A five-day Round 4 has given fantasy coaches a lot of time to take stock of their teams, and hopefully by now your squad is starting to take shape. If not, then there are still a number of players likely to be free agents who put in enough of a performance in Round 4 to warrant selection this week. With many players grinding out mediocre scores of below 80, here are my suggestions on who you should consider picking up off the waiver wire to strengthen your side.
BACK OF THE WEEK: Sam Mayes
Mayes is one of those players that has been threatening to break out for a few seasons now. He started his career across half forward for the Lions, with his best fantasy average of 73 coming in 2013, with averages of between 60-68 following across the next 3 seasons. This year he has been playing more of an outside role across half back, and as a result is averaging a career high 22 disposals and 76 points per game. Against Richmond he collected 19 kicks and 7 marks on his way to a respectable 93 points. Mayes is capable of playing on a wing or as a target up forward, and with this versatility, in time he may develop into a fantasy-relevant player. He looks to have put the foot injury that interrupted his 2015 season well and truly behind him, and while he may not rack up the points on a weekly basis for your side, at 59% availability he’s worth considering if you have the bench space free or need a fifth defender to cover a short term injury.
Best of the rest:
Nick Haynes (102) and Jimmy Webster (101) both cracked the fantasy ton in Round 4, but I’d be looking elsewhere and here’s why: Haynes had a reasonably strong 2016, averaging 74, and proved to be a handy fifth defender for many coaches. His first three games this year have been well below par, and despite his reasonable output last year, his fantasy ton on the weekend was the first of his career. Webster’s ton was the second of his career, across which he has never averaged over 60 points in a season. Competition for spots in the Saints’ side is tough, and I wouldn’t expect him to hold his position down for the season. If you decide to take a punt, Haynes is available in 47% of leagues, and Webster in 92%, for good reason.
James Harmes (41% availability), like many young Demons who have stood up so far this season, looks a player. After a 91-point effort in Round 2, he put in a poor performance last week with a very average 55 points, but bounced back against the Dockers to score 93 from 19 disposals and swung forward at times to kick 2 goals. Ben Reid was also very good, helping himself to 17 kicks and 11 marks to total 97 points. Capable of averaging in the 70’s when fit, I’d be treading carefully with Reid (38% availability), but it could be worth monitoring his output.
Dual position back/forwards Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (35% availability) and Dan Houston (49%) both put up 82 points in Round 4. McDonald-Tipungwuti had a stinker in Round 3 but all of his other scores have been over 70, and with DPP status he may be worth a look as bench cover. Houston is a more viable option in terms of fantasy output, with an average of just under 79 in his debut season so far. Jason Castagna (46%) is another DPP back/forward worth a look. He kicked 4 goals for 92 points in Round 4, backing up his 98 last week. Forgotten Lion Claye Beams (97%) had 78 points in his first game of 2017, but will have to repeat that effort and then some to be considered a viable option.
The only other two players worth considering based on their Round 4 outputs would be Luke McDonald (74 points, 41% availability) and Nic Newman (71, 26%). Both defenders are playing consistent football and are on the fringe of fantasy relevance, averaging 80 and 77 points per game in 2017 respectively. As dire options you could turn to key defender Marcus Adams (25%) and his Round 4 score of 85 for an average of 81 points per game, or Brad Sheppard (60%) after his 80 points, but be aware that both are likely to have games where they score well below those numbers.
CENTRE OF THE WEEK: Brayden Fiorini
Fiorini announced himself as a potential fantasy jet when he racked up 32 disposals, 7 marks, 12 tackles and 2 goals in only his second AFL game in Round 23 last season. That 166 point outing would have been easy to write off as a fluke, and he may not reach those heights again, but Fiorini has been impressive since breaking back into the Suns side last week. He managed 2 goals for 77 points in the routing of Hawthorn, and backed that up against the Blues in Round 4 with 31 disposals for 109 points. At only 19 years of age, and with the Suns having won both games he’s played in, Fiorini has huge potential and good job security. He’s available in 41% of leagues, and if you can snavel him off the waiver wire don’t hesitate to allocate the young Sun a field position. If you’re playing in a keeper league, lock him away and watch his value rise.
Best of the rest:
There wasn’t much to get excited about in the midfield department this round, but they are a few players worth having a look at if your mids aren’t putting up the numbers they should. Off the back of two strong seasons, where he averaged 91 and 84 points, Jack Crisp scored 84 points in Round 4. He’s available in 27% of leagues, and will improve on his season average so far of 76 points per game. Another proven performer in Matt Rosa (50%) put up 80 points, and if he can stay fit should average in the high 70s.
In his first game of 2017, Tomas Bugg (74% availability) scored 78 points from 22 disposals, 16 of which were handballs. Carlton debutant Zac Fisher laid 5 tackles and kicked a goal for a score of 67, and showed enough to suggest he’s worth keeping in mind, but at 87% availability I wouldn’t rush to select him.
