The traditional ANZAC day clash between the Roosters and the Dragons is here. The Roosters are in red hot form and are coming off an impressive win agains the Storm down in Melbourne last week while the Dragons won in controversial circumstances against Manly. The Roosters are favoured to win this game but ANZAC day games are always played with plenty of passion and the Dragons can’t be written off here. Both teams have been playing good footy in the lead up to this round and therefore there are a lot of expensive players on this slate. This is not a slate where you will be able to fit all the players you want into one lineup so some tough decisions will have to be made when constructing teams.
Jake Friend ($7,500) is a risky play today given this is his first game back from an injury. Friend scored 61.2 fantasy points in round 1 before scoring just 10.4 points in his second game in which he faced to finish the first half and didn’t return to play. It is important to mention that the Roosters have not struggled in Friends absence and therefore the Roosters would not be rushing Friend to return. If he takes the field today, he is likely to have fully recovered and the only question mark would be his match fitness. Cameron McInnes ($9,100) is the much safer of the 2 hooker options but his consistency comes at a cost. McInnes will likely play the full game and get at least 30 fantasy points today but his high price means in order to roster him, you will need to make sacrifices elsewhere.
As I mentioned in the introduction, there are plenty of expensive players in the slate and for that reason, I think it is worth considering some cheap options in the forwards. Blake Lawrie ($5,600) has been getting through a lot of work in recent weeks for the Dragons. Lawrie has made over 35 tackles in each of his last 3 games and has averaged 28.9 fantasy points in that period. Victor Radley ($5,900) is another player at a discounted price that should be considered today. Radley will shift back to lock to accommodate Friend returning to the team. Radley’s stint at Hooker has seen his fantasy scores decline as he has not had the opportunity to be as involved in attacking plays. Expect to see Radley get more opportunities with the ball today. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ($6,600) had a stellar return to first grade footy last week. His dominant performance was capped off by a try and I expect him to have another big game today. Hargreaves is a player who always plays with plenty of passion and I think he will flourish in the ANZAC day atmosphere. I have tried to highlight some of the cheaper forwards that I like the look of today however, it should go without saying that Angus Crichton ($8,400), Boyd Cordner ($8,200), Paul Vaughan ($8,100) and Tyson Frizell ($7,500) are all worth considering if you can fit them into your team.
There are more tough decisions to make in the halves today. Latrell Mitchell ($8,000) has been named in the halves for the injured Luke Keary. Mitchell will see more early ball in the halves then he usually gets in the centres but his running game might not be as effective playing in the halves then it is when he gets one-on-one with defenders on the edge of the field. Mitchell is one of the form players in the league right now but I am happy to pass on him today given his price and his positional switch for this game. Ben Hunt ($7,300) has been in exceptional form in recent weeks. Hunt has racked up 5 try assists in the last 2 games he has played and although he faces a tough opposition in the Roosters today, I believe he is still worth considering today. Cooper Cronk ($5,800) is not renowned as a gun fantasy football player however given the absence of Keary, Cronk may get more opportunities to score attacking stats today. Cronk is also significantly cheaper than the other options in the halves which means that by rostering Cronk, we can afford expensive players elsewhere.
I expect James Tedesco ($11,000) to be the main beneficiary from the exclusion of Luke Keary. Tedesco will likely take on a larger playmaking role in attack however, given Tedesco’s are price tag, he would likely need to post more than 50 fantasy points to be a solid play. Joseph Manu ($7,300) and Matt Ikuvalu ($4,700) are worth considering. I expect Ikuvalu and Manu to see more ball in attack down their edge of the field now that Latrell has been shifted into the halves. Manu is a gifted ball runner and can create lots of opportunities for his winger off tackle breaks and offloads. Mikaele Ravalawa ($5,200) is my favourite of the Dragons outside backs. I have already mentioned how I like Ben Hunt today and Hunt has been favouring Ravalawa’s edge of the filed in attack. Ravalawa has scored a try in each of his last 4 games and I expect this trend to continue.