Bookmaker Odds

The bookmakers have the Bombers strong favourites (-28.5) and with the game fixtured under the roof at Etihad there are no weather concerns to be considered. The over/under for the match is 178.5 giving Essendon an implied total of 103.5.

Essendon have scored 100 or more points four times in 2018 with an average of 3.5 players scoring fantasy hundreds. The best performers in those games for the Bombers have been Dyson Heppell and Zach Merrett.

Round Score Player Name Opponent Fantasy Pts
4 106 Dyson Heppell POR 123
15 125 Dyson Heppell NMFC 116
19 109 Dyson Heppell SYD 116
20 103 Dyson Heppell HAW 91
Round Score Player Name Opponent Fantasy Pts
4 106 Zach Merrett POR 121
15 125 Zach Merrett NMFC 106
19 109 Zach Merrett SYD 99
20 103 Zach Merrett HAW 134

Fantasy Points Allowed by Position

The points allowed by position numbers over the last 5 weeks at first glance don’t jump out with an obvious target in this match. St Kilda are a better target for forwards than Essendon however that’s fairly common for a team that is further down the ladder as they concede more goals. Most people will already be targeting Bombers forwards simply because of the bookmaker odds.

Position +/- (Last 5) Positions Rank
Key Defender 4.56 1 11
Key Forward 7.06 1 10
Medium Defender 2.79 3 12
Medium Forward 4.02 3 12
Midfielder 5.79 4 9
Midfielder/Forward 20.57 2 1
Ruck -0.12 1 12
Position +/- (Last 5) Positions Rank
Key Defender 6.68 1 7
Key Forward -4.90 1 18
Medium Defender 0.53 3 15
Medium Forward 3.13 3 15
Midfielder -2.76 4 17
Midfielder/Forward 1.78 2 13
Ruck 1.58 1 9

One interesting piece of information in this is that St Kilda are giving up +20.57 to opposing midfielder/forwards which is ranked 1st in the competition. Some of these players spend varying amounts of time running through the midfield so it’s worth taking that into consideration as to how much emphasise you put on this but for completeness, Essendon have four players defined as midfielder/forwards, these are Darcy Parish, Jake Long, Kyle Langford and Travis Colyer.

Round Opponent Player Name Fantasy Pts
16 POR Steven Motlop 112
16 POR Chad Wingard 106
17 CAR Zac Fisher 83
17 CAR Sam Petrevski-Seton 65
18 RIC Kane Lambert 94
18 RIC Josh Caddy 70
19 GWS Tim Taranto 102
20 WB Josh Dunkley 127
20 WB Patrick Lipinski 115

Note that our positions are defined by the Official AFL Player Ratings, some of the players above are getting increased midfield time and we expect will be re-asssigned to outright midfielders in the coming weeks.

Under the Roof

Over his career Jack Steven has averaged 94.8 per game at Etihad but in recent times he’s struggled with a five game average of 90.4 consisting of a 92, 70, 136, 49 and 105. Seb Ross has been the most consistent performer there for the Saints over that time frame with a low of 86 and three scores over 120 including his last game which netted him 160. The only other Saint to have three or more hundreds at Etihad in their last five games is Jack Steele who is averaging 98.8 with a top score of 126 and a low of 72.

On the other side of the ledger, the Bombers have enjoyed their recent matches under the roof. Heppell (3 100’s, min 76) and Merrett (4 100’s, min 99) both average over 100 over their last five games there and Zaharakis (96.8) and Devon Smith (95.4) have also both enjoyed it there.

Beware the Tag

Essendon don’t have a recognised tagger but St Kilda have been consistently sending Jack Steele to the opponents best stoppage player each week since round 15. The most likely target for Steele this week is Zach Merrett. Since round 15 Steele has restricted Oliver, Wines and Ward to more than 20 points below their season average and had only two scores over 100 scored against him.

Round Opponent Player Tagged Fantasy Pts +/-
15 MEL Clayton Oliver 82 -26.6
16 POR Ollie Wines 69 -26.8
17 CAR Patrick Cripps 122 13.1
18 RIC Dustin Martin 90 1.2
19 GWS Callan Ward 73 -20.9
20 WB Jack Macrae 132 9.0

Is this a concern for Merrett? Let’s have a look at his numbers when copping heavy attention this year. Early in the season he struggled with the tag only notching one score above 81 across four games. However, as his overall performance has improved, his ability to handle the extra attention has also improved with a minimum score of 99 against recognised taggers in Hutchings, Banfield and Hewett since round 14.

Round Opponent Tagger Fantasy Pts +/-
2 FRE Bailey Banfield 78 -24.9
4 POR Tom Rockliff 121 18.1
7 HAW James Cousins 64 -38.9
8 CAR Ed Curnow 81 -21.9
14 WCE Mark Hutchings 103 0.1
18 FRE Bailey Banfield 112 9.1
19 SYD George Hewett 99 -3.9

Other options for Jack Steele to run with are Dyson Heppell, Devon Smith and David Zaharakis but we think Merrett is the most likely.

With Injury Comes Opportunity

The Saints have been hit with injury and as such we get to see another debutant and second gamer Lewis Pierce. Pierce debuted in 2016 against the Blues as a second string ruckman behind Tom Hickey. He played limited game time (50%) and managed 32 fantasy points which were boosted by his only career goal. He managed 10 hit outs and had 6 disposals. With Rowan Marshall also in the side there is some uncertainty as to who takes the main ruck role vs Bellchambers, however, Marshall has proven in recent weeks he can play forward and take contested marks so the Saints may look to give Pierce first crack in the centre square.

Pierce’s form in the VFL has been strong with an average of 101.1 fantasy points across 13 games, his recent form has been particularly good with 3 scores over 110 in his last five with a low of 87. Although we can’t expect these numbers to transfer across to the AFL, he should provide sufficient value at his reduced price for you to be able to pay up elsewhere.

Ben Paton has been handed his debut and his numbers over his last five games at VFL level warrant some consideration. The utility has averaged 99.6 over those games with three of those including 9 or more tackles. His role in the senior side is a little uncertain so there is some risk to his ceiling however he provides a second option for coaches to get some salary relief in their roster construction.