We are finally through the excruciating ordeal that is the bye period and we can now focus on what should be a very exciting run home.
Let’s get right into it.
Carlton vs Port Adelaide
Carlton were fantastic in their 20-point loss to Collingwood last week, leading in the early stages and refusing the highly-rated Pies to ever get comfortable. Charlie Curnow is an absolute freak of nature and Patrick Cripps might be even better. Let’s all hope they can stay health because this team is going to be so special in the future. Unfortunately they come up against one of the hottest teams in the league in Port Adelaide and I can’t see them repeating last week’s heroics. This should be a big win for the Power.
Gun: Robbie Gray ($13.8m)
Carlton are one of the better scoring teams in the AFL as far as fantasy goes, but they also give up huge points as well. A plethora of Collingwood players went huge last week even despite monster games from Curnow, Cripps and Kade Simpson. I expect Robbie Grey to have an absolute field day here, kicking plenty of goals with plenty of disposals at a high efficiency. He will beat his 90 average.
Dud: Travis Boak ($14m)
Travis Boak has somehow managed to remain consistent through this season despite a dwindling role and not massively fitting the style of footy Port Adelaide play. In this game, which promises to be open and expansive, I can’t see him having huge influence. Carlton’s backline is inexperienced and missing plenty of its best, but they are still young and athletic enough to keep Boak quiet in a game that should suit his teammates much more than it does him.
Point of Difference: Paddy Ryder ($12.7m)
We’re all waiting for the breakout game of Paddy Ryder, and this may well be the one. He still doesn’t look 100% since coming back from injury but we all know what he is capable of and the ruck men have proved the best outlet of points this season. His opposition, Matt Kreuzer, has been dealing nonstop with injuries and if he either isn’t right to go or is playing hurt, Ryder could go off. He will have plenty of chances to roam around the park with Kreuzer’s willingness to do the same, and he could dominate the hit outs as well. Like him a lot this week.
Adelaide vs West Coast
Adelaide’s season has gone from bad to worse to even worse this year, despite the Brownlow medal-calibre play of Bryce Gibbs and Rory Laird. At the moment, those are the only two Crows you should be looking towards, as the rest have really struggled to live up to their lofty reputations. West Coast have been humiliated their past two weeks, but this could be the perfect game for them to get back on track.
Gun: Elliott Yeo ($16.2m)
There hasn’t been a better defender in the past month than Elliott Yeo. In fact, there may not have been a better defender in the past year than Elliott Yeo. He is simply an absolute superstar of the game and is pulling all the strings for a West Coast side that should finish top 4. He has the athleticism and skill to match anyone on the park, a simply unfair combination, and his 108 average has been skyrocketing every week. He’s very easy on the eyes so pick him and enjoy the ride.
Dud: Rory Sloane ($12m)
Plenty of you will be looking to jump on the return of Rory Sloane, particularly at the bargain price of $12m for a man of his fantasy capabilities, but I strongly suggest you look elsewhere. Sloane was absolutely unstoppable through the early stages of last year, but after a few teams found great success tagging him with a physical defender, he lost all his impact. It appears the blueprint to stopping Sloane is there and readily available, and coming back after a long layoff won’t make things any easier. Give him at least a month before you even consider it.
Point of Difference: Jamie Cripps ($12.4m)
Jame Cripps has seen his usage rate increase exponentially through injuries to Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling, with coach Adam Simpson identifying him as crucial to the team’s game plan going forward. He threw up a 90 with that added influence last week and there’s no reason why he can’t reach or beat that this week against a Crows team that is on the ropes.
Gold Coast vs Collingwood
The biggest news of the week for Collingwood was of course the news that superstar Adam Treloar will miss the next 2 months with a hamstring injury suffered after the game was buried against Carlton. It was a killer blow for a team and fanbase so desperate for success, and hoping for a top 4 spot. They still should have more than enough class to knock off a Gold Coast team that only are even mentioned when speaking about Tom Lynch’s future. By the way, Collingwood are favourites…
Gun: Brodie Grundy ($17.m)
Brodie Grundy has the second highest average of anyone in fantasy footy. He simply never scores below 100. I don’t need to say anything else, pick the guy and move on.
Dud: Jarrod Witts ($14.4m)
Jarrod Witts (of Barker College) has very quietly been one of very few Suns who can really hold their head up high for the season they’ve had. He has been brilliant among a dumpster fire, and that has translated well to fantasy with the big man averaging 92. Unfortunately for him he comes up against the second best ruckman in the league and a man who has put on an absolute masterclass nearly every week he plays. Collingwood’s turnaround I believe can be directly attributed to him, and it should be a long day for Wittsy.
Point of Difference: Scott Pendlebury ($15.5m)
Very odd to have Scott Pendlebury in this category, but his ownership has been very low this year due to the emergence of Adam Treloar as the man on this team, but with him out it will return to Dependlebury. There have been few players more classy on the ball in the modern era than the Collingwood captain and he should see more of the ball with his partner in crime missing. I expect a monster Pendlebury game.
GWS vs Hawthorn
The Giants continue their midseason rise up the table after an unexplainably bad start to the year, but their finals hopes took a massive blow after Jeremy Cameron was written off for five weeks after a sickening hit on Harris Matthews. To be honest, I thought 5 weeks was way too harsh, yes he caused a terrible injury but I didn’t believe it at all to be deliberate. 2 would have sufficed for me. Either way Jon Patton is going to have to get going because the Giants need goals and have lost their best outlet. Lucky Hawthorn can’t kick them either.
