At long, long last we head into the final week of the painstaking bye period of the AFL, where you constantly flick on the TV for the comfort of Brian Taylor and Bruce McAvaney and instead are met by the discomforting sound of replays of The Couch. Round 14’s set of games actually does a much better job of easing the pain of reduced matches, spreading it over four days from Thursday to Sunday.
Super Saturday unfortunately doesn’t look too super this week, with no teams in the top 7 featuring. North Melbourne and Hawthorn appear to be the only in the group who can make a run at the finals, but neither are remotely relevant when it comes to the premiership conversation. Still, there are guaranteed cash prizes to be won at PlayON, so let’s take a look at who you should be putting into your daily fantasy lineups.
Hawthorn vs Gold Coast
This game features a team that has 3 or 4 really strong fantasy players and then a massive drop-off in relevancy against a team that flat out has nothing to offer. Hawthorn have had patches of promising footy but there simply isn’t enough points in this roster that doesn’t have a clear identity. The discussion will likely revolve around the future of Tom Lynch, with the Hawks reportedly one of the teams plotting an offer for the superstar young forward. He would be the perfect addition to a team that would struggle to kick goals if the behind posts were also worth 6.
Gun: Tom Mitchell ($18.9m)
Yeah, he’s massively expensive, but against a hapless team like Gold Coast I can see Tommy Mitchell going near that 50 disposal mark he loves to flirt with. His astonishing 118 average took a bit of a hit in the last month, but he notched up a 120 last week and there’s just going to be no way the Suns can stop him.
Dud: Touk Miller ($13.3m)
The Suns have just two players ranking inside the top 80 for scoring, which is just flat out embarrassing. Too often I’m writing in the dud category ‘every Gold Coast Sun’ and it may come off as lazy but honestly I mean it. This team is so irrelevant we’re wasting everyone’s time talking about it. So, to prevent doing that again, I’m going to focus on the supremely talented but equally as frustrating Touk Miller. He has all the tools to be a gun player, and maybe he will if he can ever escape this club, but he’s a rollercoaster ride I don’t want to invest $13+ in. He’s averaging 87 which is actually pretty good, but his 49 last week shows how bad it can get.
Point of Difference: Jack Gunston ($14.1m)
For his price, Jack Gunston has not produced the appropriate scores this year. The 83 average is extremely poor for someone of his fantasy pedigree, but he should be driving that score up with plenty of touches and goals in this one. He’s been asked to play a lot of time in defence with Hawthorn’s struggle to contain the footy, but I think Gunston gets the chance to spend more time forward in this one and he can wreak havoc on an inexperienced Suns side. Should justify the money here.
Brisbane Lions vs GWS Giants
The Giants have won their last two games and are starting to look like the team they really should be. The overload of talent on this team still outweighs any other in the competition, but watching their opening two or three months this year the team looked bored, uninspired and totally lacking motivation. I daresay some of the senior players got a dressing down for that indifference a couple of weeks ago, as they have all responded. Two impressive wins in a row and a trip to Brisbane to play the one-win Lions. Ooft.
Gun: Stephen Coniglio ($16.6m)
The lone Giant who has been consistently great from the first bounce of the season, Stephen Coniglio has had a brilliant bounce back season after dealing with relentless injuries and he should be the first you look for in the orange, black and white every week. He was given a bye fortnight by coach Leon Cameron in a move that could be inspired for the second half of the year. The 109 average puts him just outside the top 10, and I think he racks up another 35+ touch game against their hopeless opposition.
Dud: Heath Shaw ($14.1m)
Heath Shaw is one of the aforementioned Giants who has cleaned up his act in recent weeks, notably the 105 he put up last game out. The Giants are a much better team when he is putting them on the front foot swinging out of half back, but I can’t see a huge need for him in this one. Brisbane are solid in their defensive units but I can’t see them offering anything going forward, lessening Shaw’s input. At $14m you can do better.
