The last shortened slate for the season brings the last mini-Sunday contest. 2 games back-to-back is a great way to watch AFL on the couch but better with Draftstars teams to follow. ‘Tbetta’ is a back with another edition of ‘Stargazing’ with some interesting players to choose from today.
$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 ADE – MCG: Fine.
GCS vs HAW – Heritage Bank Stadium: Fine.
The pricing is very tight as we approach the final third of the season, so I’m not finding a lot of “core” picks on these dead two-game Sunday slates.
This is definitely a day where I’d focus on correlating some cheaper picks with my overall stacking strategies – Harvey Harrison ($6,690 FWD) has produced dual 54’s so far and could upswing with a couple of goals, for instance. The same goes for Levi Casboult ($7,590 FWD/RUC) or Ben King ($8,050 FWD) for random ceiling games against a Sicily-less Hawthorn at home.
I do have some vague interest in Cam Mackenzie ($8,340 FWD/MID), who is just one of the long list of players I have on my weekly watchlist due to regular tactical sub involvement. The Hawthorn youngster boasts an un-subbed average of 65 this year – which include multiple scores of 94 – so he scrapes into my player pool.
We don’t have enough exposed form from Patrick Lipinski (10,800 FWD/MID) to include him in our core, but as an upswing option? Sure. He’s had his sighter against the Demons on the King’s Birthday rather than returning through the VFL, so he should be cherry ripe from Sunday onwards. Lipinski averaged a solid 80 fantasy points last year, which is a great starting point for those in the $11k range.
He hasn’t quite put it together at AFL level yet, but a benign two-game Sunday slate is the perfect place to gamble on Sam Flanders ($7,680 MID) finally converting his form into DFS goodness. The axing of Alex Davies means he should get at least some CBA’s, which has been a key ingredient in the absolutely preposterous 142-point average over his past 5 VFL games.
The lack of Jordan De Goey has predictably resulted in boosts for his fellow midfield Pies as they attempt to cover his sizeable impact by committee. Taylor Adams ($12,080 MID) enjoyed his greatest CBA share in weeks (57%) and posted a season-high 104 to back up his 95 from the week before. He was +11 without De Goey last year, so I have no questions over causation here.
Tom Mitchell ($15,420 MID) was already doing a lot of heavy lifting in the midfield with 112 and 124 leading into the clash with the Demons, but adding another 121 to that does nothing to hurt my confidence in picking him after a lukewarm start to the Collingwood chapter of his career.
He’ll likely have some Daicos duties to attend to, but that defensive stuff hasn’t hurt Ben Keays’s ($14,050 MID) scoring over the past few weeks as a two-way member of Adelaide’s midfield core. Keays is averaging 67% CBAs and 110 AF over the last three weeks, and given that kicking efficiency isn’t a scoring category on Draftstars, I’m very happy to take another look at him here despite the pay rise.
Oleg Markov’s ($7,030 DEF) price is only this low due to sub-affected scores of 6 and 15 in the past fortnight, which immediately make him value. Collingwood look like they’re gearing up to play Nick Daicos up the ground this week by naming 7 other defenders in the squad, so Markov might have a bit more responsibility as a ball-user in defence this week. Worth a nibble.
James Sicily is a huge focal point for Hawthorn, so it’ll be interesting to see how they adjust to a key cog in their machine being removed. Jarman Impey is the obvious pivot (see below) but who else could benefit?
Josh Weddle ($10,080 DEF), Seamus Mitchell ($10,240 DEF) and Jack Scrimshaw ($10,270 DEF) are all in that mid-price bracket and all have triple-digit upside. And then there’s Blake Hardwick ($12,220 DEF) of course, who has shown a gaudy ceiling in the past and has first-dibs on the kick-ins. There’s value here to be found somewhere, I just don’t have a great read on exactly where the treasure lies.
He’s been Gold Coast’s whipping boy this year, but Brandon Ellis ($10,370 MID/DEF) has well and truly earned his spot following scores of 153 and 120 at VFL level since his banishment. He’s very hard to resist at this price-tag given he’ll be on a wing on Gold Coast’s home deck.
It’s hard to say no to Darcy Cameron ($12,920 RUC) when he’s taking 70% of ruck contests even with Mason Cox in the side, especially following scores of 109 and 96 in his last couple of showings. Add in the 107 from the corresponding fixture last season and slate bereft of reliable RUC options, and I expect him to be very highly owned.
