SATURDAY SLATE

MAIN CONTESTS:
$75,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 125 max)
$1,000 USD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 2 max)

 

NORTH MELBOURNE vs GOLD COAST

Blundstone Arena, 1.45pm AEST

SINGLE SLATES:
$8,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 15 max)
WEATHER: 10 degrees and partly cloudy.
BOOKIES: North Melbourne $1.64 favourites, 160.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

North aren’t the basketcase they once were – and admittedly a lot of that was due to a lengthy injury list – and their competitiveness over the past few weeks have been reflected in their settled midfield rotations. Tarryn Thomas (63% CBA share) has been the big improver over the past month, even pushing past LDU (-21%) in the CBA’s to post his 4th-straight score of 75+. Davies-Uniacke was still able to reach value with 99 AF in a hybrid midfield role, backing up Dumont and the incoming Luke McDonald in the wing rotation. The role for the latter had big implications at both ends for North, with Turner and Walker able to remain in defence and Stephenson forced to remain up forward without a spot up on the wing available for him. Crucially, though, it kept the Ziebell/Hall combo undisturbed in defence and both were able to hit their regular level of scoring with McDonald back in the fray. Taylor impressed with 74 AF in a high half forward role and racked up more than Bailey Scott in a similar role, but consistency has been a big issue for him this year. 

The Suns are under a heap of pressure to get results, and Stewy Dew isn’t leaving any stone unturned in finding the right midfield mix. However, with injuries to Swallow (concussion) and Weller (hamstring) out of this game, he’s going to have to look under a few more. Anderson (+30% CBA presence) was the in-game solution after being chained to a forward flank the past few weeks, and he did enough with 95 AF to suggest he should get the same opportunities moving forward. Fiorini as the medical sub is the big one though, dominating in the VFL this year with a 123-point average and he translated that into AFL form with 70 AF in 66% game-time. He’s so out of favour though. Flanders and Rankine have been on the next tier for midfield consideration lately and earned a few cameos to suggest they’re still in that match committee conversation. Rowell continues to build form and fitness with just 64 AF in 79% game-time, but at least the inside time is there. Sam Day returned to senior action with a quiet afternoon but did so as a full-time key forward, so Burgess maintained his back-up ruck role – at least for now. One of the Hail Mary’s that Dew threw up was a new defensive forward role for Jack Bowes in the final quarter (with Holman switching into a back pocket), which is worth tracking in the event that it frees up the overlapping skillsets of Bowes/Lukosius in defence. Interestingly, Bowes had his best fantasy quarter by far in the last stanza, scoring 40 of his 64 points up the ground. 

TEAMSHEETS

North: Phillips, Young IN – Scott, Powell OUT
Notable outs: Anderson, Polec, Corr, Bonar.

  • North make a couple of changes to their outside rotation, with Young/Phillips likely to just replace the wing/half forward minutes of Scott/Powell.
  • While both McDonald and Young can play in defence if needed, I think the Roos are pretty happy with their current back 7 and want to get some continuity into it. Ziebell/Hall should continue unaffected.
  • Tarryn Thomas looks safe as a CBA recipient again – it’s a shame that he’s lost FWD status on Draftstars.
  • With a packed wing rotation already, Stephenson looks destined for another FWD-heavy role.

Gold CoastAinsworth, Sharp, Corbett IN – Swallow, Weller, Burgess OUT
Notable outs: Witts, Swallow, Weller, Collins. 

  • Corbett for Burgess, key forward L4L. Suggests that the Suns are ready to throw Day back into back-up rucking duties.
  • Sharp for Weller, wingman L4L. Very, very interested in Sharp at basement price with a few injuries in the Gold Coast midfield, coming off scores of 104, 96 and 108 in the VFL.
  • Ainsworth (half forward) for Swallow (midfielder), which bumps Anderson back into full-time midfield duties.
  • I have Anderson spending time between the guts and wing, which allows Flanders and Rankine to sneak a few CBA cameos.
  • Back to Anderson though – it’s easy to forget that he averaged 95 over the first 6 games this season (including scores of 120, 118, 120) because of a slow removal from the midfield and into the half forward flank graveyard shift. Last week’s 95 AF, won after moving into the midfield following Swallow’s early concussion, was Noah’s highest score in 2 months. $11,830 is way too cheap for this role.
  • Rowell’s getting cheaper and his scores are getting higher. We’re approaching the crossover point.
  • If Gold Coast had added another defender to the mix, I’d have been excited about breaking the Lukosius/Bowes deadlock by moving Bowes up the ground, as Dew did late last week. Keep in mind that’s always an option – same with Lukosius onto Weller’s vacated wing, and Bowes remaining in defence – but without a solid backline replacement, I can’t see it. I’m not sure Holman is a defender.

