Fantasy Super Rugby: NZ derbies offer chance to bag some big points

By Dr Stats

Crusaders' Sam Whitelock already showing his worth this season.

Robbie Fruean has been a great early selection. Photo / Getty Images
Robbie Fruean has been a great early selection. Photo / Getty Images

Last week Israel Folau showed the importance of taking advantage of soft match-ups in Dream Team Fantasy Super Rugby.

This weekend I'm targeting some of the big guns of New Zealand rugby.

As expected, the combination of playing at home against the Force proved to be a goldmine for Waratahs backs - Folau and Alofa Alofa featured among the top five scoring backs in round two.

On Sunday the Force host the Brumbies so, while they will be a tougher proposition at home, the visitors' backs will carry some above average value.

While weak teams are a preferred starting point to exploit each round, the style of rugby played in New Zealand derbies also tends to produce plenty of fantasy points.

This week I'm looking to take advantage of the Blues v Crusaders and Chiefs v Highlanders match-ups with several players a must-start in my books.

Sam Whitelock was our top fantasy second rower last year and has started well again this season while Highlanders back rower Shane Christie was a force on defence against the Blues - both look set to star again this week.

In the backs, Crusaders wing Nafi Tuitavake could be a sneaky play while the Highlanders' Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa and the Chiefs' Robbie Fruean are all great pick-ups.

While Tom Taylor takes over kicking duties for the Crusaders and gets a bump in value, he won't displace Aaron Cruden as my preferred first-five.

As always, injuries and selections will play a big part in your squad composition.

Israel Dagg is one of the most-owned backs in our game but has been benched by coach Todd Blackadder this week while most of the Chiefs squad seems to be nursing injury.

With dynamic openside flanker Tanerau Latimer returning to the starting line-up for the Chiefs, I would recommend picking him up - if you have room to move.

Top picks:
Sam Whitelock, Crusaders
Robbie Fruean, Chiefs

Value pick:
Shane Christie, Highlanders

Medical alert:
Luke Braid, Blues (might be a late scratch)
Francis Saili, Blues (out this week)
Pierre Spies, Bulls (out for season)
Derick Minnie, Lions (out 2-4 weeks)

- NZ Herald

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