After a record-breaking scoring round in round 8, normality resumed in the most "mid" way possible in round 9! Unless you're this alien fella named Errol Gulden, who for some reason couldn't buy a score below 180 GDS fantasy points right now. Round 9 was also full of land mines, for midfielders specifically, in the form of hard tags, injuries and Zach Merrett somehow getting less minutes in the midfield with Darcy Parish out? Some one make it make sense?! Brad Scott's Bevo impersonation at it's finest.
That's not to mention that Noah Anderson had a West Coast jumper all over him at all times, Jack Steele and Rory Laird ruined everyones Sunday by exiting their clash early. C̶h̶r̶i̶s̶ ̶J̶u̶d̶d̶... I mean Luke Davies-Uniake has again fallen victim to an injury, this time a hammy complaint. Jacob Hopper is set to miss time with something called a soleus strain? It deadset sounds like a new variant of Covid-19... Oh and if you own and started Callum Mills I am genuinely sorry for your loss, you were smart, it was the perfect week to add him in, but the olddddd injury hammer came down on him as he was subbed off with a calf injury early in the game. Anyway, round 9 is enough to give a man nightmares, lets move on swiftly into round 10!
It's time now to get stuck into some fantasy chatter! GameDay Squad is a little bit different to your more traditional AFL Fantasy and AFL Supercoach platforms. Some features that make it a little bit of a different experience are:
There are no weekly trade restrictions, this means that you can take your MRO frustrations out stress free.
In GDS the cards you use to play are virtual player cards which you can collect from player card packs, with that, there is a fully functioning peer-to-peer transfer market which you can trade, auction and sell player cards that you own. Yes, this means that you can not only rage trade but rage sell all of your Callum Mills cards!
It’s also essential to keep in mind that GameDay Squad is a dynasty fantasy football platform and that will be heavily taken into consideration in this article.
Greater Western Sydney - Midfielder (MID)
Alright let's get serious, shall we? In amongst all the chaos of round 9 we had Greater Western Sydney Giant Lachie Ash just quietly finished as the third highest-scoring midfielder in the round. Despite the surprise, Ash's form and role has been pointing towards this level of scoring for some rounds now. Ash this year, has been playing deeper in defence, much deeper in comparison to previous seasons. Instead of working the ball up and down the wing with small stints inside, GWS coach Adam Kingsley has deployed Ash in a deeper more line-breaking role down back for the Giants. He's been loving it too! Averaging 125 GDS fantasy points in his last three games and 102 GDS fantasy points per game this year!
21-year-old Ash has been relishing the role with career highs in kicks, handballs and marks per game while almost doubling his meters gained on previous years. I've picked Ash as a buy here not only because of his talent but this is truly where the GameDay Squad platform gets interesting. As mentioned above, GDS is a dynasty fantasy sports platform, we already have a massive tick next to Ash with his age, if the role continues down back for Ash which, granted, is a massive "if", you could have a very valuable card on your hands for seasons to come. The reason why Ash is such a valuable acquisition right now? He's currently listed as a midfielder in GameDay Squad Aussie Rules. Rarely, will you find a Lachie Ash card in other players starting midfields. With only five midfield slots to choose from in GDS, you'll be hard-pressed to find a coach out there who values Ash as a starter. Positions get reviewed annually by GDS which means there is no better time to go and trade or find a Lachie Ash card on the transfer market! With him trending in the way of a position change, swoop in while he is still listed as a midfielder and get him while his value is still near the bottom.
For AFL Fantasy, Ash has defender DPP which is massive and he could honestly become a season-defining player-of-difference option for the ROS but he has a stinky bye which makes him a risk that may not be worth it right this instant in my opinion. But he is a huge watch through the buy period!
Fremantle Dockers - Ruck (RUCK)
Making me eat my words! Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson have been pretty incredible these last few weeks, and specifically the former, being way more consistent than he has been in past seasons. I have been massively down on these types of ruck situations for fantasy footy, where two stars collide and try to co-exist together. The equivalent in other fantasy sports is a running back committee in NFL fantasy or Pep roulette in Premier League fantasy, you never know where the points are going to go, and the risk is so high it's often not worth the play.
Maybe it can be done? Luke Jackson has scored 135 and 20 GDS fantasy points in his last two outings and Sean Darcy is averaging 110 GDS fantasy points per game and has only fallen below triple digits twice so far this season! Darcy has been the first ruck option, even leading the league in hit-outs so far this year, he's been generating most of his points from those hit-outs but can also find points finding the ball in the ruck contest and in the air as well. Jackson has been more of a pinch-hitter, spending time working up the ground from the forward line, generating points in the air the last few weeks and impacting the scoreboard on a more consistent basis. I think Darcy is obviously the more consistent scorer and in plus matchups, should be considered to start, falling a tier below the likes of Tim English and Rowan Marshall still. Jackson is hard to call on right now! Listed as a forward, he could be an incredible start at your F6 positions in good matchups. He's a player of difference right now who could win you a week or two. The other thing to consider is that both are super young ruckmen and if either goes down with an injury or if one is moved on to another team in the future... as dynasty options, they would both become must-starts and incredibly valuable!
