AFL Picks and Preview: Essendon v. Sydney

AFL tips - fantasy AFL picks round 19

In the AFL this year we know only two things with absolute certainty. We know Richmond are great and Carlton are terrible. The rest really can totally change week to week, and last week was another example of that.

If you’re a betting man, it’s likely this season has cost you a pretty penny. Gold Coast’s staggering Saturday afternoon flogging of the Swans has to be right up there with the biggest upsets of the past decade. Thankfully the footy gods have blessed us with another round of AFL that features three key games that may shape the final positions and potentially who wins the flag.

The Swans were totally and utterly embarrassed last week. There really isn’t any other way to put it. Gold Coast as a club really are up a creek without a paddle, a team bereft of stars, fans and hope. That didn’t stop them coming into the SCG and significantly harming the top 4 prospects of the Bloods. Unfortunately for Sydney they come up against a Bombers side who have won four of their past five and an outside chance at still making the finals. The MCG will be an absolute lions den on Friday night.

Let’s look at picks for your daily fantasy AFL games.

Gun: Zach Merrett ($16.9m)

Zach Merrett is enjoying his best spell of the season and it’s no surprise Essendon are on a roll. He is racking up possessions for fun, tipping 30 nearly every week and the only thing stopping him from absolutely blowing the lid off his fantasy average is his efficiency with the ball. Irregardless of that, he now has the fourth highest in the game at 113, and this is the kind of game he is made for. His battle with the experienced Swans midfielders will be fascinating to watch, and I expect Merrett to go 35+ and look to climb into the top 3 in PlayON scoring.

Dud: Devon Smith ($15.8m)

Devon Smith is an absolute superstar of our game and Essendon totally fleeced GWS with that deal. Ok, that needs to be said. The reasoning for him being here is I am a big believer in what goes up must eventually come down. Smith’s ascension to the very top of AFL fantasy has been so rapid you’d have missed it if you blinked. You’d also have missed out on a lot of cashola. He is the fifth highest scorer in the game, just behind his aforementioned teammate, but this Swans team are uniquely built to handle him. Their All-Australian duo of Jake Lloyd and Dane Rampe have the athleticism and skill to follow Smith in between the midfield and forward lines, and Aliir Aliir has recaptured the form that saw people anointing him as a truly special talent. I have no doubt Smith will go strong, but I can’t see him putting together another monster triple digit score. That’s the curve we now grade on for him.

Point of Difference: Aliir Aliir ($7.7m)

I think if you speak to most Swans fans, the situation we have been most confused by over the past five years, and believe me there have been a lot (letting Tom Mitchell walk, continuing to play Heath Grundy, apparently thinking Jake Lloyd isn’t worth being paid), the constant disappearance of Aliir Aliir is right up there. He has a huge presence every time he is out on the field, an elite athlete who genuinely gets better each and every week he plays, yet for whatever reason he spends long periods away from the team. Regardless, he is back in it now and he’s SURELY not going anywhere. At $7.7m to get a talent like Aliir Aliir it’s a no brainer. It’s unlikely he’s threatening triple figures simply because he isn’t a high disposal-getter, but he doesn’t have to go much above 85 to be more than worth your money.

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!

Pick a team and win your share of guaranteed cash prizes playing daily fantasy AFL at PlayON, including entries into the $100,000 SuperContest.