We are now 3 weeks into the 2017 Super Rugby competition. If like me, you have no idea what’s happening in the actual competition because you’re too focussed on your fantasy teams, here’s a summary of where each team is to date, with a diagnosis of what it means for your fantasy players of course.
6 pts: 1 Win; 2 Losses; 94 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Crusaders away; Bulls home; Force home
The Blues won’t be a playoff team this year, especially in the tough New Zealand conference. But they are scoring a decent amount of points, and they have some fairly compelling games on the horizon after their trip down to Christchurch this weekend. At an individual level they’re not providing a ton of fantasy value right now. The big story has probably been Augustine Pulu with 6 clean breaks and 7 defenders beaten. However, that has to be coupled with a whopping 8 turnovers conceded. The return of Sonny Bill cannot come fast enough for the Jaffas.
6 pts: 1 Win; 2 Losses; 60 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Waratahs away; Highlanders home; Bye
The Brumbies are absolutely smashing it this season, leading the Australian conference and looking to host a first round playoff game. Okay, so things aren’t quite that rosy when your record is 1 win, 2 losses but courtesy of the conference system, the average Brumbies are currently flying high on the table. What is worrying from a fantasy standpoint is not their win/loss record, but their inability to score points. Only 4 teams have scored less points than them, and none of those teams are named the Sunwolves. No Brumbies player features prominently at this stage of the season so it’s a team you can largely ignore for fantasy purposes, a pattern that we’ll see a lot with Aussie teams!
1 pts: 0 Win; 2 Losses; 52 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Sunwolves home; Blues away; Chiefs away
The Bulls have had their bye. That might be the one positive thing that anyone can say about them. Oh, and they’re playing the Sunwolves at home this week so Bulls players are definitely worth a good look this week in both season long and definitely in weekly. Unfortunately that’s where the positive news ends as they then head to New Zealand for what likely won’t be a great tour for the franchise or their players.
9pts: 2 Wins; 1 Losses; 97 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Jaguares away; Sharks home; Stormers away
The reasonably unheralded Cheetahs have actually scored the 5th most points in the competition to date.They have some fairly miserly defences on the immediate horizon however, so their players aren’t looking too appetising in the near future. Loose forward Teboho Mohoje and outside back Raymond Rhule, hardly household names here in New Zealand, are back racking up a ton of metres and scoring a lot of points. These types of players can be great value and propel you to a fantasy title so keep an eye out for value players from lesser known teams, especially if they’re still available on your waiver wire.
14pts: 3 Wins; 0 Losses; 91 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Rebels away; Bye; Bulls home
One team that definitely isn’t lesser known in New Zealand is the mighty, table-topping Chiefs. The Chiefs facing the Rebels, even in Melbourne, should be an absolute bloodbath so start your Chiefs wherever you can this week. In weekly I would load up on Chiefs across the board. Trading for them in season long is probably out of the question with the bye coming the following week, but after what they did to the high flying Hurricanes on the weekend, I am high on the Chiefs this season and on their fantasy players. Damian McKenzie is living up to the pre-season hype this year, and James Lowe is comfortably exceeding his ADP of 33 so far this season.
12pts: 3 Wins; 0 Losses; 69 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Blues home; Force home; Waratahs away
The unbeaten Crusaders are flattering to deceive so far this season. Only six teams have scored less than their 69 points so far through 3 games. They also have injury concerns in key positions. Israel Dagg and Richie Mo’unga, a couple of players we had ranked in the top 10 going into the season, are currently hobbled. As is Seta Tamanivalu, who had settled in well to his new home and dotted down twice already. I’m predicting that the Crusaders will be a middle of the road team this season, and possibly even a below average attacking side. They do have a fairly kind next 3 weeks of games, and some definite value can be found in the replacement players in the upcoming weeks.
5pts: 1 Wins; 2 Losses; 56 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Bye; Crusaders away; Blues away
Nothing to see here. The bye is coming up, followed by tricky away games against the Crusaders and Blues. If you can unload any Force players, like a Chance Peni, on an unsuspecting owner then do it this week as you won’t be getting much production out of them for the foreseeable future.
5pts: 1 Wins; 2 Losses; 58 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Hurricanes away; Brumbies away; Rebels home
Believe it or not, the Highlanders have an identical win/loss record to the Force, and have scored just 2 points more. That’s where the similarities should start and end. The Highlanders have been desperately unlucky both on the scoreboard and on the injury front. Ben Smith should be back soon. Naholo and Sopoaga, with hamstring injuries, will likely be out for longer. After the Hurricanes this weekend, they have quite an enticing couple of games, the Rebels at home in particular should be a massacre. With injury comes opportunity and there should be more chances for players like Malakai Fekitoa and Matt Faddes to shine in the coming weeks, so if you have them or can get them, feel confident about starting them.
10pts: 2 Wins; 1 Losses; 172 Points For
Next 3 rounds: Highlanders home; Bye; Reds away
The Hurricanes were pure fantasy gold to start the season, and have notched almost twice as many points as any other team. But playing the Sunwolves and the Rebels in your first 2 weeks is about as soft a draw as you could get in world sport. And sure enough, as we predicted last week, they have come back down to earth. Things won’t get easier against the Highlanders this week, followed by the bye. As we advised last week, sell high on your Hurricanes where you can, although the horse may have bolted on that strategy now. They are of course loaded with talented players who will continue to produce, but expect a drop in production from the dizzying heights of weeks 1 and 2 from your Hurricanes.