For those of you with us last year you’ll have read the original post where we looked at each teams Strength of Schedule and made a few predictions on how that might impact 2017 overall. It also provided some in season guidance on easy or tough runs of games where you might want to look at making some switches in the team.
Just for the record we called the Kings finishing higher than the Cheetahs based on their respective schedules.
Anyway, it’s fair to say last season was a complete fix for some teams in terms of their schedules. The SA teams in general had much easier schedules, with the Lions and Sharks not having to play a single NZ team, and the Jags having the 3rd easiest draw. This lead to a number of players, especially for the Lions and Sharks playing above where they should really be. I mean is Skosan really the 5th best OBK in Super Rugby …… hmn.
So, this year, what does it look like. For some guidance on how the fixtures have been organised check out the video on the Sanzar homepage. This is what it means in terms of ranking:
Straight off the bat there’s a couple of things that stick out. The Jaguares and Bulls have the hardest schedules based on last years finishing positions. I wouldn’t touch hardly any Bulls with a barge pole, so that’s not really much to worry about. Interestingly the Jags are being tipped in some circles to compete for the title. That might be a stretch given their schedule.
Outside of that the Brumbies have a much easier slate than anyone else. That’s primarily because outside of them last year the rest of the Aussie conference was total sh*t last year. So by playing all their divisional teams twice, and the best Aussies team, The Force, getting the chop, it could be plain sailing for the Brumbies this year ? I don’t buy that as I think the Tahs can’t be that bad again, but I am going to be looking hard at Brumbies this year.
Other than that there’s not too much to tell. The Kiwi teams generally have a harder time of it, because they play each other twice – quite frankly that’s great from a spectator and fantasy manager perspective.
If we look at the matrix with team names instead, there’s a couple of other things to pull out:
The Lions have a nice opening run, and we’ll also get the bonus of being able to watch them play in week 1, which isn’t a fantasy week, to see how the team line-ups. The Brumbies also start with a nice few easier opening games. I’m doubly looking down their roster now.
We won’t change the Strength of Schedule until week 3, when we’ll change the rankings to be based on the current league table, rather than 2017 finishes. So outside of the first few weeks, be cautious about using the above, because they’ll always be two or three teams that play outside their form last year.