As we enter the back third of the season, picking up the right free agent could complement your side as you eye off a top four spot in your league, or even give you a fighting chance at making finals if you’re struggling to rise above the pack. While there have been some promising debutants across the past few weeks, players like Sean Darcy and Alex Witherden have already been snapped up in over 80% of leagues respectively. If you’re still hunting for that elusive puzzle piece, here are some players who may fit the bill:
BACK OF THE WEEK: Dan Houston
Houston started the season in promising fashion, with a low score of 73 from Rounds 2 to 6, but fell away shortly afterwards to find himself out of the side come Round 8. The dual position defender/forward was back in the side in Round 13, and has been back in form over the past fortnight, backing up his 101 from last week with 91 points from his 14 kicks, five handballs, 11 marks and two free kicks in the win over West Coast on the weekend.\
In his first senior season at 20 years of age, Houston looks like being a part of Port Adelaide’s push for a top four spot, and if he continues to play as a loose man in defence he should continue to score well enough to consider fielding in defence or up forward in your side. Despite a few poor scores, Houston (available in 58% of all leagues) is averaging 72 points from his 11 games so far, and is the pick of the free agent defenders likely to score at a reasonably consistent level from Round 16.
Best of the rest:
Jake Lever, a former back of the week, continued his breakout season with 16 kicks, 11 marks and three tackles in the win over the Western Bulldogs. A tall defender who works hard at ground level, Lever’s intercept marking has seen his disposal numbers increase to the point where he has scored below 70 just twice in his last nine games. Available in 35% of leagues, Lever is a must for your fifth backline spot if you can snap him up.
Shane Savage had 22 disposals, eight marks and three tackles in the Saints’ big win over Richmond in what was his first game since Round 10. Out of favour at times this season, Savage went at 75 points from his 21 matches last season, and is available in 63% of leagues.
Aaron Mullett scored 101 after collecting 20 kicks, four handballs, five marks and two goals off a half back flank in the close loss to Fremantle on Sunday. The Roo (65% availability) has averaged as high as 74 in a season before, and is going at a tick under 70 this year.
Crow Jake Kelly (92% availability) scored 103 points from his 17 disposals, eight marks and nine tackles playing on Jake Stringer, but his role means that he’s just as likely to score below 50. Same goes for Giant Adam Tomlinson (87%), who picked up 22 kicks and 14 marks for his 112 points. He managed just 38 points two games ago, so don’t be blinded by his rare ton.
The same goes for ton scorers Lachie Henderson (107 points, 73% availability) and Dane Rampe (110, 58%), who are both averaging in the mid-60s for the year. Their scoring output depends on their opponent, and both have been known to start well and drop off significantly as a match wears on. If you must, opt for Rampe out of the two.
Keep an eye on Roo Mitchell Hibberd and Docker Luke Ryan. Hibberd, a DPP back/mid, scored 87 in his second game from 10 kicks, 12 handballs, seven marks and three tackles, while Ryan managed 88 points from 15 kicks, four handballs, six marks and four tackles in the same match, his fifth overall. The first year duo are available in 92% and 91% of all leagues respectively.
CENTRE OF THE WEEK: Sam Kerridge
The former Blue spent his time rotating between midfield and half forward on Sunday to rack up an impressive 18 kicks, 17 handballs, seven marks and two tackles for 111 points. While the pace of the game and his disposal sometimes let him down, Kerridge has now scored his second ton in as many weeks after returning to the senior side in Round 15; now going at 81 from his four matches played. The forgotten midfielder averaged 80 points from 21 games last season, and looks to have hit form at the right time of the year, for both the Blues and Ultimate Footy coaches. Do not hesitate to bring him in if you need a midfielder, as he is undoubtedly the pick of the slim free agent pickings at the moment, and can be found on the waiver wire in 54% of all leagues.
Best of the rest:
Alex Sexton scored a solid 110 points from his 22 kicks, two handballs and 13 marks playing on a wing against Sydney. The Sun seems to pop up every now and again with a strong outing, but consistency is an issue, as his 87 points last week came off the back of a trio of sub-50 games. When up and about his scoring potential is high, so if you’re prepared to take the risk, Sexton is available as a free agent in 73% of leagues.
