Draftstars preview: Saturday NRL fixtures

Check out our Draftstars preview of the three Saturday NRL clashes, with the key players to target and avoid.

DraftStars preview

Draftstars is back for Round 6 of the NRL season and with it comes the chance to back your fantasy knowledge to win some cash.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, you can enter competitions for each game for as little as $2 and win major jackpots.

Let’s take a look into today’s fixtures.

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COWBOYS v KNIGHTS

OVERVIEW

On form Newcastle shouldn’t have too many problems here, but North Queensland should lift at home after a lacklustre performance last week. The Knights didn’t get out of second gear against the Broncos and should be very fresh with a lengthy nine day turnaround.

I’ll favour Knights players, but I do think the Cowboys will make it a tighter contest than most are expecting. Watch late mail as Jake Granville’s inclusion would likely mean Andrew McCullough is the preferred hooking option.

GUNS

Kalyn Ponga

KP comes up against his former club and is primed to destroy their fragile edge defence. The day game is key to this and I expect him to go large. The only concern is that he was restricted to his less favoured right edge against the Broncos last week which was bizarre. I’m confident it was a one-off due to the ease of the game and this should change.

Jason Taumalolo

JT speaks for himself when it comes to his selection despite being expensive at $17k. There’s minimal concern on paying big as Paul Green’s job is on life-support and he can’t afford not to play his main man in big minutes. He should play 65+ and can justify his price tag despite Newcastle’s impressive defence through the middle third in recent weeks.

STARS TO AVOID

David Klemmer

It’s not so much a knock on Klemmer, I just think Daniel Saifiti is a better pick up for $1,200 cheaper. Saifiti is getting big minutes under Adam O’Brien and is in career-best form. O’Brien is playing Klemmer for around the 50-55 minute mark which is down on previous years. While he get through a stack of work, it’s Saifiti for me.

VALUE

Kurt Mann

The K-Mann was arguably Newcastle’s best last week in the win over Brisbane. He gets through plenty of work in both attack and defence and is gelling with the left edge beautiful since locking down the five-eighth role. The risk here is obviously you’re bypassing Mitchell Pearce in the halves, but at $3k cheaper I like the move.

COMBINATION

Kalyn Ponga and the left edge

I stick to this formula most weeks in Knights games but it’s hard not too. Yes, KP oddly favoured the right edge last round, but as mentioned above I can’t see it happening again, but note the risk. His left edge dominance brings all of Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Enari Tuala and Edrick Lee into play. I particularly like Lee to be on the receiving end of a few cut out balls from Ponga to score in the corner.

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BRONCOS v TITANS

OVERVIEW

I think this is the week Brisbane lift against their little brothers down south. If they can’t win this and do so with a decent margin there really is big drama at Red Hill. Due to their poor form and injury toll there’s some decent value in both sides so it shouldn’t be difficult scraping together a strong squad. However, Brisbane have been extremely unconvincing, so if you’re of the opinion the Titans can spring an upset it’d be a huge POD play to load up on their players.

GUNS

Mo Fotuaika and Jai Arrow

Mo’s workrate has gone through the roof since earning a starting spot when the season returned. Barring injury flare-ups, Arrow is a such a safe selection in Draftstars each and every round with his work ethic. I like these two at just under $15k.

Tevita Pangai Jnr

I believe Anthony Seibold’s preference is to use TPJ as a 55-60 minute impact player, but the Broncos are going so poorly he had to play him 80 minutes on return. This should continue this week as they desperately seek a win. TPJ busts tackles, offloads and is one of the most lethal edge running forwards in the NRL.

STARS TO AVOID

Mitch Rein

Rein obviously isn’t an NRL or Draftstars star as such, but he is quite comfortably the highest priced hooker in this match up. Tanah Boyd may well deputise at hooker at some stage giving Rein a rest. Cory Paix is out, meaning Issac Luke starts and should see big minutes. If, and it’s a big if, Brisbane’s pack can get rolling through the middle, Luke’s running game will be hard to stop. Luke is $2k cheaper than Rein.

VALUE

Tesi Niu and Herbie Farnworth

At $8,500 and $7k respectively, this pair look great value. Keep an eye on late mail as there’s an outside chance Jamayne Isaako starts at fullback for Niu. Niu looks a serious talent and should figure prominently in attacking raids if Brisbane cross for a few tries, while Farnworth is basement price and kicking goals, nice.

COMBINATION

Anthony Milford and Xavier Coates

Brisbane have shown in recent weeks they’re happy to target their flying youngster on almost all attacking kicks in the opposition half, and why wouldn’t they with his leap? Hopefully he latches onto a few and generates some decent points as a result.

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EELS v RAIDERS

OVERVIEW

If Canberra can flip their recent struggles and play to something near their best this will be a cracker. If they don’t, their title credentials will be handed a reality check by a firing Parramatta outfit.

The Raiders have developed a certain steel in recent years and I think they’ll turn up and show their class. It’ll be a tight result, but the Eels have a few more appetising Draftstars players so I’ll be narrowly favouring them.

GUNS

Ryan Matterson

Matto is one of my first players picked each week. He plays 80, has a huge workrate, offloads, bust tackles and his combination with Mitch Moses improves each week. At $15,180 he’s almost value for mine.

STARS TO AVOID

Mitchell Moses

If you like Parramatta in this clash, I think Dylan Brown is the better option at a $1,500 discount. The Eels will look to exploit Canberra’s plotless right edge defensive unit which means Brown should see more ball than Moses.

VALUE

Shaun Lane

I like Lane in this as Canberra’s right edge have been tripping over themselves in defence lately. He should play 80 minutes with Nathan Brown suspended and Marata Niukore starting at lock. He could easily jag a try or put one on a platter with his crafty offload for an outside back.

Hudson Young

Joe Tapine is out meaning Young is likely to start on the right edge. Young is extremely talented and is well suited to Draftstars scoring with his tackle busting ability. At just $8,400 he’s a stellar buy.

Combination

Brown – Lane – Gutherson

I think this trio will pepper the Raiders right edge all game, especially with another new face in Young likely to slot into Tapine’s place. Brown will hit a hard running Lane short who I can see picking up King Gutho who will be sweeping out the back and following his back-rower.

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StatPoints value
Try8
Try-assist5
Field goal5
Linebreak4
Tackle break3
Goal2
Linebreak assist2
Offload2
Tackle 1
Run metre gained0.1
Kick metre gained0.05
Error-2
Missed tackle0.05

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