Free agents

Free Agents – Round 5

In a weekend full of comprehensive wins by so many sides, it’s no surprise to see a huge number of free agents put in some impressive fantasy performances. A few veterans showed they can still produce the odd good score, while a few rookies showed some serious fantasy promise.

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Defender of the Week

Jarryn Geary

The Saints Skipper has already featured in free agents a couple of times this season after opening his 2018 campaign with scores of 97 and 94 in the opening two rounds. However, as most fantasy coaches would have been expecting, the 29-year old could not keep up that lofty standard, registering just 52 in Round 3.

Yet, to the surprise of many – and to the joy of those 86% of coaches who persevered with him – Geary came out on the weekend and produced another score in the 90s against Geelong, giving him an average of 84.8 – by far the best of his career.

Normally, these scores would still be written off as aberrations rather than the norm, however Geary has appeared to be playing a more attacking role this year, and the probable loss of Roberton for the near future may help Geary continue in this rich vein of fantasy form.

That being said, it would hardly be a surprise to see him revert to the Jarryn Geary of old nest week, but with a third score in the 90s from the first three rounds, the Saints’ veteran deserves his place as our Defender of the Week.

Best of the Rest

James Aish continued his recent solid form with 81, despite assisting to curb the influence of Rory Sloane, and is now surprisingly perhaps Collingwood’s highest averaging defender with 80.3. Only failure so far this season was 54 in the opening round, and is justifiably only still available in 13% of leagues.

In the same game former All Australian defender Daniel Talia produced a solid 87 and although not a noted fantasy option could be used as loop hole in Round 5, while in the opening match on Saturday, Jeremy Finlayson brought up his second 90 in four appearances and is sure to be a popular RFA in 28% of leagues he has yet to be taken in.

Richmond’s Reece Conca finally showed what many expected of him two or three years ago, collecting 26 disposals on his way to an even 100 against a disappointing Lions outfit. Conca is only owned in 36% of Ultimate Footy leagues, while his team mate Jayden Short who registered a very respectable 85, following on from scores of 75 and 71 is available in 76% of leagues.

Kangaroo’s big man Scott Thompson brought up only his fourth ton in as many years against Carlton, although it’s doubtful his ownership of just 10% is likely to change much. For the Blues Aaron Mullett produced a solid 72. He’s been up and down so far in 2018, but that is to be expected somewhat as he fits into a new team, and also meant he’s only owned 58% of leagues.

Over in Perth, Lachie Weller produced his best effort for his new club, racking up 90 points in the Sun’s loss to the Eagles. Although drafted in 92% of leagues following a promising 2017, his availability has increased slightly and can be still be picked up in 17% of leagues.

Port Adelaide as a side had a shocker against the Bombers, however for the second time this season Tom Jonas brought up a fantasy score in the 90s. Having averaged no more than 61 over the last four years, and with Jasper Pittard most likely to return next week don’t expect too many more games like that though.

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Midfielder of the Week

Chris Masten

Following a week in which his ownership in Ultimate Footy leagues fell 8.6%, Eagle’s midfielder Chris Masten produced a very impressive 138 fantasy points in West Coast’s big win over the Suns.

Once a fairly popular fantasy option, Masten’s average has fallen over the past few seasons, registering just 73.5 and 78.2 in 2016 and 17 respectively. That looked set to continue after opening the season with scores of just 49, 67 and 82. However, with his place in the side coming into question the 28-year old responded magnificently with 30 disposals and 12 marks.

Although selected at half forward, Masten spent much of the game playing across half back, spending just 29% of his TOG in the forward half of the ground. This role change obviously worked – at least against the Suns, as it was his most productive game from a fantasy perspective since Round 7 2015 – coincidently also against the Suns.

Whether he maintains the same role next week and can build on this game for the remainder of the season remains to be seen, but for this week Chris Masten fully deserves his place as our Midfielder of the Week.

Best of the Rest

Not a lot of outstanding performance from players who hold midfield only status this week, but one was from young Giant Jacob Hopper, who is perhaps surprisingly still available in 30% of leagues, however that will certainly change after scores of 75 and 88 in the last two weeks. That was his highest fantasy score since his debut two years ago, and with more game time should continue to improve.

