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Draftstars AFL 23 Sunday Round 13 Tips

The long weekend of AFL continues on Sunday with not just one but two games to get stuck into. This time last year we had the time-honoured, traditional pre-holiday Sunday game between the Roos and Giants in Hobart. But the AFL thought about it and whacked the Bombers and Blues on a Sunday night to give us a 2 game Draftstars slate. ‘Tbetta’ goes through the options for today’s ‘Stargazing’ preview.

$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)
$2,500 Buck Hunter ($1 entry, 100 max)
$2,000 Micro ($0.50 entry, 100 max)


NTH vs GWS – Blundstone Arena: Fine.
CAR vs ESS – MCG: Fine.



A big theme in this article is going to be North Melbourne’s current injury list, so it’s important to remember that from manure, beautiful things grow. Tom Powell’s ($8,250 FWD/MID) exact role is unclear after being on the fringe and playing in all thirds of the ground this year, but the opportunity is there for him to finally display that fantasy prowess that got him drafted after averaging 119 in his top-aged year. We expected a bit of a slower burn for his teammate Tarryn Thomas ($10,640 FWD/MID) given his tumultuous year off-field, but early injuries had him in the midfield last week and he didn’t look out of place at all with 82.

Ed Curnow ($9,650 FWD/MID) is back and if it’s for yet another date with Zach Merrett, he could be a sneaky pick as one of the best two-way players of the past decade. He has already produced scores of 103 (Guthrie/Dangerfield) and 107 (Laird) whilst tagging this season, so make sure you bake that into your game scripts.

Midfield rotations are very predictable at Essendon with the big names out, so expect Jake Stringer ($10,520 FWD/MID) to again get a heap of centre bounce restarts in his normal hybrid role. He’s averaged a healthy 86 without Shiel this year and given that he’s always a chance to kick a bag out of nowhere, you have to have at least some exposure to the polarising Bomber. Ben Hobbs $11,880 FWD/MID) might be young but he’s proven to be very consistent since these injuries formalised his midfield role, producing a lowest score of 85 in the past month.

He’s been biding his time in the VFL and on the bench as the tactical sub, but Round 13 is finally the time for Josh Fahey’s ($6,000 MID) DFS debut. He’s averaged a monstrous 116 in the Reserves this season across multiple roles – which have included gems of 171 and 163 – with a wing his most likely landing spot on Sunday. Lockable areas.

I’ll touch on Will Phillips in more detail below, but George Wardlaw ($9,160 MID) can also be added to the list of North youngsters that will have to step up against the Giants. He sits comfortably within that top 3-4 centre bounce midfielders and we know that can always result in an upswing. 

Liam Shiels ($11,700 MID) is the sole veteran in that group as a bit of a Swiss Army knife for his coaches this year, so whether he gets to hunt his own ball or finds himself on someone like Tom Green is still up in the air. Given that he averages 98 with even 40% CBA action this season, I’m pretty happy to pick him either way.

He’s been so frustrating this year so Matthew Kennedy ($11,340 MID/DEF) probably can’t be considered in your “core” this Sunday, but his potential is hard to discount completely. He went scoreless for the last quarter with the sub Paddy Dow coming in and taking his CBAs last week, he’s been shifted all over the ground all season, and now Ed Curnow is back to add more questions marks to his possible role – but this is still a guy who pumped out 4 scores of 114+ just last season.

If you want some semblance of reliability from an incredibly inconsistent Carlton side, Sam Walsh ($15,430 MID) and Adam Cerra ($14,990 MID) trail only Cripps for CBAs over the past 3 weeks and have ceilings worth chasing on a smaller slate such as this.

Given that his price is only this low due to his last 4 AFL games being sub-affected, I’d be all over Massimo D’Ambrosio ($6,970 DEF) if we could be confident he was actually part of the starting 22 – the Bombers have pulled back-to-lack late changes to add in a second ruckman over the last fortnight. Could Peter Wright’s return to the team negate the need for Brad Scott to soil his pants at the 11th hour with his rucks again on Sunday?

Thanks to a handy 90-point score across half-back last week and plenty of DFS ownership, Darcy Tucker ($9,410 DEF/MID) wasn’t an autopick for long. It could be time to thank him for the upswing and jump off at this elevated price. His teammate Aaron Hall ($14,060 DEF) could be a worthy landing spot after topping North’s kick-in list for the first time in 2023, not-so-coincidentally also top-scoring with 96 against the Bombers. The veteran’s last 3 scores at Blundstone Arena reads 120, 124 and 122 – with the latter two of those posted earlier this season – so there’s some safety built-in for the famously risky Roo.

Nick Haynes ($12,230 DEF) returns from concussion and deserves a mention given the organic discount that his 9-point score applies to his salary. His last two scores prior to that were 106 and 116, so keep him in mind against the culled Kangas.


Kieren Briggs ($13,510 RUC) has been a revelation since replacing Matt Flynn as GWS’s #1 ruckman, but North – who are now the 2nd-hardest RUC match-up this year, including hardest in the last 5 rounds – is his biggest challenge yet. Briggs has scored 111 and 117 over the past fortnight, but given that Todd Goldstein has only allowed an opposition ruckman to score more than 83 against him just once this season, this streak is in dire straits.

