GMHBA Stadium, 7.50pm AEST

$90,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 150 max)
COMING SOON on Draftkings
WEATHER: 8 degrees and showers, clearing late.
BOOKIES: Geelong $1.24 favourites, 155.5 over/under.


A reshuffle of Henderson for Duncan had the expected consequence in moving O’Connor back into the midfield to play his tagging role. He went straight to Neale and had a big influence early, keeping the Brownlow Medallist to just 25 AF with a bung shoulder at the half – but that tag loosened as Geelong tired to roll the dice with O’Connor playing some offense and Neale got back on track with 81 AF in the second half alone. The remaining midfield rotations remained unchanged (outside of Blicavs winding back his CBA’s to pure ruck attendances, with he and Ratugolea running their regular unique ruck split), and that means that Dangerfield is still being wheeled out in a 40/60 MID/FWD split. With scores of 82 AF and 94 AF in that role over the past fortnight, we could see a scoring explosion from the Danger when Geelong inevitably smash his big red ‘midfield’ button in the near future. Selwood was tagged by Deven Robertson at stoppages, which explains his putrid score of 49 AF despite having his plate heaped full of the usual CBA’s. Casual observers might’ve thought Tuohy had a new half forward role with a few shots at goal, but nothing changed with his regular distributing role (5 kick-ins) – he was just able to get on the end of a couple on in-board kicks with some well-timed sprints forward from defense. Tom Stewart, however… A lockdown job on Charlie Cameron absolutely destroyed his scoring without access to his usual intercepts, and he was lucky to get to even 51 AF in that role. Higgins’ usage was the only other area of interest, scoring 69 AF from 20 touches in a high half forward position that the lopsided scoreline did not help in the slightest.

The Bombers are flying and a 10-point loss to the top-of-the-ladder Demons reinforces that rather than disproves it, but if you needed more evidence, you could just check out their brilliantly colourless table above! Identical midfield rotations over the last fortnight makes our job so much easier. That implies another heavy midfield role for Stringer (97 AF) despite my reluctance to believe in it’s existence, so fitness – both with his fragile soft tissues and that of the looming Dylan Shiel – is the only thing that can hold him back now. Langford has lost the majority of his inside time but was able to get the job done as a pure wingman with 114 AF on this occasion, but my trust in him as a ‘cash’ option diminishes with his CBA’s. Draper’s 39-point dud can be put down to an impossible Max Gawn match-up, so I have no concerns about his DFS prospects moving forward. Essendon’s backline has distilled itself down to two fantasy backmen with Heppell (107 AF) and Ridley (90 AF) establishing themselves as the primary distributors – after a strong start to the year, Hind’s output has dropped in line with his place in the pecking order back there. Guelfi (half forward/wing overflow), Devon Smith (half forward), Perkins (half forward) and Waterman (deep forward) were the other roles of note, with Cox looking fatigued in his usual gig as a pure wingman for just 51 AF. 


Geelong: Stanley, Miers, Narkle IN – Ratugolea, O’Connor, Higgins OUT
Notable outs: Duncan, O’Connor, Higgins, Ratugolea.

  • Miers for Higgins, half forward L4L.
  • Narkle for O’Connor in the midfield rotation. Sparkle won’t have a tagging job obviously, but will likely cop limited TOG as per usual. Scope for both Danger and Parfitt to increase their inside splits here.
  • Stanley for Ratugolea in the ruck. I actually think that Geelong will try and use him in a similar way, as a dual ruck/forward with Blicavs remaining in a ruck/wing role, especially given that their backline is already stacked with a settled 7.
  • Expect Stewart to be given a more fantasy-friendly role this week – his lockdown job on Charlie Cameron was an absolute disaster from every angle. Geelong need his drive and direction in the backline, not his defending.

Essendon: Cutler, Snelling IN – Zerk-Thatcher, Guelfi OUT
Notable outs: Shiel, Caldwell, McGrath, Hurley, Francis.

