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Cash Cows

Fry’s Cash Cows – Rd. 6

As we gear up for the final early bye round, Fry provides us with his valuable rookie insight!

Five down, 19 to go!

A week is a long time in fantasy footy. The rage we directed towards Harvey Thomas quickly evaporated and the confidence we had in Colby McKercher is fading fast. Round 6 welcomes the last of the early bye rounds, with fantasy normalcy returning next week. That means we can trust some of our popular rookies for another best-of-18 round, but removing them from the field is still a priority rolling out of this weekend’s slate of games. A few viable downgrade targets are making themselves known and the mainstream cash cows are approaching top dollar – making a double downgrade a very possible tactic this week.

Make sure to also cast your eyes over:
My DT Talk 2024 Rookie Guide
My DT Talk 2024 Preseason Watchlist

SBF article – The most important rookies/cash cows for 2024

Rookie/cash cows are typically defined as players who started the season priced at $300,000 or lower

Cash Cow King – Round 5

As household fantasy names like Marcus Bontempelli and Tom Green struggled in Round 5, some of the cash cows picked up the slack. Both Will Graham and Blake Drury came to the party with 100+ scores, as Graham laid 14 tackles in their win over the Hawks with Drury helping himself to 11 marks and a pair of goals for his massive score. The best of the rest weren’t too far behind as Richmond key positioner Mykelti Lefau filled up the stat sheet and second-gamer Sam Clohesy continued to thrive for the Suns. Bigoa Nuyon took his fair share of marks as well against Geelong in his first game as a Roo to register a strong score and round out the batch of nominees. My vote is easy to give out this round, with Graham acting as cover while I elected to hold Nick Daicos.

Who's gets your vote as the most important cash cow in Round 5?

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Round 5 Power Rankings

After 5 weeks of action, these are the top 10 cash cow performers in season 2023!

Making Moves

Money makers

The lowest breakevens in the game right now belong to a very eclectic group of rookies. The large majority of fantasy enthusiasts have pounced on Sam Clohesy ($339K, 94, BE -37) and Will Graham ($327K, 104, BE -29) in the last fortnight and having one or both of them in your team during Round 5 ended up being a masterstroke for coaches. Showing no signs of slowing down, they’re both as close to “must haves” as you can get in this game. A few other rookies produced eye-popping scores over the weekend and are forcing us to take notice. Blake Drury ($257K, 101, BE -26) was able to feast against Geelong, recording the first 100+ score of his young career and as a result, nearly 7,000 teams are opting to bring in the second-year Roo.

There are some concerns over his scoring ability, but a ridiculously low breakeven and a matchup against Hawthorn should see Drury continue to trend upwards. His role is similar to another MID/FWD making serious bank, Harvey Thomas ($346K, 81, BE 0). The GWS youngster repaid the faith of those coaches who invested over the last few rounds, racking up 17 touches against the Saints. He too will continue to steadily rise in price over the next month or so, although there is abound to be another dud performance mixed in with his scoring highs. In that same match vs. the Giants, debutant Hugo Garcia ($222K, 53, BE 5) did enough to suggest he’s a viable trade target – providing he dodges the vest. Entering the game early in the third quarter, Garcia quickly got to work in just 34% of game time and if he’s picked to take on the Dogs, he’ll be coming into my side.

Keep the faith

The large majority of our starting cash cows are approaching max value and if you’re going to field a few of them after Round 6, it’s a promising sign to see them hitting scores in the 60-70 point range. Starting with Ryley Sanders ($519K, 39, BE 50), I can see the appeal in trading him to ensure you get your hands on another gun MID – some may have even flicked Matt Roberts ($555K, DNP, BE 35) last week for the same reason. However, I’d be hesitant to give them the axe if it means fielding a less reliable rook, with the duo capable of churning out consistent scores north of 80.

