We are excited to announce our partnership with Draftstars for the remainder of the 2021 NRL season. As well as our weekly previews, we have also built a tool to make the process of entering teams much easier and give you a range of stats to look at so you can find the best value players. Check out the NRL Draftstars Stat Bible yourself!
Sunday 29th August 1.50pm
Sea Eagles v Bulldogs $6000
Most fans would be expecting this one to be an absolute massacre. You can expect Sea Eagles players to be extremely high owned in this contest, so we’ll look to help you decide which Bulldogs players could be good value or have high upside.
Matt Doorey & Joe Stimson. The Bulldogs don’t have any edge backrowers on the bench so they should both play close to 80 minutes. They are both rated 9/10 value on our Draftstars NRL Stat Bible and picking both could allow you to pick Tom Trbojevic, Garrick & Cherry-Evans all in the same team.
Jason Saab could be a big differentiator in this contest. These two teams played each other less than two months ago. In that game, Manly won 66-0 and Saab scored 91.2 points including 3 tries. This would mean leaving out one of Garrick or Tom Trbojevic, but especially for those of you entering multiple teams it definitely sounds like an interesting option.
Haumole Olakau’atu & Jake Trbojevic. There are a few reasons they could be good options to fade in this contest. Firstly, as we mentioned above in the value plays section, there are better value picks in the 2RF spot.
Secondly, if you think Manly can have a comfortable win, it doesn’t suit the type of game Jake would usually need to wrack up a big score. As for Haumole, he’s been on fire however it has been a long time since he’s had a rest. Manly have one of the most versatile and in-form bench rotation in the competition, so there’s definitely some risk of their back rowers getting rested late in the game.
Sunday 29th August 4.05pm
Panthers v Wests Tigers $8000
The final game of Round 24 seems as one sided as any we’ve this seen this year. With Adam Doueihi gone for the season, it’s hard to see any attacking spark in this Tigers side. As we always say though, in one-sided contests like this one, it’s crucial to nail your picks from the other team.
Shawn Blore ticks so many boxes as a value pick in this game. Priced well at $9,990, average ownership % of 16 in 2021 and should play close to 80 minutes given there are no other second rowers competing for this spot on the bench. He’s an impressive young player and given there aren’t any other Tigers players showing up with a value rating of 6 or higher, he could be a great starting point to select your team.
With players such as Pangai Junior & Fisher-Harris coming into the team and Kikau, Capewell & Martin needing to share the minutes for two second row spots, spending too much of your cap on Panthers forwards doesn’t seem a great idea. Apisai Korisau is the best value pick of the game according to our model and given he’s had a stop-start last few weeks since Origin 3, hopefully the Panthers try to give him 80 minutes to get some match fitness before the finals.
Kurt Capewell has been given a value rating of 7/10 for this game which would make him a good pick in most games. However, given that there’s the risk of him being shifted to the centres or losing minutes to Kikau or Martin, he is a strong candidate for a Panthers player to fade. With an average ownership % of 34 in 2021, he is usually quite popular so choosing Viliame Kikau for example could pay off handsomely.
Thursday 26th August 7.50PM
Knights v Titans $25,000
Thursday nights are usually the biggest night in the world of NRL Draftstars. A $25,000 contest with almost $2.5k for coming 1st sets up a great weekend of rugby league action. This game should be a cracker too as seventh plays eighth on the NRL ladder in a battle for top 8 spots.
Jake Clifford is the standout value pick amongst the halves scoring between 50 and 78 in the last 3 weeks and has a relatively low average ownership percentage across the season. Most fans expected Kalyn Ponga to light up the competition in the final rounds of the competition but having Ponga and Pearce playing together seems to have had a great impact on Clifford’s game.
With Daniel Saifiti & David Klemmer out, it’s fair to assume that the starting Knights pack should get inflate minutes. Connor Watson & Jacob Saifiti are both a 7/10 value rating in the stat bible but you can see that Watson’s ceiling range is 77, compared to 63 for Saifiti. Ceiling range is the average of the player’s 3 highest scores in 2021. Watson will cost you $2,000 more but being available in at HLF & 2RF, being good value & having one of the highest ceiling ranges in the contest makes him a great pick.