TRENDS

North has conceded the 4th-fewest points to KEY FWD’s in L5.
North has conceded the fewest points to GEN FWD’s in L5. 

Gold Coast has conceded the 2nd-most points to KEY DEF’s in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the 2nd-most points to GEN DEF’s in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the most points to KEY FWD’s in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the 4th-most points to GEN FWD’s in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the most points to MID’s in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the most points to ELITE MID’s in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the most points to RUC’s in L5. 

HISTORY

 

 

COLLINGWOOD vs FREMANTLE

Marvel, 1.45pm AEST

SINGLE SLATES:
$10,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 15 max)
WEATHER: 12 degrees and partly cloudy.
BOOKIES: Collingwood $1.68 favourites, 151.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

The Pies sent off Bucks in style and Scott Pendlebury was at his typical best on the big occasion, thanks in no small part to a move back into a full-time midfield role. Pendles was quoted during the Bye period that he expects to be used in the guts and across half-back for the remainder of the year, and while Taylor Adams’ imminent return puts the inside time under threat, De Goey’s 1-week suspension after dominating as a full-time midfielder (106 AF from 83% CBA presence) puts that on hold for Round 15. Crisp rounded out the inside core with Daicos (wing) and Elliott (deep forward) jumping in with a few cameos. We had some continuity in the outside roles for Collingwood this week, with Poulter and Hoskin-Elliott the full-time wingmen, reinforced by high half forwards in Sidebottom and Josh Thomas. Mayne (97 AF from 8 marks) remained in defence but looked to have a fair chunk of his distribution absorbed by Maynard (133 AF with 13 marks), and that role is further under threat with the intercepting Moore injuring his knee. Bianco played as a small forward and returned a more reasonable score (33 AF) for his role and experience level this time around. 

With a Nat Fyfe-sized hole to fill in the midfield, Fremantle threw us a moderate curveball in resisting the urge to throw Walters (just 15% CBA share) into a significant onball role. Instead, Fyfe’s role was dismantled and absorbed by committee, with the under-nourished remaining Fremantle midfielders each seeing a small boost. Serong (87 AF) was one of that crew, returning his second consecutive score in the 80’s with a tagging role – he was charged with the impossible task of keeping up with Touk Miller all day. Sean Darcy was monstrous and now needs to be held in a similar regard to the Gawns, Grundys and O’Briens of the DFS world following yet another score of 130+, equaling the former pair with 2 such scores this season. Bewley joined Acres in the wing rotation with Cerra/Brayshaw covering the leftovers as expected, with Crowden well and truly out of that rotation (and deservedly so). Western (half forward) and Walker (half-back) were quiet on debut, and the latter’s score actually flattered him with Gold Coast’s lacklustre press artificially boosting the entire Fremantle backline’s fantasy output. 

TEAMSHEETS

Collingwood: Grundy, Cox, Adams IN – Lynch, De Goey, Moore OUT
Notable outs: De Goey, Sier, Moore, Howe. 

  • Before we start – a new coach usually means new roles. Take everything below with healthy doses of skepticism.
  • Grundy for Lynch, ruckman L4L.
  • Adams for De Goey, full-time inside midfielder L4L.
  • That leaves Cox (key forward) for Moore (key defender), which sparks a small restructure. It’s likely as simple as moving Murphy from a weird half forward to half back.
  • Crisp is obviously another option in defence (but I think they’ll need him in the midfield with De Goey out).
  • With 3 key forwards behind him, I can see Elliott sneaking a few CBA’s here.
  • No Moore puts Mayne’s backline role up in the air – he’s had to playing lockdown in the past and it hasn’t been pretty in fantasy.
  • I have Daicos as a M/F above, but there’s definitely potential for a hybrid midfield role there – especially if new coach Robert Harvey also Sidebottom as a high half forward. His stocks should steadily rise as the reality of missing Finals sets in and the Pies start thinking about the future.

Fremantle: Logue, Taberner, Fyfe, Switkowski, Wilson IN – Conca, Duman, Western, Bewley, Crowden OUT
Notable outs: Hamling, Cox, Hughes, Chapman, Young.

