What The 2021 AFL Fixture Means For Fantasy Football

The AFL Fixture for the 2021 season is out. While all 23 rounds have been announced in terms of matchups it’s only the opening six games that we know dates and times. The league will rather

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Prime Time Games

The vast majority of teams will have atleast one primetime Thursday or Friday night clash in the first six weeks. Only four AFL teams will miss out.

Collingwood has the most Thursday and Friday night match, playing two on each night (total of four) inside the six rounds of the season. Other regular featured sides are Richmond (three) while Brisbane, Carlton and the Western Bulldogs have two each.

The importance of these early matches is two-fold. Firstly, it provides you with the opportunity to loophole your cash cows scoring. During the opening 6-8 weeks, you’ll have the most cash cows playing on the field. When the opportunity comes to dodge or maximise a rookie scoring, it’s something well worth taking.

Additionally, it’s a high value for a vice-captaincy loophole candidate especially should AFLFantasy resort back to Friday night lockouts in 2021. With the Magpies playing in four of the first six games, players like Brodie Grundy (RUC), Steele Sidebottom (MID/FWD) and defensive premium pair Brayden Maynard and Jack Crisp could be even more popular starting premiums.

Richmond’s Dustin Martin (MID/FWD) will be a popular pick regardless. However, these Tigers early-round games plus the combination of his strong durability and top tier scoring will make him another strong starting candidate. Other Richmond candidates would be Dion Prestia (MID) and defenders Jayden Short and Bachar Houli.

Multi Bye Rounds

The dreaded MBR’s are back for the 2021 season. In rounds 12, 13 and 14 we’ll be down six teams every week. Across the formats, a ‘best 18’ scoring and increased trades have been awarded over the years.

Here’s a visual look of the breakdown of which clubs will be missing.

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In contrast to the other rounds, it appears that round 12 will be the round that least impacts our scoring possibilities. The four biggest names missing in our forward lines will be Patrick Dangerfield, Tom Hawkins, Toby Greene and if we wanted to stretch then Chad Wingard.

Then it’s the players upfront priced more as breakout candidates in Zak Butters and Connor Rozee. While not a breakout, Jeremy Cameron does sit in that range.

The backline will be missing a few with Tom Stewart and Nick Haynes the most likely popular premiums. All-Australian Darcy Byrne-Jones, Jack Lukosious and Jack Bowes probably are the next tier of defenders impacted.

Our ruck division will be largely unaffected. However, popular stepping stone Braydon Preuss will be out of action this week.

Like most rounds, the midfield is the one hit the deepest with Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio, Tim Taranto, Jy Simpkin, Joel Selwood, Tom Mitchell, Sam Menegola, James Worpel, Travis Boak, Matt Rowell and Tom Rockliff all taking a break.

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Depending on your midfield makeup this week could destroy you. Brownlow Medalist Lachie Neale is easily the biggest name missing, but he’s got plenty of mates. Patrick Cripps, Dylan Shiel, Zach Merrett, Jarryd Lyons, Dion Prestia, Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly, Andrew Gaff and the entire Western Bulldogs contingent all unavailable.

Our ruck line looks relatively untouched with Nic Naitanui the only premium salary cap coaches would consider. The forward line to looks relatively clear with Dayne Zorko and Josh Dunkley the two biggest names missing.

It’s not the same story for our defensive unit with plenty of powerful names in this week of teams. Zac Williams along with his captain Sam Docherty plus the returning from injury Nic Newman all won’t play. Same with Jordan Ridley, Jayden Short, Bachar Houli, Shannon Hurn and new Eagle Alex Witherden.

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Looms as a potentially difficult round for premiums. The first challenge will. be getting defenders to get on the field. Luke Ryan, Jake Lloyd, Callum Mills, Rory Laird, jack Crisp and Brayden Maynard will all miss. The benefit of them having the final bye round means you’ll be able to maximise the cash cows from those teams right to the bye if necessary.

Speaking of difficult, it’s a disaster for our ruck lines with arguably four of the most valuable players in that line all missing. I’m of course referring to Brodie Grundy, Max Gawn, Reilly O’Brien and St Kilda’s RUC/FWD Rowan Marshall.

The midfield could also be hurting. Matt Crouch, Nat Fyfe, Clayton Oliver, Jack Steele, Luke Parker, Rory Sloane, Andrew Brayshaw Scott Pendlebury and Christian Petracca will all be out of action.

The forwards don’t look too bad with only Steele Sidebottom, Isaac Heeney and DPP Rowan Marshall the major pressure points.

On first glance, this appears to be the most difficult week to navigate, and if you have a few ‘non-playing’ cash cows, then it could be a struggle to get to 18 on the field.

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