In the Cat’s comfortable win over the Saints Jordan Cunico gathered 21 disposals and kicked two goals on his way to 97, and has only been picked up in 9% of leagues. Bailey Banfield continued his impressive start to the season for the Dockers with a pretty solid 75, while the Bomber’s David Myers played his best game in three years to register a pretty decent score of 91.

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Ruck of the Week

Tim English

If English were playing for any other club rather than the Bulldogs, it is doubtful he would have played a senior game. However, given the lack of quality ruckmen at the Dogs, and the amount of time they are out injured he has made six AFL appearances, including all four games thus far in 2018.

At just 20-years of age not a lot was to be expected of English, yet he has shown already he will be one of the elite ruckmen of the competition in years to come.

Over the first four rounds he has produced scores of 78, 35, 86 and 90 on the weekend against quality opposition in the Swans, to give him a season average of 72.3.

Although scores such as the one in Round 4 will not be the norm, nor will he play every game, English has shown he could be a handy back-up ruckman, while his dual status as a forward makes him an even more attractive option. Still available in 26% of leagues.

Best of the Rest

Ruckman in free agents are almost as rare as a Heath Shaw handball, however Rhys Stanley is still available in 30% of leagues. The enigmatic Cat scored 81 against the Saints, and although job security is a concern, he could improve on that if given a continuous run – maybe.

Stanley’s opposition ruckman on the weekend in Tom Hickey had a lot of fantasy coaches taking notice only a year or two ago, but has seemingly fallen out of favour with Allan Richardson. Scored 70 on the weekend and is available in 52% of leagues.

The only other playing ruckman likely to be available as a free agent this week is the Giant’s Dawson Simpson, who came in for Rory Lobb and also produced a score of 70. Simpson’s job security is even less than Hickey’s, and will no doubt be back in the NEAFL as soon as Lobb is fit.

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Forward of the Week

Ben Brown

There was a lot of talk over the summer regarding the fact that Ben Brown was enjoying his first uninterrupted pre-season since being a regular senior player at North Melbourne, with many predicting a big season for the 25-year old.

Although he was kept goal-less in the opening round in absolutely horrendous conditions, producing a dismal 29 fantasy points, in the three rounds since he has booted 15 goals and chalked up scores 89, 82 and 115 on the weekend against a disappointing Carlton.

Brown is now running second in the Coleman Medal behind Buddy Franklin, and with the Kangaroos performing much better as a team than many expected, that sort of form looks set to continue.

On the back of consecutive 80-point hauls, Brown’s ownership went up 6.9% last week, however he is still available in 38% of leagues. That won’t be the case for long though, so if the big Roo with the fuzzy wuzzy hair is available in your league, you’ll need to be quick.

Best of the Rest

While Brown quite rightly was all the talk following the North’s second win of the season, his team mate and fellow forward Shaun Atley – who is available in 90% of leagues. surprised with 93 points from 22 disposals and three goals, while another Kangaroo in Jed Anderson produced arguably his best game for the club with a promising 93.

Jaidyn Stephenson booted five goals in Adelaide to rack up a pretty healthy 89, while team mate Josh Thomas continued his impressive early season form with a solid 84. Matt de Boer also has been pretty good so far this season, and added another 78 to his season tally to give him an average of 76 over the first four rounds.

Jason Castagna followed up on his 80 last week, going one shy of the ton against the Lions, giving him a season average of 71.8 and is only owned in 18% of leagues. In a disappointing day for the Demons, Thomas Bugg continued to earn back the respect of his team mates picking up 19 disposals and laying six tackles for 85 fantasy points, while one of those team mates in Dean Kent followed on from his 86 last week with an even better 93.

Others to show some fantasy form in Round 4 were second gamer Mitchell Crowden (78), Swan Dean Towers (71). Young Hawk Tim O’Brien (89), and Lions Rohan Bewick (79) and Cam Rayner (85).

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