With no Free Agents article for Round 1, many fantasy coaches backed themselves in to jump on players who scored well or showed potential of being fantasy-relevant players further down the line. Some notable players whose ownership increased after strong first round outputs were able to back up their scores, such as Will Hoskin-Elliott and Charlie Cameron, while many other left their coaches frustrated with a low second output. Round 2 saw plenty of free agent potential, so we all have the chance to again put our faith in the merry-go-round that is the waiver wire.
BACK OF THE WEEK: Ryan Burton
In just his fifth AFL game, second year player Burton didn’t look out of place in defence against the Crows, picking up 26 disposals, 9 marks and 4 tackles to score 112, keeping Taylor Walker quiet in the process. Injuries saw him miss a chunk of games in the VFL last season, but Burton’s clean disposal and sure hands look set to secure him a place in the Hawks’ line up. Available in 72% of leagues, and as a DPP forward, Burton is sure to have coaches with high restricted free agent priority licking their lips this week.
Best of the rest:
If you don’t have Christian Salem, who scored 127 points after an 83 in Round 1, lock him down. He’s still available in 18% of leagues.
Key defenders Tom Barrass (86 points) and Robbie Tarrant (108, 44% availability) had weekends to remember, beating Josh Bruce and Tom Hawkins respectively while racking up the touches themselves. Barrass had 10 marks, and Tarrant 9, but key defenders can be dangerous as their output usually depends on their opponent. If you were going to select one of these players, I’d opt for the young Eagle, who is available in a whopping 92% of leagues.
Young Demons James Harmes (86%) and Neville Jetta (83%) scored well with 91 and 90 respectively in the win over Carlton. Caleb Marchbank backed up his first round score of 78 with an 80 in Round 2, and at 30% availability is worth locking down if you have a bench spot available, especially if you’re playing in a keeper league.
Keep an eye on Docker Cam Sutcliffe, who barely touched the ball in the final quarter in producing 67 points, and Sydney debutants Nic Newman (77 points, 84% availability) and Will Hayward (74 and 94%).
CENTRE OF THE WEEK: Trent Dumont
Dumont was solid in the Roos’ heartbreaking loss to Geelong, collecting 24 disposals, four frees for and a goal on his way to 83 points. He knows how to find his own football, with 17 of his possessions being contested, and looks to be on his way to a breakout year already, having helped himself to 25 disposals in Round 1. He is available in 36% of leagues, and a must if you are looking for bench cover or struggling with midfield injuries.
Best of the rest:
It was a fairly lean week for centres not already selected in fantasy sides, but there were a few decent scores put up by some lesser names, Will Langford (91 pts, 39%) put up his second consecutive score above 90. Despite his inconsistent form in the past, he’s worth considering as he looks to have shaken his role as a specialist tagger, which will increase his scoring potential.
Billy Stretch (60% availability) scored 81 points, with team mate Jake Melksham (73%) playing his way to 80. Free agent favourite Luke Dunstan (50%) was solid with 81 points, and spent some time up forward, but like Melksham, would only be worth a look in deeper leagues.
While hardly qualifying as a free agent, Clayton Oliver is unbelievably still available in 8% of leagues. If this applies to your league, snap him up ASAP. He accumulated a staggering 135 points in Round 2, following his 121 last week. With the Demons playing the way they are, those scores are set to continue.
RUCK OF THE WEEK: Tom Campbell
Back into the Western Bulldogs side after an ankle injury, Campbell performed admirably to have 33 hit outs, 14 disposals and 6 tackles on his way to scoring 96 . He knows how to position his body at contests, and received 3 free kicks in his duel with Sam Naismith. Unable to cement his position in the Premiership side last season, Campbell has every chance to claim the role of first ruck at the Doggies, with injuries holding back Jordan Roughead and the development of draftee Tim English. His job security is ensured for the next month at the very least, and if you need a ruckman he is your man, with 38% availability across all leagues.
Best of the rest:
This heading may be misleading, as ruck pickings on the waiver wire are slim at present. One player that looks to give us hope is the ever-competitive Braydon Preuss (69%), who made the most of a Todd Goldstein late withdrawal and helped himself to 46 hit outs against the Cats to score 105. Aided by 13 disposals and 5 tackles, Preuss imposed himself on the game, and looks like the new aggressive ruck prototype favoured by clubs in 2017. Before you get too excited, Preuss may have to wait to repeat his efforts, as he was reported for rough conduct. Another thing to consider is that he only scored 50 last week with Goldstein in the side, so it may be a while for his selection to pay off on a regular basis.
Jonathan Giles (59%) had every chance to step up for the Eagles this week, with the club’s tall woes growing after the hand injury sustained by Drew Petrie in Round 1. Unfortunately Giles could only manage 65 points, with team mate Nathan Vardy (42%) not faring much better in scoring 69. Sam Naismith (34%) is the only other player of some relevance, scoring 62 but comfortably losing his battle against the aforementioned Campbell.
FORWARD OF THE WEEK: Sam Reid
Back to brighter news, in that there was no shortage of high scoring forwards likely to be on your free agent list this week. The clear standout was Sam Reid, who booted 6 goals from 15 touches and 5 marks at centre half forward to score 102 in his 100th AFL game against the Western Bulldogs. After missing all of 2016 through injury, Reid (47% availability) has been on fire for the Swans, kicking 3 goals for 83 points in Round 1.
While key forwards are hard to commit to in fantasy football due to their inability to fire consistently, Reid is a player with the ability to follow in the footsteps of Nick Riewoldt and buck that trend. In his last 4 games of the 2015 season, Reid averaged 2 goals, 9 marks and a whopping 101 points. He was able to top the ton earlier in the season against Fremantle without kicking a goal, so his scoring output may not always rely on that aspect of his game. Now is the time to get on Reid, and fast.
Best of the rest:
Jeremy Cameron backed up his Round 1 effort of 4 goals and 78 points with a 6 goal haul for 119 against the Suns on the weekend. While Cameron loves a goal, he struggles to score fantasy points on a consistent basis, having only topped the ton 5 times in the past three seasons. He wouldn’t be the worst pick up, and is available in 34% of leagues, but don’t say you weren’t warned.
Power second-gamer Dan Houston (94%) announced himself with 18 kicks and 11 marks on his way to 99, following a less than impressive 62 on debut. He could be one to watch across the next fortnight, as could Lachie Weller (52%), who scored 73 after an 80 point outing last week. Weller seems to be a favourite of Ross Lyon, and he will be given every chance to play consistent football up forward with stints through the midfield in 2017.
Essendon speedster Travis Colyer (62%) zipped around to score 92 points, but his average hovered around 70 in 2015 and 2016, so may not be a consistent performer up forward. Lewis Taylor (79%) scored 92 but has been known to pump out scores below 30, so I’d be more partial to looking at Jack Lonie (94%) who worked hard up forward for 2 goals and 83 points.
Players to keep an eye on up forward despite scoring inconsistencies include big Shaun McKernan, and young Demons Alex Neal-Bullen and Mitch Hannan. McKernan (46%) only averages 76 points per game, but is likely to be made a dual position ruck, and could be a handy backup in that role. Neal Bullen (21%) and Hannan (68%) both scored well in Round 1 but struggled to back up their scores this weekend, and may appear on more waivers as they are let go by coaches.
On the odd chance that Will Hoskin-Elliott (13%) and Charlie Cameron (14%) are available on your waiver wire, they are worth a spot as your fifth playing forward. Both players look to have roles more suited to fantasy output this season, and are averaging 109.5 and 103.5 respectively.