Ashes Second Test

The third of a five Test match Ashes series between England and Australia will get underway on Thursday the 22nd of August at Headingley in Leeds. Australia are currently 1-0 in the series after a rain-affected match at Lord’s ended up in a draw.  Both teams come to Leeds with contrasting circumstances, England buoyant with a brand new bowling weapon in Jofra Archer and Australia sweating on the fitness of Steve Smith and the form of its openers.

Catch the latest DFR YouTube Ashes preview where Smatho runs you through some of his players to look for at the leading DFS sites. 

Headingley in Leeds has not been used as an Ashes venue since 2009 when Australia defeated England by an innings and 80 runs. Peter Siddle took five wickets in the first innings and rolled England for 102. Marcus North hit a ton and Mitch Johnson took five wickets in the second innings. In 2010, Australia played Pakistan in a neutral venue test match and were rolled for 88 in the first innings. If you want to dig a little further, Don Bradman has the highest score in an Ashes Test with 334 runs back in 1930 at this ground. Overall, the record in Ashes Tests stands at England seven wins, Australia nine wins and eight draws.

Early pitch reports suggests an even contest between bat and ball and the weather forecast is great in Yorkshire, which suggests a result is on the cards. 

In team news, it'll be wall-to-wall coverage in the sports media on Steve Smith’s concussion and his ability to take his place in the side. As each day goes by it's more likely he'll play, although he's still questionable for the match (UPDATE - Steve Smith RULED OUT). What's also questionable is the form and place in the side of David Warner (18 runs in the series) and Cameron Bancroft (44 runs in the series - UPDATE Reports suggest Bancroft has been dropped). Coach Justin Langer will rely on Marcus Harris who comes in to open with Warner. We also get to guess who's going to bowl in this game as all five Australian bowlers are in contention for selection. For England, we're expecting an unchanged 12 man squad with Sam Curran likely to be 12th man. 

For the Fantasy sites, Moneyball have posted an $8,000 contest and Draftstars have posted a $12,000 contest. 

Moneyball contests

Current hot form players for Moneyball (MB) and Draftstars (DS) include:

Steve Smith ($8,600 MB 279.5 FP series total / $24,900 DS 478 FP series total)

Patrick Cummings ($8,600 MB 184 FP series total / $20,500 DS 369 FP series total)

Nathan Lyon ($7,200 MB 158 FP series total / $16,300 DS 317 FP series total)

Ben Stokes ($7,100 MB 151 FP series total / $19,700 DS 307 FP series total)

Current cold form players for Moneyball (MB) and Draftstars (DS) include:

Jason Roy ($5,700 MB 14 FP series total / $8,500 DS 30 FP series total)

David Warner ($7,300 MB 19 FP series total / $9,800 DS 38 FP series total)

Jos Buttler ($6,100 MB 44.5 FP series total / $10,900 DS 89 FP series total)

Cameron Bancroft ($4,500 MB 47 FP series total / $8,700 DS 94 FP series total)


Aren’t some of these openers are under the pump? Apart from Rory Burns ($5,700 MB / $14,400 DS) who's a good play, it's highly likely you'll need to select either David Warner, Jason Roy and/or Cameron Bancroft to fit under your salary cap. Roy's playing horribly and could possibly play lower in the order, Bancroft, whilst looking OK in the second innings at Lord’s, is still very unreliable. For Warner, we could make an excuse due to the great bowling he has received in the first two Tests. If Warner gets through half an hour in the first innings, he's a great play at his Draftstars salary, although he's a bit more of a struggle on Moneyball and may go under-owned. Marcus Harris ($5,700 MB / $10,600 DS) now comes into the side for Bancroft. Scored a ton against Sussex for Australia A in July and made a 2nd innings 67 against Worcester in a tour match between the 1st and 2nd Ashes test. With the news breaking quite early, expect Harris to garner some decent ownership. 

