AFL Picks: Essendon v. St. Kilda

AFL picks round 21

Another wild weekend of results saw the top 8 completely flip again and what was looking like hopeless and hopeful situations for respective teams has now those who were once comfortable feeling very nervous and the others producing unlikely runs to the finals. There are just six points separating third from tenth, and just two points between third and eighth. It is an astonishing and engrossing season.

Friday’s opener sees Essendon take on St. Kilda.

The Bombers were simply outclassed by Hawthorn last week, who somehow are mounting an assault on the top 4 on the back of what appears to be a Brownlow season for Tom Mitchell. That loss all but ended any hopes Essendon have of making the finals, but given how crazy this season has been, who knows what could happen.

What we do know is that they should be able to destroy a St Kilda team desperate for the end of the season. If they are to be any tiny hope of making the finals, they need to put in a performance this week that will have them ready for Richmond the following Friday.

Let’s take a look at which players might make that happen – and help your daily fantasy AFL teams along the way.

Gun: Zach Merrett ($17.3m)

Zach Merrett proved me wrong last week, still finding his way to 41 touches despite Tom Mitchell’s complete domination of the centre of the field. Merrett is absolutely on fire, now the fifth highest scorer in the game at 116 and his 134 last week was one of the best of his career. 15 possessions were contested and 9 were clearances in a stunning display. The issue for Merrett is still his efficiency, which I have highlighted in recent weeks and really the only thing stopping him from being a top 3 scorer. He used the ball at just 63% last week as opposed to Mitchell’s 79%. That might have decided the game. Nonetheless he’s an absolute gun.

Dud: Jack Billings ($13.7m)

Last week I told you to get on Jack Billings, not based on much, just a gut feeling that he was overdue a big score. He achieved just that, knocking out a 122 and rewarding any of you silly enough to listen to me. That score is why I would suggest staying away from him this week. There are few bigger rollercoasters than the talented young forward, consistently putting up big tallies only to let down anyone that stuck with him the following week. Essendon also have one of the more versatile back lines in the competition, so it’s not a matchup that makes huge sense. Avoid him.

Point of Difference: Orazio Fantasia ($11.3m)

Orazio Fantasia might be one of the better PODs of the week. His scoring in the last month or so has been very impressive, pushing a measly average in the mid 70s up north of 80, including a monster triple figure score a few weeks ago. He’s benefitting from the superb play of Zach Merrett in midfield, giving him quick service and allowing the talented young forward to use his pace and skill to beat opponents. Essendon are bad team bullies, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won this by 70+ with Orazio kicking 3.

Check back soon for picks and analysis for the rest of this weekend’s AFL action. In the meantime, be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!

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