Right, so before we start, make sure you’ve had a read of our first team selection and strategy article here. In short there’s a couple of conclusions:
- If anything Props and Hookers are a non-premium positions, generally with players averaging just over 20, versus about 30 pts for other positions.
- Players that can play multiple positions, especially Prop AND Hooker should be a priority.
With that, lets have another look back to last year, before we highlight some of the studs you want to focus on, as well as some value picks and a couple of wildcards.
So if you have a look through the above there’s a few obvious things. Generally, the most expensive props were mediocre to poor in terms of performance. A handful averaged above 20, with Tupou, Kithshoff and Lousi a clear best three. The most interesting table is the value table, this is where we need to be at with Props. So, here’s my picks:
Tupou – If you’re not picking this guy then you’re high. He led ALL players with attacking points, and given you get 1 pt per run metre with props his upside is massive. Sure, he’s suspended out of the gate and has a tendency to pick up a yellow, but he’s less then $200k and in a relatively low scoring position, someone who has 30pt+ potential is a must.
Kitshoff – I love the ginger ! Excited that he’s joining Sale after the World Cup. Big ball carrier, an absolute rock, and whilst he’s expensive at $248k, I think he’s anchoring my scrum. I don’t expect his game-time to get cut, in fact you’d expect the Stormers to eek ever single minute out of him, but just keep an eye on that. Last year has was 3rd in run metres across all props.
Tom Robertson – A mainstay of the Tah’s scrum, this guy was always good for points when he was at the Rebels. Again, not cheap at $218k, but should be good for 20+ points across the season. Absolute tackling machine and was 2nd in tackles across all props with 151. Second to Ricciteli.
Craig Millar – not flashy, but announced captain of the Sunwolves, so should be good for gametime, which is obviously key. At $163k a bargain who should be somewhere around the 20pt mark across the season.
Dylan Smith – last year he alternated, not always starting. The feeling this year is that he’ll take over the starting spot. Lions forwards are always good for points, so for $146k, if he is getting the starting nod, probably someone you have on the bench at the very least to fill in on bye weeks etc …. Always an outside shot that you can sneak a meat pie from Marx in the rolling mauls as well.
Lousi – The big former Tah had a breakout season last year with the Hurricanes. He’s listed as prop and lock …. wtf ….. Either way, if he’s getting good starting game time for the Hurricanes then I think this guy is a must as well. I think most have twigged that given he’s selected by a quarter of managers. If you’ve read our first post you’ll know lock is a premium position, so being able to start a lock at prop is epic. $182k is pretty reasonably priced. What’s not to like.
Ricciteli – Highly dependent on getting starting time and the return of Dan Coles. Listed as hooker and prop, which is absolute gold. If Coles gets crocked, or Ricciteli earns the starting spot, then ship this guy in for $229k. One of the highest tacklers and collected top run metres, BUT that’s because he played a lot of games. Currently selected by 27% of managers which I think is just way to high if he’s on the bench to start.
Montoya – Scored good points from the bench last season. Another listed as prop and hooker, so if he’s getting regular starts, needs to be in your squad and is only $186k. However, a lot of risk here given the Jaguares tendency to rotate their squad and completely screw fantasy managers.
Tyrel Lomax – we tipped this guy last year but he didn’t get the playing time. Big potential upside in Highlanders team that rack up the tackles and he’s only $149k. He’s a flyer, which is why this is a wildcard pick, but one to watch.
PROCEED WITH CARE
There’s a few to note here. Ta’avao was a great value pick last season and because the Chiefs has soo many injuries played a boat load of minutes. That won’t be the same at the start of the season this year. Toomaga-Allen, is a personal favourite, sort of in the Kitshoff mould, but the Hurricanes tend to mix up their starts. He did well last year, but I’m not so sure this year if he’ll be starting enough. Beast (Mtawarira) and Keepu are great props, both with thepotential to get some run metres, but with both of them at $315k I just think they are too expensive. And then in general you’ll notice that Aussie props dominate the most expensive end of the table. I just don’t think yo’ll get the return on any of them apart from Tupou.
Lastly, and as ever, check the team sheets and keep an eye on the preseason fixtures that have now kicked off. Given transfers are at a premium in the league, don’t be pushed into a knee jerk reaction, but playing time is everything for props, so starters getting over 60 mins are worth keeping an eye on.