This article is part of our DraftKings AFL series.
The Australian Football League offers a combination of basketball-like point totals and rugby-like physicality unlike just about anything else in the sports world. As it's brand new to DFS, everyone gets to start on a roughly level playing field in terms of knowing what kinds of players to target, what salaries may be strong values, etc. Those insights should come into focus as the season progresses, but for now, we'll offer our best guesses on how to assemble a winning roster.
DK's format features a starting lineup of nine players – one ruck, two forwards, two defenders and four midfielders – and a scoring system that rewards points on the board (+6 for a goal, +1 for a behind) as well as possession and defensive stats (+4 for a tackle, +3 for a kick, +3 for a mark, +2 for a handball, +1 for a free kick, +1 for a hitout). Conceding a free kick gets a player docked -3 points as well. If you have no idea what rucks, behinds, and marks are, this is a good place to start, although note that the length of each quarter has been reduced to 16 minutes from 20 for the 2020 season. Also, check out some of our other tools to help you compile a lineup.
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Port Adelaide vs. Richmond (-1.5), o/u 114.5 pts.: No respect for the Power here even though they remain in first place, four points clear of the Lions and Saints at the top of the ladder. The Tigers are all alone in fourth, however, so this should be a tight contest. Port Adelaide's defense has been the stingiest in the league, so the implied 58-57 final makes sense, and there's also a strong chance of some rain falling during the contest which could lead to a slick pitch. Sam Mayes is out for the Power due to a one-match ban.
Brisbane (-14.5) vs. Western, o/u 120.5 pts.: This is the match most people will be focused on for stacking purposes, although on such a small slate 'stack' ceases to mean much. Western has lost two straight and is currently out of the Finals picture in ninth place, thanks largely to its leaky defense – only the Blues, Roos, Swans and the poor winless Crows are allowing more points per game than the Dogs. Cam Rayner remains sidelined for Brisbane and they've made some lineup changes for rest purposes, but the loss of Hayden Crozier is a tough blow to a Western back line that couldn't afford any attrition.
Scott Lycett, Power ($6,300): Timothy English tops the ruck salary ranks at $6,900 on this slate, but he hasn't reached value at that price point in three games and has a tough matchup. Instead, you might want to save a bit of cap space and roll the dice on a returning Lycett, who's been out for the last month with a knee injury. The risk here is that young Peter Ladhams has played well in his absence, and the duo could split time on the pitch and undercut each other's fantasy ceiling. Lycett was the starter to begin the year for a reason, though – the veteran averaged over 25 hitouts a game last season and was nearly reaching that mark again in 2020 despite the 16-minute quarters before getting hurt.
Charlie Cameron, Lions ($5,800): Cameron remains in the hunt for the Coleman Medal with 20 goals through 10 games, two back of league leader Josh J. Kennedy, and he could easily pad his total in a big way Saturday. He doesn't tend to supply a lot of disposals, but despite his small stature he's snared at least four marks in six of the last seven games, and the Dogs defense shouldn't give him too many problems.
Dustin Martin, Tigers ($7,700): Martin has once again been a rock for Richmond this season, piling up 23 or more disposals in three straight games and booting multiple goals in three of the last four. An M/F qualifier on DraftKings for added flexibility in roster builds, expect the 29-year-old to rise to the challenge of a clash with the league leaders.
Dayne Zorko, Lions ($7,100): Zorko has been on a tear for Brisbane since getting healthy, averaging over 18 disposals, four tackles and four marks over the last five games while also supplying steady offense with four total goals and five behinds. He could get some rest if this game turns into a true blowout, but as long as Western can keep things reasonably close, Zorko should see more than enough of the ball to return strong value.
Travis Boak, Power ($6,800): The 31-year-old got his rest in during Round 10's win over Western, resulting in his lowest fantasy score of the season, but that just made him more reasonably priced here. Boak has struck for at least 25 disposals four times this season after averaging over 30 a game in 2019, so his upside is significant.
Daniel Rich, Lions ($5,700): Now in his 12th season for Brisbane, Rich returns to the starting lineup after recovering from a hamstring issue, and he was enjoying a strong campaign before the injury – in his last healthy game, he racked up 16 disposals and eight marks, with neither figure being his high-water mark for 2020. Whatever momentum on the attack the Bulldogs can muster, Rich should be there to help shut it down.
Oscar McInerney, Lions ($4,500): Anyone looking to save money at this spot is going to gravitate to McInerney, and it's easy to see why – other than English, he's the only ruck on the slate who doesn't have to share his job, and he has a strong matchup. McInerney is far from consistent, but at this salary he doesn't need to be at his best, as he can reach value merely by delivering double-digit disposals and hitouts in the teens.
Josh Caddy, Tigers ($4,800): Out since Round 6 due to a hamstring strain, Caddy rejoins the lineup for Richmond in timely fashion. The 27-year-old was having a solid season in a supporting role before getting hurt, averaging over 15 disposals and five marks through the first five games, but he's still looking for his first goal of the campaign – a surprising slump for a player who banged home a career-high 46 just two years ago. At this salary, it's worth seeing if he can break out in his return to action.
Daniel McStay, Lions ($3,700): McStay missed the last two games with a suspension, and he now returns to action with a bargain salary. The 25-year-old doesn't offer a tremendous ceiling, but he's topped 50 fantasy points in four of his last five matches, using his height to accumulate marks while supplying modest disposals numbers and the occasional goal.
Ollie Wines, Power ($5,500): After missing Round 1 with a shoulder injury and then the first game after the restart due to a violation of the league's COVID-19 protocols, Wines has settled in as a steady hand in the Power midfield, delivering at least 17 disposals in five straight games while hitting for 25 twice this year. This is a reasonable price given his skill set and ceiling, and while this might end up a fairly low-scoring contest, that will be more on the crowd inside the 50 than the players in the middle funneling the ball up to them.
Mitchell Wallis, Bulldogs ($4,300): If you want to gamble on a Western upset, or at least bank on them keeping things close, Wallis is an intriguing play. His skill set fits that script to a tee – he's kicked three goals twice in the last four games, but he also doesn't neglect his defensive duties, racking up 10 tackles over the last three contests.
Darcy Gardiner, Lions ($4,200): The 24-year-old has been remarkably consistent on the back end for Brisbane this year, grabbing four or more marks and double-digit disposals in eight of the last nine contests. There isn't necessarily a lot of ceiling here, but chances are Gardiner won't hurt you either, an important consideration on a short slate with limited options.
Sydney Stack, Tigers ($3,700): The versatile 20-year-old has looked good in two games since working his way back into the starting 18, registering seven tackles in Round 9 and 16 disposals in Round 10. Those are the kind of performances he routinely delivered as a rookie in 2019, and at this salary he only needs to do one or the other to return value. If he steps up in the spotlight match against Port Adelaide and does both, however, Stack will be a steal. Plus, what Richmond stack would be complete without its namesake?