Much like with D’Ambrosio above, I’m only tentatively interested in Sam Draper ($10,740 RUC) given that his solo ruckman status seems to change 60 minutes out from bounce down each week. Draper averaged an extra 13 points as a solo ruckman last season.



Harry Himmelberg ($12,210 DEF)

It’s somewhat ironic that on the week Draftstars changes Himmelberg’s positional status to DEF-only, he appears destined for a switch back to attack with Nick Haynes returning and Aaron Cadman being dropped after a lean stretch. I’ve mentioned this stat a few times in this article over the course of the season, but I’ll say it again; Himmelberg is a much better fantasy defender than a forward, averaging an extra 46 points behind the ball rather than in front of it. Time to jump off now that his price has fattened.

Zach Merrett ($16,750 MID)

I have grave concerns over Merrett’s ceiling this Sunday, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Ed Curnow has been named for Carlton and has tagged Zach in 4 of his last 5 clashes with the Bombers. Hewett’s continued absence through the concussion protocols and some extra wing time opening up (which Cerra, Docherty and Walsh can all fill) suggests that Carlton are gearing up to deliver a very tough evening for the Essendon skipper.

The second is definitely related to the first, but Carlton are easily Merrett’s least favourite side to play against over his time in the AFL. In fact, he’s only scored above 103 on 1 occasion against the Blues throughout his entire career – he has at least 4 such scores against every single other club in the AFL.

Harry Sheezel ($13,830 DEF/MID)

As with Himmelberg above, the type of goalposts that Sheezel finds himself closest to makes a significant difference to his fantasy scoring. A big reason for his flip-flopping between attack and defence has been the presence of veteran rebounder Aaron Hall, with Ratten preferring to untangle their overlapping skillsets by playing Harry in the position he was drafted in – half forward.

As a result, Sheezel averages 86 alongside Hall compared to 107 without him, and it’s for this reason that I’ll be giving the first-year stud a miss at what is honestly an outrageous price-tag for an 18-year-old.



Phillips Screwdriver

Before the season started it would have been laughable to suggest that Will Phillips ($9,850 MID) would top the CBAs for North midfielders at some point during the year, but with injuries to Luke Davies-Uniacke, Jy Simpkin, and Hugh Greenwood – plus Ben Cunnington forgetting how to football – that’s exactly what happened in Round 12. And with the Roos resisting the temptation to bring back some more experienced midfield reinforcements at selection, lightning is very likely to strike twice against the Bombers this Sunday. Phillips is approaching lock status at a modest four-digit price-tag and fresh off back-to-back scores of 90 during this brutal injury wave at Arden Street.


Round 12 highlighted why getting Teamsheets right is so important in DFS. I misread GWS’s selection moves and totally missed the midfield role for Callan Ward ($12,880 MID); so, while Harry Perryman shat the bed for me with just 55 across half-back, Ward and his 71% CBA share churned out a slate-breaking 134. In fact, the highest any line-up without the former GWS skipper was able to reach was 50th in the AFL $60,000+ Sunday slate.

Given how brilliantly he played, Ward’s likely to retain that renewed midfield role – but you’ll have to part with an extra $3.3k to obtain his services a week on. And it could be worth it.

CaldWell Done

Over the past month we’ve banked plenty of data on how Essendon likes to structure up without Dylan Shiel (on top of some other big names like Darcy Parish and Will Setterfield, of course), so I have no problem backing in Jye Caldwell ($12,030 MID) for another pearler. The former Giant is ticking over at 73% CBAs and 98 fantasy points in the past 3 weeks without Shiel and he has upside to build on that – if my hunch on the Merrett tag proves correct and he has to do some extra heavy lifting, 9X value is well within reach.



GWS – MID Targets

North Melbourne are down a few good men through injury and were already the 4th-softest opponents for inside MIDs this year, so their Giants counterparts have an easy kill on their hands. 

Tom Green ($16,950 MID) is the alpha at GWS now and would be the obvious target, but there’s better “value” options on offer further down the list. Stephen Coniglio ($14,730 MID) is under-priced based on his ceiling, while Finn Callaghan ($11,450 MID) has stepped into his hybrid midfield role seamlessly with averages of 44% CBAs and 80 fantasy points over the past fortnight.Essendon – DEF Stack

This slipped under the radar a little for me, but Carlton have been giving up huge numbers to DEFs over the last few weeks and I’m now suddenly very interested in cashing in on it. While it didn’t present as fantasy value against the Demons per se (although Steven May was arguably BOG), it certainly rang true in Round 11 with Jake Lloyd (123) and Nick Blakey (114) top-scoring for the Swans and Darcy Moore (110) and John Noble (105) trailing only Josh Daicos for the Pies the weekend prior.

The Bombers have plenty of options back there, so finding the perfect permutation of Mason Redman, Jordan Ridley, Andrew McGrath, Dyson Heppell, Nick Hind and even Brandon Zerk-Thatcher could prove very financially rewarding.


Ready to go? Draftstars multi game Saturday slate will close at 3.20pm AEST. ENTER NOW!

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