With now just four teams remaining, we are very much at the business end of the competition. The cream has risen to the top, with a mix of predictability and surprise about those still playing.
Richmond, the reigning premiers, have coasted to another preliminary final, while West Coast have shaken off injuries and controversies to earn their home grand final qualifier. Their opponents, however, few would have predicted. The Magpies have ridden a late season surge and downed a hugely talented Giants side to find their place a game away from the big one. The Demons have undergone a similar path, roaring home in the second half of the season and knocking out Geelong and Hawthorn, two teams many thought could be playing this week.
This is the last week for a very long time that we will get multiple games of footy, so make sure you soak up every second of it.
Let’s break down the daily fantasy picks for this weekend’s action.
Richmond vs. Collingwood
The Tigers head into their preliminary final as untouchable as any side we’ve seen since the Hawthorn three-peat. Just four losses through the regular season and a comfortable win over Hawthorn in their only finals game so far, they are chock full of confidence they can make it back-to-back flags. I wouldn’t be so hasty. The week off in finals footy really is make or break, and often it’s something we have to look back on with hindsight. How often over the years have we seen a strong favourite come into a game and be overwhelmed by the pace of the game early on and be unable to chase their opponents down? Well, there may not be a team better equipped to do just that than the Magpies. Collingwood are stacked with elite talent who are brutal frontrunners, and if they can get on top of the Tigers early, look out. That being said, no one will believe the Pies can do it until they see it. This will be a cracker.
Gun: Brodie Grundy ($19.2m)
Comfortably the best fantasy player left remaining after Tom Mitchell was knocked out last week, Brodie Grundy is a must-have against Toby Nankervis who is a solid ruckman but not at all on Grundy’s level. The big Magpie has had a career season both in a general footy sense and as a fantasy player, averaging 120 in PlayON scoring. That puts him third behind only Mitchell and Jack Macrae. He should completely dominate his matchup.
Dud: Adam Treloar ($14.8m)
Adam Treloar is still averaging 110 on the season, which goes to show just how good he was before the injury. Since his return from the hamstring issue, Treloar has had two sub-80 games, and I can’t justify the $15m investment for a player who is very clearly still working himself back into fitness and form. The Tigers are the absolute last team you want to be doing that against and with a plethora of better options on his own team, it makes no sense.
Point of Difference: Kane Lambert ($14.1m)
For me, Kane Lambert has clearly been Richmond’s best player this season not named Dustin Martin. To be honest, I think Dusty has been hugely underwhelming given last year’s form and have Lambert right there with him. He’s elevated himself to becoming an elite attacking midfielder, and this could be the game he goes massive. Collingwood have proven this year they are a friendly team for the opposition to play against in terms of fantasy points, with a high number of possessions, tackles and goals usually on offer. Lambert is key in all of those areas, and I think this is a strong matchup.
West Coast vs. Melbourne
The Demons are into their first preliminary final since the turn of the millenium, and they are in with a realistic chance of moving on. Melbourne have been electric in recent weeks, and the re-addition of Jack Viney has added another element to an already talented side. Their midfield is as good as any in the competition, and with the best ruckman in the game in the form of Max Gawn, they often are playing to their advantage at the contest. West Coast have earned the no.2 seed, and were strong in week one against Collingwood to earn the week off. However, I just feel the missing group of talent in Nic Natanui and Brownlow contender Andrew Gaff will prove too much to overcome.
Gun: Angus Brayshaw ($14.8m)
Angus Brayshaw has been one of the driving forces of the Dees’ assault on the prelims, starring both when given time in the back, midfield and forward lines. He is fast becoming one of the elite players in the game, and is hugely critical to Melbourne’s play particular off the center bounces, where his clearance work is as good as anyone in the competition. If he can dominate this area of the field and give Melbourne consistent inside 50s, it will go a long way to them winning the game. His 115 average on the year has him at no.6 in the game. Superstar.
Dud: Clayton Oliver ($17.8m)
Clayton Oliver has had a career year and has established himself as one of the best players in the game, but teams have very clearly attempted to clamp down on him to stop Melbourne’s drive and it has resulted in back to back games below 100 for a guy averaging 111. Oliver will likely be matched up with another superstar, Elliot Yeo, who was untouchable against Collingwood. He’s got defender’s awareness with midfielder’s skill and forward’s athleticism, and even though you’d back Oliver against nearly anyone, I think there are stronger options.
Point of Difference: Jack Viney ($7.7m)
Jack Viney was the best player on the field last week, racking up 27 possessions and five tackles in the kind of performance Melbourne need if they’re to challenge for the flag. Viney is their litmus test, when he’s on and influencing the game around the contest with his physicality, the Demons are very difficult to beat. He’s been a bit of a forgotten man as far as ownership in recent weeks and his price is stupidly low as a result of the foot injuries that threatened to end his season. He’s a superstar and he will absolutely be up for this one. A must-have at this price.
That’s all for Week 2’s daily fantasy AFL picks, now be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!