FRG R3 Picks
We're at the halfway point of the Championship. It's time to make a big push up your fantasy mini-leagues.

Sit back as we guide you through the top fantasy picks for Round 3 of the 2024 Guinness Men's Six Nations.

Looking at Round 2, what did we learn? Firstly, we are starting to see certain positions rise to the top of the scoring, so it seems that you are well served by investing your stars in Back Three, Back Row and Fly Half options. Secondly, the 15 points awarded for Player of the Match are making a big impact, with the top 3 highest scorers in Round 2 being POTM recipients (but predicting the recipients is not so easy!). Finally, equally challenging is picking a SuperSub: more than anything else, go with someone who is likely to get plenty of minutes on the pitch!

It's also well worth digging into the stats from Tournament so far; whether it’s the top tryscorer so far, Dan Sheehan, the top carrier in Cam Winnett (192m carried so far) or the king of the breakdown steals, Tommy Reffell (5 breakdown steals, 2 more than his nearest challenger), there are fantasy options all over the teams. And if you know your history, there are also great options this week, including Huw Jones, who has scored more tries against England (5) than any other player in Guinness Men's Six Nations history; Duhan van der Merwe, with England being his joint-most tries against nation in the Championship; George Ford and Danny Care, who have both assisted four tries against Scotland in the Championship; and George North, who has previously scored four tries against Ireland in the Six Nations (only Vincent Clerc has scored more).

So, who to invest your all-important stars in for Round 3?

This weekend we have two matches on the Saturday: Ireland v Wales, followed by Scotland v England. Then on Sunday, France and Italy wrap up proceedings in Lille.

Running through the likely fantasy candidates from each match, starting with Ireland v Wales:

On paper this looks to be a hugely challenging match for Wales, currently yet to win and facing an unbeaten and rampant Ireland team away in Dublin. It is not a surprise that all the fantasy attention is on Ireland. Leading the way in Round 2 was James Lowe who scored 50 points in a performance that included a try, 137m carried, 4 defenders beaten, and a player of the match award. Lowe will be top of many fantasy players team lists, but there will be many others in green attracting fantasy attention including Dan Sheehan (the overall top tryscorer after two rounds with 3 tries), Jack Crowley (who has averaged 32.5 points per match so far), Tadhg Beirne (Ireland’s top fantasy points scorer in Round 1 with 44 points) and Joe McCarthy (Player of the Match in Round 1). And this is before we mention Bundee Aki, Calvin Nash, Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier. Fantasy talents everywhere and a very tough call to just select 4 from (and if you are looking for a differential, keep an eye out for Ciaran Frawley coming in at 15).

Wales will have a tough afternoon, but one player who has been an outstanding performer all tournament (and should continue to score highly) is Tommy Reffell. Reffell has averaged 34 points per match so far in a tournament where he has recorded 25 tackles, 5 defenders beaten, 88m carried and a huge 5 breakdown steals. With performances like that, he’s an essential pick in the back row.

Second up on Saturday is the huge Calcutta Cup match-up at Murrayfield. Scotland have had the upper hand over England in the last 6 years with Scotland winning 4, England winning 1 and 1 draw. Scotland will be looking to keep this form up and topping the fantasy performances for Scotland from a fantasy perspective is Finn Russell, who has averaged 35.5 points so far (with 83m carried, 2 defenders beaten, 1 50-22, 1 Breakdown Steal, 2 assists, 4 conversions, 5 penalties and 17 tackles). As mentioned above, Huw Jones and Duhan van der Merwe both have an excellent record against England, and both should be solid fantasy selections for this round. Elsewhere, Pierre Schoeman is comfortably the highest scoring Prop in the game, averaging 21 points per match. Rory Darge, Ben White and Jack Dempsey are also strong shouts to generate a fantasy return this weekend.

As for England, they welcome back two big previous fantasy performers in Ollie Lawrence and Ellis Genge, both of whom should walk directly into many fantasy teams. Speaking of walking into teams, one other name that is starting to reach “essential” status from England is Ben Earl. Earl has averaged 35 points per match, including a huge 46 points in Round 2 after a performance that included a try, a Player of the Match award, 8 tackles, 4 defenders beaten and 51m carried. Tommy Freeman, Ethan Roots and George Ford are also players who could be worth looking at given their recent form and fantasy performances. A couple of good Supersub options on the England bench include Chandler Cunningham-South and Ben Spencer (who will be looking to bring his excellent Premiership form to the Six Nations stage).

In the final match of the weekend, France will be looking to really kick their Six Nations campaign into life at home against Italy.

One player who has disappointed from a fantasy perspective so far and will be looking to turn that around in Round 3 is Damian Penaud. Last season’s top try-scorer has had a stuttering start, but many fantasy managers will still be looking to put their faith in him for Round 3. Also in many a fantasy team will be France’s kicker and full back, Thomas Ramos. Ramos has been solid so far, averaging a respectable 23.5 points per match, but many will be hoping for more on Sunday. If you are looking for a cut-price route into the French Back 3, then Louis Bielle-Biarrey is one to target. One player who has delivered so far is Gaël Fickou, whose try scoring and player of the match winning performance against Scotland in Round 2 bagged him 44 points. France’s back row duo of Charles Ollivon and François Cros delivered in Round 2 and many will be hoping for more of the same in Round 3, while Matthieu Jalibert, the equal highest assist provider so far, represents a good differential option at fly half.

Finally, to Italy, who have the second leg of a very tough away run, going back to back away to Ireland then France. While the final score against Ireland was a convincing defeat, there were some huge defensive performances that translated to strong fantasy showings. This includes Michele Lamaro, who has recorded more tacklers than any other player in the tournament so far with 37 tackles, with Niccolò Cannone also close behind on 29 tackles. For those looking for a value pick, Riccardo Favretto is available for 6.8 stars and is playing in the back row, despite his second row classification. In the backs, both Monty Ioane and Ange Capuozzo represent good value and are still consistently scoring.

Good luck, and make sure you don’t miss the first match deadline on Saturday afternoon!

Fantasy Rugby Geek Top picks for Round 3:

Back Three: Thomas Ramos (France), Damian Penaud (France), James Lowe (Ireland), Duhan Van Der Merwe (Scotland)

Centre: Huw Jones (Scotland), Bundee Aki (Ireland), Gael Fickou (France)

Fly-half: Finn Russell (Scotland), Jack Crowley (Ireland)

Scrum-half: Ben White (Scotland), Jamison Gibson-Park (Ireland)

Back row: Ben Earl (England), Caelan Doris (Ireland), Tommy Reffell (Wales), Charles Ollivon (France)

Second row: Joe McCarthy (Ireland), Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), Posolo Tuilagi (France)

Prop: Pierre Schoeman (Scotland), Andrew Porter (Ireland), Ellis Genge (England)

Hooker: Peato Mauvaka (France), Dan Sheehan (Ireland)

Supersub: Andy Christie (Scotland), Ronan Kelleher (Ireland)

Captain Pick: Thomas Ramos (France)