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In a twist of fate, now-Swans in Ben McGlynn ($7,000 FWD) and Josh P. Kennedy ($8,700 MID) both return in time to square off against their old club. Of the pair, I’d be looking closely at JPK for a big revenge score – the clearance master hasn’t scored below 93 fantasy points against the Hawks in his last 11 games against his former club!
For the Hawks, a straight swap for Cyril Rioli ($7,300 FWD) has left Daniel Howe ($3,900 DEF) out the cold, which is a real shame. Howe had his best game last week with 19 touches and 5 tackles for 86 MB, and he was finally starting to show flashes of that NAB form that we all got so excited about. At sub-$4k, keep him in mind for future contests but Round 9 won’t be his time to shine.
After kicking off the year with 4-straight tons (and a 129-point average over that span), Sam Mitchell ($9,500 MID) has spent his last 3 games wallowing in double-digit territory. The safe play at his exorbitant price-tag is to simply avoid Mitchell until he produces that inevitable bounce-back game and proves that he’s over that nasty calf niggle that seems to be hampering his output.
He’ll never receive top billing, but I like Liam Shiels ($7,700 MID) as a sneaky play this week. His midfield time is up over the past fortnight as he recovers from a turbulent pre-season fitness-wise and that’s been evident from scores of 108 and 109 in the past couple. Shiels has hunted his way to at least 12 tackles in three of his past four games and once he gets that possession rate up over 20 again, we’ll be in line for some monster scores. It’s easy to forget that this is the same Shiels that averaged a lick under the century mark in AF last year, and it’s the same Shiels that went above 110 on a massive 9 occasions last season alone.
If you trust opposition analysis and fixture trends, then you need to be looking at Lance Franklin ($8,200 FWD) and Kurt Tippett ($7,600 FWD) to out-muscle the Hawthorn defenders this Friday night. My numbers tell me that Hawks give up a ton of points to opposition forwards; in fact, Hawthorn are the only side to concede 4 or more 115+ fantasy scores to FWDs this year. Both are ticking over at 102 Moneyball points or better in their past three games – which means that there’s literally no reason not to spend the cash on at least one of Sydney’s tall towers.
Injuries to Matthew Kreuzer and Levi Casboult in the same week have sent Carlton into bandaid mode in the ruck and, unfortunately, the best they have to offer us is Daniel Gorringe ($5,200 RU). The former Sun might have been a possible option in a vacuum, but unfortunately he runs into the behemoth we call Todd Goldstein ($9,600 RU) in his first game for the Blues. This makes Goldy almost a must-pick on a match-up basis, especially after he destroyed Shaun McKernan to the tune of 197 MB last year in a strikingly similar situation. Form-wise, Goldstein comes off back-to-back 115’s and they were against ACTUAL ruckmen.
To muddy the Saturday Slam ruck waters is high-achieving duo Nic Naitanui ($8,000 RU) and Scott Lycett ($6,600 RU), who become instant options against a Lobbe-less Port. Naitanui is the obvious option given that he’s likely to win 40+ bonus hit-out points. But don’t count out Lycett, who boasts a basement score of 89 MB in his last five outings and will save you a handy $1,400, which you can use to treat yourself elsewhere.
Jackson Trengove ($3,900 DEF) has been great in this past fortnight with 100 & 83 MB scores, but he’ll fall short of that this week. The role change into the ruck has paid dividends so far, but he comes up against a scary combo in Lycett/Naitanui and I can’t see that continuing in Round 9. West Coast has not conceded a single 90-point MB score to ruckmen in 8 games this year and is unlikely to do so against a part-timer.
Nick Vlastuin ($5,300 DEF) has been earning significant midfield time over the past fortnight and has produced scores of 83 and 88 MB as a result. He’s good value if it continues and thankfully, we can slot him in back there as a DEF. Cotchin’s return and Houli’s prolonged absence leave a question mark over his role in the immediate future and there’s a serious possibility he’s sent back into defence as a Mr Fix-it. The weather out West will be extremely wild on Saturday evening, and Vlastuin’s ability to lay a tackle will come in very handy – he’s notched 14 over the past fortnight.
Rory Sloane ($8,700 MID) can go huge at any time, as evidenced by scores of 136 and 156 MB in his past 3 tries. While he doesn’t need any help to get the job done, the Suns decimated midfield (Hall, Ablett, Swallow, O’Meara and Rosa are all out injured) will only make it easier for him to go bang. Sloane is the fantasy equivalent of death and taxes this week, so get on board.
Jacob Hopper ($3,500 MID) will be hugely owned after a busy debut than resulted in 106 MB points. At the time of writing, Hopper hits on an extended bench but will surely make the cut after such an impressive first showing. As for his scoring – it’s worth remembering that it was against a weak Suns team last week and Hopper will probably find it a little harder against the ball-hogging Doggies.
On the topic of rookies, Rhys Mathieson ($3,500 MID) will make his long-awaited AFL debut this week for the Lions and they don’t call him Beast Mode for nothing. He’s a strong consideration on the potential that he can get close to reproducing his hefty NEAFL numbers, and he should have plenty of midfield exposure with Beams and Rockliff absent in that Brisbane midfield.
Not even West Coast’s Web could stop Nick Riewoldt’s ($9,900 FWD) marking onslaught, with the Saints skipper notching his 5th double-digit marking game on the trot. Averaging 131 MB over his last five games, Riewoldt is worth every penny of his $9.9k price-tag against a side without a defender who can go with him. The perfect dessert for your Sunday Funday buffet.
The Bulldogs vs Giants match will be a case of the Unstoppable Man vs the Immovable Object this week, based on opposition trends, as:
- WBD are ranked #1 for fantasy points scored this season, but
- GWS are ranked #1 for least fantasy points conceded this year.
Whose stats will hold true? I don’t know, to be honest. Either way, I won’t be strongly targeting any players in this game (outside of value picks) as both WBD & GWS have conceded a league-low 5 scores of 115+ this year. Now that Lachie Hunter ($8,600 MID) and Stephen Coniglio ($8,700 MID) are approaching saturated prices, they might not be the astute picks this weekend that they’ve proven to be so far this season.
Here’s what opposition tall forwards have been doing against Brisbane KPDs this year:
- Josh J Kennedy, 8.2, 198 MB
- Jarrad Waite, 5.1, 136 MB
- Tom Hawkins, 4.4, 90 MB
- Tom J Lynch, 5.2, 113 MB
- Jake Stringer, 3.3, 82 MB
- Lance Franklin, 5.2, 105 MB
- Charlie Dixon, 5.0, 90 MB
- Mason Cox, 4.2, 86 MB
Crazy stats! You’d be a brave man to suggest that Jesse Hogan ($7,500 FWD) isn’t going to go bananas this weekend. The Demon forward has produced only the single score below 80 MB in the past 6 weeks, so he’s gets a nice fat tick for form as well as fixture.
Winning those big Moneyball pools requires having players that go big, and Jack Viney ($8,100 MID) typifies that by exceeding 110 MB on 5 occasions already this year! Brisbane is having serious midfield issues at the moment and Viney will be one of the main beneficiaries for the Demons. Those who’ve owned Viney in these past weeks won’t need any more convincing than that!