Andy Brayshaw's GameDay Squad Aussie Rules high score of 212 points was shaking in its boots the entire weekend! We had Jack "ZieGull" Ziebell fall just 10 points short! Josh Dunkley reminded us of exactly who he is, finishing on 199 GDS points. Tom Green continues his breakout and has proved those who doubted his scoring ceiling wrong! Finishing on 196 GDS points in round 8 and then we had Errol Gulden finish as the third highest scoring forward despite totalling 195 points from the young-pig!
That's not to mention that Andy was on track to break his own record before slowing down in the last quarter of Freo's dominating win against the Hawks. Nevertheless, round 8 was a round that proved that some premo's are premo's for a reason, while some (Former?) premo's (Lachie Neale... yuck!) really let a few down!
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 Lachie Neale 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.
Gold Coast Suns - Midfielder (MID)
Now, if you want to take a flyer on a point-of-difference MID in round 9, my talking like wayyyy out there, then you're not going to find someone more point-of-difference than Gold Coast midfielder Brayden Fiorini. For once, Suns players are the talk of the town amongst the fantasy community, specifically their midfielders with Touk being out due to injury which then often leads to increased opportunity ect. While most of the chatter is actually surrounded by their tasty bye schedule, it'd be unwise to overlook the opportunity to start them as soon as right now.
Brayden Fiorini is a 25-year-old who properly broke out as a legit fantasy option way back in 2019 but was also very much useable most recently in 2021. He's a guy who has always been on the edge of being a legitimate fantasy stud but the usual stories of injury battles, COVID-19 and his inability to climb up the midfield depth chart has limited his selection viability. One thing has been consistent with Fiorini though... he is about as deadset a magnet as you could ever want for a midfielder. That fact hasn't changed in 2023, since Touk Miller's unfortunate injury in round 6, Fiorini has gone on to post up scores of 90 (rd. 6), 129 and 107 GDS fantasy points. He's a player whose game style is perfect for fantasy as well, positive kick-to-handball ratio, ability to impact the scoreboard and can score in huge chunks of time. With Touk our and that 108 three-game average you would think he's racking up CBAs and playing 100% midfield time, you would be wrong! He's being deployed as a winger, often working from the back and playing through the inside anyway but it's just a testament to his ball-winning ability that he's able to score so well whenever Dewwy gives him the chance to! I know my groundbreaking analysis of "dudes a ball magnet" is elite stuff, I expect ESPN to come knocking on my door any moment now... but it just is true, if he has the time-on-ground percentage, he finds the footy.
Now we are talking about Fiorini here but the same can be said for his teammates, Wil Powell, Darcy Macpherson and Matt Rowell, and then to a lesser degree, Rory Atkins and Jack Lukosius. Gold Coast are eating up fantasy points for fun at the moment and now is the time to jump on board.
Port Adelaide - Forward (FWD)
Owning Zak Butters is like playing a round of golf with your mates. You tee off on hole one filled with a buzz and confidence, you then quickly realise when you've shanked three drives hard right and you've lost seven balls already, that you have ruined your weekend and the only thing that will make you feel better is a warm bath and a vent with your girlfriend. Once you've unleashed the "I'm never playing golf again!" and the "Catch my set on Gumtree for $70 tonight!" it either goes one of two ways... the round ends 'surprisingly' well and you feel silly for your early nine outbursts or you're at golf world buying a cheap second-hand set because you can't wait to feel the rush again next weekend!
Owning Butters is a rollercoaster, but a fun...ish rollercoaster! I find myself wincing every time he attacks the footy because he's just about the most injury-prone player in the league. He's known to go missing for periods of the game which leaves you wondering if he's in the showers early. He's always struggled with time-on-ground percentage as well, which makes for hard viewing at times. However, while the lows might be really really low, the highs are huge! Butters struggled for fitness early in the season, his first three scores consisting of 101, 69 and 73 GDS fantasy points. Since then, Butters has gone on to average 111 GDS fantasy points including two scores over 130+ GDS points. People are also quick to forget that Butters finished as the 7th-ranked forward based on average points per game last year, so it's not like he hasn't got a bit about him.
I think there is a serious case to be made for Butters in the Rozee vs Butters debate that will rage on until the end of time. I think Butters *when healthy* is as impactful, if not more impactful than Rozee, at least from a fantasy perspective, and if he can get his TOG percentages up into the mid 80's, and keep improving his centre-bounce-attendances percentage, we will have a top 6 forward stud on our hands.
