There are just 240 stars to spend and some highly-priced premium fantasy options likely to take a significant portion of your overall budget. Looking around the lower priced players, there is still a huge amount of value to be had, so today we are looking at 5 bargain options to allow you to spend big elsewhere on your team.
Starting in the Back 3, where the big bucks will likely to be spent. 6 of the 7 most expensive players in the game fall into this category, so finding value here could be a huge differentiator. While Damian Penaud is the joint-most expensive player in the game (and for good reason having been the top tryscorer at the 2023 Six Nations and the 2nd highest try scorer at the 2023 Rugby World Cup) at 20 stars; there is value to be found elsewhere in the French Outside Backs.
Both Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Gabin Villière are available for 14 stars each. Both are formidable try-scoring options, and depending on who will start on the other side to field to Penaud, offer a cut price route into the French Back 3. Villiere has delivered regularly on the international stage, including a hat trick against Italy at the 2022 Six Nations, while Bielle-Biarrey burst onto the international scene in 2023 with 4 tries in 4 games at the Rugby World Cup. Despite both playing limited matches in the Top 14 this season, they have both dotted down twice and should provide great value at their price.
Moving to the Centres, and one of the cutting edges of Italy's attack is Juan Ignacio Brex. Available for a bargain 11 stars, Brex has been a standout performer for the Azzurri in recent years. Playing every minute of Italy's 2023 Six Nations campaign, Brex got on the scoresheet against Wales and carried for 359 metres over the tournament (the highest of any Italian player). An industrious worker, equally solid in defence as in attack, 11 stars is excellent value for a player who will more than likely be on the pitch for the full 80 minutes, delivering from start to finish.
Another Centre option, and even cheaper at 9 stars is Mason Grady of Wales. Standing at 6'5" and 105 kg, Grady is a dominating presence in the Welsh backline. In prolific form for Cardiff this season with 5 tries and 448 metres carried in the URC in just 7 games. Grady is categorised as a Centre but is equally comfortable on the wing, which is where he has primarily been playing for Cardiff this season. Grady made his debut last season and while he has limited international appearances so far, he will be looking to have a huge breakthrough this season, and based on his club form, is an absolute steal at 9 stars.
With Antoine Dupont taking a sabbatical from international 15-a-side rugby while he follows his Olympic dream with France Sevens, the scrum-half role in many fantasy teams is no longer a case of "set it and forget it".
One excellent option to fill Dupont’s shoes at just 11 stars is Scotland's rapid number 9, Ben White. The Toulon half-back has been in great form in the Top 14 and in Europe and will be looking to add to his tally of two tries in the Six Nations over the last two years. He has a natural eye for the tryline as well as the ability to put his team-mates through, as evidenced by his two assists in the 2023 Six Nations campaign. White is an excellent value option for a player likely to be first choice for his nation.
Finally, another great Scottish option can be found in the back row, with Jack Dempsey at 13 stars. An all-round fantasy threat, both in defence and attack, Dempsey is set to return from a recent injury setback and should make an immediate impact from the number 8 position. Dempsey was a top performer in 2023 with 55 tackles, 199 metres carried and 8 defenders beaten, as well as a Player of the Match award against Italy.
Always consistent, Dempsey is a proven fantasy scorer at an excellent price. As always, make sure that these players are starting before selecting them, but these options show that, despite a tight budget of 240 stars, there are still plenty of gems in the lower price brackets to help you balance your team selection with the pricier options! You can follow The Fantasy Rugby Geek on X or visit fantasyrugbygeek.com and play in the Fantasy Rugby Geek League.