Positive tests, postponed games, rising stars, late withdrawals and big upsets – Round 3 had it all. And we rode all those bumps in DFS, with Draftstars and DraftKings both offering up huge prize pools to keep us engaged over this rollercoaster of a weekend. So let’s check out what the papers are saying:



After Matthew Rowell was selected with the #1 pick at last year’s draft, I heard the same thing from multiple people who had followed his junior career: “He’s like Sam Walsh, just not quite as good”. That wasn’t a criticism of Rowell by any measure – Walsh had just unanimously won the Rising Star (I’m discounting Luke Darcy’s votes as a serious mental impairment is the only thing that could have produced them) after conjuring the best season by a first-year player since Joel Selwood in 2007, averaging 25 touches along the way. It was just about keeping the expectations realistic for the sparkly new draftee up on the Gold Coast, home of the reigning wooden-spooners.

I think we can safely say that Rowell’s exceeded those expectations.

Rowell has easily been Gold Coast’s best player since the resumption of the 2020 season, and that’s actually saying a fair bit, the way the Suns are currently playing. He’s averaged 23 touches, 8.5 tackles and 2 goals over the two games – insane numbers even if we weren’t playing 20% less footy in Coronaball. Rowell didn’t just break the Sunday slate in DFS with a 98-point score at his modest price, he obliterated it, featuring in 27/30 teams atop the leaderboard of Draftstars and 48/50 on DraftKings.

Hub Porn

Covid-19 has been devastating globally, for many reasons far more important than fantasy footy, but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the trickle-down effect it’s having on DFS. Hub teams are now 4-0 against non-Hub teams, including two capitulations at the hands of Gold Coast and a couple of statistically-lopsided affairs the way of Brisbane. Two of those wins were against West Coast, so I’m going to argue that this goes beyond simply two good teams beating bad teams in a small sample size.

In DFS land, it’s been defining our slates with the stacking potential these Home Hubbers are exhibiting. Combining the outputs of the Suns and Lions during Hub life, these clubs are averaging 1324 fantasy points as a team compared to their opponent’s 1124 – a massive 200 points better off per game. That’s an extra 9 points, per player, on average.

With the Suns taking on the 0-3 Fremantle and the Lions facing a winless Adelaide in Round 4, expect this trend to steamroll through DFS slates this weekend.

The Replacements

Conor McKenna’s house-hunting has had far bigger implications on the AFL than he could have ever expected, with the Essendon and Melbourne game postponed indefinitely and the ire of every red-blooded footy fan heading his way. DFS was also affected, with a 3-game Sunday slate whittled down to 2 and both operators in DraftKings and Draftstars taking different approaches to how they handled the sudden fixture change. 

As pissed off as the public might be with Conor, nothing could compare to how his backline brethren at Essendon must be justifiably feeling. Hurley, Hooker, Saad, Redman, Ridley and Guelfi formed McKenna’s training group and, given that they had close contact with the Irishman in a gym session late last week, it could earn them a fresh 14-day stint in quarantine. 

Enter The Replacements – except it won’t be Shane Falco getting a call-up, it’ll be some guy called Mitch Hibberd. If the AFL force the Bombers to suit up without their quarantined crew, they would need to replace 5 of the 6 backmen originally named for Round 3. We’re going to see fresh meat. We’re going to see role changes. We’re going to see a huge influx of stacks, with punters betting against a virgin Essendon backline. 

It’s going to be DFS chalk day if it happens, and I’m pumped. This is like 2016 Essendon all over again!


Harry Perryman – 105

Draftstars: $11,400 MID/DEF – 15% owned – 9.2X value
DraftKings: $5,600 M – 17% owned – 18.8X value

Perryman has been one player I’ve absolutely whiffed on in DFS for 2020, mainly due to my fear of his new HFF role. Harry’s best games last season were the result of a distributor role off half back, or with full-blown midfield time during GWS’s injury crisis. So I won’t take full responsibility here, because i didn’t expect him to BE LEADING THE COLEMAN MEDAL after 3 rounds.

Perryman’s 105 from 23 touches, 8 marks and 2 snags broke the Friday night slate, especially coming from the losing team. As a result, most high-placing line-ups were Bulldogs stacks with a hint of Perry-Perry, with the over-achieving Giant featuring in 6 of the top 7 teams on Draftstars and the top 8 sides on DraftKings leaderboard.

Brayden Maynard – 107

DraftKings: 5,200 D – 20% owned – 20.6X value

St Kilda identified Jeremy Howe as a threat after a skywalking outing in Round 2 and opted to send the former Pie Marsh to him in a forward tag capacity. So it was “next man up” in Collingwood’s perpetual possession machine, and Maynard was that man in his 100th AFL game. Most of his value here was a boost in the marks column as he got more involved in the +6 chip game with Howe being watched closely, notching a juicy 7 marks in Coronaball (compared to his 2019 average of 4.3 in full-length games).

