Fantasy Super Rugby: Prime players may yet save wayward teams

By Dr Stats

Choose the right captain and you could well turn your side around.

The Cheetahs' Phillip van der Walt is the game's top scorer with 135 points. Photo / Getty Images
The Cheetahs' Phillip van der Walt is the game's top scorer with 135 points. Photo / Getty Images

If you've had a poor start to your fantasy season it's about time you got the John Kirwan rev-up speech. Like the one-win Blues it's still early into the season and there are plenty of games to be played. Unlike the Blues you can bring the best players in the competition into your team.

With the four transfers available it's not too hard to turn your season around, especially if you luck out and correctly choose the right captain.

Last week was a perfect example of this. If you had Philip van de Walt as your captain his 46 points were turned into 92 - an unbelievable score for one fantasy player.

But if you'd gone with the hot hand and picked his in-form teammate Boom Prinsloo, who scored 41 points the week before against the Reds, as your skipper you'd have ended up with 38 fewer points.

The captain decision is vital each week but can also be a lottery, meaning you're one right decision - and someone else's wrong decision - away from turning your Fantasy season around.

Welcome back
Jerome Kaino ($5.50m) and Ma'a Nonu ($8m) make their returns for the Blues this week after both being named on the bench to face the Cheetahs, but don't be so quick to pick them up for your fantasy team.

Kaino is a definite unknown after two years playing club rugby in Japan and very over-priced. Even if he does return on the form he had at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the likes of Scott Higginbotham (63 points at $5.1m), Matt Hodgson (94 points at $4.17m) and any of the Cheetahs' back three are all priced below the former All Black loosie.

Nonu may be an 88-test All Black but he certainly isn't a fantasy stud. Ill-discipline has hurt him in the past and he has scored just three tries in the last two seasons.

There are much better options in the backs.

Bye bye
Crusaders have the bye this week which is actually no big loss in Fantasy terms with none of their players in the top 10 points scorers in any position. Look ahead to next week though where the top scoring Cheetahs have a well-earned break following their four-week road trip. That means the likes of Philip van der Walt (the game's top scorer with 135 points), Willie le Roux (101), Boom Prinsloo (113) and Francois Venter (86) will be out of action. The Force and Lions also have a break next week which will take out top scoring Lions five eighth Marnitz Boshoff (122 from five games) and Force backrower Matt Hodgson (94 from four games). I know it's still a week away but if you're stacked with Cheetahs, Lions and Force players you might want to think about making a few moves, even just for your bench, to look one week ahead.

Fast and the furious
The Hurricanes finally hit their straps last weekend with a 60-27 win over the Cheetahs with seven of their players scoring 20+ Fantasy points (interestingly the Cheetahs had five despite the heavy defeat). The high number of tries may have been to do with the Cheetahs defence but the Hurricanes head to the fast-paced turf of Forsyth Barr Stadium where the Highlanders conceded four tries last weekend. Malakai Fekitoa delivered on my choice of value pick last week with 17 points and a try. Expect Fekitoa and Ben Smith to perform again at home tonight.

Top picks
Julian Savea
Michael Hooper
Marnitz Boshoff

Value pick
Warren Whiteley

Medical alert
Robbie Freuan (Chiefs) - four to eight weeks
James Lowe (Chiefs) - four to six weeks
Ben McCalman (Force) - two week suspension

* Catch Dr Stats talking more about Dream Team Fantasy Super Rugby on Thursdays with D'Arcy Waldegrave on Radio Sport.

- NZ Herald

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