$75,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 125 max)
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Marvel, 1.45pm AEST

$10,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 15 max)
WEATHER: Under the roof.
BOOKIES: Carlton $1.39 favourites, 164.5 over/under.


There was always an element of mystery with Carlton’s rotations this week given the management of inside bull Patty Cripps and his regular 80% CBA share, but I can honestly say that Zac Fisher (+44%) turning into a midfielder was not one of the potential scenarios I screened. It does, however, highlight just how badly Carlton wants to keep Ed Curnow on the outside (0% CBA share) to develop their young talent, and we saw the fruits of their labour on show here; Matthew Kennedy (116 AF from 80% CBA share) was almost as dominant as Sam Walsh (155 AF, 84% CBA’s) with a slew of extra inside minutes, while Dow (56% CBA’s) was also busy but doesn’t have the same fantasy game as the aforementioned pair. Forwards in SPS and Martin received a few extra cameos than usual and can expect those to drop back down when their skipper returns. The Blues tried to roll with an 8-man defence early but gave that up, swinging Williamson into attack in the second half. Newman (61 AF) regained some kick-in favour, but the desire to get the ball into his hands as a quarterback still isn’t back. Stocker (half back), Williams (half back), Cottrell (wing) and Newnes (high half forward) were the peripheral roles, while Silvagni (61 AF) again did his best in a back-up ruck role.

A well deserved week off for family man Cunnington resulted in boosts across the board for North’s existing midfield crew, with LDU (+25%), Thomas (+18%) and Phillips (+7%) taking the bulk of that vacated inside time. The rookie Lazzarro (+29%) soaked up the rest – I thought they could’ve gone to Stephenson after his involvement in the CBA’s earlier in the year, but I guess the Roos didn’t want to mess with his high half forward role following that blistering Round 17 outing against the Eagles. Hall cashed in on Essendon’s defender DvP with 31 touches and 14 marks for his 136 AF, leaving Ziebell in the dust on 76 AF. Could it be connected to McDonald (90 AF) noticeably drifting back into defence from his now-normal wing role? Dumont (wing), Scott (forward pocket), Taylor (half forward) and Turner (lockdown defender) all maintained their roles from Round 17, while Phillips looked to play more on a wing than up forward when not getting his CBA’s. 


Carlton: Cripps IN – Owies OUT
Notable outs: Casboult, Docherty, Setterfield. 

  • Williamson moved forward at half time last week and presumably retains the role – Carlton are desperately height-challenged in attack and Williamson’s 190cm makes the most sense in the search for balance. Silvagni is their back-up ruck, for Christ’s sake.
  • If Ed Curnow didn’t get wing time last week without Cripps, he’s not getting it with him back. Another pure wing role for the milestone man.
  • Kennedy and Dow remain in the CBA core, but might have to survive on a few less reps. Walsh is capable of playing the hybrid midfield role if Carlton want to smash them full of CBA’s instead, but that would require keeping Newnes/Cottrell forward more than we’ve seen from either in recent times.
  • Fisher to return to a pure small forward role.
  • De Koning still cheap enough to eyeball as a solo ruck. 91, 66 in last fortnight, and Goldstein has allowed some big totals this year.

***UPDATE: McKay OUT. Owies IN. SEE BELOW ***

  • I can’t see any other solution than Weitering moving forward here.

North: Cunnington, Anderson, Bosenvulagi IN – Lazzaro, Mahony, Tarrant OUT
Notable outs: Corr, Tarrant. 

  • This is easily the strongest side that North has fielded this year, and some of the young stars will have to concede to the returning veterans in Cunnington and Anderson.
  • Limited clock for LDU, a midfield-forward role for Thomas and more time up forward for Stephenson are where I’ve landed. I’ll be winding back each of their their projections here.
  • Phillips almost unplayable as the 9th midfield in line. Forward line duties loom.
  • Bosenvulagi to replace Tarrant in defence, despite the size differential. Carlton’s lack of tall forwards allows this, so no concern there.


Carlton has conceded the 3rd-most points to GEN DEFs in L5.
Carlton has conceded the 3rd-most points to GEN FWDs in L5.
Carlton has conceded the fewest points to MIDs in L5.
Carlton has conceded the 3rd-fewest points to ELITE MIDs in L5.