Maynard was simply way too cheap on DraftKings and 20% of line-ups were clued into his value there – a hefty figure given his low name-brand value on a 4-game slate. He featured in all of the top 4 line-ups on DK, which accounted for $33,000 USD in prize money (and 55% of the total prize pool in a top-heavy prize structure over at DraftKings). 

Ollie Wines – 86

Draftstars: $12,750 MID – 18% owned – 6.7X value
DraftKings: $5,500 – 40% owned – 15.6X value

Getting drunk on Wines on a two-game slate in soggy conditions was the correct play on Sunday with the former co-captain making his move from the naughty corner into Port Adelaide’s engine room seamlessly. All punters needed to see with Wines was an inside midfield role, and they got exactly that with the bull attending 80% of centre bounces in his 74% game-time. 

It was champagne shower time if you had Wines on Draftstars with 6 of the top 7 teams acquiring his services, while 47 of the top 50 sides uncorked the vino at a significantly cheaper price-tag on DraftKings


Ivan Soldo – 30

Draftstars: $10,710 RK – 72% owned – 2.8X value
DraftKings: $6,200 R – 47% owned – 4.8X value

Getting comprehensively outplayed by Jonathon fucking Ceglar has to be a career lowlight for Soldo, in a career that hasn’t produced many highlights yet either. He somehow managed to make the newborn foal look like Winx, getting slapped 20-9 in the hitouts and 80-30 in fantasy points. My goodness. 

Soldo was the biggest anchor of Round 3 by far, with not a single team in the top 148 spots on the DraftKings leaderboard featuring the Richmond oaf. Ivan was significantly more popular on Draftstars, so he managed to pop up with 4 appearances in the top 40… but 3 of those sides had Ceglar as a forward at least. What a disaster. Anyone have Nankervis’ number?

Lachie Whitfield – 10

Draftstars: $14,280 MID/FWD – 61% owned – 0.7X value
DraftKings: $7,000 M/F – 53% owned – 1.9X value

I’ll generally avoid giving ‘Troublemaker’ status to an injured player, but Whitfield’s monstrous ownership and early concussion completely morphed the Friday slate into a game of Minesweeper. It came down to 2 things – did you have Whitfield, and did you prefer Jacobs to English? If the answer was yes to both, then you’re eating exclusively carrots and mi goreng for the next month.

If the answer was no to both, then you’d have experienced a groundswell in cash flow. 6 of the top 7 satisfied that criteria on Draftstars, as well as the top 42 places over at DraftKings

Spare a thought for DS user Codzy while you’re there, as he had double entries with this belter of a line-up – which would’ve claimed 1st and 2nd place (and an extra $15,000) with a mere 85 from Whitfield. The sadness.

Jack Steven – 21

Draftstars: $11,020 MID/FWD – 16% owned – 1.9X value
DraftKings: $5,000 M/F – 32% owned – 4.2X value

It was always a risk picking Jack Steven in his Geelong debut, just weeks after being stabbed by a knife in the chest (is this real-life AFL or a story arc in Friday Night Lights? I’m not so sure anymore). And he played like a recently-stabbed man too, managing just 21 from 77% time on ground that included a mere 5 CBA’s as he spent most of his time trotting around aimlessly in the forward line.

You can’t escape a score like that on a 4-game slate, and I’m sad to say that I’m the no-so-proud owner of the highest-ranking line-up on Draftstars to feature the former Saint. Hooray. 


4 sneaky CBA’s that piqued my interest in Round 3:

Crouch’s Crutches

Adelaide have been a terrible midfield defensively for years now, but they got the job done offensively, at least from a fantasy standpoint. Not anymore. The Crouch brothers are the main accumulators for the Crows and taking them out of the middle tips the midfield scales violently, with no-one left to rack-up touches needed to outweigh the easy possession that Adelaide religiously give up the other way.

Matt and Brad hovered around the 75-85% CBA mark last season and enjoyed both fantasy and DFS popularity because of it, but that was down to 60% and 45% respectively in Round 3. In a game where the Crows got pantsed by a 3rd-gamer that needs to wear sunscreen at night time. The logic.

Even accounting for Coronaball, Brad’s 75-point average and Matt’s disgusting 64 are way below expectations, so I’ll be dialing down my exposures to the Crouch Brothers in DFS for as long as Adelaide starves them of the CBA’s they need.

Casualty Ward

Although Ward scored 79 AF and generally passed the eye test (where many of his teammates didn’t) against the Bulldogs, he’s still only attending 40% of GWS’s centre bounces. That’s with Taranto and Greene injured, Kelly withdrawn late and Whitfield concussed, mind you. It’s hasn’t hurt us yet, but let the record show – I’m still concerned. 

