NRL Fantasy

The Dragons kick off Friday Night NRL, with Interim Head Coach Ryan Carr heading into his first game in charge, taking on the Sydney Roosters. With both teams struggling for form, the result of this one could give us a good insight into where both teams are heading.

Then, in the main event, the rampaging Rabbitohs host the Eels at Allianz Stadium, in a crucial game for Parramatta’s season. There is an abundance of talent for fantasy players across both these games, so picking a team will be tricky this week. Let’s run the ruler over both games, and try and find some value.

Draftstars has numerous contests this Friday night, with the biggest being a $10,000 prize pool in the Rabbitohs vs Eels contest. Don’t forget the $8,000 prize pool for the Dragons vs Roosters contest and the $5,000 prize pool for both Friday Night matchups. Whatever your style, there’s a contest for you this Friday night, so let’s dive in and find some value selections.


Team News

The Dragons have made several changes, which can have been expected with a change in coaching during the week. Zac Lomax earns a reprieve, slotting in at centre at the expense of Max Feagai. Ben Hunt returns to halfback, with Jacob Liddle named at hooker, and Jayden Sullivan reverting to the bench. Jack Bird returns in the backrow, with Billy Burns dropped. No other changes.

The Roosters lose Joey Manu in a massive loss. Drew Hutchinson has been named in the 7 jersey, with Luke Keary returning to five eighth. Egan Butcher returns from concussion, taking his brother’s starting edge spot, with Nat reverting to the bench. Sitili Tupouniua has been promoted to start on the other edge, with Angus Crichton bumped to the bench. Fletcher Baker misses out.

The Rabbitohs lose Jed Cartwright (concussion), with Daniel Suluka-Fifita replacing him. No other changes.

Finally, the Eels welcome back Mitch Moses, with Jakob Arthur bumped to 18th man. In a big loss, towering back rower Shaun Lane (hamstring) is out long term, with Bryce Cartwright replacing him. Sean Russell replaces Haze Dunster on the wing, whilst Ofahiki Ogden joins the bench.

Betting Markets

St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.75) vs Sydney Roosters ($1.45)

Points total – 41.5 points

South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.37) vs Parramatta Eels ($3.10)

Points total – 43.5 points

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Despite the new coach, I’m concerned it won’t be enough here for the Dragons. The pressure is on the Roosters, after several poor showings in the past month. The pressure is ratcheting up, and champion teams usually turn up in these spots. Whilst I don’t expect the Roosters to put 50 on the Dragons, I don’t expect the Dragons to ever really be in this matchup, with the Roosters dominating through the middle on the way to an 18-10 victory.

The Eels will be happy to have Mitch Moses back, but it won’t be enough here. The Rabbitohs are the class of the field right now, and they should have far too much for a flawed Eels team in Indigenous Round. The Eels are 1-5 away from CommBank Stadium this season, and I see them being 1-6 after this game.

Love It – Alex Johnston - $11,560

AJ hasn’t had the try scoring year he has had in the past; however, he has a great chance here against a porous Eels right edge defence to score multiple tries. With only 5 tries in 10 games, the narrative “he’s due” could easily be used here for Johnston, however I’ll point to another fact. Johnston has 7 tries in his past 3 matchups against the Eels, including a hat-trick and two doubles. He loves taking on the Eels and their right edge. AJ is inherently risky, given his low floor, however I really can see him scoring multiple tries this week.

Love It – Cody Walker - $18,670

Cody’s consistency has really impressed me this season, making his selection so much easier to stomach. In the past, you always had to weigh up Cody’s upside with his low floor, but this season you can pick the matches you believe Cody will explode, and be assured that at worst he will score you in the 35-45 range. This week, Cody is going to be peppering both sides of this brittle Eels defence, and his performance could be correlated with the aforementioned Johnston. I love Cody this week, watch him score a try for Indigenous Round to top off a huge game.

Love It – Jack de Belin - $21,630

I’m not sure what’s got in to JDB the past three weeks, but he has been braining it in DFS. Three straight 70+ scores, high minutes in every game, and seems to be back to playing his best football again. Does the change in coaching hurt JDB, or did he know this change was coming and he has been putting in to impress the new guy? It’s too hard to figure that out, so I’ll just stick with the raw stats. JDB, for the past 3 weeks, has been as close as anyone to Payne Haas-esque, and in selecting him you’ve got to be confident of at least a 60+ score.

Hate It – James Tedesco - $16,530

How is Tedesco still priced this high? I know he has been a star in DFS for what seems like forever, but his form, and that of the Roosters, cannot justify this price tag. With only two 50+ games, and a high of 57, Tedesco just isn’t the player he once was. To have Tedesco as the second most expensive OB in this slate, is insane, and I cannot advocate a selection of Tedesco now, or anytime soon.

Hate It – Dylan Brown - $18,990

Brown has been tremendous the past 3 weeks, but if we look at the Eels’ opponents in those games, we can get an insight into why I don’t like Brown in this slate. Two 70+ scores over the Knights and Titans, two of the 4 or 5 worst defences in the NRL, doesn’t translate to 70+ against the Rabbitohs, a team that just conceded zero points to the Tigers. I am confident the Rabbitohs can hold the Eels to under 20 points, limiting the chances of Brown to put on another 70+ point performance, and thus not being of value at this price.

Who Knows – Jack Bird - $21,400

Bird is one of those players, high ceiling type of guys who despite the high ceiling, as a pretty standard average for an edge forward. So, at this price point, you are paying for the upside, with the risk that Bird may fail and score a 35–40-point game. If you believe Bird is in for a big game, he’s always value, however, are you better off just taking the guaranteed 55-65 of a Cam Murray or Ryan Matterson, for cheaper? The decisions we must make in DFS. Definitely worth a sprinkle for those with multiple teams, but if you are just selecting one, it’s hard to take him over the more consistent performers.

Draftstars Suggested Lineup



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