If Steve Smith is not picked for the Test match (UPDATE - Smith will not play), then we need to find a big score somewhere! Travis Head will garner great ownership at his salary ($6,600 MB / $13,800 DS) and Usman Khawaja could be a good play at his price ($6,600 MB / $9,900 DS) - In any cricket match your number 3 batsman needs to make the majority or runs, so i'm hoping for a bounceback spot for Usman. Question for the selectors now is where does Marnus Labuschagne ($5,500 MB / $12,200 DS) bat in the order? Could Head and Matthew Wade ($6,100 MB / $10,800 DS) get bumped up the order? Wade could be a great play if he is named at 5. But these are answers we will have to wait at the toss. For England, Joe Root’s ($8,200 MB / $14,500 DS) failure in both innings sees a salary drop on Draftstars and again will be high owned. It's hard to get a read on Joe Denly ($4,500 MB / $9,000 DS) batting at 4 at the moment, but he has the potential to bat very long in a partnership with the openers or Root - He's a sneaky play at a very low salary. As suspected, Ben Stokes bowled less overs in the second Test and his great 115 in the second innings means he gets a bump in his salary on Draftstars ($19,700 DS), although he's still fantastic value at Moneyball ($7,100) where he looks like an 80%+ play. Hard to gauge where Jos Buttler's ($6,100 MB / $10,900 DS) standing from a fantasy point of view, but having a low ownership and could possibly 'ton' up when England might need him the most.  

As for the keepers, they're proving to be safe floor plays with catches behind the wicket providing solid fantasy scoring. I recommend leaning towards Jonny Bairstow on batting form alone.    


Here we go again! Go and try figuring out who's going to bowl for the Aussies! Will James Pattinson ($6,100 MB / $13,800 DS) and/or Mitch Starc ($6,800 MB / $13,800 DS) get a call up? Or will Peter Siddle ($5,400 MB / $12,400 DS) and Josh Hazlewood ($7,200 MB / $13,100 DS) retain their spots? If you took series bets on either Pat Cummins (13 wickets) or Nathan Lyon (12 wickets), then you should feel pretty good on their chances to be the leading wicket taker. Both bowlers are now priced up on both sites, meaning you can probably only afford one here. Cummins, if you can afford him on Draftstars ($20,500), is marginally the better play as he does have the ability to score runs with the bat.

England will be buoyed by the debut of Jofra Archer ($5,900 MB / $16,500 DS) who bowled 44 overs with 13 Maidens and five wickets for the match. He's dirt cheap on Moneyball, and like Stokes, he should be 80%+ owned on the site. At $16,500 on Draftstars, you need to consider pivots at Archer's price with the likes of Nathan Lyon ($16,300) and Chris Woakes ($17,500) the obvious choices. Again, I do like Woakes at his salary as he's the same mould as Cummins - can bat very well and is picking up regular wickets (UPDATE - Selectors for England are "mulling" the idea of resting Woakes due to World Cup/Test workload. Sam Curran $5,300 MB / $11,600 DS is in the 12 man squad and could be picked). Jack Leach I'm not interested in but you could never discount him. As always I have love for Stuart Broad ($7,100 MB / $15,100 DS) who's looking to be highest wicket taker for the series.

As the bookies suggest, England are warm favourites to level the series at 1-1. Again I'll probably lean towards English strike bowlers and hope the Warner/Khawaja combination pays off at low salary.

Good luck if entering teams and keep an eye out on the toss and teams on Thursday evening.  

Dragon's Suggested Moneyball Team

Moneyball team

Dragon's Suggested Draftstars Team

Draftstars team

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The Daily Fantasy Rankings "Dragon" has scoured the Australian sports betting markets and found some great value picks for this game. Check out his picks for the day below and click on the links to follow his betting plays!

Dragon's Picks



Chris Woakes - Player Performance - Over 107.5 points $1.88

Bet now at BetEasy!

Jofra Archer - Under 2.5 1st Innings Wickets


Bet now at Neds!

David Warner - Top Away Team Batsman 1st Innings


Bet now at Pointsbet!

Pat Cummins - Man of the Match


Bet now at Sportbet!


Ashes Moneyball

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