Ok, so this is a little rushed, but we’re going to run through the player positions and try to cover the Top Picks for Each Position, and rate them using our star system:
– Top 5 points performer at the position
– Top 10 points performer as the position
We’ll also cover some Bargain bucket picks and some off the wall picks that could just win you the season …. or alternatively blow your team up 🤪
Our Players at the Position: A great value pick in the squad – someone to stash on the bench with upside, or start so that you can afford to get McKenzie, Reece in.
: Off the wall picks for players with great potential upside, but who might be more than a touch risky.
As mentioned in our strategy article, Prop is the lowest average scoring position. I’d rather not spend money here, but it’s VERY hard to pick out the value props before the season starts, and see which ones regularly get 60+ minutes.
I think the top prop again this year will be Gqoboka, the guys just too good in the lose. He’s also $181k, so not cheap, and that’s kind of what you’ll need to do if you can to gaurentee points. Alaalatoa should also sit here, especially as captain, meaning he should get more minutes than usual. If you’ve got the money, take them to the bank.
Personally I want to be shopping around the $100k mark for my two starters. I like Kitshoff, he’s solid and for $121k not too pricey. I also like Lomax, who showed some great open field play at the Highlanders, and should have more opportunity at the Hurricanes. For $129k he’s verging on too expense. Tupou is actually relatively cheap given his upside.
I really like the sharks props, Thomas the Tank du Toit is only $69k, but I prefer Ox Niche at $63k, who probably has a bit more upside.
Fidow for the canes is supposed to be quite the open field runner, but is pricing at $103k, and not starting week 1. Don’t slot him in, but keep an eye out.
My over riding guidance would be get props that start week in, week out. There’s nothing worse than having to use a transfer on a prop.
Another position where you want to go safe. Hookers don’t get points as in other formats. Fainga’a is a lock for top 3, and whilst he simply can’t get as many tries as last year, the Brumbies don’t show any signs of moving away from the rolling maul. Outside of that I think Codie Taylor is top 3, but he just tends not to play all the time, for in the same price bracket, you can tell who I prefer.
The drop off in hooker after those two I think will be pretty big. Coltman should be relatively safe, although I’ve got concerns over that Highlanders team. I’m also going to go out on a limb and suggest, given his world cup form, Bongi Mbonambi, “should” emerge into a pretty solid hooking option this year, and for $125k is pretty reasonable. FitzPatrick should also be pretty safe, but isn’t starting week one.
I am REALLY not sold on the Lions this year, but they seem to be starting Pieter Jansen, and at $69k would be a roll of the dice. They like their rolling maul, maybe worth a stash on the bench. I think Rangi could also be a great bargain, at $126k, and someone you can start if you can’t stretch up to the top guys, and could push top 5 for scoring this year.
As every Hurricanes hookers. Who knows what will happen with Dane Coles, and I’m kind of bored of tipping Aumua to breakout. Maybe this will be the year, but as it stand Ricciteli is starting week 1.
Again, another position you don’t want to have to tinker with to much. If you can lock up one of Barrett, Petti, Du Toit. I wouldn’t be surprised if those are the top 3, in whatever order at the end of the season. If you’re flush, get both, but that might be a stretch
What you’ll probably need to do it pair them with a Tuipulotu, maybe a Simmons, or Orie. All around the $150k mark. You could have a cheeky bit of Ardron as well for about the same money.
I’m REALLY interested in Moerat. Super cheap at $69, and Stormers need a new rock in their lineout.
Jed Holloway is starting at 8 for this first game. Whilst I don’t like game 1, a lock who’s going to be playing some backrow could mean more points than usual.
So this is where you can start to have some fun, but is also a bit of a challenge given various injuries and the exodus from Super Rugby. It’s also a position where you can usually pick up some good value and make some money.
With him giving up the captaincy, I fully expect Hooper to be back to his best, and is probably the top pick with Ardie out long term, and Akira not seeming to be in contention. Naisarani should also sit atop the tree, and given his week 1 match-up will no doubt be in most team sheets.
It then gets very interesting. Pete Samu was great at times last year, and worth a look, especially given the Brumbies start. Whetu Douglas should get plenty of time with the Crusaders this year, and Kolisi will be there or there abouts.
I’m going to take a flyer and call Vaea Fifita’s return to form as well. Huge upside for this guy
Harry Wilson, getting the start for the Reds at $55k. Another 8 starting is Hoskins Sotutu – clearly this is going to be Akira dependent. There’s also always one tackling machine in the sunwolves back row, I’m gonna call Schatz, but that’s a real stab in the dark. I also think the entire Hurricanes back row is pretty good value – Evans, Kirifi, Prinsep all below $90k
Another position where there’s not a huge amount of depth, so you want to try to pick folks you don’t need to sub out. The banker that is TJ Perenara at $203k is probably going to be one of the fixtures of most team sheets. Him and Herschel Jantjies, and with Jantjies at $169, there’s a decent trade there if you need the money.
