Can anyone challenge the new king of the rucks? Is the Saint that loves a hug in his career-best form right now? Has a veteran Magpie missed his opportunity to take the keys? There are so many questions coming out of round 20. But let's turn our attention back to fantasy footy for a second and identify some risers in form and others who should be falling out of favour with all fantasy coaches. Let us know your thoughts on who we have down below on all of our socials -twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.
Rowan Marshall (St Kilda Saints - Ruck)
Rowan Marshall is a different breed of human when Patty Ryder is out. Off the back of his best performance of the season, the trend of Marshall being as elite as anybody in the ruckman position when Ryder is out continues. Round 20 marks Marshall’s sixth score in a row over 100+ GDS fantasy points, and it’s not like he’s just scraping it in! The streak he’s on includes some scores such as 149 GDS fantasy points in round 15 and 124 GDS fantasy points in round 19. None have been bigger than his round 20 score of an eye-watering 188 GDS fantasy points! 30 disposals, 35 hit-outs, 9 marks and 7 tackles was the recipe that got him there and I think he’s become by far and away the most consistent ruckman in the game right now. Tim English, Max Gawn and Jarrod Witts have all been good as of late, but none are anywhere near the status of Rown Marhsall right now!
Brad Crouch (St Kilda Saints - Midfielder)
I am sticking with the Saints who are in red hot fantasy form. Brad Crouch has been quietly going off his head without getting much applause. Colossal back-to-back scores of 169 and 147 are bound to make coaches - who might be stashing Brad Crouch in their non-active squad - think about starting him! Crouch, who is currently sitting fourth in total tackles league-wide with 130 hugs, is also currently averaging 27 disposals, 3 marks and 6 clearances a game, and is having arguably his best statistical year. For me, he’s definitely someone who should be on everyone's radar as we sit firmly at the pointy end of the season.
Liam Duggan (West Coast Eagles - Defender)
An under-the-radar pick for the risers column here but Liam Duggan has been quietly performing really well, while not receiving much applause. In Duggan’s last six games, he has scored over 100+ GDS fantasy points on four occasions, with three of those scores being over 115 GDS fantasy points. There hasn’t been a lot of love coming out of the West Coast Eagles camp this season, and while it’s been a long one for the players, the West Coast Eagles defenders have been more than serviceable for fantasy. Liam Duggan, Shannon Hurn, Alex Witherden when he plays and even Tom Barrass as of late are all startable options for fantasy. Keep a close eye on Liam Duggan to see how he closes out the season and travels over the off-season. There's every chance Duggan could find himself at D5/D6 conversations going into the 2023 season.
The Entire Sydney Swans Young Core
Here’s a different approach. I’m chucking in every Sydney Swan’s weapon under the age of 23. Errol Gulden had a career day in round 20, 24 kicks, 12 marks and 2 goals took him to 184 GDS fantasy points on the day! But it got me thinking about the current crop of talent coming through the Swannies right now and how scary it's going to be for the rest of the league, maybe sooner rather than later. Chad Warner, James Rowbottom, Dylan Stephens, Justin McInerney, Nick Blakey and Logan McDonald are all players who possess the talent and ability to take both the competition and footy fantasy by storm for a long time! Go shopping for as many of these freak talents as possible, trust me.
Taylor Adams (Collingwood Magpies - Midfielder)
Not to kick a man while he's down, because it was announced today that he's been ruled out for the rest of the the 2022 season with a groin injury. But, this season was tailor-made for Taylor Adams to have his best year yet but, it was quite the opposite. Adams had a healthy pre-season, what seemed to be a clear role and not a lot of competition to be the main ball winner on the team. With not a lot of midfield depth for Collingwood this year, it seemed like Adams was in pole position to have one of his best fantasy seasons yet. At the end of round 20 and his season, Adams is averaged 95 GDS fantasy points, no where near where we expected him going into the season. At 28, a history of injury and some young guns making a case for more midfield time, is the best of Taylor Adams behind him? I think so.
Christian Salem (Melbourne Demons - Defender)
When I saw Angus Brayshaw lining up in the guts at the start of the Demons vs Dockers game on Friday night I thought to myself “Here we go, Salem could be on here”. Salem wasn't on, Salem was very off. His score of 52 GDS fantasy points on the night highlighted some of the struggles Salem has had this year when he’s healthy and playing. He missed a heap of time at the start of the season, missing 10 weeks with a knee injury and many expected him to return to the 2021 Christian Salem form straight away, with lots of kicks, lots of marks and lots of fantasy points. Salem hasn’t been his consistent self and with a score of just 52 GDS fantasy points in round 20 with the half-back flank essentially all to himself, you start to wonder if he’ll be serviceable at all for the rest of the season. My advice would be to sit him until he shows us more.
Jack Gunston (Hawthorn Hawks - Forward)
Jack Gunston reminded us of the ceiling he has when he posted up a huge score of 141 GDS fantasy points off the back of 5 goals and 15 kicks in round 19, but it all came crashing back down in round 20. 1 goal, 6 kicks, 3 marks and 49 GDS fantasy points is unfortunately the Jack Gunston we now know. We are a long way removed from the fantasy relevant 2015/16 Jack Gunston who would push up the ground, and still impact the scoreboard but would average scores in the 90s in AFL Fantasy. The Jack Gunston we know now isn’t going to give us that level of fantasy production ever again, unfortunately.