Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys @ Cbus Super Stadium – 2:00 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Ben Hampton – $29
Ben Hampton ($29 – BetEasy) has been presented with another chance to stake a claim on the number six jersey this week. An elusive runner of the football, it’s easy to forget how dangerous he can be in open play given the amount of time he’s spent confined to the wing in recent years. Up against the Titans defensive line that has repeatedly cracked throughout the 2020 season, Hampton will back himself with the ball-in-hand this week.
Titans v Cowboys Preview: Closing The Defensive Line
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Mitchell Dunn ($8,520), Jaimin Jolliffe ($8,500)
The revolving door of Cowboys back rowers continues to spin as Mitchell Dunn finds himself on the edge this week. Shuffled around and unable to lock down a position for the long term, Dunn has another chance in the 11 jersey here. He’s a big unit that can break tackles and release an offload. Projected to score 46 points on Sunday, he’s worth considering as a low-cost option at $8,520.
Jaimin Jolliffe, on the other hand, has taken his chance to start his eighth consecutive game at prop after coming off the bench for the first three games of his NRL career. He’s not going to make too many highlight reels, but with a projected score of 38 points in this one, Jolliffe is a value play.
DFS Fade: Reece Robson ($15,140)
While Reece Robson has put up some monster scores over the last month (97.9 points and 75.2 points), they’ve sandwiched two disappointing outings (32.6 points and 47.6 points). He’s not all that consistent. With Jake Granville on the bench as well, Robson may not play the full 80 minutes.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Parramatta Eels @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 4:05 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Reagan Campbell-Gillard – $81, Nathan Brown – $81
Forwards running at the Sharks middle are always an appealing option here. They’ve leaked a few tries there already this season, and with the form of Reagan Campbell-Gillard ($81 – PointsBet) and Nathan Brown ($81 – PointsBet) at the moment, the Cronulla middle will be tested close to the line.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Siosifa Talakai ($9,020), Wade Graham ($9,720)
The two Sharks back rowers are set to benefit from the new halves pairing this week. It’s not difficult to picture the hard-hitting Siosifa Talakai collecting a short-ball from Shaun Johnson and barrelling over the line. Talakai is projected to score 46 points in this one.
Meanwhile, our predictive model projects Wade Graham to start finding some form on the DFS front now that he’s paired with Matt Moylan on the left edge. Projected to score 42 points on Sunday afternoon, Graham is a value option at $9,720 and a possible point of difference with many likely to be interested in Talakai on the right side.
DFS Fade: Jesse Ramien ($10,040)
Jesse Ramien returns for this one but it’s best to proceed with caution. He’s running up against an excellent Eels left edge and is projected to score just 34 points in this one.
St George-Illawarra Dragons v Sydney Roosters @ WIN Stadium – 7:50 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Mikaele Ravalawa – $14
As is so often the case in Sydney Roosters games, the value lies in the opposition. This time, it’s Mikaele Ravalawa ($14 Neds). He’s running down the St George-Illawarra Dragons’ better-attacking edge and plays outside one of their best-attacking players right now in Zac Lomax. If the Dragons are to cause an upset, Ravalawa is likely to be involved.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Sitili Tupouniua ($8,680), Lachlan Lam
The Roosters have made a handful of changes to their starting 13 this week which has created some value in the DFS department. Sitili Tupouniua was originally named to return to the back row on Thursday night but has since shifted out to the centres. After only scoring 18.8 points out wide last week, our predictive model is projecting him to make a significant improvement on that this week.
On the other side of the field, Lachlan Lam has replaced Kyle Flannagan in the halves. Lam is an exciting attacking player and his combination with the equally fleet-footed Joseph Manu has mouthwatering potential. At an appealing $9,500, Lam is projected to score 37 points and can be a key point of difference in this slate.
DFS Fade: Zac Lomax ($11,460)
Zac Lomax has been an excellent DFS option recently, but he accumulated his seven-game stretch of 40+ points by scoring tries and kicking goals. He failed to cross the line in Round 12 to score just 17.8 points and comes up against one of the best defensive teams in the competition this week. At $11,460 and projected to score 38 points, Lomax is a fade option for Thursday night.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v New Zealand Warriors @ Lottoland – 6 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Cade Cust – $19
Cade Cust ($19 – PointsBet) was unlucky to be dropped for Dylan Walker last week, but with Walker going down with yet another injury, Cust has another chance to cement the number six jersey. While a different sort of attacking threat to Walker, Cust knows how to find the line. He’s going to be presented with opportunities to run the ball against what has been an inconsistent Warriors defence this season.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Jake Trbojevic ($14,840), Jack Hetherington ($9,370)
Another week, another Jake Trbojevic selection. He’s a freak of DFS consistency and produced his regular output while scoring a try for 78.4 points last week. His 50+ points in the bag every week but is tipped to go even better on Friday night with our predictive model projecting the lock forward to score 61 points.
Named to start at prop just as he was last week, Jack Hetherington can expect to be shifted out for a stint on the edge again. He has the motor to play 80 minutes between the two positions. It translated into 48.9 points in Round 12 with the Warriors enforcer projected to have another 40+ point game.
DFS Fade: Eliesa Katoa ($12,450)
While it can be expected that the Warriors spend a little more time attacking down the left edge now that Blake Green has gone, the Sea Eagles know that. They will have a target on Eliesa Katoa’s back. Projected to score 44 points, there are better options in the position.
