Right, the big one, and the most difficult team to pick given there’s little recent form to go on. Below are our weekly picks. Couple of points to note:
- This is largely based on Week 2 match-ups, where 2 teams – Hurricanes, Lions, Brumbies, are double digit points favourites. This isn’t a suggestion for a team to pick for the season, you’ll need a slightly more balanced side. (although the Wk3 fixtures for all 3 of those teams are pretty decent)
- We wouldn’t ever pick this team because the bench sucks and you need some flexibility across the season. Sorry folks you’ll likely have to give up on DMck or Folau to put some quality on the bench.
However, you could, pick this team if you wanted to, that’s the idea, and why we’ve shown the bench:
Anyway, pretty self explanatory:
- Alaalatoa: great match-up, top prop last year
- Marx: great match-up, 2nd best hooker last year, I think he’ll be top hooker this
- Smith: solid prop at rebels, upside for the ‘canes.
- Lousi: finished last year strong, good match-up, good value for money.
- Hanigan: plays 6, but listed at lock. Averaged 27pts a game last year.
- Smith: this week is the kind of game Kwagga will love, huge upside potential.
- Ardie: match-up, awsome player, nuff said.
- Naisarani: will he be this years Mafi ? Either way the big man should roll over the Sunwolves.
- TJ: Top scrummy, good match-up.
- Mo’Unga: I like Foley equally as much as Richie, but Richie’s a little cheaper.
- Julian Savea: If he’s anywhere close to last year, great value. Good match-up.
- Laumape: Guys awesome, plus match-up.
- Kuridrani: Could seriously roll this week.
- Folau: it’s Folau.
- DMck: I actually don’t like him at 10, or the team the Chiefs have put out, but he’s just SO good.
Just a note – there are a LOAD of great centre options here. No doubt whoever we’ve picked, we’ll get it wrong. This is in part due to people being listed in wrong positions, but a short list of good centre options this week; Mapoe, Ngatai (playing FB), Leali’ifano, Aso, Proctor (playing FB), Hodge (if kicking), Peni. Those are match-up base. Clearly you’ve got the big boys as well.
CAPTAIN: This is tough one in week 1. If you’re playing it safe, Marx. Dependent on your risk profile you can roll the dice on any of the back row, or any of the centres and outside backs. Kuridrani with 2 tries ?
I got burnt last year by some pretty sharp player price drops about 2/3s of the way into the season that basically left my hands tied with transfers and meant I couldn’t get players back in. For those of you that have played Fox before, you’ll know this most recent version can have some brutal price swings. As I’m putting the final touches to my side (which will continue until 1 min before kick off), I’ve got an internal conflict raging inside me of Form vs Consistency.
What do I mean by this. Well, I don’t have the secret sauce to Fox’s player price algo, but broadly speaking it’s a blend of last game, last 3 games, last 5 games in some combination. We also know a players price tends towards 10x their long term average. So, just for fun I thought I’d see if I could pick a team purely on Form – the L3 average filter in the player search. Here’s what it looks like:
(clearly this is before all the teams are out, so there might be one or two not starting)
I can’t quite fill the last bench spot as I’ve only got $73k, but it would take much to tweak. The starting 15 are the best form players across their positions. Pretty decent team right ? However, that’s not the point, the point is that even if these guys have average games their price should sky rocket. Let’s look at a couple:
Damo is expensive, no doubt. However, look at the last 3 and 5 games. 91.3 average across 3 games. INSANE. 70 across isn’t bad. He could post 0 in his first game and still be averaging 56 across the last 5. He posts a 30, and he’s still averaging above 70. Fact is his price should pop up irrespective. That’s a pain if you want to try to wait and see how we plays at 10.
There’s a couple of others with insane form, that although expensive will only get more expensive:
We’ve talked already about Mapimpi and Willemse, but check out Leyds. Again, insane averages. Interesting match-up this week, as the Tahs were terrible defensively last year.
These two guys as well. Kepu insane over the last 3 (he’s banned for 4 games, so you wouldn’t want to actually pick him), and Mafi with a superb 5 game average.
In short, from a perspective, you can’t go wrong. As long as this team put in a respectable performance they’d all pop in value, and you could be sitting there after week 2 with $1M extra of team value.
If we look at points (below is based on average points, but it’s an identical team if you look at total points, the only different being Leyds is in there instead of Naholo) then the teams quite different:
Only McKenzie and Mafi, the two superstars, are common to each team. The problem here being you can only afford 1 sub, which basically means you need to get rid of a couple of your highest scoring players. So the above wouldn’t fly, but clearly a great team. You’ve also got someone like Ardie, who’s form towards the end of last season wasn’t great, so he’ll drop in price pretty much regardless.