North has conceded the 3rd-fewest points to KEY DEFs in L5.
North has conceded the 4th-fewest points to GEN DEFs in L5.
North has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to MIDs in L5.
North has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to ELITE MIDs in L5.





Gabba, 3.10pm AEST

$10,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 15 max)
WEATHER: 20 degrees and sunny.
BOOKIES: Brisbane $1.21 favourites, 160.5 over/under.


The most significant change for the Lions was in the ruck, with the ripples of Hipwood’s ACL injury warping the dynamic in there. Fullarton stepped into the senior team and took a bigger share of the ruck pie than Daniher normally does as a back-up, effectively dropping McInerney’s (51 AF) ruck time from 92% to 67% at the CBA’s and 80% to 69% in overall ruck contests. Definitely one to track. Mathieson dropping back out of the side allowed Deven Robertson (58 AF) to re-enter the inside core (42% CBA share) for Brisbane, but just 57% game-time doesn’t give him a reasonable chance to return value. Prior (36 AF) off a wing with 56% game-time and Coleman (33 AF) up forward with 59% were in the same boat. Prior’s inclusion forced Robinson off a wing for half his usual allotment of minutes, but he managed to find some success in drifting back to defence as an extra man with 26 touches and 105 AF instead. I’ll be tracking this structural mix for Brisbane moving forward – maybe Robbo can coexist with Neale in this capacity? Consistent roles elsewhere, outside of Daniher becoming a full-time key forward with Hipwood on the sidelines. 

Gold Coast’s midfield evolved as we expected, with Anderson (29% CBA presence) returning to the side as a hybrid midfielder, watering down Swallow’s (-37%) full-time inside role from Round 17 in the process. Crucially, the inside minutes remained for Fiorini, who keeps on chugging along with his 109 making it three tons on the trot since returning to the senior side. In the spirit of consistency, Rowell managed just 53 AF to go with last week’s 57. Someone is going to make a lot of money going hard on Rowell on the right week for his bounce-back game, but it’s not going to be me. An early hammy for Ellis thrust Sharp into a bigger role on the wing and he didn’t disappoint with 30 touches, 10 marks and 123 AF – this is one that’s a chance of continuing (although not at that level, obviously). Atkins was Ellis’ direct replacement on the wing as the medical sub. Holman’s 98 AF was once again the result of some awesome forward craft rather than midfield time, so hopefully the masses get sucked in by his upswings the past fortnight. I’ve buried the lede, though, because the big news from the Suns was the complete failure of Chris Burgess after 88 and 123 the previous fortnight – the swap of Day for Graham as the back-up ruck once again poisoned his ruck potency. Lukosius (83 AF) retains his edge over Bowes (74 AF) as a defensive distributor, and therefore as a DFS option.


Brisbane: Ah Chee, J Berry IN – Prior, Coleman OUT
Notable outs: Mathieson, Hipwood, Prior. 

  • God I love Brisbane. 10/10 confidence in their structures at this point.
  • Ah Chee for Coleman, small forward L4L.
  • J Berry for Prior, wing L4L. Will also likely inherit the low TOG, as he did in his initial return game a few weeks ago. I’d be giving Berry a wide berth on a multi-game slate, following 15 AF from his 50% TOG in that game – against the Crows, too.
  • Another 75/25 ruck split for Big O/Fullarton. Confidence in McInerney lowers with a smaller ruck majority than he’s used to, but the cakewalk match-up more than makes up for it.
  • Will keep an eye on Mitch Robinson’s forays into defence following 105 AF with a defensive wing gig last week. We don’t have enough data to know how Berry over Prior in the wing rotations will affect that.
  • Reminder that Deven Robertson’s TOG was critically low last week and probably can’t be considered for Cash as a result. Good enough at finding the footy to have a small amount of GPP upside with the favourable match-up.

Gold Coast: Markov, Atkins IN – Ellis, Holman OUT
Notable outs: Witts, Z Smith, Weller, Greenwood, Ellis. 