David Fifita will be one of the most influential players in deciding who wins this contest. On one side, his ceiling range of 104 is one of the highest in the competition and he has the ability to get a huge score in around 60 minutes coming off the bench with his tackle busting and try scoring ability.
On the flip side, he will be likely up against Mitch Barnett who is an aggressive defender and actually a a decent value pick himself as well as playing on Ponga’s favoured left edge. If you think the Knights can keep Fifita in check and he’ll score around the 50 points we have him projected at then it could help you build a much more balanced team.
Friday 27th August 6PM
Warriors v Raiders $10,000
We’re set for a great night of Friday night rugby league action. If the Raiders can win this one, they’ll feel confident of sneaking into 8th spot and if the Warriors don’t, their 2021 season is over. On top of the $10,000 contest for this game, there is also a Friday Night Slate you can enter.
Matt Frawley gets a start for Sam Williams and is therefore the best value player in this contest with a projected score of 40. Although he’s not a historically strong DFS player, none of the other options in the halves are great value so locking him in to your team could be a wise way to get started.
Jordan Rapana & Ryan Sutton are two of the other players who are good value picks according to our projections, however you can see they are generally quite popular DFS players. Elliott Whitehead is traditionally less popular and if you think he can show some improvement on his recent form, he could be a pick that helps you set yourself apart from the pack!
Euan Aitken has been on fire since he moved to the second row, scoring four tries in four games since then. Model projections can always be disputed, but there’s a 20+ point difference between his form and his projected score. This could be the make or break play in this contest. Do you back him to continue his form, up against Matt Frawley & Hudson Young? Or do you think an experienced Raiders team can get on top and stunt Aitken’s recent attacking form. Our model suggests he’s one of the poorest value picks of the game, and if we’re right that could be the type of play that sets your team apart.
Friday 27th August 7.55PM
Roosters v Rabbitohs $10,000
Roosters are missing so many players that their ‘Injured XIII’ could probably beat most of the bottom eight teams. But with Damian Cook in doubt and James Tedesco in scintillating form trying to carry the Roosters on his back to lock in a Top 4 spot, it could be closer than the 12.5 handicap suggests. This should be a great game. Enter the $10,000 contest for the game here.
Egan Butcher gets a start for his brother Nat in the second row. Our projected score for him is 36 but given the form he showed last week, it’s reasonable to expect a 40+ score if he plays most of the game. A really interesting approach could be to choose both him and Jacob Host, who has been playing around 55 minutes off the bench on an edge in recent weeks. Two cheap, value second rowers who could allow you to reach for the high ceiling range players available in this game.
If Damien Cook is ruled out late, that leaves Peter Mamouzelos and Benji Marshall to cover his 80 mins, picking Benji especially at $7,000 could really open up opportunities to pick possibly two or all three of Tedesco, Latrell & Murray in your team. Make sure you check team lists an hour before kickoff though for a final decision on Cook as he is currently named in the #9.
Joseph Manu stands out straight away. He’s been in great form over the last few weeks, but up against a strong Rabbitohs team we have him projected for 40 points. At $14,430 if he does get around 40 points that would be a big chunk of your salary cap that could have gone to one of the other big guns in Tedesco, Latrell, Murray or Cook. He’s also got a very high 2021 average ownership %, so leaving him out could once again help separate your team from the pack.
Alex Johnston is another fade option. Priced at $11,110, if he doesn’t get multiple tries we know he doesn’t have the most impressive base stats. There are a few scenarios in which he could be a great option to fade. Firstly, if you think the Roosters can keep up with the Rabbitohs and this game will be more of a grind, our projection of 37 is more likely. Secondly, if Damien Cook is a late out that’s another reason to be confident in this game being closer than expected. He also has one of the highest average 2021 ownership %, so choosing Jaxson Paulo or Brad Abbey at a much cheaper price could open up a much more balanced team.
