INJURIES are testing the depth of Fantasy Draft leagues at this stage of the season. Coaches should be looking to get warm bodies on the bench for cover, whether it is for a late out or those one-week hits when someone rests from a niggle.
Players to target are those who may have increased opportunity due to injured players, such as Zac Clarke and Shaun McKernan in the absence of Tom Bellchambers.
If it is just a one-week hit, general defenders and forwards against Melbourne usually score well while Gold Coast and Carlton continue to be the teams where opposition midfielders usually dominate.
Be sure to put your restricted free agent bid in to get the best available players. They could end up getting you over the line in a week of need.
Hamish Hartlett, DEF, Port Adelaide (ADP 106, 58 per cent)
Returning from injury after the bye, Hartlett has been building his fitness to record his best score of the year on the weekend. His 112 came from 29 disposals and seven marks and is projected to score in the 80s over the next few weeks, making him a good bench choice or D4/D5 for the run home.
Callum Mills, DEF, Sydney Swans (ADP 114, 50 per cent)
We've been waiting for Mills to show his Fantasy chops for a while now and this could be the beginning of it. While many have been resigned to the fact he’ll forever be a mid-70s kind of guy, his last three scores of 108, 103 and 87 might see him in far more leagues than the 50 per cent that currently have him part of squads.
Jarryd Lyons, MID, Brisbane Lions (ADP 75, 63 per cent)
Despite a relatively high ADP (average draft pick), Lyons has been dropped by many of his original owners throughout the season. Over the first 10 rounds, he managed just two tons with more than half of his scores under 75. Certainly not the numbers you would be wanting from an on-field MID. Lyons is averaging 103.4 from his last five games and coming off a very handy 135, he is likely to be unavailable in most leagues following this week.
Anthony Miles, MID, Gold Coast (ADP 169, 42 per cent)
Plenty of Draft connoisseurs were bullish on Miles prior to round one in the hope that his numbers would increase at the Suns. After a slow start to his time at the Suns, his last two rounds have been exceptional with scores of 129 and 111 bringing his five-game average to 96.8.
Zac Clarke, RUC/FWD, Essendon (ADP Nil, 4 per cent)
Scraping the bottom of the barrel for a ruckman, specifically on your bench? Clarke is highly likely to be the No. 1 ruckman for the Bombers for the next six weeks while Tom Bellchambers recovers from a calf strain. Clarke's numbers in his three AFL games have been all under 50, but all have been when playing second fiddle to Bellchambers.
Tom Papley, FWD, Sydney Swans (ADP 245, 54 per cent)
Although Papley’s 122 in round 12 boosts his average, his subsequent games of 83 and 87 are solid enough for a player getting stints in the midfield. Papley’s time on ground is always high and with some upcoming games where he should hit the scoreboard, he could be a safe add this week.
Josh Battle, DEF/FWD, St Kilda (ADP Nil, 14 per cent)
If things are getting desperate for your bench as you hold injured premiums, having a dual position swingman can help cover in trying times. Battle has popped his head up for three Fantasy tons this year including 106 versus the Tigers on Sunday backing up from 99 against the Lions the previous round. If he can take more than half-a-dozen marks, his scoring is passable.
Shaun McKernan, FWD, Essendon (ADP 246, 12 per cent)
Expect McKernan to lift his numbers while Bellchambers is out as he did on Thursday with 92. He will most likely share the ruck duties with Zac Clarke and could be a solid bench option if he can produce the 80-plus scores he has shown he is capable of achieving.