Another great week of Super Rugby and a great week of fantasy.
The Blues ran the show against the Crusaders on Friday morning, completely justifying the decision to get up so early on a day off. Rene Ranger and Chris Noakes in particular were outstanding, and both were at the fulcrum of all the good work that the Blues managed. Piri Weepu looks in great shape, and his passing seems a lot faster than last year.
The Crusaders seemed very rusty in their first game, and the Blues will be thankful they got them at this stage. It seems like just a blip, and they showed their class for being in it for so long without playing close to well. Dagg's positioning showed that he is not a winger, and Carter only seemed to be interested in passing the ball out, without providing anything else.
Luke Braid got a try while bleeding heavily, made 12 carries, burst through 3 tackles and made 15 tackles without missing any for the highest fantasy points total of Round 3, which transports him into the dream team overall.
Halai, Piatau, both Saili's and Luatua look like fantastic young prospects and seem to gel together well. The Blues could be a team to watch, but they will need to find a consistent goalkicker. Maybe letting Gareth Anscombe go to the Chiefs will be a mistake they'll regret more and more.
Anscombe was fantastic against the Cheetahs with 9/9 and a try. He looks at home at fullback despite it only being his 2nd appearance ever in the position. Cruden seemed to awake from a slumber from being anonymous by his standards for 130 minutes, to turn it on for 5 minutes and 2 tries before being taken off. It bodes well for the Chiefs going to the future. They seemed to have grown after winning last year and the loss of Sonny Bill Williams and Sona Taumalolo hasn't hit too hard.
Elsewhere, the Reds and the Hurricanes denied the Hurricanes victory at Suncorp stadium. The consensus seemed to be that the Hurricanes should have taken their chances, and with the Blues resurgent could face a battle to avoid being the bottom team in the NZ conference.
Elsewhere, The 'Tahs overcame a dreadful first half to dispose of the Rebels, who are improving year on year; the Bulls escaped against the Force with a late rally; and the Stormers and the Sharks played out a boring test match.
From a fantasy point of view, it's been three weeks now, and ideas on how to manage your team should be coming together nicely. A look at the dream team hints what positions are most valuable and who is performing well. As an example, James O'Connor miles ahead of other inside backs, and is second highest points scorer. Ged Robinson of the Rebels is also miles ahead of other hookers and is the highest point scorer, but both have had an extra game to most of the competition.
Scrum halves totals are very low. Highest has been playing on the wing, which is Richard Kingi.
Overall dream team full of Australians (extra game) with Blues. Is that a hint that the Blues are going to continue their form? Only time will tell
Going through the positions about what is acceptable per game and where allowances can be made.
Props important- about 20-30 points acceptable per game. Props who make a lot of tackles and are strong in the scrum are the most point-scoring.
Hooker = vital. highest scorer at the moment, and was last year. Need to be getting 30+ points a week. Lineout throws, runs and tackles all gain lots of points.
Second rows playing flanker get most points. Lineout forwards with lots of tackles and carries are wanted 15+ points. Flankers are important and score well 25+ points a round.
As mentioned, scrumhalves aren't that important and could be sacrificed. Want someone who gets a good number of points, makes breaks and affects the game. Be happy with 10 points. Only 6 9's atm have over 10 points per game average.
Outhalf is a new position in the fantasy this year, it used to be part of the inside backs. But it's usually important as my inside backs were full of outhalfs. A creator or a very safe boot is what's needed, and there are plenty of them. 20+ is a decent haul of points a game, but Outhalves tend to me more inconsistent than other positions in terms of points scoring.
Inside backs, James O'Connor seems to be head and shoulders above the rest. A try scoring 13, or kick taking 12 are the main options, but a few seem to be doing some good business too.
Outside backs are as inconsistent as outhalves, as most tries come out here. While two tries one week can get a winger up to 50 points, a tryless week might leave him with under 10.
It'll be easier to see as the season goes on who is consistent or whose form is only temporary. The Blues seem to be doing the business at the moment but can it last? The most valuable players to have in your fantasy team are cheap high scoring youngsters. Anyone under 150K and getting 20+ points a game keeps the points ticking over and releases funds for more expensive transfers elsewhere.
Transfers can happen every week, so make use of them. Wildcards need to be used effectively. Now might benefit to get the fast starters, but if the Blues fail to maintain form it might bit you in the ass. With the Lions and internationals in the middle that could interrupt things too. Wildcards could make and break your team's aspirations.
On to our leagues, with the leagues changing from 3 to 2, and the inclusion of the "celebrities", things are hotting up.
In SuperIrish Murray Kinsella's "Les Mecs" had a stormer of a week with a whopping 510 points from 5 dream team players with only the scrumhalf contributing less than 19 points. This brings Les Mecs up two spaces. 500+ points shows how easy it is to make up a gap, so it's still all to play for for each player.
Garbhan Hogan retains his lead thanks to a strong bench which holds off the gathering challengers. With 4 teams over 1,000 points and only 38 points separating them, it's all to play for. Things are hotting up.
The "Twittersphere" league sees the introduction of the "celebs" with Rod Kafer and Tim Horan storming to the front with commanding leads. Brendan Cannon and Greg Martin are amongst the "top 4" with Nathan Sharpe just outside. Greg "Clarkie" Clark, Nick McArdle and Phil "Kearnsy" Kearns separate the top 4 from the rest. Peter Corley and Simon Farrell are yet to join this league.
In further fantasy news, there will be a head to head league and a cup competition starting in the following months, so new players are encouraged to join.