David Myers played the game everyone knew has was capable of in his side’s win over Collingwood, finding the ball at will for 103 points. He collected 17 kicks, 14 handballs and two tackles after a very sluggish year to date. The midfielder missed last year due to the Bomber saga and most of 2015 through injury, but proved his scoring relevance in the two seasons prior. If you believe he’s turned the corner, Myers is available in 81% of leagues.
Exciting first year Blue Sam Petrevski-Seton had 16 disposals, nine tackles and a goal for his 89 points against the Demons, working hard to keep himself in the game when not in possession. While not quite relevant as a consistent scorer just yet, Petrevski-Seton (62% availability) will improve as will his team mates. If you’re in a keeper league and looking for a long-term project player, bring him in.
With Sean Darcy now snapped up in most leagues after an impressive first three games, free agent ruck stocks are lean. But there were still two ruckmen who have performed well enough in recent weeks to consider worthy of a backup or fill-in position.
Big Cat Rhys Stanley tonned up against Brisbane, scoring 106 points from his 16 disposals, nine marks, three tackles, 15 hit outs and a goal. He’s averaging 82 points from his last four outings, and is available in 31% of leagues.
High-leaping Saint Billy Longer scored an even 100 points after winning 39 hit outs, 11 disposals, four marks, five tackles and a goal as St.Kilda smashed Richmond. Longer is still available in 32% of leagues and is unlikely to be unseated by Tom Hickey as first ruck choice anytime soon.
FORWARD OF THE WEEK: Charlie Curnow
After showing signs of a break out game at times this season, the younger Curnow absolutely monstered Demon Sam Frost to have 12 kicks, seven handballs, ten marks, four tackles, three free kicks and two goals for his 112 points as the Blues lost a thriller on Sunday. After half a dozen games in his 2016 debut season, the young key forward has played 14 this season for an average of 68, with a low score of 79 from his last three matches.
The young Blues have impressed in recent outings, and Curnow has done enough to suggest he will be a star, with comparisons to Carlton legend Anthony Koutoufides being thrown around on social media on Sunday evening. While the hype may be on day well-deserved, if you decide to bring in Curnow be aware that he may have off days, as all young key forwards do. Having said that, I take back what I wrote about him not being a viable scoring option last week. He was colossal yesterday. If you’re playing in a keeper league, lock him away. The exciting prospect can be found as a free agent in 75% of all leagues, a percentage that will decrease dramatically in the next few days.
Best of the rest:
Round 14’s highlighted forward Jonathon Patton continued his dominant run of late, booting five goals straight from 14 disposals, ten grabs and three tackles in the drawn game against Hawthorn. He has an imposing three-round average of 111, and a season average of 73, and like Joe Daniher, is now moving towards being a relevant Ultimate Footy scorer. It’s not too late to bring the Giant known as The General into your side, as he’s still available in 41% of leagues.
Zippy Swan Gary Rohan was electric against the Suns, booting 5.2 from 15 kicks and nine marks to score 110 points. The redheaded speedster is capable of breaking games open in a short period of time, but also just as likely to score you below 50 on an off day. Proceed with caution, but if you like the look of Sydney’s opponent’s backline on any given week, Rohan can be picked up in a generous 92% of all leagues.
Alex Fasolo backed up the 103 points he scored last week with an 89 against Essendon after kicking four goals from 11 kicks and eight marks. While he’s a chanve to go missing next week, he has been in strong form, and is a free agent in 53% of all leagues.
Andy Otten (88 points; 63% availability), Matthew Kennedy (97; 62%) and Tim Membrey (94; 41%) all performed relatively well in their respective matches. All have consistency issues, but Membrey has been the standout performer of the trio in recent weeks. If Otten can regain the early season form he displayed when the Crows were flying, he’d be the best value pickup however, and is can be selected as a dual position back/forward.