Marvel, 7.50pm AEST

$75,000 AUD on Draftstars ($15 entry, 125 max)
$1,500 USD on Draftkings ($15 entry, 3 max)
WEATHER: Roof closed.
BOOKIES: St Kilda $1.46 favourites, 164.5 over/under.


After proving so consistent for so many weeks during an injury pile-up, the Saints have made their first significant pivot at the CBA’s. Dunstan (-43% CBA share) and Crouch (-36%) both hit 2-month lows, while Zak Jones (+37%) and Ross (+50%) were smashed for individual highs over the same period. Is this an enduring trend, or just St Kilda’s way of resting their inside bulls who carried so much of the load while the others were missing? Steele maintained his maxed-out inside role but a Mark Hutchings stoppages tag limited him to just 18 touches – thankfully, the St Kilda skipper is an absolute beast and amassed 13 tackles to limp to 108 AF. As expected, Paul Hunter did his best Rowan Marshall impression with 40% of St Kilda’s ruckshare behind Ryder, but is only really a placeholder until the man he replaces is cleared to return (and he played like it, too). Brad Hill (88 AF) spent most of his day across half back but went stale after a fast start; the Saints moved him up to a wing in the final quarter and he warmed up again. Keeping him in defence for most of the day came at the expense of usual-defender Connolly (30 AF), who was thrown around the ground in odd roles all day. The extra midfielder putting a squeeze on the CBA’s trickled down to the wing rotation, with Dunstan/Crouch playing hybrid midfield roles leaving Byrnes/Billings to share the limited remaining wing time, interspersed with forward flank stints. Long (forward pocket), Clavarino (intercept defender), Coffield (half back) and King (monster) were the other roles of note, with Howard (50%) wrestling back the kick-in crown comfortably from Webster (0%).

Carlton’s forward line was already running on fumes in terms of talls, so McKay’s late withdrawal with a toe injury was Game Over a full day before the first ball was even bounced. Teague didn’t have a lot of options at his disposal, but opting to rotate inside bulls in Cripps (67% CBA share) and Kennedy (30%) through full forward wasn’t the genius move he hoped it would be – especially given the Blues went in a defender heavy. He finally relented and switched Weitering forward in the last quarter, but the damage was done by that point. Those modest CBA’s ranked as 3-month lows for both Cripps and Kennedy, with the latter particularly affected by the 50% drop with a corresponding 73-point fantasy freefall from his Round 18 monster. Carlton needed all the forwards they could get so Fisher’s temporary midfield role evaporated, with Ed Curnow stepping back in from the wing at times for 33% CBA presence in his 200th. On top of all that drama, Sam Walsh found himself navigating a Simpkin tag and was well-held to 72 AF, but Dow (77 AF) at least maintained his role with season-high fantasy score. Silvagni was undoubtedly Carlton’s best performer in his dual role as solo key forward and back-up ruckman with 106 AF, while De Koning (84 AF) improves every single week and clunked a few important marks given Carlton’s height woes. Newman can keep his head high after moving out of his comfort zone to lay 8 tackles for his 90 AF, and could be looking at an expanded role here after Williams went down with a hamstring injury approaching half-time. Newnes/Cottrell (wing), Petrevski-Seton (half forward/CBA cameos), Williamson (forward then switched back), and Martin (deep forward) were the other roles of note on a turbulent day for the Blues – so many of these changes hinge on the availabilities of McKay, Charlie Curnow and Casboult this week, so take any Round 19 snap pivots with a grain of salt.


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

  • This is a much more balanced St Kilda side than last week, with clear defensive, midfield and forward units. Confidence is high in the above table, as far as filing away players into those categories.
  • Hunter Clark (half back) and Highmore (interceptor) join the backline, with St Kilda dropping their “extra” from last week to provide some clarity around Bradley Hill’s half-back role and Connolly’s weird usage from Round 19.
  • Marshall replaces Paul Hunter as a back-up ruckman/key forward. The big utility had been warming up in the weeks leading up to his quarantine.
  • Ryder is under a small cloud with the 6-day break – make sure you’re prepared to act if he’s ruled out an hour from the bounce.
  • Byrnes to play the half forward/wing overlap role, unless Billings’ knee is still giving him trouble and he needs to be managed through a lesser role. That pair is interchangeable based on medical info we can’t know from outside of St Kilda’s four walls, so plan accordingly.
  • Within the midfield group is the biggest unknown with St Kilda’s Teamsheets this week. Steele is obviously locked as an inside bull, but Round 19 showed that the inside/outside splits of Crouch, Dunstan, Jones and Ross aren’t as concrete as the last 2 months might have had us believe.
  • My gut says that last week’s pivot at the CBA’s was a once-off – and I say this with zero confidence – but it’s pretty clear that Jones/Ross perform closer to their potential on the outside than Dunstan/Crouch does, making it the best structure net-positive-wise for the Saints.

Carlton: C Curnow, McKay, Honey, O’Brien IN – Betts, Cottrell, Petrevski-Seton, Williams OUT
Notable outs: Casboult, Pittonet, Docherty, Williams.

