The opening two weeks of the home and away season has seen a number of injuries to fantasy relevant players, forcing coaches to scramble through the free-agents pool for some hopefully reliable back-ups.
As is usually the case early on in the season, there were quite a few decent fantasy scores produced from players who would have still been on the waiver’s list in the majority of leagues prior to Round 2.
Defender of the Week
After arguably his best season at AFL level it was surprising to many when the Kangaroos delisted Mullet at the end of last season. Carlton duly pounced hoping the 26-year old could help fill the void created by the season long injury to Sam Docherty. Although he didn’t set the fantasy world on fire in Round 1 with just 49 points, he brought up a ton against Gold Coast in an impressive display playing across half back and the wing.
It usually takes some time for players to settle into a new club, and this could well be the case for Mullett, who at his best can produce some very solid fantasy scores. Whether his 102 on the weekend was a sign of things to come or an aberration is yet to be seen, but given Carlton play the Magpies on Friday night and he can be used as a loophole, if you are in one of the 38% of leagues in which he is still available the possible reward far outweighs the risk.
Best of the Rest
Round 3 kicked off on Thursday night and Tom Doedee picked up where he left off last week with a solid 79, while in the same game Jake Kelly picked up 28 disposals on his way to 94 points. With the Crows playing Friday night in Rounds 4 and 5, both are good options in defence.
Jimmy Webster racked up 95 fantasy points from 30 disposals, and Jarryn Geary backed up his surprise opening round effort with 94. Although neither has proved a viable long-term option in the past.
Former top 10 draft pick James Aish produced arguably his best games for the Magpies and in the process racking up 102 fanatsy points, while for the Giants second gamer Jeremy Finlayson impressed with 90 points from 23 touches – including a number of kick-ins from behinds. Swan Nick Smith was also good in a losing side with 87, and on the Easter Monday clash Tom Stewart is looking more comfortable at AFL level every week gathering 24 disposals on his way to 96, while Blake Hardwick clocked up a solid 83.
Midfielder of the Week
Ultimate Footy coaches looking for midfield options will be hard pressed finding them from free-agents this week, as there weren’t many impressive performances from players likely to have been in waivers prior to the start of Round 2. North Melbourne’s Ben Jacobs was one of the very few who did, racking up just the second fantasy ton in his 79 game career. However, given his best season fantasy average is a lowly 65 in 2015, it is difficult to see Jacobs repeating his Round 2 efforts too often. Yet, in a week devoid of many fantasy midfield options Jacobs gets his chance to shine in the sun as Footy Prophet’s Midfielder of the Week.
Best of the Rest
Although listed as a midfielder expect Lewis Jetta to gain DPP as a defender if he continues to play the same role he has in the first two rounds. The former Swan spent 80% of TOG in the back half against the Bulldogs for a solid 85, and although has been fantasy irrelevant since his switch to the Eagles a rebounding role off half back would seem to suit his natural game.
Zac Fisher picked up 83 points for the Blues, while for the opposition Nick Holman backed up his Round 1 score of 89 with a solid 83. Second year midfielder Oliver Florent was also pretty good producing 83 in the Swan’s loss to Port Adelaide at the SCG.
Ruck of the Week
When former Saint turned Cat Rhys Stanley is your ruck of the week, you know the cupboard must be pretty bare. A perennial fantasy tease Stanley has always shown he has the athleticism and ability to turn games and produce some very solid fantasy scores, but rarely does. Sharing the ruck duties with Mark Blicavs, Stanley scored a barely respectable 71, but such is the dearth of playing ruckmen available on Waivers he takes out Ruck of the Week.
Best of the Rest
As mentioned above (and mooted in Footy Prophet’s 2018 Draft Kit), Mark Blicavs shared the Cat’s ruck duties with Stanley, picking up 18 disposals and 7 hit-outs on his way to a solid 82. Although no longer holding ruck/mid DPP, expect Blicavs to regain it at some stage of the season if he continues to spend as much time in the ruck as he did against the Hawks.
Tim English once again showed he will potentially be a fantasy star in seasons to come, but with just 35 to his name in Round 2, he’s not up to it yet, and should only be an option for coaches who either have no emergency ruck, or the one they have is injured.
Forward of the Week
Following an opening round score of 97 McPherson made his way onto last week’s Free Agents, and goes one better in Round 2 being named our Forward of the Week. In completely opposite of the wind and rain from last week’s game against the Kangaroos, McPherson picked up 14 disposals and layed 10 tackles for a fantasy score 98.
Although coaches were warned last week in FAs about the 20-year old’s job security, with each performance such as he has shown so far that will not be an issue. While his Ultimate Footy ownership went up some 24% on the back of his opening round efforts, McPherson is still available in 44% of leagues.
Best of the Rest
Unlike with midfielders and ruckmen, there were a number of forwards who will still be available in many leagues who turned in some notable fantasy performances in Round 2. On Friday night, Ben Brown starred for the Kangaroos with six goals and 89 points, while young Saint Jade Gresham produced a reasonable 77.
On Saturday young Lion Rhys Mathieson followed up his good JLT form with 84 from 15 disposals and seven tackles in his first home and away appearance of 2018. Available still in 38% of Ultimate Footy leagues, Mathieson is showing all the signs he could possibly be in for a break-out season.
In the same game Demon’s small forward Jeff Garlett had a day out with four goals and 103 fantasy points, but he’s done the same numerous times before and followed up with a month of scores below 60. However, one to look more closely at is team-mate James Harmes. The 20-year old is being used in the midfield on limited game time as he builds his fitness, and so far has produced fantasy scores of 77 from 66% and 83 from 77% TOG.
Matt Taberner continued his fantastic early season form with 90 in Fremantle’s upset win over the Bombers, while on Sunday West Coast smashed the Bulldogs with both Jack Darling (101) and first year excitement machine Liam Ryan (91) scoring seven goals between them. Darling has never gone onto be the fantasy player that many thought he could be, while Ryan’s score should not have coaches jumping on board just yet.
Top 5 Targets
- Matt Taberner
- Rhys Mathieson
- Aaron Mullett
- Darcy McPherson
- James Harmes