Draftstars preview: Friday NRL fixtures, Rd 18

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

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Draftstars is back for Round 18 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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BULLDOGS v SEA EAGLES

OVERVIEW

While the Bulldogs are extremely capable of winning this, especially with the added incentive of avoiding the wooden spoon, I just think Manly will have too many points in them.

They’ve got two gun front-rowers at close to full match fitness after stints out, and DCE in serious form. There aren’t too many guns in this contest so fitting everyone into your squad shouldn’t be too difficult.

GUNS

Daly Cherry-Evans

A pretty simple one here as DCE is the premier halves option in this contest by some margin. He’s stepped up in Tommy Turbo’s absence, and has the added bonus of goal-kicking duties with Reuben Garrick out.

Addin Fonua-Blake

AFB is a strike forward and I think he’s very capable of adding some attacking stats to his big workload in this clash.

He appears close to full match fitness and I’m expecting increased game time which should lead to some decent scoring.

STARS TO AVOID

Jake Trbojevic

Jurbo is such a reliable scorer in Draftstars but I’m happy to look elsewhere here. My gut feel says the Dogs will muscle up in the middle, and Manly will fancy their chances on the edges.

This could lead to plenty of early ball for the outside men which will take away opportunites for the lock forward.

When AFB and Marty Taupau are both available Jurbo’s running game reduces significantly.

VALUE

Will Hopoate

Hoppa has had a few quiet weeks, and it’s no doubt coincided with Kieran Foran’s absence. Foz creates so much space for his men outside him, so without him Hopoate is relied upon very heavily in attack.

Obviously Foran is still out, but Hopoate has too much class to keep quiet in a game where he’ll fancy himself against a dysfunctional backline that’s had copious changes throughout the season due to injuries. At just $9,510 he looks a bargain buy.

Matt Doorey

A few outs in the Dogs pack gives Doorey a starting role on the edge. He started in Round 16 and played 69 minutes. $7k for a big minute back-rower is an absolute steal.

COMBINATION

DCE and Morgan Harper

Will lightning strike twice? This pair combined beautiful against the Tigers last week, albeit with some pretty ordinary defensive efforts.

DCE will be hounding the Dogs edges, and if last week was anything to go off he’ll be looking for a hard running Harper who lines up against his former club.

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PANTHERS v EELS

OVERVIEW

This is a really difficult Draftstars contest for a number of reasons. The first being that it’s loaded with guns, so squeezing them into your squad and picking the right ones is hard to do.

The form guide obviously suggests Penrith will win, but they are very due for a loss. They have a very easy few weeks after this, and the minor premiership is semi locked in. So I’m not sure they have as much to gain out of this as Parramatta who are desperate to nail down a top four spot.

It shapes as a cracker, and the difficulty of it leads to plenty of opportunity for an open Draftstars contest.

GUNS

Ryan Matterson

My first player picked in this contest. With Dylan Brown out, Mitch Moses is seeing plenty more ball on Matterson’s right edge. He’ll be a key target in attack for the Eels, and even without attacking stats his work rate leads to quality scoring.

Nathan Cleary

If ever there’s a chance to go against Cleary as a point of difference, this is it. However, I’m still not game! With the amount of touches he’s getting every set and manner in which he controls the game via his kicking I can’t not own him.

STARS TO AVOID

Api Koroisau

No knock on Api, he’s comfortably the best hooking option for scoring in this contest. However, with all the guns available somebody has to make way. Reed Mahoney is out, meaning Ray Stone starts at hooker. He’s less than half the price of Koroisau, making it an easy decision at hooker for me.

VALUE

Stephen Crichton and Brent Naden

This is tough as the likes of Josh Mansour and Brian To’o aren’t that much more expensive and are better options as their workrate is so suited to Draftstars scoring.

However when forking out big bucks for the likes of Cleary and Matterson it’s vital to save coin elsewhere. I’m hoping this pair can get in on the scoring action after a few lean weeks by their standard.

COMBINATION

Cleary and Naden/Crichton

With two strong defensive units (although Parra have struggled of late), I think this game could come down to the kicking games of both halves.

Cleary is landing them on a dime at the moment, so I can see him lofting one across field for the tall timber he has in the centres to leap high and come down with a meat pie.

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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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