THINGS are never easy in AFL Fantasy. Round 22 was one of the toughest rounds on record as most coaches had forced trades for their preliminary final match-ups.

Before a ball was bounced, a number of Fantasy relevant players were ruled out with the backline copping the most carnage.

Fantasy’s highest averaging defender Callum Mills was a late out the previous week and didn’t get up from his Achilles injury. He was joined by his Swans teammate, and second-most selected defender, Jake Lloyd on the sidelines.

Geelong ruled out Tom Stewart on Friday afternoon to add to Shannon Hurn, Brodie Smith and Zach Tuohy ,plus Steven May was a late out on Sunday. Even the cash cows were down; Leo Connolly, Tom Highmore and Kieren Briggs were unavailable in round 22. It was a tough pill to swallow as there were plenty of Classic squads needing more than their two trades, while some Draft squads were hitting up free agents just to field a team.

04:42 Mins
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The Traders' round 22 Fantasy wrap

It was a crazy weekend with plenty of late outs, but Roy and Warnie have booked places in their Grand Finals

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It wasn’t just the backline as Reilly O’Brien, Andrew Brayshaw, Patrick Cripps, Jaeger O’Meara, Lance Franklin and Toby Greene were out as well.

Phew. Carnage everywhere.

The good news was that it wasn’t all bad. There were plenty of hard-fought contests which went down to the final siren as the winners of the respective preliminary finals will play off in the round 23 grand finals.

Fantasy footy bragging rights await!

Fantasy Pig of the week

After being a late out for the Giants’ game in round 21, Josh Kelly (141) showed no signs of the quad injury that kept him out. He was instrumental in Greater Western Sydney claiming victory against Richmond with 32 disposals and five marks, but it was his 11 tackles that elevated his score. Kelly has been a popular Fantasy selection this season after picking up dual-position status in round six and has had a hand in plenty of teams making their Grand Final.

Honourable mentions

More than 1,600 coaches traded Jarryd Lyons (139) this week and the 2.6 per cent who captained him would have been stoked with his 29 disposals, six marks, nine tackles and a goal. Sam Menegola (132), Cam Guthrie (131) and Jack Macrae (128) were the best midfielders, while Daniel Howe (139) enjoyed a day out at UTAS Stadium as the best Fantasy defender. Fantasy MID/FWD Matt Kennedy (131) has relished his midfield time to average 111 during the Fantasy finals.

Daniel Howe in action in round 20, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

TOP SCORERS – R22

  1. Josh Kelly 141
  2. Jarryd Lyons 139
  3. Daniel Howe 139
  4. Sam Menegola 132
  5. Cam Guthrie 131
  6. Matt Kennedy 131
  7. Jack Macrae 128
  8. Ed Langdon 127
  9. Andrew Gaff 126
  10. Caleb Serong 123
  11. Dayne Zorko 122
  12. Patrick Dangerfield 121
  13. Rory Sloane 120
  14. Lachie Neale 120
  15. Aaron Hall 120

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 22:

5 – Jai Newcombe (111) Hawthorn, MID
With 12 per cent of the competition still holding ‘Duke’ on their bench, his timely inclusion provided some much-needed cover during carnage round. Like his record-breaking debut, Newcombe was a tackling machine, laying 11. Some coaches decided to use the loophole to take his emergency score off the bench for some guaranteed points in his first game since round 15.

4 – Miles Bergman (92) Port Adelaide, DEF/FWD
Took seven marks in his role off half-back but was also able to push forward and kick two goals.

3 – Lachlan Bramble (83) Hawthorn, MID/FWD
Continued to provide cash-strapped coaches with a decent F6 score through the Fantasy finals.

2 – Sam Durham (78) Essendon, DEF/MID
Best return in his five games for the mid-season draftee in a week of need with so many DEFs out.

1 – Jeremy Sharp (74) Gold Coast Suns, MID
Has made the Suns’ wing his own and has been a handy M8. Racked up 19 disposals and eight marks.

LEADERBOARD: James Jordon 26, Errol Gulden 18, Jeremy Sharp 17, Tom Powell 15, Miles Bergman 15, Lachlan Bramble 14, Chad Warner 13, Matthew Flynn 12, Deven Robertson 11, Caleb Poulter 10, Nik Cox 9, Sam Flanders 9.

Rage trades

Tim Kelly (28) – Injured players don’t normally make this list, but the unfortunate timing of Kelly’s substitution out of the Western Derby caused great angst for Fantasy coaches. One coach in their preliminary final match-up tweeted us to say he needed 31 points from Kelly to make it through to the Grand Final. Ouch.

Matt Rowell (37) – Hopefully the former No. 1 Draft pick plays Fantasy and he’s just making himself cheap for next year.

Josh Dunkley (51) / Adam Treloar (56) / Lachie Hunter (58) – Playing against Hawthorn at University of Tasmania Stadium should have been a great match-up for the high-possession Dogs. As a team, they scored 200 points less than their season average and this trio felt the full brunt as the Hawks caused an upset at the high-Fantasy scoring ground.

Rowan Marshall (52) – There would be very few complaints from coaches who traded in the big Saint in the last couple of weeks with 139 and 118 to his name. The 3,300 coaches who made the move to Marshall this week would be feeling let down considering the Cats match-up is usually a friendly one for Fantasy rucks.

Jack Ziebell (58) – After an outstanding year, this was not needed in a cut-throat preliminary final. Jay-Z will be monitored this week as a calf complaint in the last quarter may see him out for the last game of the season.

Lachie Whitfield (80) – While a score of 80 isn’t a disaster, coaches would have expected a better return on debut. Whitfield was the most traded in player for round 22 with 9,500 coaches adding the star Giant to their squads off the back of the defender carnage.

Touk Miller (82) – More than 2,100 coaches paid top dollar this week for the highest-averaging player in the game. He dropped his first sub-100 score since round 10. Between then and round 21 he had been averaging 133. Eight per cent of the competition made him captain for their preliminary final.

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