Saturday 28th August 3PM
Dragons v Cowboys $6000
Two teams who have had a forgettable 2021 season playing in the 3PM slot should make for a free flowing, high scoring game. Although the Dragons are still a mathematical chance of making the finals if they win both games convincingly, the Cowboys probably have more to play for here with most of their high profile players returning from injury. It should be an entertaining DFS contest with the Amone & Sullivan for the Dragons up against Holmes & Tabuai-Fidow for the Cowboys.
There seems to be a lot of value in the 2RF, CTR & Half positions with Billy Burns, Ben Condon, Jayden Sullivan, Talatau Amone & Reuben Cotter showing up as the best 5 value picks for the game. Aside from showing how exciting this game could be with so many future stars on display, it shows the importance of nailing the value picks to have a chance at winning this contest.
Our pick out of this bunch is Reuben Cotter. He played over 50 minutes in his return from injury last round and showed what he’s capable of in Round 5 against the Tigers when he has 52 tackles & 156 run metres in 69 minutes for a score of 63.6
Scott Drinkwater’s average ownership in 2021 is 33%. In this contest, however, with so much value in the Half position and being priced at almost $15k, he’s the best option to fade. Reece Robson‘s average is ownership in 2021 is 43% and at $13,430 there’s just too much value in the HOK & 2RF positions to justify picking him.
Saturday 28th August 5.30PM
Sharks v Broncos $6000
The Sharks have shown great spirit in 2021 to be sitting in 8th spot at the start of this round. The Sharks are favourites to win the game and most likely lock in a top 8 spot. However with two relatively inconsistent teams, two players that will decide the fate of their teams will be Payne Haas & Braydon Trindall. As the top two projected scorers in the game, they’ll also decide who wins this DFS contest.
Mawene Hiroti takes Ronaldo Mulitalo’s spot on the left wing for the Sharks and is the best value player in the game according to our model. A player at $7,000 projected to score 35 seems a no brainer. It may be a great way to make sure you can lock in Payne Haas in to your time at $17,430.
Luke Metcalf & Albert Kelly are two of the other better value players in this game. Metcalf was in great form last week, scoring two tries as the Sharks put on 50 points. If you choose to go with Metcalf at $8,390 it opens up the possibility of choosing Jordan Riki or Jesse Ramien who have ceiling ranges of 82 and 73 respectively.
Toby Rudolf’s average ownership in 2021 is 45%. With his last 3 scores ranging between 27 & 41 and priced at $12,770 he could be a great option to leave out. Aaron Woods is projected to score 39 and has three scores in the 30s in the last 3 weeks. With Tolman & Uele on the bench and Talakai potentially spending time in the middle if Wilton comes on to an edge, fading Rudolf & Woods could give you a huge advantage.
Saturday 28th August 7.35PM
Storm v Eels $8000
The Eels have lost Ryan Matterson, Maika Sivo, Reed Mahoney & RCG in recent weeks and will be up against a full-strength Melbourne spine. It’s fair to say that Melbourne players will be extremely popular in this contest as well as the Saturday slate. If you can pick the right Eels players, it could be the difference between cashing and finding your team in the top 10.
Marata Niukore & Nathan Brown. Nathan Brown only has an average ownership % of 25 in 2021 and with Chris Lewis, Kaufusi & Kenny Bromwich expected to be popular picks, picking Niukore & Brown could be a great point of differential for your team.
It’s a toss up between Cameron Munster & Jahrome Hughes for the best fade option. Munster, Hughes & Mitchell Moses all have similar ceiling ranges, similar value ratings & Munster has a slightly higher projected score but is also more expensive. With Nicho Hynes on the bench, you would expect one of the halves to be rested at some point if the game is a blowout. If you agree with our thinking that Munster is likely to be rested next week, then fading Hughes and picking one of Munster or Moses would be the way to go.