There seems to be a real trend at the moment with the the teams playing on Saturday having little to no chance of making the finals, and Round 16 has thrown up a similar situation. Only Melbourne and Port Adelaide are strong possibilities of making the postseason, with Hawthorn the only other Saturday team really with a shot.
Sunday promises a much more interest group of games, with Essendon hosting Collingwood in what should see 90,000+ crazed fans head to the G, while West Coast host the Giants desperate for a win.
Brisbane v Carlton
Carlton continue to impress in losses after refusing to let Port Adelaide kick away against them last week. They have the finest collection of young stars in the game and I think the entirety of the AFL can agree, regardless of your allegiances, that we hope they can all stay together and stay healthy because this side promises to be really special. Brisbane absolutely flogged Fremantle in WA last week, and they will be hoping their young guns can knock off Carlton’s.
Gun: Kade Simpson ($15.8m)
There isn’t a hotter defender in the league right now than Kade Simpson, and that’s crazy to say given he’s played 300 games and is 300 years old. He has taken over Sam Docherty’s distributor role from last year and is arguably doing it better. Class personified, and with the average to boot. He’s ramped it up to triple figures over his electric month of footy and is regularly going above 110. Can’t go anywhere else at the moment.
Dud: Ed Curnow ($16.1m)
This is more a judgement based on the huge standards he set earlier in the year than anything Ed Curnow has done himself, but the scores have just started to dry up for the lesser talked about brother. The return of Marc Murphy to the team, combined with Kade Simpson’s dominant month of footy and Patrick Cripps’ total annihilation of the league, Curnow has struggled to find as much of the footy and until that form returns I’d spend the $16m elsewhere.
Point of Difference: Tom Cutler ($12.1m)
It feels like Tom Cutler has been around forever, but he’s still only 23 years of age. I was stunned when I googled to check that. Nonetheless the youngster(?) has been in tremendous form lately and is a real POD pick in a game that should be end to end with plenty of scoring both in the match and fantasy. Cutler amassed 102 last week and his battle with the young Carlton forward line should be a fun one to watch. Not the cheapest but a solid pick.
Port Adelaide v St Kilda
St Kilda stunned the world last week when they not only didn’t embarrass themselves and their families, but actually won a game! Their two-point win over Melbourne was a low point for the Demons, and really doesn’t help the Saints one bit as they jumped into fourth last and away from the top draft pick. The Power continue to roll, winners of four straight and they are knocking on the door of the top 4. No one wants to go to Adelaide to play a final against Port.
Gun: Justin Westhoff ($15.6m)
It’s hard to go anywhere else on Port Adelaide right now than Justin Westhoff. He is thriving with more time up forward, proving a nightmare in one-on-one marking situations and helping out by coming back and setting up plays off his favoured left flank. He’s pushed his average north of 100 and is banging out 110+ scores at will. Will have plenty of chances to kick goals too.
Dud: Tim Membrey ($11.3m)
Tim Membrey is the very definition of what I like to call a yo-yo player, brilliant one week, awful the next. He’s got all the talent, but really relies on contested marks and goals to drive his scores up and I can’t see St Kilda getting anywhere near the Power in Adelaide. Avoid.
Point of Difference: Tom Rockliff ($12.9m)
Tom Rockliff has become a low ownership player after really struggling to find his role in a loaded Port Adelaide team in the first half of the season, but his last month has been fantastic and the Power haven’t lost in that time. He gives them another dimension and works perfectly playing off Ollie Wines. His average is back up to 95 and he hasn’t gone very far below that since the China game. Could be a real POD for you.
Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn
The Bulldogs won an absolute nail biter against Geelong last week after Harry Taylor missed a kick at the buzzer. The shots of the 18 Dogs players at the mark trying to distract Taylor then subsequently celebrating after they were successful was brilliant and perhaps it can help them restore a bit of pride into a season that was over before it began. Hawthorn are coming off a tough loss to GWS, in a game where Tom Mitchell went mental. Let’s talk about him now.
Gun: Tom Mitchell ($19.1m)
Tom Mitchell had 50 touches against the Giants scoring 195 points. I’ll repeat that, Tom Mitchell had 50 disposals against the Giants scoring 195 points. He’s the highest scoring player in the league and you can’t look anywhere else.
Dud: Ben McEvoy ($13.8m)
The Big Boy hasn’t put together his normal All-Australian footy this year, despite playing ruck which has proved to be the most bountiful position outside of midfield in PlayON. A meh average of 82 and a month of footy where he’s at times struggled to crack 70, McEvoy looks wearied and despite playing to Tom Mitchell, he isn’t finding the scores. Avoid.
Point of Difference: Marcus Bontempelli ($14.3m)
I’d written him off a month or so ago, but Marcus Bontempelli has come to life with the injury to Jack Macrae and looks to be something of the player he was two years ago. His average is creeping back up through the 90s and he has put together back to back 100+ games, including a 106 last week that really helped his team get the win. Hawthorn’s run may worry him but he has the physical tools to hurt them when the Dogs have the ball, and it looks as though they have the zip back in their hand balling, which was the cornerstone of that grand final win.
Melbourne v Fremantle
Melbourne fans have gone through just about everything (except a flag) in the past decade or so, but the two-point loss to St Kilda last week must have ranked right up there. A month ago the Demons looked like real top 4 contenders, but now they will have to fight to stay in the finals at all. Fremantle are a mess and Nat Fyfe has been rubbed out for five weeks with injury. Melbourne should get back on track.
