NRL Picks: 22 March

nrl picks round 2

Round 2 of the NRL season rolls on with two matches on Friday. Let’s dive right in and look at who you should (and shouldn’t) be targeting in your daily fantasy contests.

Canberra Raiders vs. Melbourne Storm

Both the Raiders and Storm produced impressive performances in their opening matches, with the Raiders particularly showing signs of promise. Despite popular belief, Jack Wighton didn’t look completely out of place in the halves, albeit one game and against a Titans side ravaged by injury and in atrocious conditions, and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad looked at home at fullback. They will frustrate plenty of sides again this year. The Storm battered the Broncos for 60 minutes before taking their foot off the pedal and allowing Brisbane back into the game. Cameron Munster is ready to take the next step and become a top half.

Gun: Cameron Munster ($12.9m)

As good an option in the halves as there is, Cameron Munster is going to be a fantasy star for years to come. The attack now very clearly runs through him, with Munster the go-to option at the end of sets. He is very clearly the chief attacking kicker now, which is an advancement on last year’s game plan, and Munster earned two forced drop outs showing he is more than capable. Great base stats, an elite runner of the ball, fullback instincts with support play and the no.1 playmaker; Munster is a weekly gun.

Dud: Jarrod Croker ($11.2m)

Still there or thereabouts as the defensive kings of the NRL, the Melbourne Storm do not present much in terms of scoring for the outside backs of their opponents particularly through those who depend on attacking stats, and Jarrod Croker certainly is one. When the Raiders are at their free-flowing best Croker is an elite fantasy player and one of the best point scorers in the competition, but against a team that defends so well on the edges, there really isn’t any value in an expensive outside back, particularly one like Croker that likely won’t see a whole lot of shots at goal.

Point of Difference: John Bateman ($8m)

John Bateman is the talk of fantasy NRL this week after a hugely impressive performance against the Titans through the middle that seemingly came out of nowhere. Bateman was rock solid in defence, playing 60 minutes in the lock role and providing a huge platform for the new halves combination to work from. At $8 million he represents huge value and his 465 points last week was second on his side. Pick him before his price rises.

Brisbane Broncos vs. North Queensland Cowboys

Jason Taumalolo rampaged his way for 300 metres against a strong Dragons forward pack last week in a sign of intent from the former Dally M medalist. The Cowboys have a revitalised side with superstar Michael Morgan now running the show. Johnathan Thurston will likely be an Immortal one day, but there is no doubting the Cowboys will be a better side with him gone after his final season was well below his lofty standards. They have a star-studded forward pack that will give their backs a huge platform every week. The Broncos aren’t far behind, with a plethora of young, physical stars in their pack. Their opening 60 minutes against the Storm was extremely worrying however, and they will need to come out of the gates a lot stronger against their interstate rivals.

Gun: Jason Taumalolo ($16.4m)

As I previously mentioned, 300m, two line-break, one try-assist for the human bowling ball last week saw Jason Taumalolo emerge as the king of NRL fantasy in round 1. 716 points is within reach for this behemoth every week, and players shouldn’t be put off by the price tag. As long as you can find the right balance across the other positions it will be nearly impossible to ever leave this guy out.

Dud: Darius Boyd ($8.9m)

I think at some stage this season we see Darius Boyd leave the fullback role, I don’t think he is near the player he used to be and with Jamayne Isaako at times stranded on a wing and even Jack Bird in the centres, I think that change comes sooner rather than later (hopefully). He managed just 201 points last week and honestly I think that isn’t far off where he will be each week. Usually the fullback on a strong attacking side will see plenty of points but I think Boyd is an absolute no-go, and whoever replaces him will become an instant gun.

Point of Difference: Michael Morgan ($10.5m)

He isn’t going to be scoring tries every single week but with the team now running solely through him, Michael Morgan is set to explode as an elite fantasy player. He has everything you want in a fantasy half, a strong runner of the ball, elite support play and can produce tries with his passing and kicking game. His 436 points last week weren’t a fluke, and can be a marking point for what he will become having finally stepped out of Thurston’s shadow. Ownership is incredibly low and I get it, he’s far from the sexiest pick, so get in before the rest follow suit. Gun.

 

That’s all for Friday’s picks and preview. Now head to the Lobby and join a guaranteed daily fantasy NRL contest.

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