Fantasy Rugby: Start predicting the playoff teams

Jayden Hayward of the Force. Photo / Getty Images
Jayden Hayward of the Force. Photo / Getty Images

Super Rugby is reaching its climax and predicting who will be around for the knockout stages may be the key to your fantasy championship hopes.

With just two rounds remaining in the regular season you have to start preparing for the possibility that players who have been stalwarts in your fantasy side will soon go missing.
Players from the Cheetahs, Rebels, Lions, Reds, Stormers and, most-likely, the Bulls will not take part in the first round of playoffs.

This means that some of the best fantasy players so far this year will need to be weeded out of your squad before that time.

This list includes: Deon Fourie, James Horwill, Boom Prinsloo, Warren Whitely, Francois Hougaard, Marnitz Boshoff, Jacques-Louis Potgeiter and Jason Woodward.

The key point to take out of this is that while you can continue using the above players in your fantasy squad, try to have as few as possible after the next round is complete.

To compound this issue, there are a number of teams whose futures in the competition are still up in the air. As a result, players from the Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes, Brumbies, Force and Blues could join the aforementioned list to cull - your own predictions for the competition will dictate if you do so or not.

The only teams assured of a playoff position are the Waratahs and the Sharks, from which the Waratahs have by far the better fantasy stocks and look likely to progress far into the competition.

With that in mind, it would appear smartest to replace players from the above list with the likes of Israel Folau, Michael Hooper, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jacques Potgeiter, Nick Phipps and Rob Horne.

The Sharks are a tougher team to invest in - Francois Steyn is the only player ranking within the top 10 of any position - and they're the third-lowest scoring fantasy team in our game, so buyer beware.

With all this in mind we can now approach the weekend ahead. The Brumbies are on the bye and their players can be dropped altogether if you believe they'll lose to the Force next weekend.

This weekend the Force play the Reds in the marquee fantasy fixture of the round. Matt Hodgson ($4,650,000), Nick Cummins ($7,670,000) and Jayden Hayward ($7,710,000) are strong plays while, if you feel you have the available transfers, James Slipper ($3,860,000), James Horwill ($4,360,000) and Lachlan Turner ($7,070,000) are likely to perform well for the Reds.

Other players with great matchups include Wyatt Crockett ($4,100,000), Nemani Nadolo ($9,400,000) and Tawera Kerr-Barlow ($6,950,000).

In key player news: Dan Carter and Kieran Read will start for the Crusaders, Charles Piutau returns to the Blues XV and Philip van der Walt returns for the Cheetahs.

Top pick:
Jayden Hayward, Force

Value pick:
Matt Hodgson, Force

On the bench:
Boom Prinsloo, Cheetahs (out indefinitely)
Alapati Leiua, Hurricanes (out 1-2 weeks)
Victor Vito, Hurricanes (out 1-2 weeks)
Dane Coles, Hurricanes (50/50 to play)
Gareth Anscombe, Chiefs (benched)
Jacques-Louis Potgeiter, Bulls (benched)
Corey Flynn, Crusaders (benched)

- NZ Herald

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