This article is part of our DraftKings AFL series.
Round 9's Saturday slate offers plenty of excitement on the pitch and in our lineups, as the QClash pits Gold Coast and Brisbane against each other in the local Queensland derby while the Western Bulldogs are starting four of their best players as interchanges. We also have to watch out for the absence of Shane Edwards and Shai Bolton, which could make for a GWS feast or a bright showing from the young Tigers taking their places. To take advantage of these matchups, check out some of the possible options listed below.
If this is your first time checking out Aussie Rules Football, welcome to a sport that combines the physicality of rugby, the stamina of soccer players and the impressive verticality seen in the American code of football. To make sure you know exactly what each stat looks like, check out this helpful video.
On the pitch, there are 18 players fielded by each team with four interchange options that can rotate up to 75 times per match. In DK competitions, lineups are permitted just nine players: two forwards, four midfielders, two defenders and one ruck. To earn points, players can add to the score (+6 for a goal, +1 for a behind), keep the footy under control (+3 for a kick, +3 for a mark, +2 for a handball) or stop the other team from advancing (+4 for a tackle, +1 for a free kick, +1 for a hitout). On the other side, conceding a free kick is a deduction of three points.
It's worth noting that AFL fantasy is heavily weighted to those who can touch the footy the most times, which is why there are extra midfielders available as they are usually capable of scoring the most points without ever needing to enter the 50-meter line. And with that, here are some potential picks to give you an idea of who to watch out for on Saturday.
Collingwood Magpies (16th) vs Sydney Swans (6th)
North Melbourne Kangaroos (18th) vs Hawthorn Hawks (17th)
Brisbane Lions (5th) vs Gold Coast Suns (12th)
Greater Western Sydney Giants (9th) vs Richmond Tigers (8th)
Western Bulldogs (2nd) vs Port Adelaide Power (4th)
This Week's Picks:
Always remember to check your lineups! The initial team sheet will come out well in advance of the match, but teams only finalize their selection an hour before first bounce.
Jesse Hogan, GWS ($4,900): Fresh off returning from a calf injury, Hogan is scheduled to start at half-forward against a depleted Tigers side without Shai Bolton or Shane Edwards. Though those absences may not impact a Richmond club that has alternated between struggling and taking down clubs as talented as the Western Bulldogs, Hogan scored four times in his season debut against Adelaide and the feeling around him has been confident even after playing in just one game. A player from the same team as Hogan with more value is Toby Greene, whose 21 goals and 18.9 disposals per game are exceptional for a full forward, or Lance Franklin, who struggles with injury issues but has the tendency to score in bunches and will face a Collingwood club still struggling to find his groove.
Charlie Dixon, Port Adelaide ($4,500): For all his talent and strength, Dixon isn't exactly the best fantasy forward with 12 goals and 11.9 disposals per game in 2021. However, his size could help level the scales against a talented Bulldogs club full of its own tall players. It could also be more prudent to pick up Dixon despite this matchup as he set his early season-highs with 14 disposals and five tackles from Round 8 against Adelaide. If Dixon isn't a convincing case at this price point, Will Hayward is only $100 more and has done well over the last month, though Chad Wingard has a favorable matchup and the presence of the Western Bulldogs adds a host of high-value options even facing the Power.
Brandon Ellis, Gold Coast ($8,500): Ellis has put some distance in value between himself and the rest of his teammates with Hugh Greenwood the closest at $6,900. That's not by accident as outside of his 73-point performance in Round 8 and scoring 84 in Round 1, he's scored at least 104 points in all but two games this season. When facing a Brisbane club that most recently shut down Fremantle, Ellis shouldn't face the same issues as the Dockers as a part of a better lineup with more attacking talent. He's also managed to put up 120 fantasy points against the Western Bulldogs and doesn't look like someone who will back down from a challenge. Among the rest of the high-priced options among midfielders, Tim Taranto has a favorable clash with the short-handed Tigers that could be worth the extra $200. The presence of Adam Treolar, Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Tom Liberatore as interchanges for the Bulldogs means that unless they get into the game early and often, their playing time could be a major limit when their values are all still quite high. It's also worth noting that Ellis will be the absence of Touk Miller, a fantasy star in his own right who will need his production replaced in Round 9.
