Marvel, 7.50pm AEST

$75,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 125 max)
COMING SOON on Draftkings
WEATHER: 8 degrees and partly cloudy.
BOOKIES: Essendon $1.30 favourites, 165.5 over/under.


Depth is the one thing that Essendon are lacking at the moment, and it’s ironically that dearth of midfield options that’s giving us a really consistent onball rotation. Stringer has been a huge part of that lately, with Essendon smashing him as an inside midfielder – he’s averaging massive numbers of 85% CBA and 115 AF over the last three weeks. His inclusion allows the Bombers to maintain some quality on the outside with Langford playing primarily on a wing, which is an area of the ground that needs propping up with Cox looking tired after a long debut season and Zaharakis the best “option” putting his hand up from outside the 22. In saying that, Snelling was excellent with 24 touches and 97 AF in his first game back from injury, and he’ll likely be leaned on heavily in that half forward/wing role moving forward – especially when Guelfi was the man Essendon had to turn to during his absence. Devon Smith (half forward), Cutler (half back), Redman (lockdown defender) and Waterman (deep forward) were the other roles of note, while Perkins still can’t be touched in that dirty permanent forward role, despite the CBA cameos this week.

Nothing to write home about with Adelaide’s midfield rotations this week, outside of a few last quarter attendances for debutant Luke Pedlar (49 AF) at the expense of fellow fringe midfielder/forward in Schoenberg (-18% CBA share). That means that Sloane (87 AF) retained his full-time inside role despite picking up a finger injury in Round 15 that the Crows feared would end his season, but he’s pushing through the pain barrier in typical Sloane fashion. Frampton returned to the side but did so as a permanent key forward, which kept Thilthorpe in back-up ruck duties; it’ll be interesting to see how Adelaide structures up in attack (and the ruck) if Walker misses the Bombers clash after suffering that nasty neck injury that caused him to be subbed out. Doedee switched forward in the last quarter (and snagged a goal), but I’m not sure whether this would be their preferred solution with the luxury of planning ahead of Round 17. Sholl (wing), Mackay (wing) and Jones (half back) were the other roles of note, while Hately came on as the medical sub and played across half forward to preserve the established rotations. 


Essendon: Gleeson, Guelfi IN – Heppell, Ham OUT
Notable outs: Shiel, Caldwell, McGrath, Zaharakis, Heppell, Hurley.

  • Guelfi for Ham, half forward L4L.
  • Gleeson for Heppell, half back L4L.
  • No obvious structural changes from the Teamsheets suggests a consistent Bombers line-up, although Guelfi has spent time on a wing this year and I think the Bombers would prefer not to play Perkins at CBA’s. It’s only a small thing, but I can see Langford playing more of a hybrid midfield role with Cox/Snelling on a wing and Guelfi as a high half forward.
  • With Heppell out, there’s room for either Redman or Cutler to play a more accumulatory role. Even Gleeson too, I suppose. Bombers have religiously had only enough backline fantasy goodness to sustain 3 defenders this year, so whoever joins Ridley/Hind has upside.
  • Cox looks cooked.

Adelaide: Himmelberg, Murphy IN – Walker, Brown OUT
Notable outs: Crouch, Talia, Brown, Lynch, Walker.

  • Himmelberg for Walker, key forward L4L. Flip a coin for who gets back-up ruck duties between Thilthorpe and Himmelberg here.
  • Murphy replaces Brown, which sparks a restructure. Either Mackay or Sholl slides back to defense (with the other on the wing) and there’s a little bit of extra midfield time to go around. Schoenberg is at the front of the queue, but Pedlar was given CBA’s in the last quarter in Round 16 and didn’t disappoint – he could enjoy a significant boost (at least, relative to his price-tag).


Essendon has conceded the 2nd-most points to GEN DEFs in L5.
Essendon has conceded the 4th-fewest points to GEN FWDs in L5.
Essendon has conceded the 4th-fewest points to MIDs in L5.
Essendon has conceded the 3rd-fewest points to RUCs in L3 (since Draper returned).

Adelaide has conceded the most points to KEY DEFs in L5.
Adelaide has conceded the most points to GEN DEFs in L5.
Adelaide has conceded the 3rd-most points to KEY FWDs in L5.
Adelaide has conceded the 2nd-most points to GEN FWDs in L5.
Adelaide has conceded the 2nd-most points to MIDs in L5.
Adelaide has conceded the most points to ELITE MIDs in L5.



BEST PICK: Zach Merrett – M – $16,650 DS

It’s really hard to ignore what the Crows are giving up to opposition midfielders, and particularly elite opposition midfielders. We’ve had Lyons with a slate-breaking 133 AF last week, Walsh (123) before that, and Steele (133) and Crouch (121) the week before that. Merrett is a better accumulator than all of them, and we can’t forget about his ball-magnet teammate in Parish ($17,690) either. 

I’ve gone with Merrett for the extra $1,000 in the kitty – and his form of 143 and 153 in the last fortnight is technically better than Parish’s anyway – but he’s also got some serious runs on the board against the Crows with monster (uninjured) scores of 134, 126 and 173 in his last three against them. Make Merrett a priority on Friday night.

BEST VALUE: Luke Pedlar – M – $5,500 DS 

I mentioned above that Pedlar received some CBA’s in the final quarter last week, and given that his quarter-by-quarter fantasy scoring finished up 12 – 3 – 9 – 25, do you reckon it worked? 

You should always be looking at these types around basement price on single-game slates anyway, but his finish to last week gives me some confidence that Pedlar could play meaningful midfield minutes this week and not only just scrape to value with a 40-50, but potentially smash value with a 60-70. Make sure you’re exposed.

BEST RUCK: Reilly O’Brien – R – $12,090 DS

I’m an unashamed Draper fan, but given that O’Brien is what I envisage as the best version of Draper in the future, you might as well just pick ROB right now. 97, 111, 91, 93 and 87 are his last five totals, which suggests that he’s well and truly over the back problems that resulted in scores of 54, 73, 59 and 63 in the month prior. Safe as houses.

BEST STAT: Will Snelling – F – $11,300 DS 

Snelling was back with a bang last week, sneaking up onto a wing for 24 touches, 7 tackles and 97 fantasy points. But it’s not a one-week wonder; taking out the injury-affected 52 against the Eagles in Round 11, Snelling’s last 4 scores now read 97, 86, 86 and 86. 

Most punters will see Stringer sitting there above him at $12.9k with a 115-point three-round average and stop looking, which makes Snelling an excellent low-owned pivot that can help you bring down a GPP.

BEST RETHINK: Cale Hooker – F – $8,150 DS

After a career-rejuvenating start to the year, Hooker has been in horrendous form lately with scores of 16, 43 and 35 in his past three. But you know what helps? Playing Adelaide. 

The Crows have been giving up big scores to key forwards all year, and with experienced defender Luke Brown now out injured on top of that, Hooker has a big opportunity to get his year back on track. Love him as a GPP in a packed price-bracket in the FWD slot.


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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