Free Agent Targets: Round 2

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.


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%).


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.


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.




  1. Michael

    April 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Hi guys,
    Always a great article.
    It seems the saints with all their young midfielders have moved newnes to his old role in the backline. His disposals, rebound 50s and heat map definately indicate he’s playing as a backmen again. What are his chances of a round 3 change?

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Hey Michael,
      Now this is a proposed change we can sink our teeth into!
      Newnes has lined up at half back at the start of both games, gaining 80% and 72% of his disposals in the back half respectively. He had a whopping 6 R50’s in Round 1 as well.
      I’d say he is every chance to regain his DPP Defender status held previously, especially seeing as his scores haven’t exactly set the fantasy world alight. Hold him and reap the rewards.

      • Michael

        April 6, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        Cheers for your thoughts Alex
        Always great reading your articles and your sound advice.
        Sticking with the position change argument I noticed all the preseason hype to be around Stanton playing back however he’s played his normal wing role but pushed back hard and is taking kick ins. Not actually playing down back. Is this on the money? You wouldn’t think he would gain it would you?
        I would think my round 3 locks would be Newnes, Robbie Gray from Port Adelaide and Brandon Ellis even tho he’s terrible anyway. Can he get back to his old form?
        Cheers mate,

        • Alex FitzGerald

          Alex FitzGerald

          April 10, 2017 at 12:36 pm

          I agree on all 3, let’s hope that the powers that be do as well! Ellis has started very slowly, and his Round 3 score was padded by a lock of junk-time stats too. If he’s made a dual position defender, he’ll be my fifth field player in that position. I have Stanton too, and he won’t be playing for my side unless he gains DPP, as his scores have been well below that of a fantasy mid.

          • Michael

            April 10, 2017 at 3:09 pm

            After the weekends games I think the above 3 have to be absolute certainties. Newnes again played in the back line and spread up onto a wing as a switch player. Robbie gray is 100% a fwd in ports new set up and Brandon Ellis is a lock for spud status sorry I meant back status. Once again played down ball. Got some cheap ball across the forwArd 50 on kick ins and switches. I don’t think Stanton can get the add back given he played pure midfield And off a win with most of this week spent in the attacking half. Will you be writing a position change article this week before the changes? That article was great last year.

  2. Billy Hoyle

    April 4, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    In draft, got an offer for Devon Smith/Michael Hibberd for Jack Steven. Part of me thinking this could be a steal as Smith is up and down and Hibbo could flop.

    While I can cover Smith, parting with Hibbo leaves me only with JJ and Pittard as decent defenders. But would also give me a midfield of Fyfe, Hanners, Bonts, Sidebottom, Shiel, Ziebell, L Shiels, K Jack, Parish and Steven.

    Should I pull the trigger? Perhaps if K Jack/Shiels improve this can get me a 3rd defender.

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 5, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      It’s a tricky one. On one Hand, Steven is a great performer in the midfield, and should average 100 for you all year. But on the other, both defenders and forwards are rare, espeically ones of the calibre of Smith and Hibberd. While Hibberd is injured, he should average 80 plus once fit, and I’d expect Smith to go close to 90 by year’s end. Short term you may benefit overall, bit I think by season’s end you’d be better to hold the 2 players, especially if you’re in a keeper league. Trades are fun though, go with your gut feel! Hope that helps.

      • Billy Hoyle

        April 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        Thanks Alex, I did hold off thinking I’m paying overs. I hope you’re right about them both, its too early to give up on them. I’ll need to just find a new 100+ point scorer this season :)

  3. Hawny

    April 4, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Is Robbie gray a lock for dpp? Also what are the chances of newnes getting dpp

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Hey mate, please see the above responses to Michael’s question. Newnes should be a lock!

  4. Ben

    April 3, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    What do you think about Liam Pickens DPP chances at round 3?

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 3, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      I love the way Picken plays – who doesn’t? I think it would be great if he became a dpp forward, as he’s kicked 2 goals in each of the games played so far. However in Round 1 he had 74% of his possessions in the defensive half. I think it’s likely he’ll remain as a centre for the time being, but may well come into DPP discussion prior to the second announcement.

  5. Joel

    April 3, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Is crozier any chance of getting picked for freo? Been holding since the draft. Thanks

    • Joel

      April 3, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Also, Dunkley? Hold or fold?

      • Billy Hoyle

        April 3, 2017 at 8:52 pm

        Desperate on Dunkley to get named and hold a spot.

        Been emergency twice already,but itd be a bit stiff to drop someone from the Swans game.

        • Alex FitzGerald

          Alex FitzGerald

          April 3, 2017 at 10:32 pm

          I’m a huge fan of Dunkley, and as a young mid/forward dpp with plenty of upside, I’d hang onto him. He showed his ability to score consistently during the tail end of last season, and was again named in the best for the Bulldogs VFL side, so he’s not far away from senior football.

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 3, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      Crozier hasn’t been great for Peel, kicking 4 goals in his 3 games with minimal disposals, while others have outshone him. One thing working in his favour is Fremantle’s shocking form. I’d be looking to bring in more relevant younger defenders as I can’t see anyone stealing him from the waiver if you let him go. Check the free agent recommendations from the list above and draft one in!

