This article is part of our DraftKings AFL series.
Four games are again available for this week's slate, with two high-profile teams adding massive fantasy potential and plenty of others only barely outside the top 8 spots for the finals. There's also a good opportunity to fly with the Collingwood Magpies and their star ruck, Brodie Grundy, or look deeper to the talented forwards at Carlton and GWS. 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.
Brisbane Lions (13th) vs Western Bulldogs (2nd)
West Coast Eagles (5th) vs Saint Kilda Saints (16th)
Greater Western Sydney Giants (17th) vs Collingwood Magpies (11th)
Carlton Blues (12th) vs Gold Coast Suns (9th)
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.
Jamie Cripps, West Coast ($6,000): Cripps has seen his production tail off through the first three rounds, with 88, 78 and 61 fantasy points recorded in successive weeks. However, he's still scored three goals and five behinds so far, and he'll face a Saints team that lost by 75 to Essendon in Round 3. Since his best performance of the season came against Gold Coast in Round 1, another game against an injury-riddled opponent could help Cripps improve his numbers. Some forwards who could also surprise this week come from Carlton, as Lachie Fogarty and Harry McKay, who have performed better at home but could benefit from facing Gold Coast in the same way that Cripps did.
Aaron Naughton, Western ($5,700): Unlike Jamie Cripps, Naughton has kept his production consistent with seven goals and 22 marks recorded through three rounds. As the first Bulldog to feature in this lineup, we can start diving into why this team will get more attention. Though facing North Melbourne is likely to be a fantasy benefit to just about anyone, Naughton and co. have made dominant displays a feature of their work early in the season. When facing a Brisbane club that has yet to find their stride, there figures to be plenty of chances for everyone to get involved even if the final score is tightly contested. If looking for other forwards with similar possession stats, Toby Greene is likely to feature heavily in a GWS team short of some quality players. Elsewhere, Joe Daniher averages 14 disposals per match through three weeks and comes in $1,000 cheaper than Naughton.
Josh Dunkley, Western ($6,800): Dunkley doesn't even come in as a top-five salary among midfielders in this slate despite scoring between 107 and 117 fantasy points in each of the first three rounds. Though Brisbane will be close to full strength in their Round 4 matchup, Dunkley has done it all in games that his team dominated and were more closely fought. If you're not as high on the Dogs or Dunkley, two higher-priced options come from West Coast Eagles, Tim Kelly and Andrew Gaff have a very favorable matchup with Saint Kilda.
Jack Lukosius, Gold Coast ($5,500): Even as the Suns have waffled in their form and keep losing important players, Lukosius has kept up his pace with 21 disposals and 9.3 marks per match through three rounds. When facing a team with similar inconsistency issues in Carlton, Lukosius should fit nicely into any lineup without causing too many restrictions. At a similar price point, you could look to Liam Duggan against Saint Kilda or Deven Robertson against Western Bulldogs, with the former coming in at a higher price and having a more favorable matchup than the latter, who's only played once this season.
Lachie Ash, Greater Western Sydney ($4,900): The lone Giant to fit into this week's lineup, Ash improved in Round 3 with 91 fantasy points against Melbourne after recording no more than 68 in the first two matches. If he can put up that kind of performance against the Dees and their highly productive midfield, than it's worth finding out what Ash can do against a similarly strong Collingwood team that hasn't played as well in 2021. Now that we're trying to fill out the lineup, Ash and others help fill out the team with their reliability while others are shooting for the stars, and that means that names like Callan Ward and Bradley Hill will attract attention in this spot.
Patrick Lipinski, Western ($4,800): Though only named as an interchange on the initial team sheet, Lipinski fits in well if he can put up anything close to 60 points this week. That's more the result of the selection at ruck, though also of Lipinski's status as a midfielder who could still put up better numbers than a defender at a similar price point. If this doesn't seem as attractive, take a look at Harris Andrews in defense and Callan Ward in this spot, though that would mean an even cheaper defender would need to fill the gap.
Easton Wood, Western ($4,000): Before his value climbs any higher, look to Wood as a cheap option coming off a confident season debut. If the Lions are able to put up a solid fight this week, then there should be no problems for Wood to get plenty of possession after recording 22 disposals and eight marks in Round 3. Any change in selection in this spot would see one of the defenders rise in price while the other falls, so Sam Lemmens could replace Wood if you're after a guaranteed 60 points and Tom Cole would then round out this section of a lineup.
Liam Jones, Carlton ($4,000): Like Easton Wood, salary is key when picking this Blue. Also like Wood, he's coming off his best performance of the season with 88 fantasy points through 20 disposals and nine marks recorded against Freemantle. When facing a team like Gold Coast that has plenty of weapons but isn't always efficient in its forward movements, any of the defenders could have a field day on the footy. If you follow this attitude, look even lower in price to Luke Parks, who only just made his debut in Round 3 and could improve as he gets into a starting rhythm.
Brodie Grundy, Collingwood (8,300): With the second-highest salary of any player in this week's slate, there wasn't much thought when picking Grundy after he put up 122 and 152 fantasy points in back-to-back matches. As a ruck who also increased his disposal tally from 11 to 16 to 28 this season, his possession numbers yield much higher scores when combined with the 50 hitouts he's made in each of the last two rounds. To add on even more, he'll next face GWS, which let another ruck in Max Gawn top both teams in fantasy scoring in their Round 3 matchup. Additionally, Grundy may have room to roam wherever he wants against a team short of two rucks and just lost Stephen Coniglio for two months. To spotlight one other option at this position, a bona fide star in Nic Naitanui, who is coming off a 66-point performance against Port Adelaide, will get a much better backup against Saint Kilda.