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Brisbane Broncos @ ANZ Stadium – 7:55 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Kotoni Staggs – $17, Richard Kennar – $15
Kotoni Staggs ($17 – BetEasy) is often all the Brisbane Broncos have in attack. They can feed him the ball in good ball areas and let him go to work on his own. It’s worked well enough for the right-side centre to score seven tries in six games this season. With yet another halves pairing being trotted out for the Broncos, it’s likely they look to Staggs when it all breaks down.
Should the Broncos attack find ways to recreate their encouraging left-side attack from last week, Richard Kennar ($15 – Top Sport) is set to benefit from Darius Boyd’s quick hands.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Bailey Sironen ($9,280), Tom Dearden ($7,900)
Bailey Sironen’s versatility saw him forced into some halfback duties after Adam Reynolds left the field last week. He turned that unique opportunity into 48.5 Draftstars points and is projected to score 42 points on Friday night. He will play an important role in the Rabbitohs attack with Jaydn Su’A suspended.
For the Broncos, it is clear that Tom Dearden is a better halfback than Brodie Croft. He should be the dominant half in this pairing while Anthony Milford is out. If Anthony Seibold allocates Brisbane’s possessions correctly, Dearden should see plenty of opportunities with the football. At $7,900 and projected to score 37 points, Dearden is a value play here.
DFS Fade: Thomas Flegler
With David Fifita named and Matt Lodge also a chance at returning, Seibold will make adjustments to his middle rotation which spells danger for Thomas Flegler as a DFS option. He’s projected to score 44 points which will be on the high side if Lodge takes over too many of his minutes.
Melbourne Storm v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs @ Sunshine Coast Stadium – 3 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Suliasi Vunivalu – $7.50, Raymond Faitala-Mariner – $41
Running at the worst left-edge defence in the NRL this week, Suliasi Vunivalu ($7.50 – SportsBet) is an obvious choice here. The Bulldogs regularly breakdown on that side of the field, and with the sort of form Jahrome Hughes is in, Vunivalu is set to benefit.
Meanwhile, Raymond Faitala-Mariner ($41 – BetEasy) has scored in four of his last five games. He’s developing an excellent partnership with Kieran Foran with it already Canterbury’s most dangerous and consistent source of points.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Brandon Smith ($12,340), Josh Jackson ($10,220)
He’s going to be a high-ownership player, but Brandon Smith is a value play at $12,340. He starts this one with our predictive model projecting him to score 53 points. He’s spent time at prop in recent weeks, but a move to dummy half won’t stop him from completing his bulldog-like runs. Smith is deadly close to the line. If the Bulldogs switch off for a second, he will burrow over and raise his DFS ceiling further in this one.
Josh Jackson is Mr. Consistent at the moment. With back-to-back scores of 45+ points, the Bulldogs back rower is projected to score 44 points on Saturday afternoon.
DFS Fade: Jahrome Hughes ($13,890)
Jahrome Hughes was here last week and remains a fade option for Saturday. Projected to score the same 45 points again, look for value elsewhere.
Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers @ McDonald Jones Stadium – 5:30 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Luke Brooks – $36, David Nofoaluma – $11
There is little doubt that Luke Brooks ($36 – PointsBet) will have had coaching staff talking about his running game while coming off the bench. After averaging 118 running metres in 2019, Brooks has averaged just 97 running metres in the games he’s played the full 80 minutes in 2020. It goes against the general trend of NRL halves running for more metres under the new six-again rule. Expect him to dig into the line with some intent this week.
On the other side of the field, David Nofoaluma ($11 – TopSport) has scored in each of his last three games and will look to expose a new defensive combination on Newcastle’s left edge.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: Luke Brooks ($10,390), Sam McIntyre ($8,900)
Luke Brooks and Sam McIntyre have both been presented with opportunities to cement their place in the starting side this week to offer some extra value to DFS players.
As covered already, the change in Brooks’ approach and what is sure to be a heavy lean towards his running game is promising. Our predictive model projects Brooks to cross 50 points in his return to the halves this week. Meanwhile, McIntyre starts in the back row for this one. Outstanding for 61 points in Round 12, he’s projected to cash in again with 43 points, which at $8,900, is an excellent value option.
DFS Fade: Kurt Mann ($13,800)
Kurt Mann is going to touch the ball more than ever, but as we know, Blake Green and Mitchell Pearce will expect it to come their way. Look elsewhere at his position.
Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders @ Panthers Stadium – 7:35 pm AEST
First Try-Scorers: Elliott Whitehead – $29, Stephen Crichton – $10
Elliott Whitehead ($29 – BetEasy) has popped up here a few times, and for good reason. He’s an elite hole-runner and willing to throw himself into contact. He’s without a try in five weeks but will be a good chance when running against an inexperienced right-side defence.
A try-scoring machine and worth a shout every week, Stephen Crichton ($10 – Neds) is running up against a noted poor defender in Curtis Scott this week. Scott is going to have an eye on Viliame Kikau at all times. If he turns in, Crichton will go over.
Draftstars Suggested Plays: John Bateman ($13,080), George Williams ($11,910)
The risk paid off last week, so we’re back to John Bateman again on Saturday. He hit his projected score of 58 points with only 31% of players trusting the Englishman to produce in his first game back from injury. Projected to score 58 points again here, Bateman is a value option on the edge at $13,080. It’s no coincidence that George Williams cracked 50 points last week either. Paired with his England teammate and expected to improve further with 80 minutes under their belt, Williams is projected to raise his bat for 50 again on Saturday night.
DFS Fade: Dunamis Lui ($11,140)
Dunamis Lui’s regression following arguably the best three weeks of his career isn’t a surprise. Scoring 41 points last week, our predictive model projects another drop down to 36 points in this one.