This article is part of our DraftKings AFL series.
This is our first week of the lobby and lineups all being out for Saturday before a game is played (the tradition until the interruptions of the 2020 season), so we don't have any idea of how this Round 10 will go outside of the batch of team sheets all released well ahead of first bounce. As a result, there's even more time to think things through, whether that means stacking your lineup with a bunch of guys from Western's unorthodox lineup, or looking for value in the other games between clubs in and outside of the top 8.
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 (17th) vs Carlton Blues (13th)
Gold Coast Suns (14th) vs Geelong Cats (3rd)
Melbourne Demons (1st) vs Adelaide Crows (15th)
Saint Kilda Saints (11th) vs Western Bulldogs (2nd)
Sydney Swans (6th) vs Fremantle Dockers (10th)
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.
Lachie Hunter, Western ($6,200): Hunter is back after making a rapid one week return from surgery on a broken hand, and his consistent form makes him a worthy pickup against the Saints without Rowan Marshall. Where picking Hunter could get interesting is how he is picked at left full-back but is still available as a starter in DK. This either means that his past positioning suggested his likely placement, or that he could get more time with the footy while also still adding to his five goals in his last five appearances. Another aspect to consider is how the Dogs are featuring a stacked line at full forward with Bailey Dale, Marcus Bontempelli and Aaron Naughton all listed in that role. As most are normally midfielders and Bont is a veritable star in any role, those three could be more focused on scoring and Hunter could push up to fill the gaps left in the midfield. No matter what happens, Hunter and his teammates offer plenty of value heading into Round 10. If still searching for other options at a similar salary, Taylor Walker returns to the team sheet for a showdown with Melbourne after getting managed in Round 9 and Tom McDonald has scored seven goals over the last two weeks heading into the same matchup.
Cody Weightman, Western ($3,000): At half the value of Lachie Hunter and in the same position, Weightman offers good value following his three-goal debut in the win over Port Adelaide. While you can check out the details on Hunter for the peculiar listed positions for the Bulldogs, the versatility of a good forward can see them alternate between defensive and forward positions, and that's precisely where Weightman finds himself against the Saints. With the right mindset, he could still easily kick in a couple of goals, and the absence of Rowan Marshall should be a boon to the entire lineup for Western. There won't be many forwards with tremendous value for the same price as Weightman, but Eddie Betts is available at $3,700 after scoring just once in Round 9 and Riley Thilthorpe ($3,600) scored five times in his professional debut but has since struggled.
Mitchell Duncan, Geelong ($8,400): If he weren't two rounds short of a full season, Duncan would easily rank among the top fantasy scorers in the entire Premiership. Fortunately for us, he's still essentially a no-brainer with the most points per game of anyone who's played more than six times this season. When facing the Suns, it's important to consider that Touk Miller will be returning after a one-match absence but Jack Bowes is still out for a few more weeks. This makes them an inconsistent opponent that tends to leave big gaps for production in the midfield and that's a perfect scenario for the on-fire Duncan. Among the most expensive players on the slate, Duncan only ranks third, though alternate options of Marcus Bontempelli or Callum Mills could offer more flexibility if you're after more depth at the end of your lineup.
Jack Macrae, Western ($8,00): Macrae is back in Western's lineup at follower after only beginning the Round 9 win over Port Adelaide as an interchange. Though he still put up 104 fantasy points in that game, beginning the contest on the pitch offers better assurances that he could put up a bigger number in fantasy. He may also have more free reign in the midfield due to Marcus Bontempelli lining up at full forward, so Macrae could be in for a feast without having to deal with Rowan Marshall, who's presence alongside Paddy Ryder tends to shift the midfield in favor of the Saints each week. A sleeper of the week could be David Mundy, as the late injury news for Andrew Brayshaw leaves a big gap in the midfield for the inefficient Dockers, who reportedly rank last in the league in goals on set shots.
Bailey Smith, Western ($5,000): Bulldogs abound in Round 10 and unlike their primetime matchup last week, this time they should benefit from a weaker opponent. Taking Smith as yet another Western player could be risky, but possession domination tends to work in favor of mid-tier players, especially as this week's opponents in Saint Kilda are weak in the midfield without their best players available. Taking Jack Lukosius can seem like a reasonable idea due to his decent average fantasy point totals (81.1), but Smith has done just as well in recent weeks with at least 25 disposals in two of the last three rounds. An alternate pickup in a similar price tier is Caleb Serong, though he's scored more than 85 points on just one occasion all season and is currently listed as an interchange for Round 10.
James Rowbottom, Sydney ($4,900): Rowbottom averages 91.8 fantasy points per game but still sits below $5,000 in price as he's only played five times due to injury issues. This makes him the perfect final man when the top half of the midfield is already loaded with reliable stars, though Rowbottom is no slouch himself after putting up 115 fantasy points in Round 8 against the undefeated Melbourne Demons. When facing an Adelaide club that's still in a downward spiral of form, Rowbottom could find himself in perfect position to play more like he costs $6,900 instead of $4,900. A good option aside from Rowbottom is Daniel Howe, who scored 90 fantasy points in Round 8 against West Coast but has only played in one of the last three rounds. Otherwise, look for value in a deeper list of forwards and defenders for the lower-priced options this week.
Adam Saad, Carlton ($4,900): Saad isn't as much of a fantasy star as he's a star on the pitch as he only ranks third among Carlton's defenders in points scored through nine rounds. As others may have figured out by now, picking up the opponents of Hawthorn and North Melbourne each week is usually a good way to find extra value from guys who may not usually warrant selection. Though Saad has alternated weeks of good and bad fantasy production over the last five rounds, facing the Hawks should help break that trend as mentioned above. Otherwise, Harry Cunningham has a good matchup against an awful offense in Fremantle, costs $100 less than Saad, and has been more consistent in recent weeks.
Robbie Fox, Sydney ($3,700): Fox is in line for his third start of the season after logging 30 disposals and 10 marks against Melbourne and Collingwood. When facing a Fremantle club with little attacking threat, Fox should over 60-or-more points if the Swans are able to control the footy for most of the game. At $200 more, Zach Guthrie and Jed Bews both offer more proven value as they've played more often this season, in addition to their own decent matchup with Gold Coast. Whether going after Fox or someone else, consider how likely their chances are of logging enough disposals, as Saint Kilda could be pinned into their defense but won't get much of a chance against a talented full forward group for Western, and Gold Coast feature some of the best fantasy defenders in the league heading into their own tough matchup against Geelong.
Paddy Ryder, Saint Kilda ($5,700): Unlike early in the season when Rowan Marshall was the only one out there, Ryder will have to fly solo for the next month as Marshall went down with a foot injury. With no more than 72 fantasy points in his three matches played, it's not like Ryder will be the best option at ruck, but it can't hurt to pick him up after Peter Ladhams found success against Western in Round 9, and with Western still short of their top rucks in Stefan Martin and Timothy English. Beyond that, it's still possible to select Marc Pittonet for a favorable matchup with Hawthorn or even take Max Gawn at the top of the list for his game against the struggling Crows.