Greater Western Sydney Giants - Defender (DEF)
I'm generally a fairly patient guy, especially for defenders who are 24 years old and have shown a lot of talent but I have completely lost patience and faith with Giants defender Isaac Cumming. I don't watch a lot of GWS (Do you?) and I do get that perennial ball user Lachie Whitfield has returned to defence for GWS but man... Cumming in 2022 averaged 110 GDS fantasy points per game and finished as the 10th overall defender based on average for the year. His 2023 average so far? Just 87 GDS fantasy points per game... I mean, we're looking at a 23-point discrepancy in just one off-season for a player who is supposed to be entering his prime! To add fire to the flame, Cumming could only manage a score of 77 GDS fantasy points against a Western Bulldogs outfit that leaks more points to defenders than the Titanic.
I like Isaac... I really do (Intentional use of his first name only there) We have all seen how good he can be for fantasy, but it's going to take Leon Cameron coming back(?) to revitalise his season from a fantasy standpoint.
For AFL Fantasy, Cumming has an ownership of 1.38%... and 100% of those 1.38% have deleted their app and returned to their families early.
Brisbane Lions - Midfielder (MID)
I've had a bit to say about the Brisbane Lions midfield as a whole but it's time now to zero in on "Premo" Lachie Neale. There's no denying how good Neale has been for fantasy historically, but are we coming to the end of Lachie Neale as we know him? Sure, he's going to torch opponents on occasion, but I'm talking about consistent scores over 120+ GDS fantasy points and then the odd 160+ score to go with it type Lachie Neale.
To this point of the season, Neale has been about as boom or bust as you can be, notching up 4 scores of 85 GDS fantasy points or less and 4 scores of 110 GDS fantasy points or above. His paltry score of 78 GDS fantasy points in round 8 being the worst so far this season in a win against Carlton. Just on that game, Neale was a mere passenger to Dunkley, Dunkley played the game of two blokes as Neale essentially got paid to have a night off. Neale's season average is plummeting as well, with just 102 GDS fantasy points per game compared to his 2022 GDS average of 124 points per game! I fear it's going to get worse and worse for Neale, as I said, he will still have his high scores but I fear they'll become more and more few and far between. I'd be looking to sell his big name for a dynasty option like Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera and change or even someone like his heir Will Ashcroft for someone who wants a more "win-now" option... suckers.
I feel for AFL Fantasy coaches that still have him. More than 7% of coaches still have him in their teams which is wild to me! He's leaked $136k so far and I don't expect that to heal any time soon, try and get off if you can!
West Coast Eagles - Defender (DEF)
Jamaine Jones is a guy who doesn't get a lot of east coast media love, given he's a smaller name out West but so far in 2023, he's proven to be a relatively consistent scorer for fantasy. Jones is coming off a season-high 121 GDS fantasy points in a loss to Richmond in round 8. He's being deployed as a slingshot half-back, using his elite foot skills to, try... and get West Coast out of trouble down back. Jones's talent by foot means that coach Adam Simpson loves getting the ball in his hands where possible, it's just that, it's not always possible for West Coast. If West Coast can get some soldiers back on the park and bring in some form where they are able to take the sting out of games and play at their own tempo like the West Coast of old, Jamaine Jones in his current role could be an incredible POD asset to have on hand. The 24-year-old is averaging 13 kicks, 8 handballs, 4 marks and 2 tackles a game for a 92 GDS fantasy points average so far this season and he is a guy I'm personally keen to keep an eye on just in case a proper break out is imminent.
As for AFL Fantasy coaches, Jones is owned by 0.54% of classic players at the moment so there's not much interest there at the moment. For classic and draft coaches, just keep an eye on him to see if he can build throughout the season because he could force his hand into some teams later on in the year.
Hawthorn Hawks - Defender (DEF)
A player no one wants to talk about... but here I am, talking about him, it's Blake Hardwick! The 26-year-old is enjoying one of his best seasons to date so far in his career and his fantasy average is reflecting just that! With a game style tailor-made for GameDay Squad Aussie Rules, Hardwick has gone on to average a very healthy 92 points per game through 8 rounds and owns a 107 three-game average at the moment. His average has been dragged down by scores of 54 and 48 in rounds 2 and 4, but every other game has been in and around the 90s or well above the 100s. His most enticing stat and biggest generator of points are his kick-ins, he's leading Hawthorn for kick-ins so far this year. You can vent your frustrations about kicks-ins being a stat but the games the game and he loves racking up those +4's with them.
Hardwick is a guy who is at a crossroads in his career, if he continues to break out and rack up possessions he could become more than useable and even become a cheeky little player-of-difference option, but if he halts and these bottom-of-the-barrel 50's and 60's creep back in, he could end up just being a fantasy fraud. Either way, he's a card you want to have in your arsenal in case the former ends up being true.
For AFL Fantasy, I doubt this guy is going to be any value to many in classic unless you want to go heavy POD or you're a Hawthorn fan and you've given up and made a full Hawthorn side. For draft, however, if he's on your waivers, pick him up and stash him... in 10+ team leagues, you could do a lost worse than a guy who can easily go 120+ in plus matchups.
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!