WITH FOUR rounds left in the home-and-away season, it’s now finals time in default Fantasy leagues playing a final-eight series.
Like the real thing, teams who managed to snag a spot in the top four will have the double chance, playing off next weekend for a spot in the round 22 preliminary finals. Teams ranked fifth-to-eighth face elimination.
This time last week coaches were sweating on the health of players and dealing with the fallout of players who were isolating due to attending Tier 1 COVID exposure sites.
Fortunately, the two key injuries from round 18 were fit to play and soldiered on with impressive scores. Sean Darcy (90) was in doubt due to a knee injury and battled through more bumps and bruises on Sunday. In the final game of the round, Josh Kelly (96) captained the Giants after being 50-50 to play due to an ankle complaint.
After dealing with Dustin Martin’s season-ending injury last week, Scott Pendlebury and Nat Fyfe will be forced trades for plenty of coaches as they prepare for the first week of finals. Pendlebury appears in 19 per cent of teams while Fyfe is in seven per cent.
Fantasy Pig of the week
It has been an amazing season from Rory Laird (142) when you look across his games. He was shifted into the midfield late last year and that role has continued in 2021. As a result, the Crow is producing the best, and most consistent, Fantasy numbers of his career. Of late he has been in superb form. Since round nine he has only had one score below 115 for an average of 118. Laird’s 36 disposals and two goals was his best return for the season.
Since shedding the medi-sub tracksuit a month ago, Brayden Fiorini (142) has posted premium scores in every game and was the equal top scorer for round 19. Jack Macrae (138) was back to his best after three weeks where he failed to reach the Fantasy ton. There were a few non-midfielders racking up big points in round 19. Jack Crisp (141), Lachie Whitfield (134) and Caleb Daniel (128) stepped up for the defenders, while Isaac Heeney (132) was the best of the forwards and Max Gawn (119) the pick of the rucks.
TOP SCORERS – R19
- Rory Laird 142
- Brayden Fiorini 142
- Jack Crisp 141
- Jack Macrae 138
- Jarryd Lyons 136
- Lachie Whitfield 134
- Isaac Heeney 132
- Adam Cerra 129
- Caleb Daniel 128
- Touk Miller 127
- Christian Petracca 126
- Clayton Oliver 126
- Josh P. Kennedy 125
- Jy Simpkin 125
- Bailey Smith 125
Cash cows of the round
The best player with a starting price under-$270k will be awarded the Michael Barlow Medal as the best cash cow of the year.
The votes for round 19:
5 – Jeremy Sharp (112) Gold Coast Suns, MID
Proving his 123 in round 18 wasn’t a fluke, Sharp is holding down the M8 position for a few cash strapped coaches and doing better than some of the premiums in their squads. Enjoying his role on the wing, Sharp collected 31 disposals, took nine marks and kicked a goal to make a late season run for a podium finish in the Barlow medal.
4 – Errol Gulden (105) Sydney Swans, MID/FWD
Back to his stellar early season form finishing with 23 disposals, five marks, five tackles and a goal.
3 – Harry Edwards (86) West Coast Eagles, DEF
Despite his opponent kicking six goals, Edwards’ 12 marks helped him to a personal best score.
2 – Lachie Bramble (81) Hawthorn, MID/FWD
Takes kick-ins and can run! Bramble had a big final term with 11 disposals and 32 Fantasy points.
1 – Ollie Henry (79) Collingwood, FWD
Added two goals to the four he kicked the week prior, the small forward is finally making some cash.
LEADERBOARD: James Jordon 26, Errol Gulden 18, Tom Powell 15, Chad Warner 13, Jeremy Sharp 13, Matthew Flynn 12, Deven Robertson 11, Caleb Poulter 10, Miles Bergman 10, Nik Cox 9, Sam Flanders 9.
Matthew Kennedy (43) – Had been posting good scores over the last few weeks playing in the midfield, making him the third most traded-in player this week. Unfortunately, Kennedy was stuck forward for most of the game on Saturday, hampering his scoring. Luckily he kicked two goals, otherwise it would have been a very sorry score.
Shai Bolton (44) – Another popular trade option for injured teammate Dustin Martin. 1,400 coaches brought him in this week and were disappointed.
Brad Crouch (53) – Leading into the byes, it looked like Crouch was at his Fantasy best. Since then he’s been a yo-yo with his scoring.
Zac Williams (53) – He was tracking so well with 53 at half-time, but like we’ve seen in many rounds this year, Williams’ body let him down and he was subbed out at the main break.
Zach Merrett (64) – Had 30 points at quarter-time and added 34 for the rest of the game. The nine per cent of coaches who had him as captain would have most likely lost their match-up based on this if their opponent went with someone else.
Lachie Neale (76) – Copped attention from Sam Flanders and had just 19 disposals in what was supposed to be a Fantasy friendly match-up for the Brownlow Medallist.