Josh Kelly, GWS ($6,800): Kelly is a player capable of offering high-end value without breaking the bank after topping 100 fantasy points in two straight games. To make that happen, he'll need to log somewhere near 30 disposals - a feat which five Geelong players managed in Round 8 against the Tigers, who will be featuring the young Hugo Ralphsmith in the middle of the pitch to replace Shane Edwards. If Kelly and the Giants wish to push for a spot in the top 8, there will be no time like the present for him to put up another big showing against last season's flag winners. The often-mentioned Callan Ward offers an even cheaper option from GWS for this week's matchup, though Travis Boak offers a similar price point to Kelly and will face a Western team that's starting many of their best midfielders as interchanges.
Luke Parker, Sydney ($6,400): Parker is no stranger to dominating a contest and picking him here is hoping he can break his recent streak of alternating high and low-value performances. With a favorable matchup against Collingwood, which have struggled all season against teams with any kind of structural discipline, Parker should be able to overcome a case of right place, wrong time, as long as he logs near 30 disposals. Another option from the Swans is Josh P. Kennedy, who has scored as many as 142 fantasy points in a single game but also can score below 80 points if he's unable to get enough possession. Similarly, James Rowbottom has shown good improvement in recent weeks but is only named as an interchange for Round 9.
Hugo Ralphsmith, Richmond ($2,500): With Jordon Sweet, Malcom Rosas and Cody Weightman all scheduled to start or make their AFL debuts this Saturday, there are plenty of low-priced options capable of freeing up space for expensive midfielders. However, Ralphsmith might be the best of the bunch after logging 19 disposals in his most recent VFL game and getting the start at half forward to make up for the absence of Shane Edwards. Though his positioning isn't as valuable as a true midfielder, and he'll face a GWS team full of talented players in contesting possession, Ralphsmith is still in one of the better sides in the league and could have more than enough help to make a big impact. When looking at the other cheaper options mentioned and their positions, Sweet is a cheap ruck but he'll face a tough test against Port Adelaide. In the case of Rosas, this will be the first chance to get an idea of what he can do while some more experienced players are unavailable.
Dane Rampe, Sydney ($5,400): Rampe is coming off his first game back from a broken hand and put up a solid 81 points against Melbourne. With Saturday's opponent in Collingwood coming off a decent showing against North Melbourne, any good production from the opposition forwards should give Rampe enough chances to make a solid impact. Something important to consider this week is the presence of the usually expensive Jack Bowes as an interchange for Gold Coast, which could make Oleg Markov exceptionally important across any matchup this week.
Marcus Adams, Brisbane ($4,200): Adams is a case of finding a defender who looks like he'll be kept busy enough to put points on the board for a low price. He's scored as many as 80 fantasy points this season, but his average is right at 60 per game and surpassing that would make for a better story against the Suns. It could be prudent to aim a little higher in price and pick up Alex Keath, but that's all dependent on how comfortable you are with taking either side in a high-stakes matchup. With Dylan Grimes providing potentially the same value as Adams for $1,000 less, there are still some options in the lower tier of defenders this week.
Ben McEvoy, Hawthorn ($6,800): McEvoy provides the kind of all-action value that makes a ruck steadily useful even when he won't dominate in hitouts every week, and those numbers are matched by his 12.9 disposals, 5.4 marks and 19.4 hitouts per match. With at least 82 points scored over the last three rounds, picking up McEvoy against North Melbourne should make for a good situation, especially if he can dominate against Todd Goldstein, who hasn't played to his best levels this season. This week, there are couple of other names worth considering in Peter Ladhams as Scott Lycett's replacement for the next month and Jordon Sweet, who's back in for the injured Stefan Martin and Timothy English.