Fantasy Rugby 2019: Six Nations Week 3 Preview

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Week three of the 2019 Six Nations: the sun will be shining through a scattering of clouds and the Principality roof will be open for the weekend's big Grand Slam eliminator between England and Wales.

Meanwhile, France are in self-inflicted disarray ... again; but Scotland head to Paris having left a pretty impressive infirmary 23 back at home.

Ireland have been forced into a late change due to an injury to Joey Carberry, and, for the 17th time in 102 internationals, Italian hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini has been made captain in Sergio Parisse's absence.

But the most important questions for ESPN's Fantasy Rugby managers are answered below.


Saturday, February 23, 2.15pm GMT -- France vs Scotland

Saturday, February 23, 4.45pm GMT -- Wales vs. England

Sunday, February 24, 3pm GMT -- Italy vs. Ireland

Where am I going to score points?

Wales would be the first to admit their much-changed team left plenty of points out on the pitch at Stadio Olimpico a fortnight ago.

You would not expect a strong Ireland side to be as profligate - especially as the February weather is set fair for an exhibition of fast-paced running rugby in Rome. Load up your Fantasy Rugby squad with the maximum number of Irish players if you can - and watch the points roll in.

There could also be a fair few points scored at an equally early spring-like Stade de France and Principality Stadium, one way or another, so consider filling gaps in your back line with Welsh, English, Scottish and French predators.

Who should I leave out?

The dangers of playing club rugby in a country other than the one for which you play international rugby were laid bare this week, with both Finn Russell and Sergio Parisse picking up injuries that have ruled them out of this weekend's Six Nations outings.

Garry Ringrose is out of Ireland's squad for the match against Italy.

Meanwhile, if you still have Morgan Parra and Camille Lopez - and, quite honestly, why would you? - drop them now. They were culled in a French reshuffle that may or may not have had something to do with comments they made after the England debacle.

And you have to leave out the injured Mako Vunipola, too, sadly. And Ireland's oh-so talented Sexton understudy Carberry.

Who should I bring in?

Consider Irish try machine Jacob Stockdale, if you don't already have him.

Russell's replacement Pete Horne could have a field day against a dysfunctional France -- assuming they're still dysfunctional after another raft of player and positional changes, as could Clermont-based captain Greig Laidlaw, who knows the French pretty well.

Elsewhere, it's time to take a Fantasy Rugby risk.

If you're feeling brave, or need a Hail Mary points spree, Antoine Dupont at scrum-half could be worth a go. If he can translate even part of the form that he showed in 34 minutes against England in front of a desperate-for-success crowd at Stade de France, there are potentially big scores available.

Wales' Gareth Anscombe, meanwhile, may be another chance worth taking with Dan Biggar out. He could generate big, big points with a massive performance at the Principality. Either or both could see you make a break from the crowd, or drag you right back into contention, in your Fantasy Rugby league.

Italy's Braam Steyn, too, could have another big game at No. 8 -- if he can impose himself on Ireland's monstrous loose forwards.

Who should be my kicker?

A good rule of thumb so far this tournament appears to be: Don't pick anyone French.

Parra and Lopez struggled off the kicking tee in the opening two fixtures, and aren't even in Les Bleus' squad for the Scotland game.

Thomas Ramos, on debut, has the kicking duties - but it would be a brave Fantasy Rugby boss who goes for the talented-but-untried Toulouse fullback.

A better punt would probably be banker kickers Sexton, Laidlaw or Farrell. But who will get you the most points is a choice only you can make.