If you need a reminder of what the craic is with 6 Nations fantasy rugby, have a gander over here.
Gotta get that impact
One quirk I’ve noticed about the way that players are scored is that players on winning teams generally earn a lot more points than those that don’t. At a guess it’s down to the “team points” earned by each player, where players earn a huge chunk of points (18 at home, 24 away) for a win, with 0.5 points added or deducted from scores depending on if that player’s team won or not. I hadn’t paid too much attention to this before round one, but after seeing the Welsh players dominate the standings after their big win over Italy, it’s hard to not recommend just picking players from teams more likely to win – with 5 players vs Italy going to be a must, despite Conor O’Shea and Sergio Parisse promising that they’re getting better.
Having said that, let’s have a look at some potential picks for this week! One thing I’m going to change going forward is that I’ll only be picking three players for each position, even if you can have two/three players selected there. Mostly this is because by now you should have a full team and only need to swap out one or two here and there, but also because I’m lazy. So there.
Here’s the team selections (and by nature of the pics, the fixtures)
Taking their Italian opposition into account, Cian Healy (2.5) and Tadgh Furlong (10.3) are bound to bring their ball carrying prowess to the prop positions, while Rob Evans (15.8) and Joe Marler (18.8) will no doubt look forward to butting heads in Cardiff, where I have a sneaking suspicion Wales might have a trick up their sleeve. Meanwhile, Rabah Slimani (20.1) is a hard man to overlook for the impact he had against England last week and was far and away the highest scoring prop in a losing side. Despite having a torrid time at the scrum, Zander Fagerson (29.5) and Allan Dell (21.1) enjoyed plenty of points on the back of the Scots win over Ireland.
- Tadgh Furlong (Ireland) 12.9/10.3
- Rabah Slimani (France) 13.5/20.1
- Rob Evans (Wales) 11.35/15.8
At hooker, Irish fans and fantasy players looking to max out front row stocks against Italy will be sweating over the fitness of Rory Best (10.5) who’s down with a stomach bug. It could be an opportunity however to swap in a cheap hooker in Niall Scannell to afford a bigger name elsewhere. I think it might still be better to persist with a hooker like Guilhem Guirado, as I think at home he and France will be a much tougher opposition for Scotland, but it could also be a great shout to throw Ross Ford (26.1) or Fraser Brown (7.4) in if you think those pesky Scots could – whisper it – build momentum.
- Dylan Hartley (England) 14.25 cost/17.2 points earned in previous round
- Guilhem Guirado (France) 13.8/8.2
- Niall Scannell (Ireland) 0/9.7 may not play
At second row, the hamstrung Iain Henderson (20.2) isn’t available with a hamstring injury (although he just wasn’t at 100% in general admittedly). He was the highest scoring lock who didn’t have his numbers padded out with the team winning, only being 4.2 points behind Joe Launchbury (24.4). To replace him, Joe Schmidt has recalled Donncha Ryan, anthem and death-starer extraordinaire. Meanwhile, the Gray brothers Jonny (34.5) and Richie (32.5) tackled everything that moved and made some good yards as well. To look outside the home nations, France’s Seb Vahaamahina didn’t score a huge amount of points, but he was pretty solid and threw some nice offloads so could maybe bust his way over.
- Jonny Gray (Scotland) 14.7 cost/34.5 points earned in previous round
- Maro Itoje (England) 15/29.5
- Sebastian Vahaamahina (France) 12.65/5.2
Finally in the back row, as I mentioned, Louis Picamoles (39.5) absolutely dominated despite being on the losing side. He was only 5 points away from the top loose forward in Justin Tipuric (44) who along with Sam Warburton (42) and Ross Moriarty (40.8) had the advantage of being on the winningest team of the week to boost his points tally. Ridiculous stats really. The Ireland players will be chomping at the bit to show more of their mettle against Italy, and while CJ Stander (12.5) contributed the fewest points to the fantasy rugby cause, I have a feeling that he’ll be making the biggest impact, although Sean O’Brien (15.2) might have something to say about that.
