The first full bye round saw only six games played, and as a result, there are fewer prospective free agents who performed of a noteworthy level over the weekend. This week saw a number of former established fantasy-relevant players re-announce themselves, as well as forgotten players and new blood backing up strong performances. Here are the picks of a relatively quiet round 11:
BACK OF THE WEEK: Brayden Maynard
Small defender Maynard backed up his 96 points from last week to score 92 against Fremantle from his 13 kicks, four handballs, eight marks and five tackles. While he is yet to become a consistent scoring defender, with three games in the forties this season, the 20-year-old Magpie is going at 71 points per match this season, with an average of 91 from his last three games. At his best, Maynard is an attacking link player off half back, with an ability to be part of key possession chains and put pressure on opposition forwards resulting in a high number of marks and tackles. He scored two decent tons last season, and his position in the Collingwood side appears safe. Now is the time to get on Maynard, and if you see him as an ideal fifth defender he is currently available in 41% of all leagues.
Best of the rest:
Playing on a half back flank, Kangaroos defensive cog Jamie MacMillan collected 17 kicks, nine handballs and five marks for a solid 89 point outing in a losing cause against Richmond. He has done enough in past seasons to suggest he’s a relevant fantasy defender, without blowing the mind, going at a touch under 79 points per game from 14 matches in 2015, and averaging 73 from 22 games last season. This year he’s going at 71 after playing every match so far, and while he has four scores of under 70, MacMillan has touched the ball at least 17 times in every match apart from one. Available in 26% of leagues, he’s bordering on non free agent status, and would be an ideal fifth defender heading into the back half of the season. He does have the bye in round 12, so if you are playing through the byes take that into consideration.
Geelong swingman Harry Taylor scored 99 from his 16 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals. Available as a dual position back/forward in 61% of leagues, the veteran has been inconsistent to average 63, but in the past has gone at 79 points per game across a season. I’d only suggest picking him up as a loophole option, or if you need a player to cover either position through the bye rounds.
Kamdyn McIntosh (78% availability) collected 24 disposals, four marks and five tackles in a minding role on Mason Wood in the Tigers’ win for a total of 92 points. While he scored 94 in a match earlier in the season, these scores are his only two above 70, so tread carefully.
CENTRE OF THE WEEK: Pearce Hanley
Pearce Hanley isn’t a name many would have expected to be on a free agents list prior to the season kicking off. The former Lion defender hasn’t averaged under 83 points per season across the past four years, with a career-high average of 98 points in season 2015. Unfortunately Hanley returned home to Ireland early in the season following a family tragedy, and upon return injured his heel in the NEAFL, only returning to senior football in round 10, where he scored an uncharacteristic 30 points from a lowly eight possessions. The hard-running Irishman bounced back on the weekend to celebrate his first win as a Sun, with his score of 121 coming from 20 kicks, 11 handballs, 12 marks and two tackles.
Hanley has been fantasy-relevant for years now, and even in his role as a pure midfielder is without a doubt worth bringing in, if you’re among the 34% of leagues where he remains a free agent. Ignore his start to the season, and back the new Sun in, especially seeing as Gold Coast have already had their bye round. You will reap the rewards of many more scores similar to the one Hanley produced on the weekend.
Best of the rest:
Round eight’s centre of the week Dom Sheed racked up 14 kicks, 16 handballs, eight marks and six tackles to score 126 points in the narrow loss to Gold Coast. An outside midfielder, Sheed is in the midst of his breakout season, going at 83 points per game with a four-round average of 99. His season-low scores of 49 and 48 are the only matches where the young Eagle has scored under 70 points in a game, and if you are in the 29% of leagues where he’s a free agent, get him into your side!
Forgotten Power midfielder Jimmy Toumpas was a late inclusion for Karl Amon on Thursday night, and the former number four pick made the most of his opportunity, scoring 98 points from 20 kicks, seven handballs and six marks in an outside midfield role. While this was Toumpas’ first game of the season for Port, Toumpas did enough to suggest he’ll retain his spot next week. He’s available in 91% of leagues if you decide to back him in.
