The Fantasy League Scout is a mysterious operator. It delves deep into the murky waters of Gallagher Premiership rugby like a cauliflower-eared kraken, emerging from the depths with new trinkets to display and to cherish. It scours the horizon in search of deadwood to jettison in favour of new and better things. What I’m getting at is that The Scout uses maths to figure out which players had a good week and which were naff.
In amongst all this chopping and changing, one must keep a beady eye on the bank balance. It’s all well and good trying to score as many points as possible, but with a limited budget with which to operate, it’s vital to pick up a few bargains on the way. Last week we looked at 3 bargain forwards – those players in the pack that represent great value for money. Today we’re going to do the same thing for the back line. Here are 3 Premiership backs who’re bringing in big points without costing big bucks:
AJ MacGinty (Fly Half, Sale Sharks)
We said from the very beginning that MacGinty could be a great shout for a low-cost player who would deliver big points and so it has proved. MacGinty might not be the highest-scoring Fly Half in the league (that honour goes to George Ford who still sits in the Premiership Team of the Tournament), but he does have the best average points of any Number 10, with 11.88. Nearest rival Owen Farrell is on 11.83, but since the Saracen costs an extra 2.4million there’s certainly an argument to be made that MacGinty is the better choice. The closest player in the same wage bracket as MacGinty is Toby Flood, who sits four places below the Sale man with an average take of 8.77.
MacGinty of course isn’t the flashiest of fly halves, and with the 10 position one of the key points scoring aspects of a good Fantasy League team perhaps you might choose to invest in a bigger name here, especially with Sale Sharks struggling this season. But he’s included in our analysis nonetheless because yet another one of my predictions came true and therefore I wanted to document it as evidence that I possess the greatest rugby mind of all time.
Ryan Mills (Centre, Worcester Warriors)
The centres seem to represent perhaps the best value for money of all positions, with all of the top three average points scorers costing less than 4.5million and all averaging 9 points or above per game. In contrast, Brad Barritt is averaging only 7.06 despite a price tag of 6.5million. The best pick of the lot is certainly Ryan Mills, whose cracking performances for Worcester have seen him accrue an average of 9.5 points per game. Not only that, but Mills has the highest total points of any centre throughout the tournament, and currently partners Henry Spade (48.6) in the midfield with a very respectable 53.3 points since the start of the campaign.
Worcester are another side that will be disappointed with their performances at the moment, but in a very strange way that may actually be working in Mills’ favour, as he has made an average of 10.76 tackles per game, with 16 in each of his last two appearances for the Warriors. For Mills at least, defence very much is the best form of attack.
David Strettle (Wing, Saracens)
Shockingly cheap at just 3m, former England winger David Strettle hasn’t featured many times for Saracens since his return to Allianz Park, but he tops the charts when it comes to average points with a mean of 13.75 across his two appearances. A strike rate of three tries in two games would be impressive for anyone, but for a player that costs just 3m it’s even more noteworthy.
Admittedly, Strettle’s total of 27.5 points puts him well behind the big performers such as Team of the Tournament duo Santiago Cordero (64.0) and Charlie Sharples (66.4), but if he can cement himself in a soaring Saracens side expect to see Strettle force his way into the overall team sheet before long.
That’s it for our run down of the Bargain Backs of the Gallagher Premiership so far. The Scout’s mysteries know no bounds however, and it could be all change come this weekend. Our advice: do some research and pick sensibly because unless you’re careful, to paraphrase Gloria Estefan, the algorithm is gonna get you.
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