This article is part of our DraftKings AFL series.
In order to give plenty of time to peruse the options even if the lobby doesn't open until closer to game time, this week's article will give a variety of suggestions based on the three games listed for Saturday start times. A two-pronged attack in Brisbane's midfield keeps their engine ticking, but a composed performance by St Kilda's stars could pose a challenge for a dominant Lions club. Geelong also has the gas to run away from their game against the Blues, but Fremantle will have to be careful if Hawthorn can find their stride early in that matchup.
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.
Fremantle Dockers (11th) vs Hawthorn Hawks (17th)
St Kilda Saints (12th) vs Brisbane Lions (3rd)
Geelong Cats (4th) vs Carlton Blues (13th)
This Week's Options:
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.
Mitch Robinson, Brisbane : Positions can sometimes differ based on what someone is listed as and where they can be picked, but Robinson is still a name to watch if he's able to get enough touches against St Kilda. Only once this season has he made less than 20 disposals and scored over 80 points, and a 27-disposal effort saw him scored 92 against Adelaide while only scoring once. The third-placed Lions have three players who have scored 26 goals this season, but only Robinson and Joe Daniher average over 70 fantasy points scored per game.
Jaeger O'Meara, Hawthorn : O'Meara isn't nearly as consistent as some of the other stars across the AFL, but his versatile production statistics can make him a worthy inclusion with 26 disposals, 4.5 marks and 4.7 tackles recorded per game. Two wins in his last four games are just as helpful for the entire team, even if O'Meara's best effort over the last month came with 31 disposals against Essendon. Another option who should be cheaper is Emerson Jeka, who has come in to bolster the lineup now that Jarman Impey is out for the season.
Isaac Smith, Geelong : Smith ranks among the top scoring forwards in all of fantasy, but his cost could be a little higher with 91.9 fantasy points scored per game. Given that he's scored at least 93 points in three straight games, it's often better to know what to expect when picking a player and that's what Smith can offer. Six goals from Tom Hawkins in Round 16 should earn him plenty of attention from Carlton's defense this week, so it could also be worth looking to Sam Menegola as he's logged at least 20 disposals in two of the last three matches.
Jack Steele, St Kilda : Sometimes it seems wrong to pick players from a team as inconsistent as the Saints, but Steele is the highest scoring player available in the Saturday slate. While some regression is sure to happen after he put up 157 on Collingwood in Round 16, Steele has scored less than 117 points in just one of the last eight games he's played in. Two other Saints with big games this season are Jack Billings and Sebastian Ross, who should both be cheaper than Steele but also haven't played to their best in a few weeks. Instead of them, consider Luke Dunstan, who's scheduled to start at center and has scored at least 99 points over his last three games.
Andrew Brayshaw, Fremantle : One of the few available players who averages at least 100 points per game is Brayshaw. He put up 124 on Carlton last week and now faces Hawthorn, so a favorable matchup should be to his benefit if the rest of his team can play to their strengths as well. The inconsistent play and recent shoulder injury to Nat Fyfe mean that he's harder to rely on, so David Mundy may be worth more with an average of 93.4 fantasy points per game.
Cameron Guthrie, Geelong : Guthrie needs to prove that last week's 58-point game against Essendon was just a fluke, as he had dominated the league until picking up a small knock at the end of May. What makes this lackluster effort against the Bombers interesting is that it came after he played significantly better against stronger teams in the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane. As a result, this could be an important fixture for the rest of Guthrie's season against the Blues. Brandan Parfitt as the third follower should be a cheaper acquisition who can still step up if the Cat's stars don't play as well.
Dayne Zorko and Jarryd Lyons, Brisbane : With no set lineup to pick from, it would be hard not to mention these two and their consistently strong production. Zorko as the captain and an available pick at both forward and midfielder makes him worth some consideration each week, though more can be said for his average of 106.1 fantasy points scored per game. In the case of Lyons, he ranks fifth in points per game and 10th in total points. Two recent efforts stand out with 133 and 161 points scored over his last three matches against Adelaide and North Melbourne, with both indicating his form is strong enough to hold up even if St Kilda play well. Going down the list, Zac Bailey has scored at least 94 points in three of his last four starts and Deven Robertson seems to play consistently, even if he's always starting in the interchange list.
Nic Newman, Carlton : While they may not offer much in other places, defense is often where Newman and the Blues can shine during an up-and-down season. Newman is one such example, as he's only played seven times this season but has scored 111 and 115 points over his last two starts. Jacob Weitering can also produce decent numbers, though his efforts haven't been nearly as consistent with more games played than Newman. If Adam Saad can make an impact as an interchange, there's plenty to look for on the Blues, though Newman is still the highlight for now.
Tom Stewart, Geelong : For the right price, Stewart can easily give the value of a midfielder from the back after scoring at least 111 points in two of his last three games. Aside from Daniel Rich of Brisbane, few other defenders can make this kind of impact on a fantasy scoresheet, though they're sure to require more salary restrictions on other parts of a given lineup. Zach Tuohy is another reasonable pick who should be slightly cheaper, though he's scored at least 84 points in three straight games and still presents solid upside.
Luke Ryan, Fremantle : Another defender in decent form is Ryan, who's scored over 100 and at least 86 points in his last four games. One could expect Adam Cerra to match up in terms of production, but he's mostly available in the midfield and still doesn't produce more than his team's best defender. In terms of cheap defensive targets, Fremantle offers plenty to browse from if Ryan isn't able to fit into a lineup.
Sean Darcy, Fremantle : Darcy's name has popped up a lot in recent weeks and it's not by accident, though this time he's a pretty strong favorite to be the top-scoring ruck in this slate. Aside from effectively losing out against a star in Brodie Grundy in Round 15, Darcy hasn't faced much opposition from anyone since mid-April. With 116 in Round 16 against Carlton, Darcy got back on track and now has a softer matchup against Hawthorn. In this game, Ben McEvoy is another viable candidate to be picked at ruck, but his numbers don't match up to Darcy and a lopsided result could make production difficult for whomever ends up on the losing side.
Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall, St Kilda : This ruck pair always works in tandem and their numbers come out fairly similarly as a result. Ryder averages 78.1 points per game and Marshall follows close behind with 77, so picking one or the other would be more of a salary concern than expecting different results. Outside of the Sean Darcy and Ben McEvoy, the ruck options aren't as deep as they can be some weeks, so keep this in mind when considering where to splurge elsewhere.