Point of Difference: Stef Martin ($15.9m)
Stef Martin quietly is the fourth highest scoring player in the competition with a staggering 114 per game. He is even outscoring Max Gawn. GWS do not have a recognised ruck, instead lead with Rory Lobb and rotate a number of others. Stef Martin is the only advantage the Lions have and you can be sure they’ll be playing to stoppages to stop the Giants’ flow.
Point of Difference: Jeremy Cameron ($14.3m)
Another option that is not at all cheap but Jeremy Cameron has awoken the last few weeks and has shoved aside any threat from big Jon Patton to be the unquestioned no.1 option going forward for the Giants. He’s another of those I referenced earlier who was invisible through the opening couple of months, but he has been back to his influential best the last couple of weeks and his 135 before the bye was a thing of beauty. No reason why he can’t kick another 5 here.
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne
There has been a lot of discussion about the Bulldogs and people referring to their title win a couple of years back as a fluke. People are saying the list was never that strong, that it got hot at the right time and rode a strong wave of momentum towards a title that it wasn’t ready to win. I think that was fairly obvious at the time even, and I’m confused as to why people seem so shocked. This is a very incomplete list that is lacking goals in this modern brand of footy you need a handful of guys who you can turn to every night to produce points. North Melbourne continue to tread water around the bottom of the 8 and are about as uninteresting as the Dogs.
Gun: Lachie Hunter ($15.2m)
This game likely will be a bit of a mess, with both sides really lacking class distributors outside of the obvious few. Lachie Hunter is the classiest of that few, he really is a joy to watch. He’s had a standout season amongst the dumpster fire that has been 2018 for his club, and has become a super reliable and top level fantasy option. He’s averaging 99 and I think he puts together another really, really efficient 25 or so touch performance here to be worth your money.
Dud: Luke Dahlhaus ($12.8m)
Luke Dahlhaus’ decline as a fantasy option has been the story of the Bulldogs’ relevance the past two seasons. Once one of the stronger midfield options in the game thanks to his ability to get forward and kick goals, Dahlhaus looks sapped of confidence and consistently fails to establish himself off the bounce, where he once was as effective and influential as anyone in the game. An absolute no-go zone, sadly.
Point of Difference: Bailey Williams ($12m)
If the Bulldogs are going to find any spark in their season, it may come from Bailey Williams. Capable of lighting up any game, the 20-year-old with some of the worst hair you’ll ever see looks to be the main point of optimism for the Dogs going forward and has backed that up with an 82 average. Pick him and enjoy the ride.
Collingwood vs Carlton
This could be an absolute ripper of a game if Carlton’s young stars all turn up and put in a complete performance together. Collingwood have really turned it around over the end of last year and the first half of this season, building themselves quickly into a team capable of making the top 4. I’m still not totally convinced however, and I can see an upset on the cards if the Blues can get off to a hot start and get their fans into the game.
Gun: Brodie Grundy ($17.4m)
The highest scoring player in the game, where else could I go? Brodie Grundy may not be the best ruckman in the game, and his head to head battle with Max Gawn a couple of weeks ago confirmed that, but he is certainly the best fantasy ruckman going and his battle with Matt Kreuzer will be key to Collingwood winning. He’s averaging 122. C’mon.
I’m honestly unable to find a dud in this game. These are two of the best teams as far as fantasy options goes, with both teams flooding the top 80 scorers despite the difference in their positions on the table. Any of the regular options on either side will be worth your investment.
Point of Difference: Jordan De Goey ($12.4m)
Jordan De Goey had maybe the best game of his career last time out, knocking off a monster 117 and totally dictating the game for the Pies. This game could suit his style well, with plenty of chances to sit back and disrupt play and also drive forward and cause danger. It’s unlikely he goes in the 120 territory again, and you should never chase last week’s points, but Collingwood must recognise the talent the 22-year-old has and find a way to make sure that game wasn’t a one-off.
That’s all for this weekend’s daily fantasy AFL picks, so now be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!