Fellow Power mid Sam Gray worked hard for 14 kicks, eight handballs, seven marks and a goal to manage 93 points against the Hawks. Gray has three shots on goal, and is looking comfortable at AFL level this season. He’s available in 26% of leagues and going at 77 points per game, but consistency has been an issue.
Alex Sexton scored 92 from his 22 possessions, eight marks and one goal, but has also been inconsistent, with his three scores over 90 supported by four under 50. The Sun could be handy bye cover at least, and can be selected from the waiver wire in 65% of leagues.
RUCK(S) OF THE WEEK: Tom Bellchambers
The big Tasmanian backed up his 74 points from 40 hit outs last round with a score of 110 against GWS, made up of another 40 hit outs, 15 disposals, five marks, three tackles and two goals. He’s now going at almost 92 points from his three matches this season, and his win over Giant ruckman Shane Mumford is likely to see him retain the Bombers’ number one spot, with John Worsfold publicly stating that Matthew Leuenberger will have to win the position back through good form after playing VFL on the weekend. Bellchambers’ ability to kick key goals when up forward adds to his value, and I’m backing him to hold his spot for a while. He’s available in 25% of leagues, and can be trusted as a field ruck or trade bait.
Best of the rest:
Jonathon Griffin was a late inclusion for Aaron Sandilands on Sunday, and surpassed expectations to compete admirably against All-Australian frontrunner Brodie Grundy in the ruck, scoring 89 points from his 13 disposals, five marks, five tackles and 26 hit outs. At 31 years of age, Griffin (65% availability) is purely a reserve ruckman for the Dockers, but has held his own in the four matches he’s played so far this season to average 73 points. His job security is shaky at best, but if you’re in the market for a reserve tall, keep an eye on the teams each week and bring in Griffin whenever he’s named.
FORWARD OF THE WEEK: Kane Lambert
Lambert played a strong all round game against the Roos, helping himself to 13 kicks, 12 handballs, five marks, three tackles and kicking two goals for his 103 points. The former mature-age rookie averaged 64 points in his 27 games across his first two seasons of AFL football, but this season has stepped up to average 74 points from his ten games so far. While Lambert has played three poor games in which he scored 54 points or less, his other seven games have produced 74 points or more, proving that the 25 year old has the ability to develop into a fantasy-relevant player. Likely to add midfielder to his position by season’s end, Lambert is a free agent in 51% of leagues, and would be worth a look as a fifth forward if you’re struggling with injuries or need some depth.
Best of the rest:
Adelaide mobile tall Hugh Greenwood continues to impress, and his third game he had 12 kicks, six handballs and laid an impressive 11 tackles to score 94 points. Round nine’s forward of the week is a tackling machine, and now has 26 from his first three matches of AFL, showing that the former basketball star is prepared to work hard to keep himself and his team mates in the game when not in possession. While he has a quieter outing last week, the dual position centre/forward is going at 80 points per game, and his 35% availability looks set to decrease significantly this week.
Brendon Ah Chee had 26 disposals, four tackles and kicked a goal in the Power’s win over Hawthorn as he continues to develop as a centre/forward. He is highly rated at Port Adelaide, and they have shown patience with Ah Chee as he works on his game. If you want to jump on him now before he becomes fantasy-relevant, the Power future star is available in 86% of leagues.
Two young key forwards round out this week’s free agents. Darcy Moore and Peter Wright both took another step in their development on the weekend, to score 90 and 91 points respectively.
Moore was colossal last week against the Lions, booting three majors from ten marks to score 97 points, and backed it up against Fremantle on Sunday, kicking two goals from nine marks and 12 disposals. He looks to have grown in confidence, with a four-game average of 84 for a season average of 60 after a slow start. He will develop into a Daniher type sooner rather than later, and if you’re in a keeper league would be worth considering. He can be selected as a free agent in 76% of leagues.
Wright (58% availability) scored 91 points from his 12 disposals, eight grabs, four tackles and two goals, and looks to be ahead of Moore in terms of fantasy-relevance at this stage. He’s averaging 72 points this season, with an ability to pinch hit in the ruck adding 5 points per game, and if he starts kicking straight (he’s booted 12 goals 13 so far), ‘Two Metre Peter’s’ average should edge closer to 80 by the season’s end.]