If you’re desperate for a pivot, Reilly O’Brien ($12,980 RUC) is the other premium option worth considering. He churned out a solid 92 against the Pies earlier this year but his selection comes with a couple of flags – neither Cox nor Cameron played in that aforementioned game due to injury, and he rolled his ankle at training earlier in the week.
Stuey Dew spat the dummy in the third quarter against the Blues, ripping regulars out of the midfield group for the defender Wil Powell and forward Nick Holman – despite the pair each registering just the single centre bounce appearance previously in season 2023. With even the most basic thing such as midfield time for their best player in Noah Anderson ($15,730 MID) now up in the air, it’s fair to say the Suns are in a state of flux.
3 unforced changes at the selection table (ironically) reinforces that lack of stability, so this is more of a flag that the status quo could receive a significant shake-up for Gold Coast this Sunday.
Nick Daicos ($16,200 MID)
The most gorgeous man in footy scored his first non-ton for the year against the Crows back in Round 7, copping a Ben Keays tag for 99-point total that halted a blistering run of 123, 136 and 140. Little Nicky has been up in the midfield rotation much more regularly since teams found a way to limit his influence across half back, but ironically the Adelaide stopper’s role has mirrored that evolution – meaning that Daicos might have to deal with a Keays shadow in a different third of the ground in Round 15.
Taylor Walker ($11,540 FWD)
That is not a criticism of Tex because this is exactly what you want from your goal scorers, but he does seem to really beat up on the minions, doesn’t he? His best scores of 123 (Hawthorn) and 166 (West Coast) were dunked on the cellar dwellers of the competition, while he struggled mightily against legitimate contenders (48 vs Lions, 34 vs Geelong, 37 vs Pies last time). Best to give Walker a miss against the Premiership favourites, I think.
Jack Crisp ($12,420 MID)
This is as simple as it gets in DFS, with pure injury replacement value for Crisp. Last week’s 131 was his highest score this year – and by some margin too, given his previous season-high was just 84 points. It’s no coincidence that hefty score was won in the same game as he doubled his normal CBA share (52%) with De Goey out, so I’m very interested in Jack’s services until Collingwood’s best inside midfielder returns from suspension in a couple of rounds.
Rory Laird ($16,380 MID)
We love the half-data and half-superstition powered trends in DFS, and Rory Laird making Collingwood his bunnies certainly fits that category. His last 4 scores against the Pies reads 174, 131, 163 and 110, with that less-exciting latter score coming earlier this year when he was in doubt to even take the field.
The Pies are a great team, but like the most recent AFL dynasty of Richmond from 2017-2020, they simply don’t care how much of the footy your midfield accumulates – as long as you’re not kicking in between the big sticks. A perfect scenario for Laird.
Jarman Impey ($12,840 DEF)
We don’t have a big sample size to go off, but Impey top-scoring with 118 without Sicily when he missed a few weeks ago is a data point I’m interested in extrapolating. The line-breaker is worth a look against the Suns, who just allowed Carlton to score an extra 310 fantasy points than they did.
Gold Coast – Full Stack
Gold Coast has one of the most unique home advantages in the league with the dewy footy up in Queensland, but they haven’t had access to it with away games on either side of a trip to the NT. I’m honing in on the Suns for a bounce-back here on their home turf; especially as Hawthorn has to deal with the dreaded post-bye curse.
The Hawks are giving up a heap to MIDs this year – particularly recently – and have let Key FWDs off the chain frequently over the course of the year. I mentioned a couple of cheaper options above, but you can add Jack Lukosius ($11,370 FWD) to the list of possible beneficiaries. He averaged 5 goals up in slippery NT, so being back in more familiar conditions on the Gold Coast could help him add to the handy scores of 93 and 91 over the past fortnight.
Adelaide – MID Targets
Collingwood are the hot favourites, but as I alluded to earlier, that doesn’t mean they don’t allow opposition midfields to rack it up while they struggle. In fact, Collingwood concedes the most points to inside MIDs of any club over the past 5 weeks.
The Magpies are strongly systems-based while the Crows are still being carried by 2-3 guys in the guts each week, which makes for an interesting stacking strategy. Rory Laird, Jordan Dawson ($16,540 MID) and Ben Keays should score well regardless of the result, which makes the off-Broadway Adelaide stacks an interesting proposition.
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