Dockers midfielder Jeremy Sharp ($540K, 65, BE 33) is another one who has proven to be trustworthy over the first five rounds, with a matchup against West Coast hopefully leading to another fruitful score this weekend. In the forward line, Oliver Dempsey ($534K, 70, BE 35) still appears to be the pick of the bunch after he salvaged his score in the second half against North. Up to half-time, Dempsey had just 14 points next to his name and his massive efforts in the final two quarters is a reminder of what he can produce.

AFL 2024 Round 05 - Geelong v North Melbourne - A-47217114

Throughout the bye rounds, most owners will also be fielding Harley Reid ($449K, 81, BE 17) and/or Darcy Wilson ($424K, 70, BE 19) and their efforts over the last two weeks will help them push the $500K threshold. I still view Wilson with some scepticism, but if you can hold on for another week against the Bulldogs and then find an upgrade, that would be ideal. Key forward Aaron Cadman ($392K, 64, BE 22) is the other popular rookie who may have found a home on the field for a handful of coaches, and the numbers he is producing means he can stay for a while longer. Laying seven tackles against the Saints was great to see from the budding goalkicker and he (hopefully) still has a chunk of cash to make for 27% of the competition.

Cut them loose

Sigh, it happens every season. One of our preseason locks who has already become a crucial cash cow gets hurt/subbed/dropped and coaches are forced to say farewell. Depending on who you can upgrade to, some coaches may give Colby McKercher ($474K, 2, BE 87) another life, with defender status all but guaranteed but his time next week. A downgrade to Will Graham seems to be the popular move this round and there’s nothing wrong with toggling the two rookies to maximise dollars in the bank for another upgrade.

If Colby isn’t in the firing line for you, his North teammate Zane Duursma ($411K, 33, BE 51) could be after he stunk it up against Geelong. I’ve been one of Duursma’s biggest fans as a fantasy prospect, but it’s probably time to cut bait with his breakeven falling in line with his average and failing to top 35 points in two of his last three matches. The easiest rookie to cull this week is undoubtedly Caleb Windsor ($407K, 34, BE 49), the Dees talent who has been fine for coaches so far in 2024 without starring. His numbers from the first half a dozen games of his career hardly justify holding onto him.

Thin Ice

I’m assuming that a lot of coaches reading this have already moved Blake Howes ($407K, 68, BE 45) on for either Clohesy or Graham, but the Melbourne defender still resides in over 70,000 teams. Following another strong score, Howes has kickstarted his growth again – although, I still think swapping him for one of the Suns’ young guns is the optimal move.  Seth Campbell ($412K, 47, BE 35) is another popular rookie on the bye who has seen his ownership decrease slightly after struggling against the Eagles. I was expecting a lot more from Campbell over the weekend, but he isn’t a must-trade this round and there’s a world where you can leave him sitting on your FWD bench. Harvey Gallagher ($407K, 29, BE 41) falls into the same category after his stinker in Round 5, deserving of another chance in the hopes he can return to the 55-65 point territory.

AFL 2024 Opening Round - Gold Coast v Richmond - A-46402154

Wait and see

Despite freeing himself from the dreaded sub vest, Kane McAuliffe ($210K, 38, BE 15) wasn’t able to capitalise on his 69% (nice) time on ground. Richmond’s injury list is lengthy, but you would be kicking yourself if you made a play for him while on the bye and next week he returns to his role in the vest. I think he’ll be fine, along with one of the top scorers from last week Mykelti Lefau ($286K, 99, BE -19), who scored more points in Round 5 than he had in his three other games combined! He won’t be changing in price this week so you can afford to address other areas and perhaps jump on next week.

The free-flowing scoring that North defenders accessed via what felt like 10938 marks against Geelong has Bigoa Nyuon ($244K, 83, BE -14) generating some interest. A few thousand coaches have already opted to bring in the Roos defender, however, I’m not convinced that he can thrive in their backline. Personally, I want to wait another week and assess his scoring ability against Hawthorn, and yet, I see why some will bring him in regardless. I’m much more bullish on Demons debutant Koltyn Tholstrup ($263K, 30, BE 32) although he didn’t exactly blow us away with his score. Should he hold a spot in the team after Melbourne’s bye and start to produce some noteworthy numbers, that’s when I’d look to bring him in.

