The second week of the finals is an extremely bittersweet experience for footy fans. Sure, you get four of the best teams remaining in the competition battling it out for a preliminary final, but it is also the starting point for when it really hits home that there are only five games left in the season.
Last week’s results offered a real mix bag of complete shocks and predictable outcomes, with heavy favourites Richmond easily accounting for Hawthorn and Melbourne being much too strong for Geelong. Sydney, however, produced potentially their worst performance in a decade, being completely overrun from start to finish by a deadly Giants team. The Eagles also perhaps surprised a few with a strong showing against Collingwood. That means the MCG plays host to both semi-finals, and it’s win or go home.
Let’s take a look at the fantasy guns, duds and points of difference that you should consider picking in your daily fantasy AFL lineups.
Melbourne vs. Hawthorn
The Demons shot out of the gates against Geelong, jumping out to a strong lead against the Cats and never relinquishing it. There were a few nervy moments when they gave up consecutive goals, and surely the demons of Melbourne’s horrific past were creeping into the minds of players, coaches and fans, but they weathered the storm and set up a mammoth encounter with the Hawks. Hawthorn were simply outgunned by the Tigers last week, and again face the prospect of being the second best team on paper. I think this one will be close, but the Dees have just a bit more class.
Gun: Clayton Oliver ($17.7m)
Clayton Oliver gets the nod here for me for a number of reasons. Tag master James Harmes has put his hand up to take Tom Mitchell, and while there is a big difference between accepting the challenge and succeeding at said challenge, he has done a masterful job keeping stars like Josh Kennedy, Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood very quiet in recent weeks. Clayton wasn’t at his absolute best last week, coming up against a star-studded midfield, but Hawthorn don’t have the same pedigree and I think Oliver will see more open spaces and spend less time isolated up forward.
Dud: James Harmes ($13.9m)
The aforementioned James Harmes was one of the best fantasy players in the game last week, throwing up a monster 118 and surely winning matchups for a lot of owners. Don’t chase those points, he likely will spend his entire game chasing around and trying to get under the skin of Tom Mitchell, who seemingly can run for days, and I don’t think it’s worth investing the money when there are similar priced options with more value. Like this next guy.
Point of Difference: Alex Neal-Bullen ($13.1m)
This guy to me is one of the most underrated players in the game. Alex Neal-Bullen offers a variety of different roles and influences for this Melbourne team, and last week he showed just how valuable he can be, kicking goals, taking contested marks and providing immense pressure on the Geelong backline. I think he will provide a similar role here and always has a low ownership. A reliable player with upside.
Collingwood vs. GWS
What an absolute ripper this will be. Both sides are nearing full heath, with Adam Treloar making a mildly successful return to footy last week. He will be better for the hit out, and will need to be his absolute best if the Pies are going to move on to the preliminary finals. In my opinion, Richmond least want to see GWS. I just think they pose a more potent danger than even Collingwood. I don’t trust the goal kicking from the Pies and I think their best footy can be very patchy and inconsistent. The Giants have been red hot over the past couple of months and will be buoyed by sending big brother home.
Gun: Brodie Grundy ($19m)
As the ruck options thin out a bit, and with Max Gawn facing up against Ben McEvoy, Brodie Grundy is the logical choice. Grundy I thought was pretty poor last week, failing to get involved in the game outside of the ruck duties. When the Pies needed a big contested mark or simply just a relieving outlet, Grundy uncharacteristically for this season was nowhere to be seen. He dominated the ruck matchup, albeit against a backup, and he will do so here as well. The no.2 scorer all year should have a much better showing on the G.
No duds here for me. If you’ve followed this blog all year, you know I’ve identified two teams that really offer a lot of value as far as opposition players go. Those teams are Carlton (for obvious reasons) and Collingwood. The end to end footy Collingwood like to play allow for big scores for opposition players, and their encounters are usually high scoring. You know the studs for GWS, and I wouldn’t hesitate picking anyone from either side.
Point of Difference: Zac Williams ($6.3m)
I had Zac Williams in my side last week and took him out last second. That 109 really hurt. The swing defender had a monster game for the Giants, providing them with a classy touch out of halfback and kickstarting a lot of their attacking tirades. At $6.3m he is huge value and should have plenty of work to do against an unproven forward line.
That’s all for Week 2’s daily fantasy AFL picks, now be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!