With just two wins separating second and ninth, we are gearing up for one of the most exciting runs home in recent memory. Thursday and Friday night managed to squeeze out three teams that are not a part of that race, with only Geelong featuring who have real relevancy remaining in their season. Friday’s St Kilda-Carlton showdown on paper looks like one of the more missable prime-time matchups in recent memory, but it may prove to be one of the better games of the round with both teams looking to impress with nothing to lose in front of a national audience.
Let’s get into it.
Adelaide vs Geelong
Adelaide’s fleeting revival with a big win at home over West Coast was short lived as Richmond absolutely flogged their Grand Final opponents and ended their season. This has been a hugely disappointing year for Adelaide, who countered the losses of Charlie Cameron and Jake Lever with a trade for favourite son Bryce Gibbs. Gibbs has starred, as has Rory Laird, but the remainder of the team has been hugely inconsistent and that has resulted in their current position. Geelong recorded a monumental win in Sydney last week, and they look set for an assault on the top 4. The Crows likely will be crestfallen after last week, and this has the potential to get ugly.
Gun: Joel Selwood ($17.1m)
Joel Selwood is the most in-form of Geelong’s superstar midfield trio and seems to be relishing the extra freedom to roam around the pitch and wreak havoc on opponents. It took two-thirds of the season, but it seems the Selwood-Patrick Dangerfield-Gary Ablett jnr threesome have figured out how to play together, and the rest of the league should be terrified. Selwood has seen his average rise to 110 on the back of a monster month or so, including a 127 last week that was relatively quiet for a total of that magnitude. I expect Adelaide to tag their former golden boy, so Selwood should get plenty of touches.
Dud: Patrick Dangerfield ($15.6m)
This is based purely on the aforementioned analysis that I believe Adelaide will stick a Rory Atkins or someone of his ilk on Patrick Dangerfield in an effort to take him out of the game. Frankly, as far as PlayON goes, Dangerfield has been wholly unimpressive this year. I keep waiting for the game’s best player to be just that, but the scores are yet to translate. Even last week, as Geelong beat Sydney at the SCG, the eye test would have suggested Danger had a monster game. He had just 76, and is outside the top 50 for scorers with a 96 average.
Point of Difference: Tim Kelly ($11.7m)
I want to remind everyone of Tim Kelly, who has undoubtedly been the find of the season. Through the opening month or two of the season, Kelly completely outshone Geelong’s superstar trio and looked like he might form the fourth head on their midfield Scylla. The interest and ownership in Kelly died slightly as he had a couple of average games, but he is still hugely relevant and still available at a bargain price. He was two points off triple figures last week and in the open pastures of the Adelaide Oval Kelly could easily top that.
St Kilda vs Carlton
Oddly, these are two of the in-form teams in the competition. The hapless Saints have won two of their past three, and while Carlton continue to lose, they have so much talent to build on. This could very well prove to be the most enjoyable game of the round, as two teams with nothing to lose and a bevvy of young talent go head to head in the dome. St Kilda, outside of David Armitage and maybe Jack Steele, are irrelevant when it comes to fantasy football, but Carlton certainly are not and usually teams that play against them enjoy similar outputs. I will always err on the side of caution with picking any Saint, but if you do this may be the week.
Gun: Patrick Cripps ($15.9m)
It’s hard to go anywhere else here. In a game that I think will be hugely beneficial to both teams’ fantasy outputs, Patrick Cripps is by far the standout player on the field and the points should come streaming in. I expect St Kilda to give him a number of different looks in midfield in terms of matchups, but they don’t have anyone that can match Cripps’ mix of athleticism and skill. I can see him going 120+.
Dud: Whoever gets the job on Cripps
Pay close attention to the final lineups and try and identify who will be stuck on Patrick Cripps, because it will be a long night for whichever poor soul gets the job. As I said earlier, it’s likely they give the Carlton superstar a mix of defenders, but the injury to Jake Carlisle will certainly lessen their ability to take him one on one in St Kilda’s defensive half and it will be a difficult job for one of the Saints’ smaller midfielders to go with the behemoth. I would imagine they’d look to keep Jack Steven free from him, but owners will have to keep an eye on late news and identify who gets stuck with no.9.
Point of Difference: Ed Curnow ($15.7m)
I try not to put super expensive guys in the POD category because it kind of defeats the purpose, but Ed Curnow is relevant here. His ownership has tried up over a barren month after he lit the competition alight through the first half of the season. He has failed to take control of games in recent weeks, with Patrick Cripps taking more influence and, as such, fantasy points away from ‘Charlie’s brother’ but he simply has too much ability for this to continue. I’m banking on Curnow, who still has an average of 100, to bounce back with another triple-figure score in a free-flowing game between two of the AFL’s worst.
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!