  • Logue/Wilson for Conca/Duman in defence.
  • Taberner/Switkowski for Crowden/Western in attack, which rebalances the forward line.
  • That leaves Fyfe (guts) for Bewley (wing), which means significant wing time for at least one (but probably both) of Cerra and Brayshaw. Doesn’t make a huge impact on their scoring either way with how Fremantle run their midfield rotations though.
  • Nothing specifically changes for Walters, who had just the 3 CBA cameos last week.
  • Serong has tagged lately, but I’m not sure it’s a permanent thing – Pendlebury/Adams would be his top targets at stoppages if so.

TRENDS

Collingwood has conceded the 2nd-most points to KEY FWD’s this year. 

*** NOTECollingwood have historically given up a lot of points to DEF’s, but that has dried up over their last month of action ***

Fremantle has conceded the 3rd-most points to GEN DEF’s in L5.
Fremantle has conceded the 4th-most points to KEY FWD’s this year.
Fremantle has conceded the 4th-fewest points to MID’s in L5. 

HISTORY

 

 

PORT ADELAIDE vs SYDNEY

Adelaide Oval, 4.35pm AEST

SINGLE SLATES:
$10,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 15 max)
WEATHER: 13 degrees and mostly cloudy.
BOOKIES: Port Adelaide $1.29 favourites, 160.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

Robbie Gray was already tracking for a more relaxed game up forward against the minnows from Gold Coast in his 250th, but a knee injury approaching half-time ruined the celebrations. Willem Drew tends to enjoy more midfield time against the easier sides and this was no exception, scoring 94 AF from a huge 80% game-time. I flagged this in last week’s Bible so I don’t think Gray’s injury had a big impact on that boost, with Rozee’s (+22%) cameos much more likely to be the replacement attendances. Amon and Houston were the full-time wingmen here, with Houston’s 86-point score stalling mid-way through the final term with hamstring awareness – one to keep an eye on. Lycett’s return didn’t go as smoothly as predicted, with Ladhams’ hot form as a solo ruck over the previous month changing the nature of their ruck relationship. With a 60-40 split in total ruck contests it was much more of a timeshare than a clear 1-2 punch, which undoubtedly hurts Lycett’s DFS prospects if it continues moving forward. Lienert’s inclusion across half back meant Lachie Jones remained up forward following a late role change in Round 13, which also allowed Bergman to return to a half-back role that he absolutely starred in with 76 AF in the first half. Frustratingly, injuries to forwards in Jones/Gray brought in the defender Hartlett as the medical sub, and that forced Bergman to return to the half-forward graveyard shift for the second half. 

With the barest injury list in the League, Sydney’s KPI’s have the luxury of being purely form-based rather than injury-affected. Their midfield rotations remained identical to recent times, with an 18% boost for Rowbottom (at the expense of Mills) the result of a cooling job on the red-hot Tom Mitchell after half time. Regardless, Rowbottom’s edge over Florent (wing) in the CBA’s is now crystal clear. Amartey stole a slice of Hickey’s ruck time (in both the CBA’s and overall ruck contests) which is worth tracking, especially if he’s going to keep pumping out scores like 74 and 92. There weren’t any other role changes to cover for the settled Swans, with a groin/rib issue keeping Cunningham to just 5 points after the midpoint of the 2nd quarter being the only significant footnote.

TEAMSHEETS

Port: Williams, Marshall, Hartlett IN – Gray, Ladhams, Jones OUT
Notable outs: Duursma, Butters, Gray, Bonner, Fantasia, Clurey, Ladhams. 

  • Marshall in for Ladhams, which frees up Lycett to play as a solo ruck.
  • Hartlett for Jones, which unfortunately keeps Bergman up the ground in the awkward HFF role.
  • Williams in for Gray, although likely plays more as a permanent forward than the hybrid role with the big chunk of CBA’s that Gray was soaking up. He’s scored 88, 35 and 95 in his last three SANFL games, with 6 snags coming in that last one, so I’m not expecting too much from him with the step up in quality. Will scale heavily on goals.
  • Gray’s vacated CBA’s means there’s upside for Drew as an inside midfielder obviously, also for Powell-Pepper and Rozee with the potential for a few extra cameos.

Sydney: Gulden, Brand IN – Wicks, McDonald OUT
Notable outs: Reid. 

  • Gulden for Wicks, half forward L4L.
  • Brand (key defender) for McDonald (key forward) is interesting. Moving McCartin forward would be the simple solution, but I doubt they’ll want to rip out their key defensive pillar. Much more likely that they just play Heeney as a deep forward and moving a runner up the field.
  • I’ve nominally chosen Dawson up to a high half forward role given his experience in many different positions over the journey, but all of Cunningham, Hewett and even Fox could switch to new roles. Stay flexible on this one.