Essendon Bombers - Midfielder (MID)
Talented Bombers midfielder Jye Caldwell finally got his opportunity inside for Essendon this season and well... he fell fully flat on his face! A game-high CBA percentage of 71% was awarded to Caldwell by Brad Scott with star ball-winner Darcy Parish ruled out of the game with an injury, many thought we would see Zach Merrett go nuclear or Will Setterfield return to his early season midfield form, but instead in a surprise, Jye Caldwell was called upon with the majority of the opportunity. What was his production you ask? Just 66 GDS fantasy points... it makes no sense! Even with the season-high CBA percentage, Caldwell averages just 14% on the season to date and owns a GDS average of 74 points per game but with a skyrocketing increase to his midfield time, his score somehow got worse. So confusing. One thing is for sure, he's unplayable even with an increase to his opportunity and stars missing from the side. His stock is low, but if you can trade him based on his name and dynasty allure, I would, and then look to buy him back when we see some consistent production one day.
I am keen to see what he can do with both Parish AND Setterfield out of the side. However, in saying that, a respectable score would only drive his base price up...
Caldwell only has 0.29% owners in AFL Fantasy and for those 0.29% what are we doing here? Have we deleted the app? Has 2024 already started? This is a safe space...
St Kilda Saints - Defender (DEF)
You have got to ask yourself if Jack Sinclair is still anywhere near the top 6 defenders in GameDay Squad Aussie Rules right now. Even with his numbers obviously way down from his 2022 dominance, he is still in and around the conversations week in, week out and that needs to come to an end. Sinclair finished 2022 as the second-ranked defender based on points per game average and was one of the most valuable fantasy assets in the game, and now... he just feels like a shell of the man he used to be. I don't know if you put it down to personal performance, Ross Lyon, the emergence of Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera... Maybe it's a combination of all of the aforementioned but he's nowhere near where he was. To put numbers to the argument, Sinclair averaged 123 points per game in 2022, and in 2023... just 111 GDS points per game! A huge, almost unexplainable discrepancy. I don't want to touch him with a ten-foot poll, I think he's too volatile. If you have a Hayden Young, Will Day, or Liam Duggan typer operator, I would be starting them ahead of Sinclair and if you don't have those sorts of guys, consider offering your Sinclair cards for them.
His only saving grace is that Jack Steele might miss some time and Sinclair could see some CBAs but even then... no thanks.
For AFL Fantasy it's a little tougher. He's still owned by 25% of coaches which is insaneeeeee to me! We are in the upgrade your rooks time of the season but if you can afford to upgrade Sinclair I would try to, just to avoid the price leakage as much as possible. It might get worse before it gets better if you still have him.
The Prince Of Woolloongabba
Brisbane Lions - Midfielder (MID)
The Prince, the heir to the Brisbane throne, some of the games best have occupied it! You think Michael Voss, Jonathon Brown, Simon Black... Matthew Leuenberger, Marcus Ashcroft's reproductive system... All have been crowned kings of the Pineapple Hotel! I shouldn't have to be the one to tell you to hold Will Ashcroft, but I'm seeing far too many cards on the GameDay Squad transfer market!
I know it can be easy to get lost in the sauce when we start comparing young players. Ashcroft was touted as the next coming of Christ when he entered the league, with many drawing comparisons to Sam Walsh as a rookie. While I understand that Ashcroft isn't the highest-averaging rookie in footy fantasy at the moment, I do not think it is cause for coaches out there to pull the trigger on getting rid of his player cards. The Harry Sheezel vs Will Ashcroft debate will roar on for around about forever, and while Sheezel has the upper hand right now, expect Ashcroft to eventually take over not just the debate, but the entire league. We are already seeing glimpses, with limited opportunity in the midfield (his natural position) with only 42% CBAs on the season so far, Ashcroft has still put up an elite rookie year average of 96 GDS fantasy points per game to date, an average which includes scores of 108, 135 and 125 GDS fantasy points. Proving to everyone that the scoring power is already there and as he matures and is eventually handed the keys to the vehicle that is Brisbane's engine room, watch out! If you're one of the lucky ones who has already packed him, please, do not sell his cards, if he has a fair crack at it, the guy is going to be unbelievable.
And the whole "Prince of Woolloongabba" thing... he averages 114 GDS fantasy points at the GABBA compared to just 81 points per game away from home... the prince!
For AFL Fantasy, Ashcroft was brought in to be a cash cow, he has been a cash cow and now it's time to start thinking about an upgrade. But after this week! He's at the GABBA this weekend against the Suns...
Western Bulldogs - Midfielder (MID)
This is what Baz Smith can do when Bevo behaves! 124 GDS fantasy points on 87% CBA percentage... season highs in both and Smith reminded us of how good he can be when he is awarded the opportunity his talent deserves. For the most part this season, Smith has been left to hang out to dry by Bevo, falling to 5th on the Western Bulldogs midfield depth chart based on centre-bounce-attendances, Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore, Adam Treloar and Jack Macrae all ahead of him. An embarrassment of riches sure, but a season-to-date average of 36% is far too low for someone as damaging as Smith.
Now, the drastic increase in CBA percentage is due to Adam Treloar missing the game due to injury, so we can't get too ahead of ourselves but this is a timely reminder of a 22-year-old who averaged 124 GDS fantasy points in 2022 and was widely regarded as a top three dynasty prospect. He still is that player! But can't get a good run of midfield time to prove it. So, while it will pay to be wary of starting Baz Smith this year, it's important to not give up and grow frustrated with his scoring output.
For AFL Fantasy, it's much of the same. If we see a role change and he can string together some consistent scores, he would become an automatic must-buy. As we stand today, those are big "if's".
The information contained in the article is not intended and should not be understood or construed as financial advice. As always please do your own research, my placing history suggests you should absolutely do your own research!