Jake Gordon is pretty good value at $84k. Outside of that I’m not overly fussed with anyone else, so play it safe and move on.
This is KEY position. There’s not massive depth, but there’s plenty of points to be had. However, you pay handsomely for it. The top 3 studs, Beauden Barrett, McKenzie and Mo’Unga are all pricey, but again, will be fixtures in your team. Personally I’d take Richie because he’s cheaper, the Crusaders have a piece of piss schedule and he’s actually the only one starting in week 1.
Again, I think the drop off from the top 3 will be quite big, and I’d either got big, or go home ….. well, not home, but cheap, see below.
There are PLENTY of people in the bargain bucket, and I think this is where you can make some decent money. Noah Lolesio has got the start for the Brumbies. They have a great three games and at $55k there’s not much risk. He’s probably safer than Harrison who’s the same price but has got the start for the Tahs. Matt Toomua is only $69k and starting for the Rebels. Question mark over whether he’ll kick. In the same bucket is Garth April $58k. He’s going to be very dependent on if the sunwolves can get anything together, but another dice roll.
Curwin Bosch & Damien Willemse are both a couple of wildcards for different reasons. If Bosch starts getting games at full back, he can rake up the points. He’s starting at 10, and at nearly $400k is a little pricey for me, but has some upside. Willemse on the other hand is back to the position he made his fantasy mark in. If he can recapture that form, in an attacking Stormers side, for little more than $200k he’s a bargain. Same story for Perofeta, although he’s a little more expensive.
There’s some big names missing from the midfield this year, our banker of Kerevi having disappeared. Still,there’s some rockstars left. Laumape was, for him, below par last season, but even at $390k he’s virtually a must. There’s some question marks over Reiko, but by all accounts he’s faster, lighter and VERY motivated to get back to where he was. For $356k you’re buying quality with both of these but can probably only afford one.
I think the two guys above are best of the best, then you’ve got the solid guys who I just think are either a little pricey, or don’t have the upside. I like the first 3 games for the Brumbies, so Kuridrani should be solid. Ennor seems over priced, but playing 13 he’s been great. The problem is he’s hit and miss on the wing, so there’s some risk here. ALB is top drawer, but just struggles when the chiefs struggle.
Some really interesting bargain bucket options. Ex England wrecking ball Ben Te’o playing for the Sunwolves. Will he be this years Michael Little? Ex Quins 13 Joe Marchant would rack up the fantasy points in the premiership. If the Blues get some decent ball he could be interest. Then there’s Duncan Matthews playing 13 for the Lions. Again, risky, but given they are all $55k to $85k, there’s not much risk.
If Reece Hodge gets kicking duty, then he could be back to a premium option and be cheap at $212k. We won’t know until week 1, but given they’re at the Sunwolves it’s not as big a gamble as would be others. Then you’ve got Beale, starting the season at 15, all be it at the Crusaders, but if he stays at 15 for the season, another potential difference maker but very risky at nearly $300k.
The fact that DMac is a FH this year makes this slightly more challenging, but the single most important position is OBK, and probably the position you’ll make the most transfers and play the most match-ups.
The main problem here is going to be Crusader player rotation, but essentially your picking mainly from two sides – ‘saders and ‘canes
Sevu Reece is the single most expensive player in the game. Not starting week one, but on the bench. A real dilemma as to whether you risk not picking him because he could well come on and score twice. Alongside Sevu you’ve got Havili, Jordie Barrett, Bridge. You need at least one of those.
Then the next tier is still chock full of quality. Lam had a down year, but still averaged 32+ points. I’d take him over Goosen but it’s close. Whichever Crusader then sticks a starting spot, be it Jordan or Mataele. Mapimpi is pretty realiable, and Alaimalo should benefit from DMack being at 15.
I then think the next tier down, $250k and below, you’ve got a lot of relatively expensive players, and I’d probably take a gamble on some cheaper options, all be it guys like Delguy and Daugunu (suspended for a few weeks), have very good upside at their price. Petaia, Fassi are also decent risk / reward options.
There’s a few bargains to watch. Nawaqanitawase for the Tahs, Kini Naholo, Emoni Narawa are all in the $55k bucket, along with Mark Telea and Quinn Tupaea. I’d want to see their first game to gauge how they translate to super rugby, but potentially player to jump on very very quickly, or one to stash on the bench.
So, having written this all up, I’m well aware that I think I’ve picked almost the entire Hurricanes team ….. well, I’m sorry, but there’s always going to be a little bias creeping into these things ….