Gun: Clayton Oliver ($16.6m)
Clayton Oliver for the superstar he is was downright terrible last week, barely scraping together an 80 and having zero impact on the game. He is way, way too good for that to happen two weeks in a row and against a Fyfe-less Fremantle he should have a minimum 35 touches and throw up a 100+. Enough said.
Dud: James Harmes ($12.3m)
Don’t go chasing last week’s points. We all know how great Harmes can be when he’s on, rampaging through the middle of the field, inside 50 and kicking wonderful running goals, but his 101 last week I believe was the first time he’s hit triple figures this year. His low 80s average has been the result of inconsistent play and struggling to get his hands on the ball in a stacked Melbourne team. Don’t go chasing last week’s points.
Point of Difference: Ed Langdon ($13.4m)
Ed Langdon appears to have been the biggest beneficiary of Fyfe’s season all but being over, ratcheting his average to 99 (level with Fyfe) and coming off a monster 112. He’s turned himself into an overnight star and really has kept ugly games from getting even uglier for Freo. He’s expensive, but a real POD who is having a wonderful season.
North Melbourne v Gold Coast
North Melbourne remain a win outside of the 8, and I feel like that is the story of this club’s history. They’re a footy team that are easy to root for, they work so hard and refuse to be kicked out of games, but there simply isn’t enough talent there to get them into the finals. Gold Coast managed to keep Collingwood within a respectable distance, despite it looking like it might be 100 at one stage.
Gun: Todd Goldstein ($13.6m)
Todd Goldstein has had a strong month of footy with an average right around 90, as he looks to make a late run into the form we expect from big Goldy. A slow start to the year saw him fall way down the pecking order as far as ruckmen go, but he’s rebuilt himself and his year recently and looks to be fit again. He will do his best to run big Jarrod Witts out of the game, and I’m backing a near triple-figure score.
To be honest, and these are two completely irrelevant teams as far as fantasy goes, but I can’t find a stand out dud to give you. Everyone had strong scores last week in their respective games, despite both being losses, but there should be a platform for both sides to have a bit of fun in this one and there’s no one you must avoid.
Point of Difference: David Swallow ($14.5m)
David Swallow was superb last week in a virtuoso performance we all know the talented midfielder is capable of. The 123 was his best mark of the season, and despite the blanket rule of never chasing last week’s points, Swallow has a fairly reliable 86 average and the Suns are trending in the right direction. An expensive one, but could be a real POD.
Essendon v Collingwood
The first of the big time final two games should see one of the biggest crowds of the AFL season, with both Essendon and Collingwood fighting for top 8 and 4 spots respectively. This will be an end to end ripper and both teams dish out consistently massive individual scores for anyone who plays in their games, so all the guns will be worth your money in this one.
Gun: Brodie Grundy ($17.9m)
Like Tom Mitchell, you really can’t go past Brodie Grundy. He’s the second highest scoring player in the game with an absurd 120 average and can go off for 140+ whenever he wants. He put up 150 last week, which would have been comfortably the best score had Mitchell not gone and grabbed 195. Pick Grundy and move on.
Again, like the earlier match, both these teams offer big points for players in most of their games so I really can’t narrow down anyone to strongly avoid. Collingwood in particularly score and give up the most points to players, so that should bring up the averages of their Essendon opponents. This is a game you should really focus on and look to their most reliable.
Point of Difference: Taylor Adams ($15.1m)
This game is absolutely made for Taylor Adams. He started the season very slowly and saw his average settle closer to 80 than 100, but he has been on fire the last month and has found himself knocking down triple-figure scores again. I guarantee he does that again this week, with plenty of touches and tackles for the hard hitting defender/midfielder. Lock Adams in.
West Coast v GWS
West Coast looked like genuine premiership contenders until about three weeks ago when they were humbled by Sydney on a Friday night. Since then they got demolished by Essendon at home and blew a 26-point lead late in the third quarter to get smoked by Adelaide last week. They simply must respond, but unfortunately they will have to do that against a GWS side that have won four in a row and are now just two wins behind their opposition.
Gun: Andrew Gaff ($16.8m)
I’ve spoken at great length this season at how impressive Andrew Gaff has been in taking the next step to being a genuine superstar in this league, so I’ve run out of superlatives. Let’s just go to the facts. Averaging 113, coming off a 148 IN A LOSS and playing at home. He will never let you down.
Dud: Jon Patton ($11.3m)
What a disappointing season it’s been for big Jon Patton. After his wonderful second half of the year last season I really thought he’d become the dominant key forward he’s promised to be for so long, but that just has not happened. With Jeremy Cameron being out there will be even more of a defensive focus on him and he will miss out on Cameron’s wonderful distribution when he goes deeper looking for the ball. Oh, and he’s playing against a defensive line littered with All-Australians.
Point of Difference: Mark Hutchings ($10.4m)
Mark Hutchings came from nowhere last week to throw up a 114 and make every fantasy player take note. He’s actually had a strong season if you look at his numbers, with an average settling around the early 80s which is decent for a player barely over $10m. He whipped himself into shape this year, admitting he had been carrying way too much weight in the past, and he has proved valuable to an Eagles side that certainly need his power running. Would be a real POD and could be a good one.
That’s all for this weekend’s daily fantasy AFL picks, so now be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!