I would grab Connor Blakely (44%, 75 points) if I had room in my side; if you take away his 17 points in Round 2 he’s averaged over 80 across his other three games. He avoided the axe when Ross Lyon swung it after Round 2, so his job security looks strong. Rohan Bewick (77%) hasn’t been a strong scorer in other years, but just quietly Round 4 output of 76 is his third score over 70 this season.
RUCK OF THE WEEK: Jake Spencer
Last week we had three free agent rucks topping the ton. This week we have Jake Spencer as our highlighted fantasy ruckman, so yes, pickings are slim. Brought in for the injured Max Gawn, Spencer was monstered by Aaron Sandilands, who accumulated a lazy 53 hit outs to thump the Dockers to a 2 point victory. Spencer tried hard, but the reality is that his score of 77 was padded by 2 goals, with only 15 hit outs next to his name at the end of the match. Having said this, Spencer’s position as number one ruckman at Melbourne is safe until Gawn returns, which is likely to be a minimum of two months from now. If you need a bench ruckman, or field cover for a week, you could do much worse than to draft the Demon’s number two big man. He was strong in the VFL last week, and his hit out count should improve from now on.
Best of the rest:
In the absence of Kurt Tippett, Sam Naismith AND Darcy Cameron, Callum Sinclair (53% availability) assumed the sole ruckman position on the weekend, scoring 70 points. His position and output is very much dependent on the availability of the other big men at the Swans, so bring him in only if you need to avoid a donut.
Jackson Trengove (74 points, 40% availability), a DPP back/ruckman, is someone I’d be more likely to bring in as a backup. His job security is rock solid, and if you’re in a category league then his hit outs from a back position may come in handy.
Rhys Stanley may have been dropped for Zac Smith, but don’t be surprised if he’s back in the side soon. He had 28 hit outs, 17 disposals, 8 marks and kicked a goal in the VFL on Saturday, and is more versatile than Smith. At 29% availability, he has shown he can score reasonably well, averaging 72 in his two matches this season.
FORWARD OF THE WEEK: Brandon Matera
There must have been a blue moon on the weekend, because Matera went and topped his Round 3 score of 107 points with an impressive 138. What stood out the most about his Round 4 game was that while his ton last week was padded by 6 goals, this week he kicked only 3. Matera (32% availability) had 22 kicks from his 29 disposals, 9 marks, and often set up other players for shots on goal rather than blazing away like he would have in the past. He looks to have lifted his work rate significantly, and his fantasy output has benefitted as a result. I said last week I’d be looking at other forwards first, and I still would, but if you can’t help yourself, bring him into your side and hope he can keep up this strong form. Again, if he stumbles in the coming weeks for a score of around 50, don’t say you weren’t warned.
Best of the rest:
Travis Colyer scored his first fantasy ton in Round 4 with his 124 points coming from 3 goals, 5 tackles and 24 disposals. He scored 94 in Round 2, and in both of these games he has showed his ability to score well. Keep in mind that his tackle count was an equal career high, and that he’s only ever kicked more than 2 goals once before. He was on my field, so I’m happy, but not expecting an average of above 80 at the end of the season.
After his 80 point game in the rain last week, Jack Silvagni kicked 3 goals and had 10 marks to scored 104 points against the Suns. He’s available in a huge 82% of leagues, and will develop into a fantasy-relevant half forward sooner than most had predicted.
Last year’s finals series hero Clay Smith finally broke into the Western Bulldogs’ side and scored 85 points. He was goalless, but in true Clay Smith fashion he did whatever he could to help the Dogs win, and laid an astonishing 15 tackles. He will never stop trying, and if you can pick him up this week, do it. He’s available in 68% of leagues.
Hawthorn were horrible, but James Sicily (91% availability) wasn’t. Sicily worked hard up the ground to take 10 marks and kick 2 goals for 88 points after being dropped after a quiet Round 1 game. He’ll remain in Clarko’s good graces after his efforts, and should get more chances on goal in the following weeks.
Cam McCarthy (96 points, 80% availability), Ben Brown (90, 81%) and Jonathon Patton (93, 77%) all had strong games, but cannot be trusted to score anywhere near those heights on a consistent basis. Rory Lobb (53%) had 93 points, and if you were to select a key forward out of these four I’d definitely be choosing him based on upside and scoring potential.
Finally, small forwards Jamie Cripps (98 points, 33% availability) and Jeff Garlett (106, 84%) had good games, but they come off the back of inconsistent scores so again I’d avoid classifying these players as solid options. Look at George Hewett (86, 47%) if your free agent pool is dry, but the first five mentioned forwards are the ones to go for.