Finally we are back! Round 1 of the 2021 AFL Premiership Season is set to kick off this Thursday night with the traditional matchup between Richmond and Carlton at the home of football, the MCG! We are all set for another massive season of football and daily fantasy, and the major platforms have monster contests on offer to kick things off:

  • AFL $150,000+ Tigers vs Blues at Draftstars
  • AFL $15,000+ Tigers vs Blues High Roller ($150 Entry) at Draftstars
  • AFL $5,000+ Tigers vs Blues Fiver at Draftstars
  • AFL $10,000+ Tigers vs Blues Mini ($2 Entry) at Draftstars
  • AFL Showdown $60K Opening Bounce ($20K for First) at DraftKings
  • AFL Showdown $17K Tagger (Single Entry) at DraftKings



In addition to previews for each and every slate this season, Daily Fantasy Rankings will continue with our AFL Resources page. This section provides you all the data you need to build your best lineups. It includes daily cheat sheets for both Draftstars and DraftKings, Player Correlation tables, Player Out tables, Scores Against tables, Tagging information, statistical breakdowns and much more!



You can watch a replay of the DFS Down Under Show with Smatho and Hef as they breakdown this Draftstars contest on Thursday night. Not to be missed if you are making lineups for this contest! 



Our helper articles are available on Daily Fantasy Rankings whether you are new to the format or looking to strive your fantasy game, check them out!



Richmond vs Carlton at the MCG (RIC -22.5, 170.5)


Where to Attack?

First of all, Captain of the Tigers Trent Cotchin has been ruled out for the match, so make sure you check your lineups. 

With the season yet to kick off we don’t have any data to look at for points conceded in 2021 as yet, however we can still look back to last year to get an indication of where to attack. Remember don’t take these as gospel as teams can change significantly year to year, particularly if there have been significant personnel or coaching changes. 



When it comes to Richmond, we can expect a similar game style as we have seen for the past 4 years. Low possession counts and clearances, but move the ball quickly forward at all costs and win one on ones around the ground. Over the years this has consistently led to opposition backs racking up uncontested possessions against them. Last year they gave up the 7th most points to defenders, and if you isolated this to the top three scores it ballooned to the second highest mark.



Ruck is another area that has been a consistent weakness for the Tigers over their recent premiership run. Last year they were the number one team in the entire league to target in the ruck, giving up the most points in the league to number one ruck at over 7 points per game above league average. Toby Nankervis will take the number one ruck position this year and throughout his career he has consistently been one of the top players to attack at this position.


Game Script - Carlton backs, Richmond forwards

Despite the fact the Tigers are 22-point favourites in this game, as noted above they are typically not a high possession team. They sat 10th in possessions last season and generally gave up more possessions and uncontested marks than they accumulated. As a result, a strategy I will look at is stacking up Carlton backs to take advantage of the possession game and Richmond forwards for the benefits of a potential big win.




Marc Pittonet (DS $9,440 DK $5,200) is likely to assume the number one ruck duties for the Blues (considering young gun Tom De Koning will miss the start of the season). Pittonet is no superstar but in 13 games last year for the Blues he did manage to post an adjusted average of 68 fantasy points per game with an adjusted ceiling of just under 100 points. As noted above, on this slate he draws what is likely the best matchup in the league against Richmond and Toby Nankervis, and he gets a substantial price discount on the ‘Nank’.


Jason Castagna (DS $9,360 DK $4,600) offers some salary relief on a slate that will be void of such options and I discussed in the game script strategy above I will be looking to get this relief using Richmond forwards. Castagna has the capability of kicking multiple goals, sporting a 100-point ceilings if the Tigers can fully get hold of the Blues, which is in the realm of possibility on this slate given the fact they are 22 point favourites.




Sam Docherty (DS $11,650 DK $8,200) just looks far too underpriced, especially on Draftstars. Despite having a down season returning from his ACL injury in 2019, he still averaged an adjusted 88 points per game. The Blues are not playing the same style as 2017 when Docherty averaged a ridiculous 115 points, but the upside is still there as we saw last year Docherty’s top score of 110 points in the short quarters. As noted above this is an elite matchup for backs as the Tigers gave up the second most points per game to the position for the top scoring backs.


Patrick Cripps (DS $13,880 DK $9,400) is another Blue who should look to rebound fantasy wise from a somewhat sub-par performance in 2020. Cripps was battling a shoulder injury all year, which has now reportedly recovered and during the summer he added kilograms of muscles to return to his past playing weight and concentrate on his strengths on the inside. If he can return back to the form of two seasons ago, he is at a significant price discount for this opening matchup.


Lachie Fogarty (DS $10,370 DK $5,600) was on the top of everyone's fantasy keeper draft lists this summer with a change of clubs to Carlton where he is expected to get more opportunity through the midfield than he did at Geelong. Fogarty has shown upside in the past, posting an 87 in short quarters last year for the Cats. In their single preseason game against the Saints he posted 70 fantasy points.




Dustin Martin (DS $14,250 DK $10,600) is the absolute king of the game. Dusty will mix his time between midfield and forward, which plays right into the strategy of Tigers forwards and taking advantage of the fact they are heavy favourites. Dusty loves the MCG and should be up for a big opening night game in front of fans.


SHOWDOWN CAPTAIN SPECIAL - Patrick Cripps $14,100

DraftKings have thrown in a fun variable to single game slates with the captain selection that counts for 1.5x points and 1.5x the salary. For this game I like the discount and upside on Patrick Cripps to open up the rest of your lineup.


Suggested Draftstars Team


Suggested DraftKings Team


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