  • Snelling for Guelfi, high half forward L4L.
  • Cutler for Zerk-Thatcher in the backline. I really wanted to figure out a way to get Cutler onto a wing, but couldn’t find anyone else to slot into defence. Either way, I see him playing an attacking role, with Redman likely to play a more accountable position…
  • Hopefully, for Ridley’s sake, anyway – he’s been much improved fantasy-wise lately playing an intercepting/kick-in role since the Bye.
  • Can’t see anything changing too drastically in the guts with the Bombers shorthanded for pure MID’s. That means we’ll see Stringer in a midfield role again, while Langford will spend the majority of his time on a wing.


Geelong has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to KEY FWD’s in L5.
Geelong has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to MID’s in L5.

Essendon has conceded the 3rd-most points to KEY DEF’s in L5.
Essendon has conceded the fewest points to KEY FWD’s in L5.



BEST PICK: Patrick Dangerfield – M/F – $13,010 DS

Danger has attended just 32% of Geelong’s centre bounces over the past fortnight, which is way down on his 2020 average of 66%. This is due in no small part to the injuries that have cruelled his fitness base this year, averaging 85% game-time last year but running out just 74%, 73% and 78% of his last three games heading into last week’s clash against the Lions. 

With an improved 83% game-time last week, I think Danger is finally ready to pick up some of that midfield slack created through the losses of Duncan and O’Connor in recent weeks. I’m expecting at least 50% CBA presence this week, and his scoring historically follows suit. The price is right.

BEST VALUE: Tom Cutler – D – $5,960 DS 

One of those players that are stuck between the AFL and the second-tier comps, Cutler is clearly too good for VFL with scores of 106, 115 and 111 in his three full games at that level this year. Essendon have used him on a wing traditionally, but he dominated in a half-back role in the VFL and the Teamsheets strongly suggest that role will translate to the top level on Friday night. 

Either way, Cutler has been extremely busy on a points-per-minute basis when playing at AFL level this year, starting as the medical sub in Rounds 2 & 3 – he scored 45 AF in 27% game-time, before backing that up with 59 AF in 45% game-time the following week.

Of course, we can’t forget about another PPM gun in Quinton Narkle ($6,880 M/F). Geelong will undoubtedly limit his ground-time as they usually do, but he’s shown the ability to overcome that hurdle in the past – 113 AF in just 69% game-time back in Round 10 is a recent example of his GPP upside.

BEST RUCK: Sam Draper – R – $9,150 DS

I have Geelong’s ruck remaining in a timeshare despite the personnel swap, so projecting the scoring for Blicavs (wing) and Stanley (key forward) mostly likely comes down to how well they play the other half of their hybrid roles ,rather than their fortunes in the ruck contests. 

Draper has no such issues, and I saw enough in his 83-point effort against the Hawks a fortnight ago – who also boast a ruck duo in a timeshare – to feel confident in picking him as a solo ruckman here. The Cats made Oscar McInerney (115 AF from 35 hitouts and 6 marks) look like Max Gawn last week, so hopefully we see Sam Draper make a similar jump by scoring like Reilly O’Brien this Friday night. 

BEST STAT: Brandon Parfitt – M/F – $11,890 DS 

Parfitt’s scores without Duncan (including his injury games) this year: 101, 71, 97, 93, 98 and 91. That’s a 92-point average, compared to just 74 when playing alongside the smooth-moving midfielder. 

While I’d love to see some kind of ceiling there, I can’t say no to a likely 90 from Parfitt when the Cats, as a whole, have only managed to scrounge together 4 tons from their crop of highly-paid midfielders in the past month. 

BEST RETHINK: Tom Hawkins – F – $10,780 DS

Scores of 45 and 49 in the past fortnight will have the masses jumping off Tomahawk – which means this is an excellent opportunity to zig while they zag in search of the 100 and 111 he pumped out in the two before that. Hawkins has scored 123, 105 and 98 in his last three against the Bombers, so his upside needs to be respected here.


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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