Newcastle United, Norwich City, QPR and Reading: Fantasty Football studs and duds
The official Premier League Fantasy football game for the upcoming season is now live, with managers all around the world umm-ing and ahh-ing over who to pick, who to leave out, who’s going to be their full season players, captain and vice captain.
It's all stressful stuff and I’m here to make those decisions a little easier for you with my round-up of my fantasy studs and fantasy duds. Seeing as it is pre-season, I’m going to go through all the clubs and pick out people to look out for, people to not touch with a ten-foot barge pole and the golden boys of fantasy football.
Today I'm going to turn my attention to Newcastle United, Norwich City, QPR and Reading.
I’d like to keep it interactive, so comments a plenty are welcome.
A superb season by the North East giants last year saw them finish fifth, just outside of the Champions League places but good enough to enter the Europa League at the play-off stage. Alan Pardew is still looking to bring in more big names before the end of the season and he will be trying to cement the Magpies as a top six club once again.
Fifteen clean sheets last season for Tim Krul, as well as two penalties saves, has him in the stud category. This season the Dutchman has a price tag of £5.5m and has been given the number 1 shirt. He is well worth a place in your team. Joining him in stud status is defender Steven Taylor. He has recovered from his long term Achilles injury and will be joining Collocini in the centre of defence. Steven Taylor is stud over Collocini because of his aerial prowess from set pieces. Having already scoring in Newcastle’s pre-season, I am picking more goals from the head of Taylor this season.
Yohan Cabaye impressed last season as well as at Euro 2012. His price has risen to £7m, but as free kick and corner taker he is worth the price and is the only stud in the Newcastle midfield. Obertan is a dud and should be avoided even though he is the cheapest midfielder to buy.
Also a player to take care of when selecting is the fantastic but inconstant Hatem Ben Arfa. This inconsistency could be worth it for a cheaper player, but at £7.5m it is unjustifiable. He scored some fantastic goals last season and he will do so again this season, but I can't recommend this purchase because of his fee.
The Senegalese pair of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse were a force to be reckoned with last season, scoring 16 and 13 respectively. Cisse scored an incredible 13 goals in 14 appearances and if he can continue this form he is undoubtedly a stud. Ba’s goalscoring slowed down after the arrival of Cisse, but he is the team's designated penalty taker and has also found the back of the net in pre-season, so I am predicting him to be back to his scoring best for the coming season. Cisse has the higher price tag at £9.5m than Ba’s £7.5m, but both are studs and either one will be worth it.
Former Birmingham and Newcastle manager Chris Houghton has taken control of the Canaries after Paul Lambert left for Aston Villa and Houghton will try to improve their mid table finish of 12th, but with a lack of summer signings this could prove to be a tough challenge.
The starting defenders are cheap and there is a reason for this. They only held three clean sheets last season - on par with relegated teams Bolton and Blackburn. I wouldn’t pick any Norwich players other than for bench players and to save money elsewhere.
Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington are the studs in Norwich’s line-up. Pilkington only played 1,975 minutes, but managed to score eight goals. His price tag of £6m is reasonable and could save you some cash elsewhere. The 6ft front man Grant Holt scored 15 goals last season, finishing up with 138 points, and like Pilkington he is a budget priced player that could be the difference between you and your rivals.
Mark Hughes took over the London club in January after the dismissal of Neil Warnock and Hughes managed to avoid the drop after a run of five straight home wins. The wealthy owners will be pushing Mark Hughes to have a better result this year and the club have made a few notable signings to help them towards that goal.
Canadian winger and new signing Junior Hoilett is the first stud at QPR. He showed real talent with Blackburn last season, scoring seven and setting up five. With more talented strikers on hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his assists double.
Ex-Manchester United duo Ji-Sung Park and Fabio are also both studs if they see game time week after week. Park was SAF go-to-man in the important matches, and with a starting berth at QPR the Korean midfield will gain solid fantasy points. Similarly with Fabio, if he works his way into the starting team, he has the talent and pace to push forward and cause trouble for their opposition. Priced at £4.5m he is perfect for a substitute defender or if you’re a real gambler a first team regular.
Joey Barton is a dud due to his 12 match ban and another dud is Adel Taarabt. Taarabt shows real promise, but this doesn’t convert into fantasy points. With only two goals and four assists last year I can't recommend buying him for £6m before the start of the season.
After winning the nPower Championship Brian McDermott’s side will be looking to start this season off strong and with a double game week, albeit their second game being away to Chelsea, Reading players could be the bargains you are looking for.
New signings Danny Guthrie and Pavel Pogrebnyak are both studs for the first game week, and because of their cheap prices (£4.5m and £5m respectively) they could be a full season bargain buy. Guthrie showed last season at Newcastle that he can handle the Premier League and in the centre of midfield, can score some helpful fantasy points.
The big Russian Pogrebnyak scored six goals from 12 games last season on loan at Fulham, also proving his Premier League quality.
Goalkeeper Adam Federeci, defenders Kaspars Gorkss, Ian Harte and front man Adam Le Fondre are all players to watch. Federeci is a cheap (£4.5m) option for a second goalkeeper. Gorks and Harte are both goal-scoring defenders, scoring three and four goals last season and Le Fondre scored 12 goals in 17 appearances. Although I'm not calling them studs yet, these players are definitely ones to watch.
Article by Greg Hall
Remember to come back tomorrow for part four of Greg Hall's Fantasy Football studs and duds where he will be taking a look at Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland and Swansea City.
Calling all football fans: Do you agree with Greg's analysis? Who are the studs and duds at your team? Who is in your fantasy team? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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