There is no need to wait for the mistakes of my fantasy World Cup campaign. I’m totally over picking Max Malins over Henry Arundell’s five tries for England’s thumping win over Chile. Do you want Shannon Frizell, who won an early yellow card, to replace Ardie Savea in the lead-up to the final? Completely forgotten.
The new Six Nations brings another official fantasy game, a little different from the one that made me tear my hair out in France. Why oh why did I captain Matthieu Jalibert instead of Damian Penaud to defeat Namibia? Don’t worry, here are some tips for the Six Nations.
How to choose players
Users are given a budget of 240 stars to choose a starting lineup from the six squads. The most expensive players, James Lowe and Damian Penaud, cost 20 stars, each categorized by position. We need three back three players, two centers, a half and a volume in the back line. Up front, the pack must consist of three back rowers, a pair of greens, two props and an auger. Don’t get hung up on tight and loose gear if you don’t want to. Not necessarily one of each.
For bonus roles, the captain tag does what it has done in most fantasy games over the years; It doubles that player’s score. A very interesting wrinkle to this Six Nations game, which adds a strategic element, is the ‘superub’ chip. By so many extra player points coming off the bench. However, if that player starts, they will only give back half of the points they earn.
How to score points
The Six Nations game is more ruined than the World Cup game. That said, in addition to metrics such as try, assist, tackle and turnover, the kick scoring index includes 50:22, which is worth a significant increase of seven points. It is worth the same to steal a line out. Most valuable, however, are the player of the match awards. These give you 15 great points. As always, it’s the cards that will cost the most. Yellows set you back three points, and sending off carries a six-point penalty.
Choose Damian and/or Duhan
Don’t try to be too clever or baulk at the price of premium wings. Penaud now costs 19.4 stars, down from the initial maximum of 20 after a disappointing night in Marseille. He still registered 17 points on Friday. Each hit defender has two points. Penaud slips his opponent at will. He finished the last Championship as top try-scorer and is also an effective link, surrounded by Bordeaux team-mates. Keep the faith.
Duhan van der Merwe (18.3 stars) tackles for fun. He returned 38 points from the Cardiff thriller, collecting 95 meters along the way with two tries.
Back yourself with newbies
A scan of the scoring lists suggests that relatively unproven internationals are cheap. Joe McCarthy and Tommy Freeman were at 11 and 8 stars, respectively, before the first round began. They immediately reaped the rewards of deals. McCarthy scored 33 points, boosted by his player of the game award. Freeman scored 27 points himself. Prices fluctuate up and down, just like they do on Fantasy Premier League (FPL), so move fast. McCarthy now comes in at 12.1 stars, with Freeman at 9.1. Ethan Roots has increased to 9.7 starts after scoring 37 points in Rome.
Just as Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players scour databases for midfielders labeled as defenders or forwards who have been slotted into the midfielder bracket, rugby offers similar opportunities. Tommaso Menoncello (now 12.1 stars) is down as a three-goal player. The explosive Italian star has been central for Benetton this season and made some impressive saves against England before later moving to the wing. He registered 35 points in the win.
Finn Russell will be kicking a goal for Scotland and is sure to continue to put himself in the frame for extra points with his try assists. He’s also reasonably prolific when it comes to 50:22s, a seven-point feat that could make your week. Russell started the Championship with a round of 40 and Scotland on the edge of Wales.
With five steals and seven line steals, the likes of Maro Itoje (16.1 stars), Tadhg Beirne (17 stars) and Tommy Reffell (13.1 stars) will be in trouble. Beirne collected 44 points at Stade Vélodrome, and it was difficult for Reffell to get an impressive 34 points.
One name immediately springs to mind when thinking of the ‘superub’ bonus; that’s Nolan with Garrec (9.2 stars). The investigator has scored six tries for Racing 92 in the Top 14. He added a spark when he replaced Maxime Lucu against Ireland, introducing himself with a jack turnover to score 5 points. His returns will surely improve as France does as a collective group.
Stay tuned for updates
Le Garrec could be promoted into the starting line-up for Murrayfield, so keep an eye out for announcements towards the end of the game weeks. Unlike FPL, one can change the Six Nations fantasy team mid-round, as long as the players’ teams have not already taken the field. That means, if you are alert enough, you can step in to withdraw those who have withdrawn themselves in real life. It would be a shame, for example, if someone kept Ellis Genge in their team after England pulled out of the game in Italy with a foot injury.
One point per tackle, compared to one in five tackles as awarded in other rugby games, makes defensive linemen more valuable. Michele Lamaro (11.2 stars) is worth considering here. The Italy skipper completed a string of 19 against England, scoring well enough to improve his value despite a trip to the sin-bin late on. The output of Grégory Alldritt (17.5 stars) is always huge, as well, and it is unlikely that he will lose the French captaincy.
Looks can be deceiving
Alldritt is a good place to finish. Most would probably suggest that Caelan Doris (17 stars) beat him on Friday. However, he brought home 31 points. Doris landed 20. The difference? Time spent on defense. Alldritt made 16 tackles and forced a jackal turnover, but Doris completed eight tackles and was credited with no steals.
A surprising speed-setter?
Wild games are notorious for individual scores, and Aaron Wainwright became the first man to pass in the half-century this season. A try and 97 meters running, with five defenders hit and player of the match despite finishing on the losing side all added up to 56 points. Next stop; Twickenham.