This article is part of our DraftKings AFL series.
Four teams on bye and games for the Queen's Birthday mean only four teams are in action during the main Saturday slate. What's more, Nat Fyfe has potentially gone down with a season-ending shoulder injury, so there's less star power to pick from in lieu of a single team in the top-10 available. Keep an eye out the Gold Coast Suns, as two high-profile players in Jack Bowes and Matthew Rowell add to an already-deep fantasy team.
If this is your first time checking out Aussie Rules Football, welcome to a sport that combines the physicality of rugby, the stamina of soccer players and the impressive verticality seen in the American code of football. To make sure you know exactly what each stat looks like, check out this helpful video.
On the pitch, there are 18 players fielded by each team with four interchange options that can rotate up to 75 times per match. In DK competitions, lineups are permitted just nine players: two forwards, four midfielders, two defenders and one ruck. To earn points, players can add to the score (+6 for a goal, +1 for a behind), keep the footy under control (+3 for a kick, +3 for a mark, +2 for a handball) or stop the other team from advancing (+4 for a tackle, +1 for a free kick, +1 for a hitout). On the other side, conceding a free kick is a deduction of three points.
It's worth noting that AFL fantasy is heavily weighted to those who can touch the footy the most times, which is why there are extra midfielders available as they are usually capable of scoring the most points without ever needing to enter the 50-meter line. And with that, here are some potential picks to give you an idea of who to watch out for on Saturday.
Gold Coast Suns (13th) vs Fremantle Dockers (11th)
Adelaide Crows (15th) Saint Kilda Saints (12th)
This Week's Picks:
Always remember to check your lineups! The initial team sheet will come out well in advance of the match, but teams only finalize their selection an hour before first bounce.
Ben King, Gold Coast ($4,500): Being partial to people with the same name only goes so far, so King also scored four goals against Hawthorn last week to make this decision a little easier. In a week where only two teams play, the only true forward that has good odds of a high-value performance is Taylor Walker, so there's not necessarily a reason to spend up in this position. With this in mind, seek out someone like King, who is tied for fourth in goals scored this season, or any one of the options in the $3-4,000 range who can all score between 50 and 100 points on the right day. Two options from the Fremantle Dockers are Joel Western, who's the second-cheapest player in this four-team slate, or Michael Walters, who has to make up for the absence of the injured Matt Taberner.
Izak Rankine, Gold Coast ($4,100): In continuing with a small theme of attacking Suns, Rankine is finally starting to strut his stuff after scoring four in the Round 12 win over Hawthorn. A dynamic player who has had to make up for the absence of other young but injury-prone stars, the return of Matt Rowell and Jack Bowes means that the Suns are as close to full strength as they'll get for the moment. This could mean big things if Rankine can continue his good form, as there's no truly bad matchup in either game on this slate, just players who aren't guaranteed to produce on any given day. This situation does make Rankine a little troubling of a prospect, but his price isn't so much to cause more doubt when facing the Dockers. Another target worth considering is Mason Wood, who scored 104 fantasy points in Round 11 against North Melbourne before picking up a hamstring injury the following week. Seeing as he's already back in the starting lineup at full forward, Wood should be in good shape to prove what he can do when healthy.
Andrew Brayshaw, Fremantle ($7,200): This isn't the first time a Freo midfielder has been picked when someone else got hurt, but this time club captain Nat Fyfe is out and Brayshaw's club-high in fantasy points should only grow further over the rest of the squad. Among those who cost more than Brayshaw in this week's slate, everyone but the St Kilda players have actually produced more points than him. Since Round 5, the only time Brayshaw has scored less than 100 points has ome against Port Adelaide and Brisbane - two teams with enough qaultiy to make the finals while Gold Coast has less of a chance of making it. This should offer enough of a chance for Brayshaw to at least lead his team in scoring even if they can't pull out the win. The other high-salaried option to consider is Touk Miller, who scored a whopping 160 points in the Round 12 win over Hawthorn and still isn't the most expensive player on the slate.
Rory Laird, Adelaide ($6,900): The combination of Laird and Rory Sloane has fallen off substantially in comparison to the center-circle combination of Ben Keays and Paul Seedsman, but at least Laird is doing enough to remain relevant after declining from his production to open the season. Recently, Laird has topped 35 disposals in four of the last five games, which led to fantasy scores of at least 100 points in each of those contests. If St Kilda's recent results are anything to go off, their talent is undeniable but any serious showing by their opponent and their likely to lose steam by the end of game - something that happened against Sydney in Round 12 and in much more lopsided results in other weeks. This should make whomever is picked, be it Laird or Paul Seedsman, a worthy option in a reduced slate.
Matthew Rowell, Gold Coast ($5,500): If Izak Rankine was a big risk, Rowell is an even bigger risk as one of the most precocious talents in all of footy can't seem to stay healthy. That being said, he showed plenty of good work with an average of 17.4 disposals from five games during the 2020 season and he'll now get more time to work with during full-length contests. Facing off with the Dockers, who return plenty of defensive options but still lose Nat Fyfe for this game should be another reasonable sign for Rowell, who also returns to the field alongside Jack Bowes for the Suns. Other options in the $5,000 range worth consideration are Adam Cerra and his reasonable average of 22.1 disposals per game or James Aish, who has logged at least 20 disposals in each of the last two rounds.
Adam Cerra, Fremantle ($5,700): It doesn't take long to find Cerra's name pop up again, as some re-tooling to the back half of this lineup opened up a spot for another mid-tier midfielder. Listed as a follower alongside the in-form Sean Darcy, Cerra could have been moved to that spot due to the absence of Nat Fyfe. In this case, his ability to win and maintain possession will be very important against the Crows. There aren't many more midfielders worth the attention this week, so Caleb Serong, Blake Acres or Brett Bewley's oddly high salary are other options to consider if there's space for another Docker in the lineup.
Jack Sinclair, Saint Kilda ($4,900): Sitting at a reasonable price point is Sinclair, especially considering how he's scored at least 80 points in three straight games. That's not something one can say about Jimmy Webster or Josh Battle from the same team, so there's no reason to spend up in the midfield when the cheaper options have shown more production in recent weeks. If you don't like the potential value from defenders under $5,000, it's probably best to spend as much as you can on Jack Bowes, who was once a top-two fantasy defender before he missed a month with a hamstring injury.
Darcy Tucker, Fremantle ($4,700): Tucker offers useful value as a defender with a steady average of 19.6 disposals per game. Even with a lower average points tally that sits in the seventies most games, Tucker could prove useful for the same reasons that Adam Cerra keeps popping up this week. Given some of the other options around Tucker's price point, it could be just as prudent to take Brandon Walker as a debutant and raise the value tier of another position in this lineup.
Sean Darcy, Fremantle ($6,500): Darcy and Reilly O'Brien are the only two rucks worth much this week but it's Darcy who'll be called upon for his reliable scores instead of a single successful game. It's fortunate that the two will not have to face each other, as both should have few issues controlling games against opponents short their best ruck options. For Darcy, his good form will put him against Zac Smith of Gold Coast, and even though the Suns beat Hawthorn in Round 11 before their bye, it was Ned Reeves and Ben McEvoy who won the positional battle.