However, if you start to blend the above two teams then maybe that’s the answer ? The big problem being with either team that there’s not much cover on the bench. And as I found out last year, having some flexibility around match-ups halfway through the season with two decent players, versus a superstar on a bye, and a poor starter, starts to lose you pace with the top teams.
Conclusion – I still don’t bloody know what my starting line-up will look like.
We believe that the Australian Conference is by far the easiest conference is the competition this year. The Force are now gone(RIP) and most of their top players have moved to Rebels and few to some of the other franchises. They have now gained the Sunwolves and each them gets to play them twice. That said the Sunwolves did put on some good home performances but are much weaker away from home.
Again, in order of highest finishing Australian teams:
Let’s face it, this is where the action’s at. Well, that’s my preconception, but looking back at the 2017 stats only 14 of the top scoring 50 were playing for Kiwi sides. I was a little surprised by that, and maybe why I got pipped by my fellow writers last year. Maybe it’s down to the exodus of talent, or maybe because the SA sides had much easier schedules. Either way there’s still plenty of fantasy talent across the board. These picks are based on a season long view. Clearly take into consideration near term run of games. (more…)
What a great first week of Super Rugby. Only two matches, but a tease of what’s to come. More mistakes than you’d hope, which is only to be expected in week 1, but a game full of attacking intent in Capetown, and a super competitive SA derby up at altitude.
Whilst you shouldn’t read too much into one week of super rugby, there’s definitely some interesting take aways with fantasy implications.
(#superrugbyscout inside track: Remember, generally speaking a player’s price will average towards x10 their average points total. For example, a player averaging 30 pts per game over 5+ games will see his price even out at $300k)
Stormers – showing plenty of attacking intent at home, much like last year. Players to use when they’re at home, but we’ll have to see if they can improve on their away form. There’s a couple to highlight that we’ll look at shortly. Pretty much across the board good performances.
Jags – can’t tackle for toffee, and still too many penalties. Tread very carefully if you’re thinking about picking any Jags up – personally I wouldn’t pick any – even Creevy. They’ve got another tough game at altitude next week against the lions and then they’re home against the Hurricanes. That’s just not a recipe for loads of points, and you don’t want to be puking team value this early in the season. Nearly all their players scored below their averages, and I expect that to be the case across the next couple.
Lions – were very, very sloppy and luck to get a win. They have a pretty good opening run, but a lot of players played well below their averages – Whiteley, Rohan JvR, Coetzee,Mostert, and to a certain extent Marx, Jantjies, Cronje. I still like the Lions and I like their run of games, but quite a few of those guys will lose value unless the put up big games against the Jags next week.
Sharks – much like last year, surprisingly competitive given you look at their starting XV and it doesn’t really inspire. WARNING – they have a bye week in week 2 and a few bigger names didn’t perform – Am, Van Der Walt, Esterhuizen. Steer clear of them otherwise all your doing is frittering your money away.
That’s the bad, let’s focus on the good, and the stats table:
Willemse – get him in. At the very least on the bench. He was averaging 58 at the end of last year. Even though the Stormers have a tough run – away at the Tahs, then ‘saders and ‘landers, he’ll pop up in value after week 2. Now, the Tahs were terrible last year, and I expect them to be better, but he should still be able to put up a respectable performance and you can debate transferring him out and taking the cash in week 3.
If you’re feeling bold, pick Willemse and Robert Du Preez at FH. After week 2, you should see a nice kick up in price. Obviously Du Preez is on a bye week 2, so make 100% sure you’ve got a FH starting, but with the sharks then at home to the Tahs, he’ll be good in week 3.
There’s a couple of other good bench options. Dyanti showed some real gas and at $112k is a great option to sit on the bench and ride the Lions run of games.
Cameron Wright is also $112k. Not really sure where he got his 23pts, but against a starting SH at rock bottom prices.
Cobus Wiese is a beast of a man. Keep an eye on whether he’ll get the chop when Pieter-Steph comes back, but a very good bench flanker option for $125k
Mapimipi – a popular pre-season pick. Again on a bye in week 2, but if you’ve got 3 solid starting OBKs, then you can bench him, see some price increase and have a decent match up in week 3. Similar plan to Du Preez.
Kwagga – second most expensive flanker in the game. Pretty much hit his price point. I love Kwagga, but he’s just SO expensive. I like Hooper and Ardie over him at their price points, but I was really hoping he’d throw up a brick for a couple of games so his price comes of. Do you pull the trigger on him or not ? One things for sure, I take him over Warren every time.