Major Tom

I wrote about Houston’s problem in this section last week and all it took was a Burton injury and a Wines return to remove him from the midfield mix entirely. He didn’t log a single CBA against the Dockers, playing exclusively off half-back for his 55 AF. Expect a lot more variance in Houston’s scoring moving forward, and he’ll profile much closer to standard DEF moving forward, scaling more with Marks and soft match-ups than MID trends.

The Beveridge Chronicles

The midfield rollercoaster continues in Footscray, with Beveridge reversing his Round 2 mindset by deploying Macrae at 60% of centre bounces against GWS, rather than on a wing in Hunter’s stead. And what do you know? The Bulldogs dominated and Macrae logged season-highs in disposals (25), tackles (7) and fantasy score (105).

This coaching gig doesn’t seem so hard now, does it, Bevo?


What a massive Saturday evening for fantasy_boss/BBren on Saturday evening! They clearly used their own tools to great effect, taking out the top prize in both DraftKings and Draftstars, as well as 2nd place in DK. Overall, and accounting for the USD exchange rate, Fantasy Boss turned 22 entries and $320 into a massive $31,000.

But howwwww did he do it?

The big key to his success was St Kilda defenders. Fantasy Boss clearly saw something he liked with the DvP numbers against Collingwood forwards, opting exclusively for pairs of Saint DEF’s (outside of a couple of Maynard pivots on DK).

That allowed him to hit on Carlisle’s 88 in half his DK teams (field was at 2.8% ownership) and 25% of his entries on DS (field 1%). Coffield’s 73 appeared in more than half of his line-ups (just 2% ownership combined), and these were rounded out with Paton’s 72 (3% ownership combined) and some Hunter Clark attempts.

He didn’t even hit Dougal Howard’s 67 at near-base price and 1% ownership in what is one of the most devastating exploits of a DvP that I’ve ever seen. 

As you’d expect he also nailed his premium along the right chalk plays. Neale was unsurprisingly present across all of the best line-ups with his 126 and Sidebottom (also 126) formed the backbone of his DS line-ups. Meanwhile, Simpkin (96), Pittonet (78) and Bonar (35) all did their jobs at high ownership.

This is exactly what we were talking about last week after Shearmagic pulled a similar magic trick with (coincidentally) his St Kilda stacks – you have to do something different to take down a GPP with low entries. You need some flavour, or a high-profile fade, or, like we have seen here with Fantasy Boss, a soul call on an uncovered positional weakness. Well played!

  • #DFSlife

I forgot to put the call out for #DFSlife content on a Sunday night when the DFS pain was fresh in all our minds, so I’m going to focus on #DFStoutlife instead. The head Stud himself put some sensitive content out there on Twitter with some strategy talk for the Port vs Fremantle game:

This is a pretty standard play. Tweeting it out was intended to highlight the decisions that high-entry DFS players make multiple times a slate and the thought process behind it. If you’re not fading McKenzie, you’re making a similar decision somewhere else. 

For instance, Lobb was always going to be highly-owned with Sean Darcy out. That means that he was worth considering fading, especially given it was a torrential game and he scores a lot of his points from marks. With Lobb ultimately scoring only 52 points to Lycett’s 85, that would’ve been a successful play. But it was a decision that every MME player had to make when deciding on their exposures.

Options were thin up forward but Andrew Brayshaw was nursing a tight calf during the week, so do you fade or smash him into your line-ups? Another decision. And so on.

Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of DFS coaches out there are too focused on the OUTCOME rather than the PROCESS, based on the replies to that tweet:

Of course, we’re going to focus a lot on the theory behind ‘fading’ at Draftstuds in the future. But we’re also going to try and change the mentality of the casual DFS player, so that it’s not a “bad” tip or a “bad” fade based on an outcome of a single game. We want it to evolve into whether you had the “right” thought process or strategy – and how well you executed that strategy – not whether it came off in a single instance. 

After all, a broken clock is right twice a day, just like Steph Curry misses a free throw once every now and then. One data point means nothing in isolation. 

If you have a results-oriented mentality, then it’s holding you back in DFS. Let’s fix that!

5 thoughts on “Tbetta’s Newsletta – Round 3”

  1. its great you guys put your balls on the line and show your strategies. But no need to get upset if you they do not come off and punters want to bag you for being “wrong”. You will get the praise if it comes off so take the good with the bad.

    1. Hey Eagle.

      Nothing wrong with constructive criticism as no one gets everything right all the time, and there is always room to improve. Nobody is getting upset with receiving negative feedback – God knows I’ve received my fair share over a decade of producing fantasy content – I’m just pointing out the flawed thought process behind the feedback in this case.

      We’re trying to emphasise process over outcome here, and we will continue to do that to help people improve at DFS.

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