Gun: Josh Kelly ($17.8m)
Josh Kelly looks 100% healthy and is back to being the most beautiful and graceful AFL player I have ever seen. The game is so effortless for him, it reminds me of Tracy McGrady at his prime, gliding around the court and making the most difficult things look outrageously easy. He’s now the highest averaging player in the game with a disgusting 123 average. Much like Elliott Yeo, having him in your fantasy team is so enjoyable because he is just so gorgeous to watch. I realise how homoerotic this blog has been and I don’t care, Josh Kelly sexualises footy.
Dud: Liam Shiels ($14.8m)
Liam Shiels is undoubtedly having the best year of his career and is largely responsible for taking the ball Tom Mitchell wins and carrying it forward. That being said, he is playing the most talented and athletic midfield in the competition, and he shouldn’t have it nearly his way. The duel between Stephen Coniglio and Mitchell around the ruck should be a fantastic one, but Shiels certainly won’t be getting the same clean delivery and space he is used to. Don’t think this will be his week.
Point of Difference: Lachie Whitfield ($15.6m)
He is far from the cheapest POD but Lachie Whitfield is certainly a point of difference and he really shouldn’t be any longer. He is as important for this team as anyone, but will never receive the same applause as a Kelly or Cameron because his style of play doesn’t grab the headlines. It certainly should as far as fantasy goes though, with a 97 average an absolutely fantastic total for a guy no one mentions as one one of your best buys every week. Should be plenty of chances for him to intercept mark and trundle forward with inside 50s.
Melbourne vs St Kilda
This should be an absolute riot for Melbourne. St Kilda to me are the worst team in the competition and they appear to be getting worse every week. The analysis is going to be short and sweet for this one because there really isn’t much else to say than what I’ve already said.
Gun: Clayton Oliver ($16.8m)
Clayton Oliver may well have 40 disposals at 100% efficiency against this mob. I expect him to smash his 105 average.
Dud: Any St Kilda player
I really think this could be the biggest blowout of the season. Max Gawn will control the ruck, Clayton Oliver will distribute and Jesse Hogan will kick the goals. May be 100+ the margin. Avoid all the Saints, as I would suggest doing so every week.
Point of Difference: Jesse Hogan ($13m)
Jesse Hogan has been quiet in recent weeks but I expect him to bounce back with a minimum 5 goals in this one and have a hand in all the Demons points, getting easy delivery from his midfield against a hapless St Kilda defence.
Essendon vs North Melbourne
I’m not really sure what to make of this game. I expect it to be a rough and ugly game in midfield, with both teams more than happy to play dirty, but Essendon showed a stunning touch of class to blow out the Eagles in Perth last week so I am really quite confused as to how I analyse the Bombers. I know what the Kangaroos are, a team that will try to keep games close and hope the ball bounces their way at the end, and this year it often has.
Gun: Zach Merrett ($16.4m)
It took awhile, but Zach Merrett has made this team his own. He has been fantastic the last month, grabbing plenty of the footy and using it very well. He has given the strong Essendon midfield an extra touch of class and allowed Jake Stringer and Devon Smith to wreak havoc on opponents’ defensive lines. I can’t see that changing here even with the pressure North Melbourne likes to play with.
Dud: Tom Bellchambers ($12.7m)
Tom Bellchambers has had a really strong month of footy and is giving Essendon the solid ruck work they need to be a finals team. Unfortunately for him he comes up against a rejuvenated Todd Goldstein who shredded the Bulldogs last week with his unbelievable work rate and athleticism. I can see him doing the same to Bellchambers in this one. In fact, let’s get to Goldy.
Point of Difference: Todd Goldstein
Basically read what I wrote above. Goldy threw up a vintage 118 last week to remind everyone of how good the big man can be when he is settled. I loved seeing it, and I hope it continues because there is nothing better than having 5 or 6 really top line ruck men in the competition who legitimately take it personally when the other does well. He’s as good as it gets when he’s on and I’m banking on him to stay on.
Fremantle vs Brisbane
Ooooft, way to end Round 15 on a good note AFL. This is a real stinker of a game as far as footy goes, but there are a few relevant fantasy storylines. The obvious one is the return of Nat Fyfe, who had been absolute on fire until the bye period and his suspension. Brisbane were in the news all week after the Jeremy Cameron situation, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to that distraction.
Gun: Nat Fyfe ($16.6m)
As I mentioned above, up until the bye and suspension interruptions, Nat Fyfe was back to the form that saw him win the Brownlow 2 years ago. He has spiked his average back up to 110 and I can’t see any Lion getting in the way of him reaching that again, especially with him being so fresh after what feels like a month away from footy. Picking Fyfe may be the only way to make this game watchable.
Dud: Luke Hodge ($13m)
Luke Hodge turned back the clock with an absolute stunning performance last week, throwing up nearly 40 touches on his way to a mammoth 140. That will not happen again, the bloke is close to 60 years old. Don’t chase last week’s points, he has been irrelevant in fantasy up until that score and he simply doesn’t have it in him to back it up any more. Hawthorn fans stay away, I know what you’re thinking.
Point of Difference: Mitch Robinson ($13.7m)
Mitch Robinson and his pectoral tattoos has been the most reliable fantasy scorer not named Stef Martin this year and very few have taken notice. The attacking midfielder has regularly put up scores in triple digits, seeing his average sit at an extremely strong 96. There should be plenty of chances for him to get forward against a Fremantle side that is very unpredictable. Not the cheapest, but super reliable.
That’s all for this weekend’s daily fantasy AFL picks, so now be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!