Fantasy Super Rugby: Cruden's injury could be blessing in disguise

By Dr Stats

Chiefs' playmaker flatters to deceive when it comes to fantasy points.

Aaron Cruden's broken thumb has caused chaos for the Chiefs. Photo / Getty Images
Aaron Cruden's broken thumb has caused chaos for the Chiefs. Photo / Getty Images

Aaron Cruden's broken thumb has caused chaos for fantasy owners as Dream Team Fantasy Super Rugby enters its second chance phase.

One of the highest-owned players in our game, Cruden's expected eight-week absence from the competition creates a lot of questions about just how to go about replacing him in squads.

However, when one looks closely at the situation, this injury could act as a blessing in disguise for many teams who were caught up in Cruden's All Black credentials.

Through the opening eight rounds of the game, Cruden ($9,110,000) sits firmly outside the top average scorers in the five-eighth position yet comes with the highest price tag. By dropping the Chiefs' playmaker from your team and replacing him with any number of higher scoring replacements, you will no doubt be improving your overall score going forward.

I highlighted Quade Cooper's credentials last week and he'll again be a solid option against a relatively fantasy-leaky Brumbies side. Other elite options this week include the Waratahs' Bernard Foley ($8,230,000) against the Force as well as Jacques-Louis Potgeiter ($7,660,000) of the Bulls.

One statistic I want to highlight this week involves the Cheetahs and Crusaders. They play each other on Sunday morning and could provide some sneaky options for your backline.

So far this season, the Cheetahs are conceding the most 25+ point performances against opposing backs in the game while the Crusaders are second on this list.

With this in mind, Willie le Roux ($8,660,000) is a super option for you. According to the Herald Rugby Stats Centre the Cheetahs fullback has accumulated the second-most metres in the game via making the most carries. He's a busy player and, thus, is a consistent fantasy performer.

Within the Crusaders team, Ryan Crotty ($9,630,000) is your top option, if you can afford him. He's equal second in clean breaks and fifth in defenders beaten and could be deadly against the Cheetahs.

The Blues, Hurricanes and Stormers are on a bye this weekend with key players Luke Braid, Steven Luatua, Charles Piutau, Dane Coles, Ben Franks, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea all out of action.

In selection and injury news, Victor Matfield ($4,530,000) and Brad Thorn ($3,970,000) will suit up for their sides' clash in Dunedin but are poor options in the second row. Kane Hames ($2,300,000) returns from suspension to start for the Highlanders and is a decent replacement for the likes of Coles and Franks.

Crusaders captain Kieran Read ($6,030,000) is expected to return from injury to face the Cheetahs and will provide some relief for those owners unprepared for this crucial bye round.

Finally, this round signals the start of our Second Chance competition. If your team is struggling or you've been observing the action from the sidelines, you can still win a $5000 first prize for the team that scores the most points in rounds 9-22.

Top picks:
Bernard Foley, Waratahs
Willie le Roux, Cheetahs

Value picks:
Jacques-Louis Potgeiter, Bulls
Jacques du Plessis, Bulls

On the bench:
Aaron Cruden, Chiefs (out 8 weeks)
Liam Messam, Chiefs (benched)
Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Chiefs (benched)
Akona Ndungane, Bulls (out 1-2 weeks)
Ben Funnell, Crusaders (benched)
Owen Franks, Crusaders (benched)
Andy Ellis, Crusaders (benched)
Sam Carter, Brumbies (out 2 weeks)
Deon Stegman, Bulls (out 4-8 weeks)
Ged Robinson, Highlanders (benched)
Jarrad Hoeata, Highlanders (benched)
Nasi Manu, Highlanders (benched)
Jacques Engelbrecht, Bulls (benched)
Wycliff Palu, Waratahs (out 1-2 weeks)
Lachie Turner, Reds (out 5 weeks)

- NZ Herald

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