TRENDS

Port has conceded the 4th-fewest points to MID’s in L5.
Port has conceded the fewest points to ELITE MID’s in L5. 

Sydney has conceded the fewest points to GEN DEF’s this year.
Sydney has conceded the 3rd-most points to GEN FWD’s this year. 

HISTORY

 

 

ESSENDON vs MELBOURNE

MCG, 7.25pm AEST

SINGLE SLATES:
$15,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 25 max)
WEATHER: 9 degrees and mostly cloudy, chance of showers late.
BOOKIES: Melbourne $1.25 favourites, 159.5 over/under.

CBA’s & ROLES

Draper’s return couldn’t have been more impressive, with the wild ruckman amassing 83 AF with a combination of intercept marking, clearance work and competitiveness in the hitout department. Gawn looms as a tough match-up this week, but I’m sold on Draper as a DFS option in future weeks with more mortal ruck opponents. Injuries to McGrath and Zaharakis was always going to result in some CBA participation for Stringer, but I didn’t think it’s be a massive 85% share – and I certainly didn’t think it would be at the expense of Langford (-37%) given his recent form boost as an inside midfielder. It’s hard to argue with Truck Rutten’s decision in hindsight – Stringer’s monstrous 136 AF from 29 touches, 7 tackles and 4 snags was probably the greatest individual performance of the season. Merrett was given a tight tag by Shiels that was released at half-time, but the damage was done – he and Parish had their first “down” days in a while with scores in the 80’s against easy opposition. Speaking of down days – Nik Cox (38 AF) has been labelled a unicorn this year, but he had an absolute mare down at UTAS Stadium despite a full-time wing role. File that one in the “inconsistency from a young player” cabinet. Cahill played as a small forward on a needs basis after training as a half-back all season, which left the wing rotation to Cox (full-time), Langford (part-time) and Guelfi (part-time). Perkins, Devon Smith and Ham all plugged away in half forward roles and you can see how their scoring suffered as a result. In brighter news, Ridley stormed back into kick-in supremacy and posted his best score (87 AF) in a month as a result. 

Melksham’s axing was the only change to Melbourne’s midfield rotations, with his limited attendances sprinkled amongst the fringe Sparrow/Jordon/Pickett types – the impending return of Jack Viney will put an end to that honeymoon phase soon enough though. The Demons were able to expose Collingwood’s lack of Grundy with big afternoons for Gawn (119 AF) and Jackson (95 AF) around the ground, but they actually lost the aerial battle 26-33 in the hitouts to a Lynch/Cameron combination – absolutely unheard of for any ruck division up against Max, let alone a pair of back-ups. The 3-goal Pies victory suddenly starts to make sense when viewing it through that lens, because the Demons didn’t record any structural changes – they were simply outplayed. 

TEAMSHEETS

Essendon: Waterman IN – Cahill OUT
Notable outs: Shiel, Caldwell, McGrath, Zaharakis, Hurley, Phillips. 

  • Waterman for Cahill, small forward L4L.
  • Identical structure and a win last week suggests similar roles across the board.
  • Stringer is obviously the elephant in the room, and while I can’t see the 75%-85% CBA presence being an issue, his increased time spent in the midfield after the clearance against the Hawks probably isn’t sustainable.
  • Keep an eye on Ridley’s kick-outs – he looks to have regained the role out of the bye reset.

Melbourne: Viney IN – Weideman OUT
Notable outs: B Brown, Weideman.

  • The Demons drop a tall forward with Viney replacing Weideman, which is an interesting call given the obvious midfield squeeze it creates. Maybe they’re wary of the forecasted showers?
  • Hard to project any significant midfield time for both Jordon/Sparrow, who’ll have to make do with half-forward flank roles. You’d be a brave man or woman to pick them in DFS on a 4-game slate this weekend.
  • Harmes can also expect a CBA drop this week, and unfortunately we don’t have any exposed form on this with he and Viney not playing a single game together this season. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a defensive gig from Harmes either, with Merrett the obvious tag candidate.

TRENDS

Essendon has conceded the most points to KEY DEF’s in L5. 

Melbourne has conceded the most points to GEN DEF’s in L5.
Melbourne has conceded the 3rd-fewest points to KEY FWD’s in L5.
Melbourne has conceded the 3rd-fewest points to GEN FWD’s in L5.
Melbourne has conceded the fewest points to RUC’s this year. 

HISTORY

 

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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