This article is part of our DraftKings AFL series.
The home-and-away season has one round left and seeding will be the most important thing to figure out, though a few teams have to be careful now that their place in the finals is in their own hands. A ladder-topping matchup between Melbourne and Geelong is sure to catch the watchful eye, but fantasy requires other skillsets as well and that drops more coins in the hands of Hawks, Giants and Tigers whether in the finals places or not. Lastly, the slate opens with one final game for Shaun "Silk" Burgoyne, who wraps up a 407-game career against Richmond.
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.
Hawthorn Hawks (14th) vs Richmond Tigers (11th)
Gold Coast Suns (15th) vs Sydney Swans (6th)
West Coast Eagles (9th) vs Brisbane Lions (5th)
Melbourne Demons (1st) vs Geelong Cats (2nd)
Greater Western Sydney Giants (7th) vs Carlton Blues (13th)
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.
Joe Daniher, Brisbane ($5,000): Trending in the right direction at the right time is Daniher, who has scored seven goals and three behinds to record scores of 92 and 84 points over his last two games, respectively. Along with the fact that he's scored less than three goals in just one of the last five rounds, there may not be many forwards that can offer substantially more production without having a greater role in possession. Two other options of interest are Charlie Cameron and Jeremy Cameron. Though not related by blood, they've put together similar stat lines in recent games and could offer solid production, though Charlie has the better matchup against West Coast along with Daniher than Jeremy's against the first-placed Melbourne Demons.
Jack Riewoldt, Richmond ($4,700): On the back of four weeks with decreasing production, Riewoldt doesn't project in an ideal direction for any kind of fantasy benefit. However, when looking at the best games of his season, they result in massively superior numbers than most forwards are capable of reaching, and they all seem to come when there's nothing left to lose but pride for the Tigers. With a final game against Hawthorn sealing the end of their three consecutive Premierships, Riewoldt may go out and dominate just to prove that Richmond will never be out of things for long. Options at a similar price point to Riewoldt are Jesse Hogan, Kysaiah Pickett and Errol Gulden, though none have the same benefit of the matchup and ahve reached as high of numbers this season.
Josh Kelly, GWS ($7,900): There are no other GWS players as expensive as Kelly and just as well, as he has remained the steadiest in a tumultuous season that could still end with a place in the finals. Across the league, there might be other players who score better than him and cost less in salary, but Kelly has the benefit of facing Carlton after logging 63 disposals over his last two starts. If there's anyone to drive the Giants firmly into the finals, Kelly should be one of the favorites to do so. Without spending as much for a top midfielder as Kelly, look to Cameron Guthrie or Clayton Oliver, as though their matchup is tough, both are essential to the success of their respective teams.
Jack Redden, West Coast ($6,800): If the Eagles can't manage to finish out the season with a win and force the hand of the teams above them, then there's little hope left for Redden and his teammates after a long season ends with four straight losses. That being said, this isn't only based off the need for success as a club, as Redden returned to the lineup in Round 22 with 25 disposals and nine tackles, which are more than enough for generating a proper fantasy score in the midfield. Should he put in one final strong effort against a solid Brisbane club, Redden could prove to be a difference maker this week. Among the alternate options are Matthew Kennedy, who has scored at least 100 fantasy points in three of his last five games and Isaac Smith, who hasn't scored less than 90 fantasy points in four straight starts.
Daniel Howe, Hawthorn ($6,000): Trusting West Coast with more than one spot on a lineup is likely a risky thing to do, so in comes Howe after his impressive 34-disposal, nine-mark game against the Western Bulldogs. Much like those still standing for Richmond can count on playing a team even further down the ladder than them, Howe and his teammates can look at it the other way as they've won three straight and will look to finish the season strongly for departing coach Alastair Clarkson. Given this situation, Howe's chances of putting up another good game should be higher than in past weeks, as he's only logged over 100 fantasy points two times all season.
Noah Anderson, Gold Coast ($5,800): For a midfielder listed at follower with 13 marks and 55 disposals over their last two games, Anderson is a worthy asset for a final midfield spot. Even against a Sydney club that won't be the easiest matchup, Anderson can still get plenty of touches as long as Touk Miller draws most of the defensive attention. Someone in a similar position to Anderson is James Worpel, who returns to the lineup after missing the win over the Western Bulldogs and has scored at least 90 fantasy points in three of his last four games.
Lachie Henderson, Geelong ($5,600): There aren't many clear-cut players worth targeting on the back line this week, but Henderson is at least worth some attention after putting up 96 fantasy points in Round 22 against St Kilda and logging at least 89 points over his last two full starts. Even with a tough matchup this weekend against Melbourne, Henderson can certainly find his stride as an important piece to one of the top teams in the league. One alternate to Henderson could be Jack Lukosius, who's lining up at half-forward against Sydney and has scored less than 80 fantasy points in just one of his last five games.
Shaun Burgoyne, Hawthorn ($3,600): Taking "Silk" is just as much a pick to celebrate the moment as it is to fit this lineup, as he'll run out at half-back for the 407th and final game of his impressive career. It's not like he's played poorly over the last few weeks as well through 19 marks and 45 disposals recorded over his last three games. With a midfield that's filled to the brim and a front line that has better form sometimes usable, taking Burgoyne should do well to match the production to his potential in one final game against Richmond.
Kieren Briggs, GWS ($4,500): Named as ruck due to Shane Mumford getting managed, Briggs is one of many ruckmen with a solid price point to close out the season. In his last appearance during Round 21 against Geelong, Briggs put up a solid 79 fantasy points on 20 hitouts and nine tackles made. With a better matchup against a Carlton club short of their best options in his position, Briggs may have the best chance of anyone to perform well above the expectations of their standing in the team. When looking at the entire list of rucks this week, it wouldn't be a wrong pick to take Max Gawn at $6,800, which is a reasonable price by his standards, given that few can ever reproduce or match up with him in any week. However, since everyone is cheap, it leaves a good chance to search down a little further and take Jonathon Ceglar, who logged 97 fantasy points in that win over the Western Bulldogs in Round 22.