It’s been about three months since last season’s Premiership ended and a lot has happened in the world in that time. A giant inflatable baby president caused chaos in London, we lost (then swiftly regained) Brooklyn Nine-Nine and had to consider the terrifying prospect of a Terry Crews-less existence, and a summer heatwave caused widespread melting and overly optimistic barbecue investment across Europe.
On the rugby side of things, Eddie Jones’s England already fractured honeymoon period was well and truly brought to an end in slippery conditions in South Africa, New Zealand continued to prove that they’re actually quite good at this rugby lark and half the Melbourne Rebels squad decided getting arrested would be preferable to cardio training.
Now though, the Premiership is back and we can look forward to another season of twists, turns and Tuilagi brothers. With Rugby Pass Fantasy League, you can jump into the proverbial Director of Rugby driving seat and try to predict just who the best performing players will be each week.
To help you pick the best side possible, here are a few tips on how you can make sure you’re fighting it out at the top come the end of the season:
- Pick your stars first
You’ve got a limited budget to play with so the first step in choosing a fantasy team is to pick your stars. That doesn’t mean blow all your cash early on big name players, but invest in those you absolutely can’t live without – the ones who will bring in the serious points. For my team (Skåne RFC if you’re interested), I opted for Jonny May on the wing despite a hefty $7million price tag because I’m banking on him bagging enough tries to justify the cost. Similarly, Sam Simmonds’s $6.5m salary is pretty steep for a flanker but his average haul of 14.25 points a game last season coupled with his likelihood to play week in week out makes him a must pick for my side.
- Take a gamble
Not every pick will be a sure thing. I’ve gone for Dylan Hartley at hooker despite his inherent unpredictability. It’s a move that may not pay off, but if Hartley plays (and if he stays on the bloody field), he’s amongst the top performing hookers in the country. And if it doesn’t pan out, I’ve got the option to heartlessly kick him to the kerb in favour of younger talent, just one of the many similarities between myself and Eddie Jones.
- Go bargain hunting
As with the real deal, a salary cap applies to Rugby Pass Fantasy League (and this one is actually enforced). This means you can’t fill your squad with superstars – you have to go rooting around in the bargain bin to find players that will bring in the points without breaking the bank. I’ve gone for Sales’ AJ McGinty at Fly Half, because for just $5.1m (low for his position), he still bagged an average of 11.51 points a game last season – the same as the much more expensive Owen Farrell. Fly Half is a key points-scoring position, so having a player with a decent kicking record and who will play regularly is vital.
- Research, review and revise
One of the main reasons for an underperforming Fantasy League team is a lack of attention. You have to nurture it and show it lots of love and affection, like a puppy that’s actually 15 giant blokes stuck together. I was all set to have Chris Ashton as the lynchpin of my back three, hoping he’d bring his Top 14 form with him on his return to Premiership action. However, Flash’s stint on the naughty step means keeping him in my side would be both literally and figuratively pointless.
Keep up to date with all the latest news on injuries, suspensions and anything else with Rugby Pass to make sure you know exactly who you should keep and who needs the boot. Another great way to keep the points rolling in is to take the Moneyball approach and use Rugby Pass Fantasy League’s Scout, a tool that monitors player behaviour using rich statistical analysis to give you vital insights into how your team is performing. Finally, being a nerd might help me succeed in something sports related.
Good luck and happy picking! – Sign up Here
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