AFL Fantasy 2018 – Grand Final Preview

We’ve made it. After a season full of blood, sweat and for anyone still playing this stupid game, a shit ton of tears. Yes, if you couldn’t tell I won’t be playing for any silverware this season, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help you get one final leg up over your matchup. If you are lucky enough to be in the grand final good luck for this weekend and if not there’s always 2019.

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The Matchups

Port Adelaide Power v Essendon Bombers

THE Tom Rockliff injury news would have instantly derailed a few coaches trade plans. However, this is a perfect excuse to nab the likes of Josh Dunkley or even Devon Smith this week. Fresh off a strong 115 last week Devon Smith is looking like a strong play against the Power. Be careful though, traditionally in games against Port Adelaide and games at the Adelaide Oval Smith’s average tumbles. However, that shouldn’t stop you from holding or even trading for him.

Geelong Cats v Gold Coast Suns

COACHES around the globe have been prepping for this match for weeks. Players like Sam Menegola, Gary Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield have all found their way into a ton of teams along with power forward Tom Hawkins. Sam May is a respectable defender in my eyes, but we saw what Riewoldt did a few weeks ago.

IF you find yourself eyeing off a Geelong forward then I think Sam Menegola is the pick of the bunch. Call it a hunch, call it a gut feeling, but over and over again this year we have seen Danger playing big minutes up forward which has hurt his score. I’ll be siding with the other Cat this week, but it’s close.

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Richmond Tigers v Western Bulldogs

THE last two premiers meet in two very different circumstances this weekend. With Richmond employing a ‘do your job’ mentality at the club they have lacked a ton of relevant fantasy players this season. No offense to Dustin Martin, who had a tumble from grace but hardly anyone will be stressing about the Tigers’ scores on the weekend.

FOR the Bulldogs though things are quite different. A ton of their players are fantasy relevant with a bunch of the competition owning a few out of the Toby McLean, Jack Macrae, Josh Dunkley, Marcus Bontempelli bunch. I’d be wary of Bont’s health but all Macrae and Dunkley are solid trade targets. If you have nothing better to do McLean could be moved for an upgrade. I back him in to reach 90 this week though.

Fremantle Dockers v Collingwood Magpies

THE convo at Optus Stadium starts and ends with Brodie Grundy. All signs point to the ruck pig finishing the fantasy year on a high note. His opponent Sean Darcy won’t be rejoined by Aaron Sandilands and he has been leaking points like it’s going out of fashion. Therefore not only should Grundy be in everyone’s team, but he should don the C as well. With Bailey Banfield out of the side, Steele Sidebottom owners can also rejoice at the thought of a big score from Sidey.

Hawthorn Hawks v Sydney Swans

TO Titch or to ditch. The biggest question in the AFL Fantasy circles right now is what to do with the record-setting Tom Mitchell. Traditionally against the Swans he struggles and George Hewett will no doubt target him for periods of the game. I am in the trade camp for trading Mitchell especially given how much dough you can generate to grab two premium type players at once.

ANOTHER player facing his former squad in this matchup is Lance Franklin. Well, we hope he’s on the field to face the Hawks but it’s no certainty. Buddy is quite sore and has been restricted to light duties, so if you are an owner prepare your bench cover.

Carlton Blues v Adelaide Crows

STOP what you are doing and read this next bit carefully. I am all in on Matt Crouch being the top scorer in Round 23. I remember vividly 12 months early almost to the day Crouch dropped a 150 on West Coast and helped me claim a GF win. With Carlton set to give up a ton of midfield points both Crouch and his peers (Rory Sloane and Bryce Gibbs) should have a day out.

RORY Laird seems set to score plenty as well. After appearing mortal in the past few weeks he returned to form with a huge 138 last weekend. Fingers crossed we see more of the same. Speaking of more of the same, Kade Simpson will be looking to give owner one more reason to smile before the year is over. I’m counting on you Kade.

Brisbane Lions v West Coast Eagles

ARGUABLY in career-best form, Elliot Yeo deserves a quick shout out. Fingers crossed I haven’t jinxed him as the Eagles utility has elevated his fantasy game to the next level. Two players often associated with the top tier of midfielders will matchup against West Coast this week with both Dayne Zorko and Dayne Beams under a ton of scrutiny right now. Personally, as a Beams owner, I’m inclined to think he will outscore Zorko, but a lot depends on who gets the Mark Hutchings’ tag.

Melbourne Demons v Greater Western Sydney Giants

THERE aren’t a ton of coaches who will be hinging on the result of this game. Sure, the majority of decent coaches own Angus Brayshaw and a few will still be fielding Stephen Coniglio or Josh Kelly, but this could be a quick chance to catch your breath before the year’s final match. In all seriousness, it would take a brave man to trade Josh Kelly into their sides, but it’s not the craziest move I’ve heard.

ANOTHER premium midfielder a lot of people are eyeing off is Clayton Oliver. The fiery Dee is having a stellar year and his floor seems to be quite high, guaranteeing at least a solid score. I’m not as confident, but Oliver could very well fool me with an enormous 140, he’s that good.

St Kilda Saints v North Melbourne Kangaroos

SORRY to any Paul Ahern, Jack Billings, Jack Ziebell, Shaun Higgins and Jack Steven (where has he been all year) owners, but there is only one name that matters in this game. Seb Ross. Scoring at an absurd rate to close out the 2018 year, another 130 is well and truly on the cards for Ross. If your opponent doesn’t make the move and you want a unique, Ross is right near the top of the list.

Trade Thoughts

IN – WITH one-week point maximisation the priority there are only a few real targets in my eyes. I have already spoken about Matt Crouch and Seb Ross, who are must-haves if you don’t own one of them. Making the Stef Martin to Brodie Grundy move this week could also net you 70 points with Grundy set to go bang.

OUT – ROCKY is a must trade and bringing in a Geelong forward would be a nice cover. Failing that it all becomes about matchups and trying to pick a unique player your GF opponent doesn’t have. A few of the aforementioned players could be grabbed for the likes of Lachie Neale, Stef Martin, Chad Wingard or even the injured Alex Witherden.

My Trades

TOM Rockliff’s hamstring has forced my hand. I was eying off Seb Ross and Matt Crouch and was willing to sacrifice the pig to get them both. However, I will need to change course slightly. I’m still sticking with Matt Crouch and I’m ok with trading Tom Mitchell to land him. That leaves me in an interesting spot to toss up between Dunkley, Devon Smith and Tomahawk. I don’t have enough balls to go for Hawkins and I like Dunkley’s matchup, so at this stage, I’ll lock in the Footscray pup.

T.Rockliff → J.Dunkley
T.Mitchell → M.Crouch

Good luck in Round 23!

Peace ✌

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