GEELONG vs WESTERN BULLDOGS

GMHBA, 7.50pm AEST

MAIN SLATES:
$75,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 125 max)
$3,000 USD on Draftkings ($15 entry, 7 max)
WEATHER: 11 degrees and showers.
BOOKIES: Geelong $1.64 favourites, 155.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

A flurry of healthy “best 22” players returning resulted in a huge shift in Geelong’s rotations, with almost a complete replacement midfield transplanted in for the clash with Port. Selwood had his workload eased with a healthy drop in TOG and Parfitt had his KPI’s reduced across the board, but everyone else was shown the door – Narkle and Stanley were axed completely, while Higgins (half forward) and Menegola (wing) returned to previous roles. That was all to allow O’Connor (82%, tagger), Dangerfield (59% CBA share, hybrid M/F) and Duncan (24%, hybrid midfielder) to resume normal programming, which casts severe doubts over the midfield roles of both Parfitt and/or O’Connor moving forward with Cam Guthrie’s return imminent – Geelong haven’t set us a precedent for this yet, because they haven’t had everyone fit at the same time this season. On the other hand, Blicavs and Ratugolea were very true to the precedents set so far this year as a ruck pair, running a 40/60 split at the CBA’s, and the exact reverse in overall ruck contests. No other surprises in terms of roles, outside of Stewart wrestling back some favour in the kick-ins from Tuohy (although an accurate Port contributed with a small data set here). 

The Bulldogs haven’t been happy with the output of Bailey Smith as a hybrid midfielder since Treloar went down, taking the extreme steps of dropping Lipinski and shuffling Caleb Daniel (40% CBA share) into the midfield rotation to allow Bazlenko to return to a pure wing role. Unfortunately, he still struggled with just 44 AF, so future role changes are still a possibility. Daniel the midfielder was impressive in a real-life football sense, but to only accumulate 79 AF highlights how not being able to get the easy pill in the backline actually hurts his ceiling. Moving Daniel up eased the overlapping skillsets of he and Dale as distributors, with the break-out defender freed up to take a hefty 82% of the Bulldogs’ kick-ins against the Dockers. Stef Martin replaced Sweet as the #1 ruckman but was subbed out at half time with a shoulder knock, which explains English’s big KPI boosts – this doesn’t change Bevo’s preference to play English as a key forward predominantly moving forward. Liberatore (71 AF) was once again tagged ahead of Macrae (114 AF) and Bontempelli (125 AF), which is a trend that we hope continues in favour of leaving the high-ceiling Bulldog MIDs unspoiled for DFS. Hunter (pure wing), Daniel (hybrid midfielder), Roarke Smith (forward pocket) and Johannisen (pressure forward) were the other roles worth clarifying following that high-profile shift in the CBA’s. 

TEAMSHEETS

Geelong: Guthrie IN – Higgins OUT
Notable outs: Narkle, Higgins, Stanley.

  • Not much to see here, outside of the extra midfield squeeze in bringing in Cam Guthrie – who has averaged 73% CBA presence this year – for Shaun Higgins and his 0 CBA’s against Port.
  • Most likely we see Dangerfield and Parfitt play heavier splits up forward, with Selwood’s TOG again managed and a few CBA’s freed up that way. That leaves O’Connor to tag a key Bulldog.
  • The other option is moving O’Connor out of the midfield and back to defence, which is a bit messy. Tuohy would have to return to his 2020 half forward role following a career resurgence or Atkins would have to totally backflip on the position he’s played all year in a career-best season. Possible, but unlikely – and potentially mostly because, of all teams, the Bulldogs are the side that you’d want to wheel out a tagger for.
  • That begs the question – do the Cats value Libba’s in-and-under work the most (as Melbourne and Fremantle have over the last two outings), or is the ball-winning of Macrae or the utter class of Bont a higher priority?

Western Bulldogs: Unchanged
Notable outs: Treloar, Dunkley, Wood.

  • An unchanged Bulldogs means an unchanged structure – I think they saw enough with Caleb Daniel in the midfield to give it another go. See the above CBA’s & Roles section for more details.
  • A key part of this slate will be figuring out which if those 5 small forwards plays more high half forward than forward pocket. It’s between Hannan and Roarke Smith in my opinion, with both having reps up on the wing over the past month. Edge them ahead of Weightman (pocket), Scott (pocket) and Johannisen (pressure half forward) in your player pool for mine.

