Fantasy League Guide 2011/12

by Kevin Coleman

Fantasy football aficionados were greeted with a completely revamped Premier League fantasy game this summer, as they redesigned the familiar old look and went with a more sleek 3D style. To pay off for this fancy new design, it seems they’ve inflated the prices of nearly every player available – as managers scratch their heads as they go in search of the few bargains that are available. As we do every year, here’s a Fantasy League guide to give you the edge in your leagues ahead of the big Premier League kick-off this Saturday.

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Goalkeepers

There are a number of routes you can go down when it comes to selecting your two goalkeepers: one expensive one, which should guarantee you points, along with a really cheap ‘keeper, or two in between stoppers that you can rotate depending on opposition. Ben Foster was the bargain buy between the sticks last season, and could be again this year at 5.0. Doubling him up with Shay Given, also at 5.0, and you could have a very decent pair to go with for the first few gameweeks of the season.

At the top of the ladder, Wojciech Szczesny may be a decent price at 6.0 – the lowest of all top four goalkeepers – but with Arsenal’s suspect defence it might be best avoided. For an extra 0.5 you could get Pepe Reina, who you’d be feel much safer with starting in goals.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, the goalkeepers from the promoted clubs will always have busy fantasy campaigns. Paddy Kenny was phenomenal last season, and at 4.5 would be a great backup choice. Another to consider is Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet. It’s uncertain whether he’ll start or not,  but at 4.5 he’s a terrific young goalkeeper who could rake in some points if given the opportunity.

Defenders

Picking your defence this year seems to be a tougher task then before. With all the best options going for 6.5 and above, along with a handful of decent players at 6.0, the choices seems to wane a bit after that. The rather hefty 8.0 price tag on Leighton Baines may put a number of managers off picking him, including myself, when you have the likes of Cole, Johnson and Evra at lower prices.

It’s usually best to include as many top four/five players as possible, and starting at the top with a Chelsea player may be your best bet this year. Always consistent fantasy-wise, a Chelsea defender is a must have and this year David Luiz at 6.5 could be that player. Potentially the cheapest of their starting back four, if you don’t think he will get enough playing time you should consider Bratislav Ivanovic at an extra 0.5. Elsewhere in the high end category, Vincent Kompany is one to consider at 6.0 – despite his showing in the Community Shield – as is Gael Clichy at the same price if he starts.

Below that category Gary Cahill (5.5), Chris Samba (5.5) and Aaron Hughes (5.) are all nicely priced – especially if the first two makes moves to bigger clubs before the end of the transfer window. The big bargain in this category could be Rafael, and at 5.5 would be a steal for a starting Man Utd defender, but he may be subject to a lot of rotation over the course of the season.

On the lower end, if Jose Enrique joins Liverpool he’ll be a must-have at 5.0. Titus Bramble and Wes Brown (both 4.5) are well worth considering for a back up spot, while for the promoted clubs Bradley Orr (4.0) and Neil Taylor (4.0) are both worth looking at for your final selection, but there doesn’t seem to be much value at 4.5 and lower.

Midfielders

Ugh, the midfielders. There was once a team where you could get some great deals in the 5.5-6.5 range but this year there seems to be a distinct lack of valuable players in this region.

If you can afford two players in the 9.0+ price range, good luck to you. At 12.0, I don’t expect either Lampard or Fabregas to be well picked so if you fancy an expensive risk then there you go. For a little cheaper, you can grab yourself one of Nani or Ashley Young, the first of which was the top midfield scorer last season. He might be subject to rotation along with Young and Valencia, so choose him at your peril. Early signs suggest however that he could be captain potential this season.

Stewart Downing isn’t cheap at 8.5, but could prove to be popular if he can haul in some assists and maybe a few goals while he’s at it. At 9.0, despite last season’s form, it’s hard to justify spending it on Charlie Adam. Charles N’Zogbia, now at Aston Villa, will be very popular at 7.5 and there are no other players of value in the same price bracket so there’ll be a lot of scores countering each other in leagues. At 6.5 you could get yourself a few deals. Stephane Sessegnon, in his first full season at Sunderland, could be value for money. The same goes for Adel Taraabt of QPR, who was astounding last season in the Championship last season. He may be the player to have this season depending on whether or not he can make it in the top flight. Also worth considering are Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson, if the latter is a starter for Liverpool he could pop up with a few goals and assists.

At the lower end of the spectrum, Wes Hoolahan and Hatem Ben Arfa (both 5.5) could both be clinical from midfield, while Tom Cleverley of Man Utd might be a bargain at the same price if he breaks into the starting eleven this year.

Below that, it’s hard to see any bargains. Sylvain Marveaux might be a productive 5.0 option if he starts for Newcastle. Below that your just looking at players who will warm your bench, of which I’d consider Cheik Tiote, Nathan Dyer and Haris Vuckic, Andrew Surman. Shane Ferguson, the only 4.0 midfielder, is currently the eleventh most popular midfielder in the game, so there you go for a perfect bench player.

Forwards

A lot of managers seem to be awaiting the moment when Luis Suarez returns to action for Liverpool, and at 9.5 he could be the value forward in fantasy football this year. He’s the most popular forward to have at the moment, so if you fancy someone different I’d look at Darren Bent (10.0), Javier Hernandez (10.0), Gervinho (9.0) or if he gets his chance, Edin Dzeko (8.5). Sergio Aguero is risky at 11.0 in his first season. Fernando Torres, also at 11.0, could be a risk worth taking. Although he hasn’t been very good in pre-season, he might open up the tap in the Premier League at long last in a Chelsea shirt – so he’ll either make you look like a fantasy genius or make you a laughing stock amongst your mates.

At the top, Wayne Rooney will be productive at 12.0 but it might be beyond your budget. At medium prices, Peter Odemwingie is no longer the bargain he was last year and is probably best avoided. Kevin Davies, Hugo Rodallega, Gabby Agbonlahor and Jermaine Beckford are all worth considering, while Danny Sturridge when he becomes available could be a potential bargain, especially if he leaves on loan. Demba Ba will be the main man up front for Newcastle and his definitely worth considering.

On the lower end, Connor Wickham may have a productive season if he’s thrown in at the deep end at Sunderland. DJ Campbell is a decent 5.5 option, as is Grant Holt. In the bottom priced category, you’re just looking at players who won’t play and won’t score, but if given the opportunity Sunderland’s Dong-Won Ji could be a sleeper option at 5.0.

Let us know of any bargains you’ve spotted in the comments section, and make sure to join our league with the code 1474-982.

2 Responses

  1. Good article, some nice picks in there. With a lot of players overpriced, Mauro Formica of Blackburn could be a really good buy this season (£5.5m), as will be John Walters of Stoke (£6m) who is listed as a midfielder but plays upfront.

    http://footballfollower.com/football-blog/ten-fantasy-football-bargains/

  2. Tommy says:

    Steven Fletcher was the fifth most clinical striker in Europe last season, and the best in the Premier League. So a real bargain at £6.5m.

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