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AFL 2012 Rd 02 - Essendon v Port Adelaide

Patrick Ryder is likely to be champing at the bit if he gets his chance against the Lions


IT WAS mind boggling to many that Patrick Ryder [RUC, $441,700] did not return to play against Geelong last Friday night.

The Bombers ruckman had served his three-match suspension, but despite being available he was surprisingly overlooked.

He is near certain to return to Essendon's line-up this week, and you would think he's champing at the bit to get back out there.

The honeymoon period is over.

Port Adelaide duo Hamish Hartlett [DEF/MID, $410,000] and Oliver Wines [MID, $356,200] were the in-form fantasy players of the first six rounds of the season, but the Power's dip in form has coincided with a severe drop off in fantasy production from the pair.

Pearce Hanley [DEF, $456,300] and Matt Priddis [MID, $392,800] are two who have delivered on a consistent basis and are ready to step in and fill the breach.

If you're looking for a wildcard to replace Hartlett, Garrick Ibbotson [DEF, $405,200] has averaged 111 points from his last three games and might be worth considering.

Sydney's Josh Kennedy [MID, $465,800] recorded a season-high 121 points against the Hawks after a fairly lean start to the season.

For such a high quality player, Kennedy is severely underpriced. So, if I was you, I would make sure he is in your team quick smart.

Western Bulldogs star Ryan Griffen [MID, $484,300] averages 116 points against this week's opponent, Gold Coast, and is another who should be high on the radar.

New kid(s) on the block
There's no shortage of young players coming in and making an impact in their first couple of seasons in the League.

Adelaide's Sam Kerridge [MID, $206,900] and Geelong's Jackson Thurlow [DEF, $116,200] are two who have impressed in recent weeks.

Kerridge joined Adelaide's party against the Giants at Skoda Stadium, racking up a career-high 118 fantasy points. It remains to be seen whether he can back that up against stronger opposition.

Thurlow, picked by Geelong with selection No. 16 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, scored 74 points on debut. His impressive ball use and ability to find the footy stood out.

That hurts
Chris Knights [FWD, $332,700] suffered a season-ending knee injury against Port Adelaide at the weekend.

It was a bitter blow for those fantasy coaches who saw the promise he had shown in scoring 102 points against Geelong the week before.

Geelong's Steven Motlop [FWD, $378,500] has been on fire of late and is a likely candidate, while Knights' teammate, Jack Riewoldt [FWD, $369,700], represents tremendous value.

The last word
Stocking the midfield is a sure-fire way of boosting your fantasy score.

There are an abundance of talented players, at a reasonable price, ready to be injected in to your team.

Finding the right ones is the tricky part of things.

Ben Guthrie is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter - @AFL_BenGuthrie