DEFENDERS are the rocks of AFL Fantasy teams in 2021.

When the new man on the mark rule for kick-ins and general play changed, it was initially thought that the ball would be moving so quickly out of defence that some defenders may struggle. Half-backs scored well in the AAMI Community Series game and this has continued in the first four rounds of the season.

While the kick-ins themselves help defenders get a bonus +3 for the kick when they play on out of the square, playing on is only up four per cent.

The main reason for the spike in defender scoring is that short kicks are up to the highest levels since 2009. Coupled with a similar increase in marking, the defenders have been beneficiaries of the change. Jordan Ridley and Jack Bowes have enjoyed boosted numbers as has Changkouth Jiath, one of the most popular traded in players ahead of round five.

On the other hand, rucks may have turned the corner after some disappointing performances in the opening couple of weeks, but a key stat is that stoppages are down to the lowest levels since 2008. The rucks who can have an impact around the ground, such as Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy, will still score well as they don’t have to rely on hitouts.

Fantasy Freako, chief Fantasy guru at Champion Data, joined the AFL Fantasy Podcast to discuss the game trends seen over the first month of the season.

Warnie quizzes the gun coach on his side and what to expect next week when the first round of dual-position additions will be rolled out.

Listen to the AFL Fantasy Podcast with The Traders at Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

In this week’s episode …

3:00 - Caleb Daniel accepted his suspension and some timelines on some injured players have been revealed this week.

9:40 - Fantasy Freako joined Warnie for a chat.

13:30 - Thoughts on rucks with the drop in stoppage numbers.

18:00 - Freako gives some thoughts on the new DPPs that will drop next week.

21:00 - Calvin suggests that Aaron Hall could gain DEF status and be a handy draft option with his added flexibility from next week.

24:00 - As of next week we can probably move Errol Gulden, Charlie Lazzaro and Tom Powell forward.

31:30 - What to do with Matthew Flynn and his chances of playing.

39:00 - Calvin runs through the VC loophole into his best captain options for round five with Max Gawn his main man on Sunday.

41:00 - Jack Macrae plays his favourite team this week under the roof.

45:00 - Questions from social media - follow @AFLFantasy on Twitter and like the Official AFL Fantasy facebook page.

47:30 - Adam Treloar v Brad Crouch.

52:40 - Isaac Cumming v Lachie Ash.

55:20 - Who to trade first out of Jordan Clark, Orazio Fantasia and Willem Drew.

59:30 - Max Gawn or pocket some cash with Reilly O'Brien.

1:03:30 - Jordan Ridley v Patrick Dangerfield.

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