  • There’s two ways this can go, and I’ve outlined the slightly more likely structure in the table above and key points below:
  • Graham taking over as the main ruckman, replaced by Markov in defence.
  • Burgess train comes to a screeching halt as a forward/back-up ruck.
  • Lukosius or Bowes would push up the ground to allow Graham to slot into defence in his downtime, in the likely scenario that the ruck structure is more 50-50 or 60-40 than 80-20.
  • Atkins on a wing. Extreme interest in the former Crow at $7k in this scenario, especially after he finally showed something with 57 AF in 79% TOG after starting as the medical sub last week.
  • Sharp also a pure wing and has to attract suitors at $9.4k following last week’s effort.
  • Fiorini a full-time inside MID again, with Swallow/Anderson covering the excess in a wing/guts/half forward rotation. Fiorini’s price still very affordable and has to be gobbled up in this form.
  • Alternate structure looks like this:
  • Burgess to remain as the 80/20 ruckman, with Lukosius up to a wing and Atkins in a half forward/wing overlap role. While this structure would be easier to implement for Gold Coast, I’m leaning the other way because it takes Lukosius out of defence (where he’s finally getting settled as a deep distributor) and adds a small midfield squeeze.


Brisbane has conceded the 5th-fewest points to KEY DEFs in L5.
Brisbane has conceded the 5th-fewest points to GEN DEFs in L5.
Brisbane has conceded the 6th-fewest points to MIDs in L5.
Brisbane has conceded the fewest points to ELITE MIDs in L5.

Gold Coast has conceded the most points to KEY FWDs in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the 5th-most points to GEN FWDs in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the 2nd-most points to MIDs in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the 4th-most points to ELITE MIDs in L5.
Gold Coast has conceded the most points to RUCs in L5 and this year.





Optus Stadium, 4.35pm AEST

$12,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 20 max)
WEATHER: 17 degrees and mostly cloudy.
BOOKIES: West Coast $1.41 favourites, 157.5 over/under.


Adam Simpson writes a script two days before a game, and the Eagles players just go out there and execute it. Shuey (-22% CBA share) was always destined for reduced minutes but calf awareness cut his night short, and Connor West (31%) was happy to soak up his vacated CBA’s after playing most of the game as a high half forward. The mid-season recruit didn’t look out of place at all at the level, winning a team-high 13 contested possessions amongst his 19 touches, 4 tackles and 76 AF. Hard to see him losing his spot on the back of that. His usage also allowed Luke Edwards to test out a new role as the defensive wingman, scoring an elevated 76 AF without having to starve for long stints as a forward. I’ll be keeping an eye on this. Kennedy was a late withdrawal and that sparked a ruck restructure, with Bailey Williams coming in as relief for NicNat while Allen posed as a pure key forward as you’d expect. Like clockwork, Naitanui’s fantasy output (69 AF) matched his game-time (68%) – he’s proving difficult to consider in DFS when he plays with a recognised ruck back-up. Cripps (5.2 for his 115 AF) and Ryan (3.4 for his 106 AF) continued the trend of Adelaide giving up big scores to opposition small forwards, so consider those nice DvP upswings without getting carried away about their form as individuals. 

The Saints copy-pasted their Round 17 structures as well as their Teamsheets for the most part, with a brutal concussion to Dan McKenzie bumping up Zak Jones’s TOG and wing split being the only tangible change in the rotations. Uncaptured by the pure numbers was a defensive directive for Dunstan on Wines at the stoppages, a chore that might’ve limited his offensive output (95 AF) a smidge. Meanwhile, Steele (149 AF) and Crouch (126 AF) were their usual ball-magnet selves. Marshall posted his first big score (122 AF) since returning from a significant injury a month ago – his TOG has been climbing weekly and the time is right to start considering him in fantasy again. Brad Hill continues to thrive in his half-back distributing role, racking up another 29 touches and 110 AF – a very positive DvP against the Eagles looms. However, we have an interesting development at the kick-ins with Webster taking 43% of St Kilda’s restarts, and 77 AF was his just reward. Ross (wing), Long (forward pocket), and Bytel (medical sub, half forward) were the other roles of note, with both Billings and Byrnes joining Jones in soaking up McKenzie’s vacated wing time by committee in the second half.


