With a whirlwind Round One behind us, and with some Fantasy teams flying high and others needing to catch up (even though you were sure that this was your year!), it’s time to pick ourselves up and focus on Round Two.
Last week’s FRG picks brought in a respectable 783 points, so here’s to more of the same this week!
Looking at Round One, what did we learn? Italy are certainly no pushovers (and Ange Capuozzo is pure box office and a fantasy point dream!) while Ireland look to be the team to beat with Fantasy talent all over the park.
Also, it looks Duhan Van Der Merwe will rack up points… no matter the opposition, and both England and Wales have big points to prove now.
From a fantasy tactics perspective, one question I received more than any other in the lead-up to Round One was whether to max out your budget on your starting XV leaving budget for just one or even no subs to score half points on your bench, or to spread your budget to ensure that you have 18 opportunities to score.
Personally I have always been of the school of thought that you should have a full squad in place. For one, it allows you to add any big talents that you are unable to squeeze into your starting XV, in a position for them to still score points for your team (for example I wanted to start Penaud and Hassell-Collins so I ended up putting Capuozzo and Duhan on my bench. In hindsight I should have started them both, but at least I got some points return for their efforts!).
Fantasy Ones to Watch for Round 2
Secondly, as player values go up and down over the tournament, the more players you have in your squad, the more opportunities you have to build your squad value. Where you can, max out your bench.
Another hack that many took advantage of, is the utilisation of Out Of Position (OOP in Fantasy parlance) players.
In Round 1, there was the case of Ethan Dumortier, playing on the Wing, but categorised as a Centre, and Lorenzo Cannone, playing at Number 8, but categorised as a Second Row. Spot these OOP opportunities and you have a great opportunity to gain an edge on your Fantasy league rivals!
Last point, keep an eye on the Guinness Six Nations social channels for team news, the late withdrawal of Jamison Gibson-Park on Saturday caught many out, so keep up with the team news and make sure you’re ready to make a switch if needed!
So, who to pick in Round Two?
Playing at home, England are still considered favourites against Italy, and despite Italy’s much improved form over the last 12 months (and again last week), the English team offers plenty of opportunities for Fantasy potential in the likes of Max Malins, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Freddie Steward, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Alex Dombrandt and the OOP Owen Farrell, who moves from centre to fly-half.
Off the bench they are loaded with SuperSub potential as well, with Alex Mitchell, Marcus Smith and very intriguingly, Henry Arundell.
Fantasy Scout: Round 2 differential picks
Scotland will also be looking to build on their huge victory at Twickenham last week against a hugely changed Welsh squad, and some of their stars from last week including Huw Jones, Duhan Van Der Merwe, Finn Russell and Matt Fagerson are well worth considering.
Elsewhere, there are great OOP options in the Second Row with Christ Thsiunza and Lorenzo Cannone and again in the midfield with Dumortier and Farrell.
Lastly there are talents who always seem to perform no matter the opposition and are always worth considering, including Antoine Dupont, Ange Capuozzo, Josh Van Der Flier, Gregory Alldritt, Caelan Doris and James Lowe.
My Team For Round Two
15 James Lowe (Ireland) 14 Duhan Van Der Merwe (Scotland) 13 Ethan Dumortier (France) 12 Owen Farrell (England) 11 Max Malins (England) – CAPTAIN 10 Finn Russell (Scotland) 9 Antoine Dupont (France) 1 Danilo Fischitti (Italy) 2 Rob Herring (Ireland) 3 Andrew Porter (Ireland) 4 Christ Tshiunza (Wales) 5 Lorenzo Cannone (Italy) 6 Jack Willis (England) 7 Josh van der Flier (Ireland) 8 Gregory Alldritt (France)
Damian Penaud (France) Henry Arundell (England) SUPERSUB Kyle Steyn (Scotland)
Fantasy Rugby Geek’s Pick 4 team for Round Two
Into week two of Pick 4, and there were many aspects that we learnt from this new format of the game. The leading team in Round One selected Finn Russell, Maro Itoje, Ellis Genge and Duhan Van Merwe (well done!). Duhan’s Player of the Match performance and two tries with multiple defenders beaten in his wake was obviously the runaway Superstar.
Looking to Round 2, we can now craft a bit of a strategy looking at the stats.
For your Kicker, Finn Russell kicked almost twice as many metres than any other player (536m – the closest player to Russell was Stuart Hogg with 320m), this was backed up with an exemplary kicking performance which stands him in good stead for your Kicker Pick in Round 2. Playing at full back but also taking the kicks also puts Thomas Ramos into a category worthy of consideration.
For the Defender, several players put in a huge performance combining high tackle and dominant tackle stats, and the likes of Matt Fagerson, Jac Morgan and Luke Crosbie should be high on your list.
For the Carrier, with points for pick and go, one out drive and metres after contact, this is one for your big hard carriers in the pack. With 18 carries in Round 1, Ellis Genge is the one to beat, but also watch out for Gregory Alldritt, Lewis Ludlam and Alex Dombrandt.
Lastly, the Superstar. This pick is all about your attacking talent. Go for try scorers and hot stepping flair. Duhan is a prime candidate, but also don’t rule out Damian Penaud, James Lowe, Max Malins or Antoine Dupont.
Kicker: Finn Russell (Scotland) Defender: Michele Lamaro (Italy) Ball Carrier: Ellis Genge (England) Superstar: Max Malins (England)
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