Draftstars preview: Friday NRL fixtures, Rd 17

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

DraftStars preview

Draftstars is back for Round 17 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 from as little as 50c and win major jackpots.

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

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KNIGHTS v SHARKS

OVERVIEW

Keep an eye on Newcastle’s weather leading into the game as there is rain around that may limit scoring to a degree.

The Sharks are dark horses at the moment and Newcastle were belted by the Warriors last week, so it makes for an interesting clash of top eight sides.

Chad Townsend’s return will help get the side around the park, but without Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan the attack takes a major hit.

Despite questionable form of late, I believe the Knights have added greater resilience this season and am tipping them to bounce back and win this game.

GUNS

David Klemmer

Big Klem is playing more minutes as the Knights try to build momentum towards the finals. 60+ minutes may well be his regular game time on the run home, making him a near must in Draftstars with his huge work ethic and added offloading threat.

Kalyn Ponga

You can definitely criticise me for the constant selection of KP, I’m clearly a fan boy so it’d be warranted. The way he’s been used by the Knights for the majority of this year, particularly of late, has been hard to watch.

I think last week will be the huge wake up call Adam O’Brien needed, and it’ll force him to reshape the way Ponga is injected. In short, give him early ball in attacking territory. If you think otherwise than by all means steer clear, it could prove a contest winning play if the tactics continue.

STARS TO AVOID

Mitchell Barnett

Barnett has been in great form recently, but he left the field early last week with an injury concern before returning to finish the game. He has a pretty crook history of injuries so with the recent scare I’m happy to leave out.

VALUE

Blayke Brailey

I’m really liking Brailey this season and I think he’s evolving with every game he plays. There is a concern Connor Tracey spells him at some stage, but hopefully not for long if it does occur. With SJ out again I’m backing Brailey to up his input in attack and utilise his threatening running game.

Wade Graham

I’m always on team Graham when Johnson is out. While already vital, his role in attack takes on far greater importance in the star playmaker’s absence. He’ll get through a decent amount of work and can hopefully add some attacking stats to his score.

COMBINATION

Graham and Cronulla’s left edge

For all the reasons listed above, including the return of Townsend on the left, I think that edge will see plenty of ball. I’m reluctant to state who will be playing centre and wing because John Morris flips it all the time, and Sione Katoa is out who has spent time there recently.

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RABBITOHS v STORM

OVERVIEW

This is going to be an absolute cracker. South Sydney are absolutely flying, while Melbourne are a side capable of shutting down the best attacking units in the game.

I’m leaning towards the Storm to edge out their opposition off the back of the forward pack.

If they win the middle, the Rabbitohs lethal attacking contingent out wide will struggle to inject themselves into the game.

GUNS

Cam Smith

Smith returned last week after a short stint on the sideline with injury. I’m tipping the Storm pack to win the battle of the forwards, which will benefit Smith significantly.

Cam Munster

Munster has forged a reputation for getting up for big games across his career, while casually going about his business against lesser opposition. This is a big game, and I expect him to lift in typical fashion.

STARS TO AVOID

Damien Cook

Touted as one of the main beneficiaries of the new ruck rules, Cook has struggled by his lofty standards to utilise his lethal running game this season. The task won’t be made any easier against Melbourne who are the benchmark of ruck control in the NRL. I prefer Smith for a slight increase in price.

VALUE

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

Tino has proven this season he’s a star in the making. With Dale Finucane out he’s set to start at lock and should see increased game time. He’s a gamebreaker and looks a terrific pick up at just over $11k. Keep an eye on final team lists to ensure he remains a starter, but regardless he’s still a decent buy.

Bayley Sironen

Young Siro will have his work cut out against this ruthless Melbourne pack. However, his development as an NRL standard player is growing with every game and he looks a safe pick up to hopefully eclipse his value at just $9,100.

COMBINATION

Fa’asuamaleaui and Ryan Papenhuyzen

Tino is a man mountain and will be busting tackles everywhere and getting his arm free looking to offload. Little Papy will be lurking like a bad smell and can latch onto a ball and finish off with his blinding speed.

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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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