West Coast: Waterman, Kennedy, Hutchings, O’Neill IN – Williams, Petruccelle, L Edwards, Shuey OUT
Notable outs: Redden, Shuey, Barrass, Witherden. 

  • Waterman for Petruccelle, forward L4L. Dominant in the WAFL last weekend with 30 touches, 16 marks and 4 snags, but he has trouble replicating that form at AFL level.
  • Kennedy for Williams, which return Naitanui/Allen to a 70/30 ruck split. Naitanui gets a big boost here on TOG alone, with the lack of Rowan Marshall through quarantine restrictions adding to his allure.
  • Hutchings/O’Neill for Edwards/Shuey. It puts Hutchings and O’Neill into a big cauldron of fringe midfield time along with 2nd-gamer-to-be West, and I don’t have a specific read on the hierarchy between the trio.
  • A lot comes down to Hutchings’ role – I don’t think West Coast would’ve picked him without a tagging role in mind, because you’d just develop a young player like Foley instead. Steele is the obvious tag target following an insane purple patch of form, although I wouldn’t rule out an easy kill in Bradley Hill on a wing – I have wondered out loud over the past few weeks as to how long opposition sides will allow him to rack up 25 touches every week.
  • Either way, Hutchings has shown an ability to rack up the other way with tagging roles – not reliably, but on occasion – so the $5.9k price-tag is appealing… especially as he’s averaged 130 AF in his last three WAFL outings (although obviously doesn’t tag at that level).
  • Likewise, O’Neill (96 WAFL average) and West (100 WAFL average) need to be included in your player pool in the $7k price-range on projected midfield time alone.

St Kilda: Coffield, Clavarino, P Hunter IN – McKenzie, Highmore, Marshall OUT
Notable outs: Marshall, Hannebery, H Clark, Coffield, McKenzie, Highmore. 

  • P Hunter for Marshall as the secondary ruck. St Kilda have run a Ryder/Hunter ruck combination just once this year, with Ryder taking the edge 55/45. Ryder scored 69 from 85% TOG in that game, with Hunter managing just 51 AF from 67% clock.
  • Clavarino for Highmore, lockdown defender L4L.
  • That leaves Coffield (half back) for McKenzie (wing), with the simple solution being a move to a wing for Hill. While his output has been through the roof in a fantasy sense across half back, those who actually watched the game last week were super critical of his ball-use with a few crucial turnover by foot. I don’t think he’s untouchable role-wise.
  • Settled roles elsewhere. Jones is approaching full fitness as he proved last week with 86% TOG, while a defensive role for Dunstan seems unlikely with West Coast’s midfield flailing.


West Coast has conceded the 2nd-most points to GEN DEFs in L5.
West Coast has conceded the 2nd-most points to GEN FWDs in L5.
West Coast has conceded the 5th-most points to MIDs in L5.
West Coast has conceded the 5th-most points to ELITE MIDs in L5.
West Coast has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to RUCs this year.

St Kilda has conceded the 3rd-fewest points to KEY FWDs in L5.
St Kilda has conceded the 4th-fewest points to GEN FWDs in L5.
St Kilda has conceded the 3rd-most points to ELITE MIDs in L5.





MCG, 7.25pm AEST

$15,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 25 max)
WEATHER: 10 degrees and showers.
BOOKIES: Melbourne $1.84 favourites, 147.5 over/under.


An ear infection caused a late withdrawal for full-time midfielder Harmes, with vandenBerg (58 AF) taking his place as a hybrid onballer. The domino effect took over from there – a couple of cameos for Angus Brayshaw (74 AF from 15% CBA share) revealed a new half forward/guts role, with Langdon, Jordon and the aforementioned vandenBerg holding down the wing rotation this week. The changes for a usually-settled Melbourne side stopped there thankfully, with a hamstring niggle for Petty and a neck issue for McDonald the only other factoids worth mentioning. Gawn/Jackson maintained an identical ruck split to Round 17 and what do you know? Gawn produced another middling score of 95 AF. At this point, I’m not even sure if a tasty match-up against English this week is enough to break him out of the mediocrity of this timeshare.

Libba was given a much deserved break from wrestling at the bottom of packs, which allowed a smooth transition for the returning Josh Dunkley with 61% CBA presence. He was predictably managed given it was his first game since Round 6, which left a chunk of CBA’s for Bailey Smith to soak up and he rewarded the faith with 33 touches and 98 AF. Caleb Daniel covered the wing in his absence, which left Bailey Dale with a monopoly on the distribution rights from the Bulldogs’ defence, ticking over 92 AF from a hefty 9 kick-ins. The Bulldogs went with a different look up forward this week, binning the back-up ruckman and bringing Naughton back in from concussion to have a three-pronged attack. Bruce covered English in the ruck for 23% of the total ruck contests, while second-gamer Ugle-Hagan was left to focus on his forward craft and 3 goals for 60 AF was the reward for his persistence. English produced just 87 AF as he didn’t have a single mark for just the second time in his 60-game career, but he went some way to counteracting that with a career-high 37 hitouts… a figure he won’t get anywhere near with the universally-feared Gawn match-up this week. Ed Richards (half back), Roarke Smith (half forward/wing overlap), and Garcia (half forward) were the peripheral roles on an afternoon where we learned that the Bulldogs of Round 18 aren’t the same beast as the possess-to-excess Bulldogs that kicked off season 2021.


Melbourne: Harmes IN – vandenBerg OUT
Notable outs: Nil. 

  • Harmes in for vanderBerg, fringe midfielder L4L.
  • Given that Harmes tagged Liberatore in the corresponding match-up earlier in the year, I’d be winding back your projections to Libba (78 AF last time) at a minimum. Harmes has 97 AF in that capacity – but that was without Viney in the side and probably shouldn’t be expected to back that up.
  • Speaking of, a Harmes tag on the inside bull Libba may also affect Viney’s CBA’s negatively. Don’t be surprised to see a downswing as a result.
  • After a weird role last week, Brayshaw likely returns to a wing as the Demons regain their status quo.
  • No end in sight to the Gawn/Jackson 70/30 ruck timeshare. The soft English match-up helps, though.

Bulldogs: Liberatore, Schache, Hannan IN – Dunkley, McNeil, Crozier IN
Notable outs: Dunkley, Treloar, Martin, Sweet, Crozier. 

  • Liberatore for Dunkley, inside midfielder L4L.
  • Hannan for McNeil, small forward L4L.
  • That leaves Schache for Crozier, which obviously sparks a restructure. I briefly considered whether the Bulldogs would finally throw Naughton back to defence to fit all their young key forwards in, but then I realised – Bevo. Only that man could conceive adding a 4th tall forward in wet conditions as a masterstroke.
  • Schache was the preferred back-up ruckman in his only game for the year (all the way back in R0und 6), but wouldn’t be surprised to see Bruce maintain his few ruck contests. Goes without saying that English is a solo ruckman here, essentially.
  • The loss of a defender slides Caleb Daniel back to defence, which suggests Bailey Smith will play as more of a hybrid midfielder (which was required with Libba rejoining the fray, anyway).
  • Roarke Smith rounds out the wing rotation. He’ll upswing one day…. surely.


Melbourne has conceded the most points to MIDs in L5.
Melbourne has conceded the fewest points to RUCs this year.

Bulldogs have conceded the 2nd-most points to KEY DEFs in L5.
Bulldogs have conceded the 2nd-fewest points to KEY FWDs in L5.
Bulldogs have conceded the 4th-most points to GEN FWDs in L5.
Bulldogs have conceded the 3rd-most points to RUCs in L5 and this year.





Marvel, 7.40pm AEST

$10,000 on Draftstars ($15 entry, 15 max)
WEATHER: Under the roof.
BOOKIES: Hawthorn $1.59 favourites, 162.5 over/under.