Sub status

Subbed On – Taj Woewodin, Hugo Garcia, Jhye Clark, Charlie Lazzaro

Subbed Off – Ryley Sanders, Colby McKercher

As I’ve mentioned, the two most popular MID rookies found themselves vested for two very different reasons on the weekend. Charlie Lazzaro ($386K, 66, BE 18) did his best to score in bunches while taking McKercher’s place, but Hugo Garcia was the one who caught my eye. Let’s pray he can enter St Kilda’s best-22 on Thursday and become a viable trade target. Spare a special though for James Tunstill ($274K, DNP, BE 44) who ended the game against the Dees without seeing a minute of action. Being named the sub is a gut punch, but to then be unused and watch the whole game from the bench really, really sucks.

State League Stats

Bailey Laurie, Demons (137) – 24 disposals, TWENTY tackles!
Jordon Sweet, Power (137) – 19 disposals, 8 tackles, 37 hitouts, 2 goals
Finlay Macrae, Magpies (129) – 31 disposals, 11 tackles
Mitch Hardie, Cats (123) – 23 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles, 1,1 in front of goal
Riley Garcia, Bulldogs (123) – 35 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles
James Tunstill, Lions (121) – 28 disposals, 7 tackles, 1.1 in front of goal
James Tsitas, Suns (118) – 27 disposals, 11 marks
Josh Fahey, Giants (116) – 29 disposals, 7 marks, 1 goal
Will Verrall, Demons (116) – 21 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 32 hitouts
Arie Schoenmaker, Saints (113) – 32 disposals (22 kicks), 8 marks, 1 goal
Zane Trew, Eagles (101) – 24 disposals, 6 tackles, 1.2 in front of goal
Kynan Brown, Demons (98) – 16 disposals, 8 tackles, 3 goals
Josh Sinn, Power (95) – 22 disposals, 9 marks, 1 goal
Harry Rowston, Giants (94) – 30 disposals
Shaun Mannagh, Cats (92) – 15 disposals, 7 marks, 3.2 in front of goal
Jaxon Binns, Blues (92) – 25 disposals, 1 goal
Toby Conway, Cats (88) – 17 disposals, 38 hitouts
Andy Moniz-Wakefield, Demons (87) – 18 disposals, 7 marks, 7 tackles
Darcy Jones, Giants (84) – 22 disposals, 2.2 in front of goal
Billy Dowling, Crows (82) – 23 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles
Lachlan McNeil, Bulldogs (77) – 17 disposals, 4 marks, 1.4 in front of goal
Daniel Curtin, Crows (73) – 20 disposals
Riley Hardeman, Roos (69) – 18 disposals, 4 marks
Clay Hall, Eagles (68) – 15 disposals, 5 tackles, 1 goal
Nate Caddy, Bombers (65) – 13 disposals, 1.2 in front of goal

Remember the Name

In no particular order, here are some of the other rookie-priced players to consider throughout the season.


James Leake (Giants, $252K)
Jakob Ryan (Magpies, $200K)
Billy Wilson (Blues, $201K)
Riley Hardeman (Kangaroos, $234K)
Archie Roberts (Bombers, $200K)
Jedd Busslinger (Bulldogs, $200K)
Charlie Edwards (Crows, $240K)
Connor O’Sullivan (Cats, $270K)


Ed Allen (Magpies, $200K)
Jake Rogers (Suns, $261K)
Caiden Cleary (Swans, $231K)
Hugh Jackson (Power, $200K)
Harry DeMattia (Magpies, $228K)
Mitch Hardie (Cats, $200K)
George Stevens (Cats, $200K)
Jack Bytel (Magpies, $270K)


Henry Smith (Lions, $200K)
Coen Livingstone (Eagles, $200K)
Max Heath (Saints, $200K)
Nathan Kreuger (Magpies, $261K)
Archer Reid (Eagles, $213K)
Will Verrall (Demons, $200K)
Dante Visentini (Power, $283K)
Taylor Goad (Kangaroos, $243K)
Mitch Edwards (Cats, $207K)