- Louis Picamoles (France) 14.9 cost/39.5 points earned in previous round
- Justin Tipuric (Wales) 15.1/44
- CJ Stander (Ireland) 14.4/12.5
The wee(ish) fellas
Rhys Webb (40.8) showed that some players don’t need a huge amount of gametime to get back into peak form – although again, playing against Italy helps. Greig Laidlaw (34.5) showed that a different style of play (and winning) can earn you just as many points though, earning a good few points with the boot. Maxime Machenaud (6.8) had decent impact, but I’m going to persist with backing Baptiste Serin (3.8) to grow as the tournament goes on. If he wasn’t facing Ireland, Eduardo Gori would be since he managed to sneak onto the end of a midfield Italian maul – a thing of beauty, rarely seen these days from any team – to score a nice wee try.
- Rhys Webb (Wales) 15 cost/40.8 points earned in previous round
- Greig Laidlaw (Scotland) 14.7/34.5
- Baptiste Serin (France) 10.75/3.8
At 10, things are interesting. Owen Farrell’s (36.5) metronomic boot and silky game management helped England win over France and brought him to the top of the standings for fly halves, but only two points behind Paddy Jackson (34.5) was one of the best performing players on a losing side and is a decent bit cheaper. Since he’s facing the Italians today he’s a sound choice to be in your squad. I can hardly mention wee PJ without giving a word to his opposite number Finn Russell (27) who pulled the strings magnificently for Scotland, but along with Dan Biggar (22.5) and then Sam Davies (26) was hampered by not being his team’s kicker. Wales are currently sweating on Biggar’s fitness, so it’s kind of hard to give him a plug when there are other fellas who are locked in to play.
- Owen Farrell (England) 15.15 cost/36.5 points earned in previous round
- Paddy Jackson (Ireland) 12.7/34.5
- Finn Russell (Scotland) 14.45/27
In the centres, the Welsh lads showed up again versus their Italian counterparts – with Jonathan Davies (61) earning the most points with Scott Williams (39.8) just the two points behind – and the much-lauded Leinster/Irish tandem of Robbie Henshaw (13.5) and Garry Ringrose (11.5) failed to really ignite. The real star for me though (and making me feel like an utter hipster for picking him last week) was centre-cum-lineout-infiltrator Alex Dunbar (43.5) who along with probably the easiest try of his career was all over the Irish last week. My final choice though is going to be an Irishman who’s listed as a centre currently, but Keith Earls has a tendency to get on the end of tries while playing on the wing, as he showed against the Scots to kickstart the failed Irish comeback.
- Jonathan Davies (Wales) 15.65 cost/61 points earned in previous round
- Alex Dunbar (Scotland) 12.1/43.5
- Keith Earls (Ireland) 12.2/19.3
On the wings, while it’s hard to ignore George North (61), he’s also currently facing a fitness battle to make it onto the pitch so might not be the most prudent of selections. Interestingly that makes him the only bonefide wing to score a try last weekend, with other wings being categorised in the fantasy league as full-backs or centres. The other wing that caught my eye were France’s Virimi Vakatawa (19.5) who caused England all sorts of trouble, and seems bound to get some meat at some point in the tournament. I’m going to parachute in a player that Eddie Jones has parachuted in for England in Jack Nowell (3.9). Kid’s probably one of the most balanced wingers in the game right now, and while he doesn’t have the out and out pace or power to straight up beat someone, he has the all-round skillset to still beat defenders and make it to the try line. If North doesn’t make it – and I don’t think he will, Simon Zebo (11.5) could be a decent shout to rack up some points.
- Virimi Vakatawa (France) 14.7 cost/19.5 points earned in previous round
- Jack Nowell (England) 13.05/3.9
- Simon Zebo (Ireland) 12.85/11.5
Finally, at fullback, Stuart Hogg (71.5) stole the headlines, but Leigh Halfpenny (72) pipped him as the best fantasy fullback on account of dat boot, and Liam Williams (60) isn’t far behind. However, Scott Spedding (20.5) impressed me with his counter attacking, while Mike Brown (33.5) is a solid choice somewhere in between.
- Leigh Halfpenny (Wales) 15.85 cost/72 points earned in previous round
- Stuart Hogg (Scotland) 15.85/71.5
- Scott Spedding (France) 13.15/20.5
That’s all for this week! See y’all early next week when hopefully I’m not dissecting why Ireland lost because they got to the stadium too early or something.