Rory Sloane made a liar out of me with a return to a full-time inside role (85% CBA share), but I’m still going to find it very hard to trust him week-to-week following his comments last round. Thankfully, Schoenberg retained his 50-50 M/F role and a lack of tagging assignment this week allowed him to return huge value with 113 AF – he looks like a clear improver for the last month of the season in an Adelaide side that is turning its attention to youth. Berry could join that train at some point, but hasn’t just yet with only 12% CBA presence and 44 AF. All other roles as expected – O’Brien was smashed with 90% ruck time with just Himmelberg as support, Jones/Hamill lined up in defence, Mackay/Seedsman stretched out on a wing, Lynch (88 AF) resumed his trademarked connector role off half forward and the medical sub Sholl replaced the concussed Murray in defence in the final term.

Two key changes for the Hawks this week, with Reeves (49 AF) replacing the injured Ceglar as the #1 ruck, while Cousins took over from Nash as an inside midfielder/half forward following the latter’s last-minute Covid protocol scratching. Melbourne’s decision to let Tom Mitchell run around free – after using Viney to tag the week prior – highlights how little other teams rate his impact. Which is just fine with me; we’ll continue to milk his massive fantasy scores like this 39-touch, 144-point effort in DFS every week until they do. Hawthorn’s backline also needed propping up with injuries to 6 first-choice defenders, with O’Brien (46 AF, 4 kick-ins) and Bramble (73 AF, 5 kick-ins) a couple of forwards masquerading as defenders here. Phillips (98 AF) finally put 4 quarters of solid footy together off a wing, with Howe (full time) and Shiels (part time) rounding out that rotation once again. Consistent roles elsewhere, with Greaves (59 AF) slightly disappointing in defence given the injury crisis created a huge opportunity for him to put together a break-out game.


Adelaide: Frampton, Sholl, Doedee IN – Mackay, Rowe, Murray OUT
Notable outs: Talia, Murray, Brown, Crouch, Mackay. 

  • Sholl for Mackay, wing L4L. Both have played the half forward/wing overlap role at times this year, and that’s where I’ve pigeon-holed Sholl in the table above; however, the outside roles are a bit hazy for Adelaide this week and there’s scope for a more potent role – see below.
  • Doedee for Murray in defence.
  • That leaves Frampton for the forward Rowe, and I actually think he plays in defence this week. Frampton covered for Doedee following his concussion a couple of weeks ago in the seniors and performed impressively with 17 touches and 11 marks. This was followed by a week at SANFL level as a defender, which delivered 31 touches and 13 marks. I’d be floored if he didn’t play in the backline against the Hawks, and I’m very interested in Billy’s services at $6.9k as a result.
  • The reshuffle would throw Hamill or Brodie Smith up to a wing, which is where the outside roles become blurry. Seedsman can play as a hybrid midfielder if they want to keep Sholl as a classic wingman, although this would likely affect the midfield time of Schoenberg.
  • However, I haven’t forgotten Sloane’s warning of a reduced role for himself a couple I weeks ago. Some extra time across half forward would certainly fulfill his own prophecy, and it would help keep Adelaide’s focus on youth alive with consistent midfield time for the rapidly-improving Schoenberg.

Hawthorn: Hardwick, Scrimshaw, Wingard IN – Greaves, Burgoyne, Jeka OUT
Notable outs: Jiath, Day, Impey, Grainger-Barras, Burgoyne. 

  • Hardwick/Scrimshaw for Greaves/Burgoyne, defence L4Ls.
  • Wingard for Jeka, forward line L4L.
  • Don’t see any significant midfield time here for Wingard, with 6-7 names ahead of him. A forward-line role on return from injury is par for the course for Chad, regardless.
  • Bramble has shown enough to lock in the half-back role for the short-term, although kick-ins aren’t secure with Scrimshaw/Hardwick looming.
  • There’s a couple of different potential combinations here for the Hawks, and the one above is most similar to what the Hawks went with last week. There’s other possible structure is O’Brien returning forward, Howe to defence and Shiels as a pure wingman. Would allow more midfield time for Cousins, and some cameos for Wingard, too.


Adelaide has conceded the 5th-most points to KEY DEFs in L5.
Adelaide has conceded the 4th-most points to GEN DEFs in L5.
Adelaide has conceded the most points to GEN FWDs in L5.

Hawthorn has conceded the 2nd-most points to KEY FWDs in L5.



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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