Draftstars + punting preview: Saturday NRL fixtures

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

DraftStars preview

Draftstars is back for Round 12 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 50c and win major jackpots.

In Round 10, we went 5/7 in our punting plays with plenty of value included

In last weekend’s previews we went 3/5 on our punting plays including:

  • Manly -4 line @$2 WIN
  • Melbourne margin +30 @$3.60 WIN
  • Sydney Roosters margin 41+ @$4.50 LOSS
  • Sharks 1-12 @$3.40 WIN
  • Rabbitohs +5.5 @$2 LOSS

Unfortunately two losses to open round 12 with:

  • Wests Tigers 19+ @$2.30 LOSS
  • Richard Kennar v Si Katoa try match up’ – KATOA @$2.31 LOSS

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


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The Roosters have hit, by their lofty standards, somewhat of a pre-season lull. They’re masters at peaking towards final which will be on the door step very quickly in the shortened season. I expect them to begin to up the anti over the next few weeks, starting with the Titans who they should put a cricket score on in a day game at the SCG. Unsurprisingly, I’ll be stacking my side with their attacking players.

Punting play: Sydney Roosters win by 30+ points @2.90

Bet here: https://bit.ly/3eBl3Ej


James Tedesco

An absolute must have…


Sio Siua Taukeiaho

SST is a Draftstars weapon, but if the Roosters shoot to a strong lead I expect him to get an early shower. If tries are flowing, and the Roosters are utilising their flanks, the middles may not see too much work.

Luke Keary

Keary should carve up, but you can only have one of the halves. My thinking is that if the Roosters score 40+ points there will be plenty of conversions for Kyle Flanagan, so I’ll opt for him.


Matt Ikuvalu, Ryan Hall

It’s a flip of the coin job as to whether you go Ikuvalu or Hall as your W/FB partner to Tedesco. Either player could get a bag full of tries pending which edge is exploited easier.

Sitili Tupouniua

The back-rower will start and should play 80 on the lethal left edge. At under $9k he’s one of the most undervalued Draftstars players I’ve seen in a while.


Tedesco and Ikuvalu/Hall

Take your pick on the winger, but Teddy could have a mountain of try-assists for either of these guys. Furthermore, with strike back-rowers Angus Crichton and Boyd Cordner out we may see the Roosters play out the back more often, bring these guys into greater contention of scoring.

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I find this a tricky fixture as Canberra are clearly the superior side, but they’ve been up for a while now and are due for a down week. They’re travelling to Townsville and back in a day which will take a toll. Both sides are fairly depleted with several key changes, making it even harder to assess.

Punting play: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to score a try @$3

Bet here: https://bit.ly/3eBl3Ej


Jason Taumalolo

Hopefully in a sign of things to come, JT was back to 72 minutes of game time last week. The Cowboys pack is depleted with Josh McGuire another forward out of action this week, so Taumalolo will have to lift in big minutes. He’s been void of attacking stats recently, so he’s extremely underpriced at $15,960 in my opinon.

Reece Robson

Pending a late Jake Granville inclusion, Robson is the only 80 minute hooker in the game, and a damn fine one at that. Get him in…

Josh Papalii

Much like Taumalolo, Papa has to lift for Canberra’s depleted pack. He should continue his strong game time and is a great buy. There’s plenty of value in the contest, so fitting these three in is achievable.


John Bateman

There’s a few reasons for this. The first is that it’s his first game this season, so he’ll have to adjust to new rules. This won’t be a major issue, but he’ll need a blow out early on. More to the point, I like Elliott Whitehead in this contest so he’s my 2RF partner to JT. At over $13k I’ll be avoiding, but I must admit he’s tempted as he’ll run at whoever the makeshift five-eighth turns out to be (either Dunn or Asiata).


Jordan Rapana

I’m not certain how the move to fullback will impact Rapana’s output. He’ll rack up more runs, but his try-scoring potential will take a decent hit. Regardless, at $8k I’m happy to take the gamble with his strong upside.


Elliott Whitehead and Jack Wighton

The Raiders will fancy themselves attacking both halves. They play very direct and this has only been helped by Siliva Havili and Tom Starling’s introduction to hooker. Granville was ordinary last week in defence, while Dunn/Asiata will be an obvious target on the other edge. I like Wighton to break the line and find Whitehead off his hip to score. Williams/Bateman is also a strong combo play as an alternative.

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It’s another awkard NRL and Draftstars match up here. Penrith are the far better side, but Manly have proven a seriously resilient team over the past 18 months. I expect Penrith to win, but it shouldn’t come easy. I like Penrith’s outside backs as their attacking channels are far easier to predict than Manly’s. I’ll be adding a few key big money forwards from the Sea Eagles into my side.

Punting play: Panthers -4 line @$2

*PlayUp offer $2 lines an hour before kick-off

Bet here: https://bit.ly/3eBl3Ej


Nathan Cleary

Cleary has stepped up enormously in recent weeks when his side have shown signs of flatness. He’s almost single handedly lifted them off the canvas at stages and is obviously the focal point of their attacking raids. DCE is a decent alternative, but Cleary’s goal-kicking addition gets him the nod relatively comfortably for me.

Addin Fonua-Blake

You need X-factor to win Draftstars contests, and AFB has plenty of it. Along with his enormous workload, he can bust the line and find the odd try. At under $14k I consider him serious value for a genuine gun.


James Fisher-Harris

I nominate JFH most weeks in this category due to the fluctuation in his minutes. It paid off last week as he played a season low 54 minutes. This is roughly around his regular time unless injuries hit in which he steps up his output. At $14k I’m happy to look towards forwards with more time and greater attacking upside.


Mitch Kenny

Kenny is the 80 minute hooker in this contest and is the clear pick in the position at $11,200. Obviously Api Koroisau is lurking on the extended bench, so if he comes into the side at 9 just go with him.

Stephen Crichton

Crichton is scoring tries for fun at the moment and has forged a nice little combination with Cleary. He’s also a ball hog, so it’s taking plenty of potential attacking stats away from Josh Mansour.


Nathan Cleary and Viliame Kikau

Another regular addition to the column, this pair just feed off each other. Cleary isolates his opposition half, Big Billy does the rest. It’s Penrith’s go-to attacking play for good reason.


StatPoints value
Field goal5
Tackle break3
Linebreak assist2
Tackle 1
Run metre gained0.1
Kick metre gained0.05
Missed tackle0.05

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