And now to the end, and clearly the best positions on the Rugby pitch – full-back and wing. That statement has nothing to do with the fact I spent the best part of 15 years playing one of those positions …. basically the below photo is an accurate representation of my rugby playing career *cough*
Right, if you’ve followed all of these articles, then there’s not too many new faces in this list, so this is going to be half recap and half some new names. Those previous positional articles are:
For Wings and Full Backs lets have a look at who did what last year:
So, absolutely key position, WG and FB is up there with Lock as the premium positions in the game, with plenty of players pushing for 30 PPG and a few smashing through that barrier. Still, despite being a premium position, there are some bargains to be had, but it’s fair to say it’s two of the more expensive positions to fill:
So who’s left to cover ? Actually, for around or above $300k which is what we call premium, there is no-one we’ve not already mentioned, so skip back to our previous positional reviews if you want the details, but that list in sort of preference is:
Damian McKenzie -> Richie Mo’Unga -> Israel Folau -> Reiko Ioane
All of those guys can cover FB or WG and are the only ones I’m considering for my fantasy team that are around $300k or above, as they should all get well above 30 PPG.
George Bridge – I’ve not been a buyer of Bridge for a long time in Fantasy simply because he’s not as flashy at others. But that’s probably why I’ve not won our league for a couple of years, because quite simply the guy is a prolific finisher playing in the most dominant super rugby side. He topped the position in attacking points last year with 332 and was number 2 in run metres with 1.2k+. At $244k he’s an absolute steal for someone who should be again topping 30 points per game and pushing the very best across all positions.
Alaimalo – burst onto the scene last year with the Chiefs, who are always good for flyers in the back line. Averaged 28.6 PPG, and led the position in many categories including 64 defenders beaten, 41 breaks and over 1300 run metres. WARNING – will miss the first few weeks with a wrist injury – BUT at $213k you should be shipping him back in as soon as he’s back from injury and starting. Explosive counter-attacking runner, which is what you need at either Wing of FB for those beautiful fantasy points. …. nom nom.
Saumaki – the Tongan Godzilla. I’m picking him again this year simply because of that awesome nickname. Was incredible last season, battled injury at time, and then seemed to simply not get played at others despite being by far and away their best player with Little – that’s the Sunwolves for you. In the 8 games he did play he was averaging 29.3 points per game. A little like little (see what I did there), there’s going to be times when the Sunwolves simply don’t get ball, but his big performances much outweigh those. At $154k he’s a pretty safe gamble assuming he’s getting some starts and is fit.
There’s no shortage of value players we’ve already covered in the previous positions. However, what I would say is the three guys above are our preference across WG and FB, but the below are also great picks, broadly in order of preference (I’ve included the feature value players from other posts, but it’s not exhaustive):
Michael Little -> Rob Du Preez -> Ben Lam -> Damian Willemse -> Gelant
Manase Mataele – With Tamanivalu gone, there’s a spot open opposite George Bridge on the Crusaders wing. This guy had some monster games last week, so you could argue he’s hardly a wildcard as he averaged 23.1 points per game in the 13 games he featured in. In fact, after checking all the stats he should probably be up in the value bucket, but as I’ve already written this much, he’s staying here. COULD be someone who gets up into the high 20s this season. Only $180k, yes please.
Etene Nanai-Seturo – the 7s start has switched to 15s for the chiefs and let’s face it, anyone who gets starting time on the wing, or at full-back for the Chiefs has to come into fantasy consideration. At $144k he’s nice and cheap and I think many are hoping / expecting him to be this year Alaimalo. Possibly. I almost made a case for Stevenson to finally break out this year, but this is the guy I’m watching for on that first team sheet as it comes out last this week.
There’s a few others to keep an eye on as well. I’ve kind of ignored Rene Ranger, which quite frankly is rude. Very reasonably priced at $194k, but I’m sitting on my hands to see how he plays and where he plays for the Sunwolves, to see if he can recapture some of his former Super Rugby elite status. the young Fassi at the Sharks has been getting time pre-season and he is RAPID. Anyone that can make Dyantyi look slow makes me sit up an take notice. Then you’ve got Manu at the chiefs who could make the centre spot his own, but is also listed at wing. Lastly, Josh Ioane, who might start at fly half for the Highlanders is listed as FB and Wing and only for $151k. All of these guys are on my watchlist, but carry more risk that most of the rest, so I want to see those fantasy points roll in before I pull the trigger and spend my previous 1 transfer a week bringing them into the fold.
PROCEED WITH CARE
So we’ve already talked about the fact that Beauden is vastly over-priced as the most expensive player in the game, in addition to missing the first couple of weeks returning from his honey moon and then some time away for the ABs. Naholo is a player I love, but at $341k and only being able to cover WG, I think he’s a luxury that will be hard to justify. Dagg is massively overpriced given he’s getting on and might not even get regular game time. And then lastly Milner-Skudder is another play I love, but there’s risk until you see him playing 80 mins week in week out, and at $311k there’s safe picks in the short term. Plenty of people got burnt last year when he returned, only for him to struggle to get involved in a couple of the high scoring hurricanes games. Bags of potential, but I want to see it first.