Fantasy Rugby: Who to pick when the best are on the bye

By Dr Stats

Israel Folau will be missed by many Fantasy teams this weekend. Photo / Getty Images
Israel Folau will be missed by many Fantasy teams this weekend. Photo / Getty Images

With eight of the top ten fantasy points-scorers not playing, this coming round of Dream Team Fantasy Super Rugby sets itself up as a crucial one in the scheme of the competition.

That's right, you read correctly, eight of the top ten fantasy performers are on the shelf this weekend. The Cheetahs, Force and Lions all have a bye while Israel Folau has a throat injury that may keep him out for two games.

So, with a host of stars missing from the game, the challenge now is using your four transfers in the best possible way. For example, if you need to make more than four transfers to cover the missing players this weekend, then look to leave gaps in your side in the least-productive positions - half backs and front rowers.

You'll also want to keep in mind that the Sharks have a bye next week, so making any moves for their players this week may not provide the best value for your team.

If you've been smart enough to plan ahead for this round, then you'll have four or less transfers to make to field a full squad and this week will be like any other, where playing the matchups is key.

There are two fixtures that stand out to me as ones to target for fantasy points this weekend - Rebels vs Brumbies and Blues vs Highlanders.

The Highlanders are conceding the most fantasy points per game of any side, while the Blues are close behind in third place. Interestingly, the Highlanders also score the most fantasy points of any side - so, for me, they are the team to target.

According to the NZ Herald stats centre, Ben Smith ($8,670,000) is leading the way for the Highlanders in metres-gained with 327m and is a good bet to score well on Saturday night. Teammates Malakai Fekitoa ($7,630,000) and Patrick Osborne ($7,610,000) are your value picks in that backline while back rower Shane Christie ($3,630,000) could be the cheapest source of points in the whole round.

The Blues, likewise, can provide a number of great options for you - Luke Braid ($6,170,000) is averaging the sixth-most tackles per game according to our stats centre and will be an elite back row option again. In the backs, Frank Halai ($8,590,000) and George Moala ($8,080,000) are solid investments while Charles Piutau ($8,080,000) is set for a big game against a Highlanders side that concedes the most metres-per-game in the competition.

In Melbourne, the Rebels and Brumbies are likely to also provide a stack of fantasy points. Your players to target here are Brumbies backs Jesse Mogg ($9,600,000) and Robbie Coleman ($8,580,000) as well as Rebels back rower Scott Higginbotham ($5,130,000). Interestingly, Brumbies star Christian Lealifano is expected back from injury this weekend but will not be kicking goals, which mutes his value somewhat.

One final note to make is that our second chance competition starts from round nine. All new players and existing players will be entered into a new competition from round nine to 22 with a chance to win a $5,000 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
Charles Piutau, Blues

Value picks:
Shane Christie, Highlanders
Patrick Osborne, Highlanders

On the bench:
Israel Folau, Waratahs (out 1-2 weeks)
Patrick Lambie, Sharks (out for season)
Flip van der Merwe, Bulls (out 1-2 weeks)
Piri Weepu, Blues (out 4-6 weeks)
Cory Jane, Hurricanes (out 1-2 weeks)
Lachlan Mitchell, Rebels (out for season)
Liam Gill, Reds (out 3 weeks)
Schalk Burger, Stormers (out 1-2 weeks)
Ardie Savea, Hurricanes (benched)
Luke Burgess, Rebels (benched)
Sam Cane, Chiefs (benched)
Gareth Anscombe, Chiefs (benched)
Tim Nainai-Williams, Chiefs (benched)
James Parsons, Blues (benched)

James Parsons, Blues

- NZ Herald

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