  • Speaking of balance, Carlton regains some of that much-needed intangible with key forwards McKay and Charlie Curnow returning to the senior side (provided that McKay doesn’t have a hiccup between now and bouncedown).
  • That frees up Silvagni to play a preferred third tall forward role, although he’ll still be needed to chop out De Koning in the ruck.
  • O’Brien replaces Cottrell on a wing. He’s technically interchangeable with Newnes in the table above, but I think Carlton want to see what they can get out of Lochie in his preferred position, a player in whom they’ve invested a high draft pick into.
  • Williams’ injury reduces Carlton to a clear back 7, with Newman likely to have a much bigger role than alongside the grossly overpaid recruit.
  • The return of the key forwards releases Cripps/Kennedy from full forward duties. Cottrell’s axing pushes Ed Curnow back out to a wing, with Carlton looking at a clear inside core of Cripps/Kennedy/Dow/Walsh.


St Kilda has conceded the 3rd-most points to ELITE MIDs in L5.
St Kilda has conceded the 4th-fewest points to RUCs in L5 (Ryder a key part of this).

Carlton has conceded the 4th-most points to GEN DEFs in L5.
Carlton has conceded the 4th-most points to GEN FWDs in L5.
Carlton has conceded the fewest points to MIDs in L5.
Carlton has conceded the 2nd-fewest points to ELITE MIDs in L5.



BEST PICK: Patrick Cripps – M – $11,770 DS

The price is right, so Crippa, come on down! 2021 has been a familiar story for the Carlton skipper, pushing through injury at worst and playing sore at best, and that’s lowered his price to bargain status. He scored 88 AF last week posing as a full forward for long stints, but a timely arrival of Carlton’s key forward cavalry rubber-stamps a full-time inside role for Cripps this Friday evening.

St Kilda is a lot of things in the midfield, but “accountable” is not one of them – a big part of why they’re ranked 3rd for fantasy points conceded to elite midfielders. So while I’ll have plenty of love for Sam Walsh at $16,470, I can’t pass up Cripps for almost $5k cheaper – and without the same threat of a Dunstan/Ross tag that Walsh runs. 

BEST VALUE: Matt Kennedy – M – $11,060 DS 

This one is simple – key forwards return, and Bam Bam Kennedy goes back to ramming into packs rather than freezing up near the big sticks. Given that he’s averaged 98 as a midfielder this year compared to just 43 as a forward, you can feel confident in pushing ahead with Kennedy in your core on Friday night – let the casuals worry about his 44-point score out of full forward last week. 

I considered Lochie O’Brien ($7,570 MID) in this spot given the likely pure wing role, but there’s just no confidence in his ability at AFL. He scored 54 back in Round 1 and has only been averaging around that figure in the VFL in his last few games (62, 49, 50), so it’s not like he’s been banging the door down – this feels like a final audition to keep his career. Exercise caution.

BEST RUCK: Rowan Marshall – R/F – $13,020 DS

While we don’t exactly have reliable data on what a week or so in hotel quarantine does to an athlete’s match fitness, Marshall showed enough in the weeks leading up to his bizarre time off to suggest he’s finally built his base back up. Increasing steadily from 64% to 77% TOG in the month since his return, Marshall’s output has followed suit with scores of 43, 91, 75 and 122.

Given Ryder’s ($10,730 RUC) reported soreness and a tough match-up for De Koning ($10,250 RUC/FWD), Marshall actually presents as the safest option, despite his elevated salary – and don’t forget about his upside in the scenario where Ryder is a late withdrawal, either.

BEST STAT: Bradley Hill – D/M – $12,160 DS 

One of the most inconsistent players to ever throw on an AFL guernsey, Hill has actually found some continuity in his back-line role recently. Originally sent back in Round 13 after a rollercoaster start to the year, the inferior Hill really found his niche in the past month with an average of 93 AF in that time – absolutely dwarfing the 67 AF he posted in the first 15 rounds of the season.

With Carlton struggling to clamp down on Gen DEF’s of late, Hill should be a key target in the defensive slots for you on this slate, especially with fellow rebounder Sinclair out with a hamstring strain and Hunter Clark likely to resume underdone.

BEST RETHINK: Jack Billings – F/M – $11,740 DS

Billings will have lost a lot of mates in fantasyland over the past couple of months, which has included a late withdrawal and 4 scores under 60. Most of this can be put down to his troublesome knee, which has seen him play more and more across half forward in the middle part of this season.

On the flipside, he’s upswung a couple of times with a 100 and 103 in that period. He’s constantly threatening to smash his price-tag with a move back up to a pure wing at some point, and the Teamsheets are wide open for him to do that on Friday – if his knee is up to it.

And even if it isn’t, Carlton’s half-back line is hardly known for its accountability – where Billings would be just as likely to cash in on the Gen FWD DvP trend as anyone else for the St Kilda. Love him in GPP’s here, especially in Saints-heavy builds.


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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