TRENDS

Geelong has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to KEY DEFs this year.
Geelong has conceded the 3rd-fewest points to GEN DEFs this year.
Geelong has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to GEN FWDs this year.
Geelong has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to MIDs this year.

Bulldogs have conceded the 4th-most points to KEY DEFs this year.
Bulldogs have conceded the 3rd-fewest points to GEN FWDs this year.
Bulldogs have conceded the fewest points to MIDs this year.
Bulldogs have conceded the fewest points to ELITE MIDs this year.
Bulldogs have conceded the 4th-most raw points to RUCs this year.

HISTORY

PLAYS

BEST PICK: Tom Hawkins ($11,120) & Jeremy Cameron ($10,140) – F

When you’re devoid of value on a slate, like we are with these two heavyweights going at each other, game scripts become much more important to nail. Correlations, trends and match-ups suddenly become more important than the “this player is underpriced, smash him into as many line-ups as possible” method that Draftstars’ mysterious pricing algorithm often throws up. 

This had me thinking about where each side can expose the other. The midfields are evenly matched as two of the premier onball divisions in the league, while Geelong’s defence is one of the few that can handle both the aerial acrobatics of Naughton and the speed of the Bulldogs’ small forward fleet.

No, the clear advantage belongs to Geelong; they boast two of the best key forwards on the planet, up against an undersized Bulldogs backline that features more whipping boys than seasoned pros. I’m not saying that both Hawkins and Cameron fire on Friday night – key forwards often anti-correlate with each, especially against strong opposition – but I find it very difficult to see how the Doggies can contain both at once. Crank up your exposures to this potent pair. 

BEST VALUE: Lachie Hunter – M/F – $13,150 

It’s rare that I whack someone so expensive down as a Best Value pick, but I’ve seen enough from Hunter in the post-Dunkley/Treloar era to pull the trigger here. He’s scored 99, 93 and 102 since the BFF’s went down with injury, and despite having to battle it out with fringe midfielders like Lipinski and Roarke Smith at times over the journey, the Fremantle clash was the closest thing we’ve seen to a permanent wing role for Hunter this year. 

It’s easy to forget that Lachie ticked over at a massive 116 as a pure wingman last year – the 3rd-highest average in the competition – and I’ll be shooting for that upside with Hunter’s handy FWD status and a hefty discount on the Duncan/Macrae/Guthrie/Bont types ahead of him. 

BEST RUCK: Mark Blicavs – R/D – $10,570 

We’ve talked about Blitz every week since Stanley was given the boot, but nothing has changed – he’s still under $11k, he’s still pickable in both the DEF and RUC slots, and he’s still 20-30 points better as a ruckman than a defender over a hefty sample size. The safest pick on the slate.

You couldn’t do it in a cash line-up, but Stef Martin ($7,810) is getting too cheap to ignore as a #1 ruckman. Sure, he hasn’t shown much of late, but his most recent scores of 23 and 45 were both injury-affected duds. He had 62 and 70 in the fortnight before that though – now that’s something I’m very interested in at a sub-$8k price-tag.

BEST STAT: Tom Stewart – D – $13,690 

I often bring up Stewart’s lack of GPP appeal – he’s too expensive for a guy who’s only scored over 120 four times across a 98-game career – but what he does bring to the table is extreme consistency. With a basement score of just 88 in his last 10 games, as well as the lowest standard deviation in his scoring amongst all players this year, Stewart is a great place to spend your salary in a H2H or double-up line-up this Friday evening. 

BEST RETHINK: Brandon Parfitt – M/F – $11,630 

If, like me, you can’t see Parfitt hanging around as often in a fully-fit Geelong midfield, then you need to try to pivot away from him as a salary saver or a “safe” FWD option as much as possible this week. The majority of Parfitt’s best scores have come from heavy midfield roles – he’s averaged a healthy 94 AF in his four games with over 60% CBA presence this season, but that drops significantly to just 72 AF in the remaining games without it. 

He can still upswing, of course, but his baseline output just copped a massive whack with all of Duncan, Guthrie, Dangerfield and O’Connor returning to action over the past fortnight. 

 

Thanks to Morts at DFS Australia for his all awesome tools, plus websites such as FanFooty, DT Talk/The Traders, Footywire, AFL Tables, Draft Central, AFL Ratings, Daily Fantasy Rankings and DT Live for their various stats and references.

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