Fantasy Rugby: Great chances from Highlanders at home

By Dr Stats

Jason Woodward was last week's top-scorer, and will doing the kicking this week against the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images
Jason Woodward was last week's top-scorer, and will doing the kicking this week against the Highlanders. Photo / Getty Images

The Highlanders return to the cosy confines of Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tonight to give us some great opportunities in round eight of Dream Team Fantasy Super Rugby.

After a subdued round seven in which only two players cracked the 30-point mark, things look likely to pick up this weekend - beginning in game one.

The Highlanders are still scoring and conceding the most fantasy points per game of any team in the competition, and the Rebels are conceding the third-most points per game. This is your fixture to target this week.

Both sides have relatively cheap players, so there is great value to be had. In the Highlanders, Ben Smith ($8,680,000) is a consistent 20-point player while Shane Christie ($3,650,000) gets a mention once again as a top-value pick in the back row.

The Rebels have given up some big points to opposing halfbacks this year so, if you're in the gambling mood, grab Aaron Smith ($5,700,000) in his 50th Super Rugby appearance.

Last weekend's leading scorer, Jason Woodward ($8,190,000), will be a hot pick-up this week and looks like a solid player in the backs while doubling as the primary kicker for the Rebels.

The big selection news of the round is from South Africa where both the leading second rower and back rower in our game have taken hits in value.

This week the Cheetahs revealed back rower Philip van der Walt will miss eight weeks with a broken hand, and second row star Jacques du Plessis has been benched for the Bulls' clash with the Hurricanes.

Also benched this week is star Blues loose forward Luke Braid.

Jeremy Thrush ($4,160,000) and Brodie Retallick ($5,170,000) are great fill-ins for du Plessis, and look to Matt Hodgson ($4,280,000) as the premier replacement for van der Walt and Braid.

After being under injury clouds during the week, both Crusaders captain Kieran Read and Waratahs superstar Israel Folau have been ruled out for this weekend's action.

One player who may deserve a higher ownership among Dream Team players is an old friend of New Zealand. Quade Cooper ($7,590,000) has notched the most points of any player from the past two rounds, and is providing much better value for money than the most-owned Aaron Cruden ($9,120,000).

Cooper is averaging three more points per game than Cruden, his kicking percentage is higher and he's frequently beating more defenders, which could lead to more potential for line breaks.

Cooper takes on the Force at home this weekend and is a top three option at five eighth.

Remember that our second chance competition starts from round nine. All new and existing players will be entered into a new competition from round nine to 22 with a chance to win a $5000 prize.

So no matter how you're faring so far in the game, there is always a chance to take some money home.

Top picks:
Ben Smith, Highlanders
Shane Christie, Highlanders
Jason Woodward, Rebels

Value picks:
Quade Cooper, Reds
Jeremy Thrush, Hurricanes

On the bench:
Philip van der Walt, Cheetahs (out 8 weeks)
Jacques du Plessis, Bulls (benched)
Luke Braid, Blues (benched)
Victor Matfield, Bulls (rested up to 4 weeks)
Ben Afeaki, Cheifs (out 1-2 weeks)
Kieren Read, Crusaders (out 1 week)
Israel Folau, Waratahs (out 1 week)
Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Chiefs (benched)
Luke Romano, Crusaders (out 1-2 weeks)
Lachie Turner, Reds, (out 1-2 weeks)
Ardie Savea, Hurricanes (dropped)

- NZ Herald

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