Tyrell Dewar (Eagles, $200K)
Kynan Brown (Demons, $200K)
Nate Caddy (Bombers, $273K)
James Tsitas (Suns, $200K)
Ashton Moir (Blues, $216K)
Steely Green (Tigers, $200K)
Darcy Jones (Giants, $200K)
Billy Dowling (Crows, $200K)
Brayden George (Kangaroos, $200K)
Logan Morris (Lions, $210K)

You can find more AFL, NBA and NFL fantasy advice from Fry by joining the Fantasy SportsbyFry Patreon community!

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER@SportsbyFry for all things AFL Fantasy! Feel free to hit me up with any questions you have throughout the season. Good luck! ✌️

An Australian coffee/burrito enthusiast who is the frustrated owner of 16 fantasy teams. Writer for SportsbyFry and DT Talk ?

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1 month ago

Nice write up as usual, Fry. Going double downgrade this week (I think), so your advice will be helpful.

1 month ago

Double down this week as well. Time to cut loose.

1 month ago

did the double “downgrade” last week with Clohesy & Graham in so going with a double upgrade this week..
due to his high BE, McKercher is out for Walsh, and unfortunately for Sanders, i need his cash to jump up to Zorko so i’m not relying on Gallagher as my F6 (that spot goes to Red)..

1 month ago
Reply to  doug

Did the same double downgrade last week which worked well. Now deciding whether to trade out 2 of Massimo, McKercher or Windsor. First two would get me Daicos or Gulden but with only $53K to start next week. If downgrade Windsor to Nyuon or Garcia, then $200K and can get Flanders next week. Also tempted to trade Crouch out. Thoughts??

1 month ago
Reply to  Fry

Thanks Fry, I can overthink it sometimes 😂

Hugo Garcia
Hugo Garcia
1 month ago

Kai Lohmann as an option? Surprised he didn’t get a mention

1 month ago

Hi Fry. Love your work. What about Jhye Clark instead of trading McKercher?

1 month ago
Reply to  Fry

Thanks Fry. It will be either Walsh or Flanders. Any other premo that comes to mind?

1 month ago

Got 106k in the bank, what trades should I look at doing this week?

Initial trades I was thinking of doing are:

Mckercher- Graham
Cambell- Drury
Which leaves me with 408k for next week to do some dpp action trades, what are your thoughts?

DEF: Sheezel, Whitfield, Young, Houston,Zilliams, Clohesy (Reid, Howes)
MID: Zerrett, Green, Rozee, N Martin, Bonner, McKercher, Sanders, Roberts (Mannagh, Clark)
RUC: Gawn, Grundy (Barnett)
FWD: Heeney, Flanders, Jackson, Powell, , Reid, Dempsey(Ramsden, Campbell)
UTIL: Cadman

Help Me
Help Me
1 month ago

Zorko or Flanders?

1 month ago

Love your work Fry!

Thoughts on these trades?

Colby > Graham
Clark > Garcia.

Give’s me $300k + to get a an Uber in next week.


1 month ago

Hey Fry

Doing an excellent job – keep it up and thanks

My team is

D – Whitfield, Young, Daicos, D’Ambrosio, W Graham,.Clohesy (Hore & Pink)

 M – Merrett, Rozee, Serong, N.Martin, T.Miller, Jordon, J.Sharp, McKercher, (R.Sanders, Zane.Duursma, Jyhe Clark)

R – Gawn, Grundy (Livingstone)

F – Heeney, Flanders, Z Fisher, Dempsey, H Reid, S Darcy (D Wilson, C Comben)

Salary cap $559k

Looking at 
McKercher to Sam Walsh
Want to get Sheezel
(possible downgrade to Hugo Garcia)

Your thoughts


1 month ago
Reply to  Fry

Traded bonner to Walsh and Luke Jackson to Flanders keeping sanders and McK one more week

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