply to Fremantle in the Western Derby this week.
The injuries continue to take a toll at West Coast, so I’m expecting a big advantage to the Dockers in the middle – an edge that should result in more supply for their forwards. Stack those lines in particular, which is a method we should all be familiar with after 21 weeks of rinsing and repeating against the Eagles.
Brisbane – Key Forward Targets
This one isn’t backed by the DvP matrix and is more of a match-up thing but I’m struggling to see how the Crows can contain the key forwards at the Gabba. Adelaide is now without Nick Murray, Jordan Butts and Tom Doedee, so who can realistically go with Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood and even Jack Gunston this week? Mark Keane? James Borlase? As long as Brisbane gets the supply, these guys should come out on top over 4 quarters and they all possess ceilings worth targeting in DFS.
Imagine what you could be buying instead. For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit gamblinghelponline.org.au