Players from the South African Conference is must be said will probably not be the bulk of most people’s teams. There is however a few stand out players and quite a few bargains to consider when funds become an issue.
Please remember Fox Fantasy only starts in Week 2 so we’ll be able to get some insight into the Jaguars, Lions, Sharks and Stormers this weekend.
Malcolm Marx (LIONS) 367K– The Lions Player of the Year and Springbok player of the year(even though it was not a great year for them). He is a hard worker on the pitch averages 50 points in his last 5 games of last season. He’ll feature on most people’s teams this season I think especially as he’s slightly cheaper than Coles and Creevy.
Dillin Leyds(STORMERS) priced at 462K.Who can forget that offload to SP Marais while sitting on the deck last season? He averaged 75 point in his last 5 games last season and was the 3 highest OBK point scorer in the 2017 season only behind Damian McKEnsie and Israel Folau. Need I say more?
Pieter Steph and Eben Etzebeth(STORMERS) – This year its not to hard to choose between them as Eben. Pieter should be starting against the Waratahs in week 2 and Eben is injured and has been ruled out for 4 months with a serious injury. Pieter is priced at 304K which to be fair is quite punchy. That said he’ll be the go to lock if Eben is not there. This investment in the 2018 season could pay off despite his big price tag.
Rohan Janse van Rensburg(LIONS) – Is back at centre for the Lions after a short stint at Sale in Manchester. His form was not great towards the end of last years Super Rugby Season combined with some off the field hardships. He’ll be looking to break into the Springbok mould this year and God knows they need a decent 12. I personally like this guy and as suspected he’s starting from the bench this weekend as Voster did a great job on the inside of Mapoe last year. Priced at 320K but you can get Sonny Bill Williams for almost 40K cheaper…
Robert du Preez (SHARKS) 202K – He has been massively overlooked by most team managers. At the Stormers SP Marais took all the kicks for points however Curwin Bosch has been put on the bench for their first game. If he can hold onto the kicking tee this season and that is a BIG IF, combined with his running game he’ll make decent points
Ruan Combrink(LIONS), Scored an Average of 45 in his last 5 games last year. He had some injury problems and want be starting this season. The Springboks really need wingers and I believe he’ll be giving it all when he comes into the Lion’s starting line-up. That said I can only give him for stars as there a lot of cheaper options out there in some of the other conferences. I’ll be adding him to my watch list for now.
Kwagga Smith(LIONS) is priced at 467K this season. The amount of runs and meters this guy makes is insane. He seems to be everywhere and makes a boat load of tackles on defence. Spending this kind of money on him now does feel like buying bitcoin when it’s over $10,000, but what if its worth double that in year?? I think he’ll be at the top of my watch list and hopefully he have a slow start to the season so I bring him in for under 400K.
My 4 Bargains are a lot harder to choose:
Burger Odendaal (Bulls) is my first bargain pick in the South African Conference. He will get a lot of game time now that Jan Serfontein has left the South African shores. He loves to run at the defence and will rack up loads of runs and potentially busts or line-breaks. Last year he made over 60 points in a game when he started so I think at a meniscal price of 147K he can be a big money maker in 2018.
Damian Willemse(STORMERS) is very close second to the man above. With the departure of Robert Du Preez and the electric pace he possesses the sky is the limit for this guy. An unbelievably low price tag of 190K at Flyhalf with a 54.5 point seasonal average gets him into my team, most like on the bench though.
Steven Kitshoff(STORMERS) back from Bordeaux and priced at a ludicrous 120K, averaging approx. 30 points per game last year with a high score of 92 points. This guy will be solid Malherbe side-lined with injuries should start most games at the start of the season.
Joaquín Tuculet (JAGS) at 240K. If the Jags get themselves together and start realising their potential this year, this guy is going to be a big part of that. He played exceptionally well for the Pumas and scored a few tries in the Autumn internationals. He’s still a young player and has a big future ahead of him.
Aphiwe Dyanti (LIONS) He is listed as a centre in the game but is starting this weekend on the wing for the Lions. He is priced at a mere 112K and had an excellent Currie Cup scoring 5 tries in 2017. With all the injuries the Lions have on the wing, namely to Combrink and Skosan, he could play the first few games and earn you some great points or money to invest in more expensive players
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be providing previews across all three conferences, and all 15 teams. We’ll cover key players across teams, as well as making sure we cover all positions for each division. We’re not going to get into every player, but we’ll highlight: