Friday

St. George Illawarra Dragons v Gold Coast Titans @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 6:00 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Phillip Sami – $14, Josh Kerr – $51

Phillip Sami ($14 – BetEasy) knows how to find the line better than most in this Gold Coast Titans side at the moment. He’s scored six tries in 12 games this season while going over in the corner four times throughout his six games on the wing. He will be someone the Titans look for against a dodgy St. George-Illawarra Dragons edge defence this week.

The Dragons, on the other hand, can find points through the middle. Only the Broncos have conceded more tries in the middle of the field this season than the Titans. Josh Kerr ($51 – BetEasy) forced his way across the line last week and will have circled Tyrone Peachey (starting at lock for the Titans) as a target to run over close to the line.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Jacob Host ($8,600), Jarrod Wallace ($9,520)

Jacob Host started his first game in the back row in 2020 last week to record a season-high 80 minutes and 38.8 DraftStars points. He’s back on the edge this week with our predictive model projecting the 23-year-old to score 40 points. We cashed in on Jarrod Wallace for 48.9 points in Round 15 and will go back to the Titans prop again on Friday. With Moeaki Fotuaika and Jai Arrow both unavailable, the pressure falls on Wallace. He’s a workhorse that will play plenty of minutes. Our predictive model projects him to score 41 points.

DFS Fade: Ben Hunt ($16,750)

Despite scoring 64.6 points last week, our predictive model expresses caution with Ben Hunt in this one. He’s projected to score just 55 points and is worth considering as a fade option.

Sydney Roosters v Brisbane Broncos @ Sydney Cricket Ground – 7:55 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Brett Morris – $6.75, Kotoni Staggs – $26

Two of the NRL’s best try-scorers are on offer in this one. Brett Morris ($6.75 – TopSport) has made a career out of crossing the line to score 164 tries in 263 career games. He’s managed 11 in 11 games this season and is expected to make it 12 from 12 against the worst defence in the competition. Meanwhile, Kotoni Staggs ($26 – Neds) has managed to keep close to Morris’ strike rate despite playing within the second-worst attack in the NRL. Staggs has scored eight tries in nine games, thanks in large part to outrageous efforts like these:

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Sitili Tupouniua ($10,160), Ben Te’o ($8,000), Cory Paix ($9,320)

Sitili ‘Mr. Fix It’ Tupouniua continues to fill the holes popping up in the Roosters starting 13 to again be named in the back row this week. He cashed in for 42.8 points last week with our predictive model projecting him to bump that up to 49 points in this one.

The Broncos haven’t offered a lot to anybody this season, but Ben Te’o presents as a value play here. They started to use him earlier in their sets last week. He managed 129 metres and two tackle breaks in 51 minutes for 31.9 points. Projected to score 39 points and at only $8,000, Te’o is a value play this week. So too is Cory Paix who takes over from Issac Luke at hooker. His 42.3 points in 59 minutes is encouraging and our predictive model projects him to score another 40 on Friday. Brodie Croft is on the bench and may eat into some of Paix’s minutes, but he should still see roughly an hour on the field.

DFS Fade: Jake Friend ($14,320)

Jake Friend does a lot of his damage in defence to pile up tackle numbers. Given he’s up against a middle that runs for the fewest metres in the NRL and a side that can’t retain possession, Friend may not have the same opportunities to build up his tackle tally. Value lies elsewhere.

Saturday

New Zealand Warriors v Newcastle Knights @ Bankwest Stadium – 3:00 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Eliesa Katoa – $29, Jazz Tevaga – $81

While Kodi Nikorima is in hot form, the value lies in Eli Katoa ($29 – BetEasy) as a try-scorer. The big back rower is sure to be a target for the Warriors in his return from suspension. The right side is the weakest for the Newcastle Knights with 42% of the tries they’ve conceded this season coming down that edge. Expect Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita to spend a lot of time trying to isolate Katoa one-on-one close to the line.

As far as roughies go, Jazz Tevaga ($81 – SportsBet) appeals. He has his issues with penalties and errors. Nonetheless, his high work rate ensures he’s always around the ball. He doesn’t mind a dart from dummy half when attacking the opposition goal line either.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Eliesa Katoa ($10,400), Chanel Harris-Tavita ($8,320)

Similar to his assessment as a try-scorer, Eli Katoa shapes as a value play here. He’s a destructive ball-runner that the Warriors often look toward when searching wide in the centre-third while he’s also a target close to the opposition goal line. Nikorima’s improvement adds to Katoa’s threat too. Projected to score 44 points in this one, the young back rower is a value option.

So too is Chanel Harris-Tavita at $8,320. He scored 50.61 points in his first game starting in the halves following Blake Green’s departure. While he only managed 25.95 points the following week, he looked dangerous with a handful of passes falling just short of the mark. Typically low ownership, Harris-Tavita is worth considering here with our predictive model projecting him to score 35 points.

DFS Fade: Karl Lawton ($12,260)

Fading Karl Lawton proved the right play last week, and with a projected score of 40 points at $12,260, it looks best to fade him again on Saturday.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys @ Netstrata Jubilee Stadium – 5:30 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Ronaldo Mulitalo – $8.50, Kyle Feldt – $13

Shaun Johnson’s return to the side is all the reason you need to consider Ronaldo Mulitalo ($8.50 – SportsBet) here. The pair seem to link up every week with Mulitalo’s finishing already up there amongst the best in the NRL. With what we’ve seen out of the Cowboys edge defence in 2020, there’s a good chance Mulitalo crosses the line more than once.

The Cowboys will need Kyle Feldt ($13 – Neds) to score if they’re to compete in this one. After crossing the line eight times in five games earlier in the year, the 28-year-old has only dotted down twice in his last eight games. Michael Morgan should take even more control of the team now that he’s paired with a rookie five-eighth. That bodes well for Feldt on the right wing.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Blayke Brailey ($9,920), Connor Tracey ($8,600)

Blayke Brailey isn’t a big runner of the football. He’s only ticked over 60 running metres in a game once this season while doing most of his damage in defence. However, he may have a few more chances to tuck the ball under his arm against a disjointed Cowboys middle defence this week. Consistently around the mid-30’s recently, Brailey is projected to score 46 points in this one.

Meanwhile, Connor Tracey has no problems looking to run the ball. He breaks plenty of tackles for a little man too. Starting in the halves at the appealing price of $8,600 and against a dodgy Cowboys edge defence, he’s projected to score 39 points.

DFS Fade: Valentine Holmes ($8,530)

Valentine Holmes will more than likely need to score tries to register a decent DFS performance. The possibility of kicking goals will appeal to many too. However, the Cowboys aren’t scoring many tries, therefore, they’re kicking few goals. Holmes will jump out at $8,530 but his projected score of 28 points is enough to fade him this week.

Penrith Panthers v Wests Tigers @ Panthers Stadium – 7:35 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Brent Naden – $13, Josh Mansour – $10

We’re looking left and right for value in the Panthers this week with Josh Mansour ($10 – PointsBet) worth a look on the left and Brent Naden ($13 – TopSport) on the right.

Viliame Kikau is a big out for the Panthers left edge, but it’s one less threat for the ball to work past before getting to Mansour on the wing. Isaah Yeo has developed an excellent ball-playing game at lock which should translate well in his return to the edge. Without the option of hitting Kikau with a short ball and Yeo’s superior ball-playing, the ball should get out to Mansour more often this week. Naden, on the other hand, can succumb to tunnel vision with the ball in hand. His move into the centres doesn’t take away from his try-scoring chances. He’s still going to look to score before passing close to the line more often than not.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Josh Mansour ($9,510), Luke Brooks ($9,480)

As touched on already above, Viliame Kikau’s absence works in Josh Mansour’s favour. We can expect him to see a little bit more of the ball with our predictive model projecting the Panthers winger to back up his 59.4 points last week with another strong 42-point performance on Saturday.

Luke Brooks also looks good to continue his improved form. Harry Grant’s return will help him immensely with the defence forced to consider the dummy half before turning their attention to Brooks. Scoring 40+ for the first time since early July, Brooks is projected to score 45 points in this one. At $9,480 and in a competitive position, he’s a value play.

DFS Fade: Moses Leota ($10,060)

Plenty will be excited over Moses Leota’s elevation into the starting 13 this week. However, our predictive model expresses caution over the likely popular pick. Projected to score just 35 points, it might be best to look elsewhere.

Sunday

Melbourne Storm v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles @ Sunshine Coast Stadium – 4:05 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Jahrome Hughes – $18, Marty Taupau – $91

Daly Cherry-Evans has shown a tendency to fly out of the defensive line to try and shut down his opposite man in recent weeks. It’s something Jahrome Hughes ($18 – SportsBet) will have noticed and intend to capitalise on in Round 16. We saw how Hughes can make the defence pay for getting out in front of the defensive line in Round 14:

In the roughie department, Marty Taupau ($91 – SportsBet) stands out. It won’t be a surprise to see Manly try a crash & bash approach to their attack this week with Taupau being turned in close to the line a regular option for Cherry-Evans and Cade Cust.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Nelson Asofa-Solomona ($12,140), Cameron Smith ($16,190)

Nelson Asofa-Solomona played a career-high 60 minutes last week and turned it into 60.8 Draftstars points. With the added responsibilities this week and against a Manly pack that will ask him to take regular carries of the ball, he’s an excellent option this week. Our predictive model projects him to score 49 points on Sunday.

With Dale Finucane out and Asofa-Solomona in an unfamiliar role, Cameron Smith is likely to take possession in the middle of the field more often and look to create. The more Smith gets his hands on the ball in space, the better for DFS players. Projected to score 65 points, he’s a value play at $16,190.

DFS Fade: Josh Addo-Carr ($9,980)

Josh Addo-Carr couldn’t back up his 50+ scores in Round 13 and 14 to produce just 23.8 points in Round 15. Inconsistent all season, he’s worth fading again on Sunday with a projected score of just 34 points.

Canberra Raiders v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs @ GIO Stadium – 6:30 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Siliva Havili – $41, Nick Meaney – $19

Canberra’s assumed dominance means it’s a week for the roughies. Siliva Havili ($41 – BetEasy) will be a good chance at scooting over from dummy half as he looks to expose a less than impressive Bulldogs middle defence. Meanwhile, Nick Meaney’s ($19 – BetEasy) move to the week proved profitable last week with the Bulldogs managing to find points early. He’s again the best chance at scoring while playing outside Kieran Foran on the left side.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: George Williams ($11,020)

Per Stats Insider’s ‘Try Scoring Analysis‘ no team has conceded more tries down their left edge than the Bulldogs’ 36 this season. It’s sure to be an avenue the Raiders look to explore with George Williams the man in charge of directing traffic down that side of the field. With the opportunities on offer and the likelihood that Williams turns an increase in touches into points, he’s projected to score 48 Draftstars points on Sunday evening.

DFS Fade: Josh Papalii ($15,550)

He’s the big man that pulled off the unimaginable ankle-tap, but Josh Papalii is worth considering as a fade option this week. His projected score of 57 points is on the pricey side at $15,550.

Thursday

Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ Bankwest Stadium – 7:50 pm AEST

First Try-Scorers: Ryan Matterson – $23, Dylan Brown – $23

Parramatta’s favouritism suggests they’ll score a few points with Ryan Matterson ($23 – BetEasy) and Dylan Brown ($23 – SportsBet) two value options on the night. It makes sense for value to lie on both sides of the field. Per Stats Insider’s ‘Try Scoring Analysis’, South Sydney have conceded 22 tries each on the left and right sides of the field so far this season.

Matterson looks the most likely of the two. As a powerful hole runner that is a key foil to Parramatta’s right side, he can act as both the scorer and facilitator. Brown, on the other hand, does most of his damage when offering well-timed passes to the dangerous left-edge trio on his outside.

Draftstars Suggested Plays: Shaun Lane ($11,640)

Michael Jennings spoke pre-game last week about Parramatta’s need to go back to what worked and hit the left edge more often. As a result, Shaun Lane registered 18 receipts – his most since Round 7. Those 18 touches translated into 169 running metres, an offload and line break assist for 43.9 Draftstars points. With the Eels sure to continue down that side of the field on Thursday night, Lane presents as a value play at $11,640 with our predictive model projecting the big back rower to score 49 points.

DFS Fade: Thomas Burgess ($11,540)

As the last-standing Burgess in South Sydney, Thomas is playing some of his best footy this season. He’s become a consistent DFS performer along the way too with only two of his last ten games turning out fewer than 40 points. He’s projected to hit that number again this week (43), but his $11,540 is getting on the pricey side. Look for value elsewhere.

Your Edge: Gun Locks, Firing Fullbacks & How Lazy Is Latrell?

Round 16 NRL Preview