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 3, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      See below, Joel!

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      If you’ve held Crozier, you have better insight than myself! Played well in Round 3!

      • Joel Pavy

        April 11, 2017 at 7:15 am

        Unfortunately i follow what the master said and dropped him :(

        Really hoping Dunkley gets a run this weekend.

  6. James

    April 3, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    thoughts on goddard, ellis and n.jones getting Back dPP??

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 3, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      As someone who has Goddard and Ellis in my ultimate team, I’ve been hoping that they’ll be made dual position defenders also. The advantage Goddard has is that he has been a MID/DEF DPP before, and the return of Heppell, Stanton and Watson could see him regain that status. His heatmaps show he has had 62% of possessions in the back half, so there’s hope! As for Ellis, his decrease in scoring output may see him more likely to receive DPP, but we may have to wait until the second announcement. While Jones has had most of his touches in the defensive half, he is a ton-scoring mid, and DPP’s are usually more on the conservative side when it comes to guns. But keep your eye on those heatmaps!

      • Barry

        April 4, 2017 at 8:39 am

        How could you say they would wait for Ellis to change? He’s played all pre season down back. Scoring output dropped and has multiple times in the media been asked about his new role down back to which he has confirmed he has shifted into the back 6 this season with all the additions. He has to be a lock for def R3.

        • Alex FitzGerald

          Alex FitzGerald

          April 12, 2017 at 8:55 pm

          Hey Barry, I hate to say I told you so.. I was very much wanting Ellis to be classified as a Centre/Back. I kept him from last year in the anticipation of a DPP announcement. But UF have a history of being conservative. Keep him and I’m sure by Round6 or Round 9 we’ll have our defender in Ellis.

          • Barry

            April 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm

            Yeah disappointing but your right there.

            It’s just too hard too read. I think it’s pretty clear. Regardless of the player we are playing a game based on statistics why is it that hard to be consistent when making these changes. Regardless of name. If Newnes has more R50s, possessions in the D50 is named, lining up on a forward then to me it’s an easy call. For Conca and Melksham to be given status over Newnes (which I agree with both changes) just adds to the confusion and frustration on position changes.
            Our league loves the variable of it however we would also like consistency based on statistic. They say primarily in his new position and based it on a 70:30 split. He more than met that criteria.

          • Barry

            April 18, 2017 at 5:56 pm

            By the way. Used Newnes as an example to stay emotionally away from Ellis in the example to be clear on my point.

            It’s unfathomable that Conca can get a change yet a bloke in the same team Ellis who has clearly been deployed as a defender cant even though statistically they are quite similar. Newnes was supposed to be outside example.

        • Alex FitzGerald

          Alex FitzGerald

          April 19, 2017 at 2:20 pm

          I agree with your points re: Newnes and taking emotions and scoring output out of it. Ellis definitely playing as a defender, as is JN. I’m sure they’ll bouth become DPP mids/backs, but we will have to be patient. Hard to be with Ellis, but he’s been so average that I’m beyond caring now haha. Next announcement hopefully.

      • Craig

        April 4, 2017 at 9:27 am

        Thoughts on Stanton for DEF status? Trained with the defensive group all summer and clearly playing majority of his role back there. Can’t see both he an Goddard getting it though

      • Gary

        April 4, 2017 at 11:55 pm

        Hey Alex
        Stanton looks more likely than Goddard doesn’t he? God seems to attend centre bounces while Stanton positions himself in the back half almost every bounce. Stanton’s heat map suggests this also.
        I agree with Ellis, he has certainly lined up in the backline and his scores are consistent with this.

        • Alex FitzGerald

          Alex FitzGerald

          April 5, 2017 at 11:03 pm

          I concur that out of the two, Stanton looks more likely to gain dpp as a defender. He’s been taking kick ins, and his heat maps show that in Round 1 he gained 63% of his possessions in the back half, and 69% in Round 2. Tellingly, his average points per game is under 83, and we know how high-scoring mids usually fail to gain positions changes! As many people have chimed in regarding Ellis, I tend to agree that he will be given a position change to include defender status this year. I’ve held him for the last 4 seasons as a keeper, and he’s sufficiently down on his average, and has been playing across the backline for the most part since late 2016. Fingers crossed that the powers that be have noticed this. if not round 3, then surely at the second announcement. I have all 3 of these players mentioned, and no chance of playing all 3 in the midfield.

  7. Andy

    April 3, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Who would you take out of Broadbent, Burton and Savage?

    • Alex FitzGerald

      Alex FitzGerald

      April 3, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      While they have both started slowly, Broadbent has averaged over 70 for the past 4 seasons, and 79 across the last 2. Savage is more than likely going to average close to 70 by the season’s end. Broadbent would be the safe fifth defender option, but if you’re in a keeper league I’d be more inclined to pick up Burton and see how he goes. Hope that helps.

  8. Darcy

    April 3, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    What do you think about Brandon Ellis getting back status and Liam picken getting a possie change? Clearly the bulldogs have moved him out of the middle

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