Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland and Swansea City: Fantasy 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 guys with my round-up of my fantasy studs and 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.
We've already looked at Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Everton in part one.
And yesterday we looked at Newcastle United, Norwich City, QPR and Reading.
Today it's the turn of Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland and Swansea City
Now I’d like to keep it interactive so comments a plenty are welcome.
Nigel Adkin’s Southampton finished as runners-up in the Championship with 88 points, having not fallen out of the top two since their opening game of the season.
Former Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez has arrived at St Mary's for £7 million breaking the Saints' transfer record. Season studs in the newly promoted team are defender Jos Hooiveld (£4.5m) and forward Rickie Lambert (£6m). Hooiveld is a Dutch centre back well-known for his goalscoring ability from both open play and set pieces. He scored a whopping seven goals last season in the league and at that price tag, even if he scores half that total this year it’ll be a bargain.
Lambert has has won the "Golden Boot" award in three of the past four seasons and was named the nPower Championship Player of the Year for 2011-12. He scored 27 goals last season, but whether he can replicate it in the top competition remains to be seen.
Although I have called Hooiveld a stud, the first game of the season is against the reigning champs, so wait until week two (Wigan at home) before picking any Southampton players.
The Potters finished 14th last season and that isn’t what Tony Pulis would have wanted for his club, but I can't see them finding this campaign any easier unless they start bringing in new faces.
Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross and Jon Walters are the studs from the Stoke City squad. Huth and Shawcross are reasonably cheap defenders with the possibility of clean sheets (seven and nine last season) also scoring a handful between them. Jon Walters is fantasy gold. Playing as an out-of-position-midfielder just being the striker, Walters scores goals. Also a price tag of £6.5m is very decent for a fourth or fifth midfielder.
Glenn Whelan and Peter Crouch are duds for me. Whelan just isn’t fantasy material and Crouchy, although only £6.5m, doesn’t score consistently enough and money is better spent elsewhere in my opinion.
Asmir Begovic is a good choice for your first or probably a better second keeper at a price of £4.5m.
Finishing thirteenth last season Martin O’Neill has warned his players that fans are desperate for them to knock rivals Newcastle off their perch as top dogs of the north-east. With only one signing, that being Carlos Cueller from Aston Villa, O’Neill will be hoping for more before the end of August.
Just like Jon Walters from Stoke, Sunderland have their own out-of-position-midfield stud in Stephane Sessegnon. Priced at a rather high £8m, Sessegnon scored seven goals and 12 assists last season and will be looking to do the same again this year. Sebastian Larsson is also under the classification of stud, he scored seven goals. He will set you back £6.5m and is worth every penny for a deadball specialist of this quality.
The Belgian shot stopper Simon Minolet is only £5m, recording 11 clean sheets last season, and he could be a bargain goalkeeper if looking for additional funds elsewhere.
Lee Cattermole is a dud and one I’d stay away from. Sharing the title of most yellow cards and having never scored for Sunderland in 68 games, Cattermole is just a waste of fantasy money and points.
After the departure of Brendan Rodgers, it will be interesting to see if his brand of football goes with him. A brand of football that saw 14 clean sheets and Michel Vorm become the second best fantasy goalkeeper.
If Michael Laudrup can continue the defensive stability shown from the 2011/12 season, the Swansea backline could be cheap acquisitions to your fantasy line-up. Vorm was £4.5m last year, allowing him to be a perfect back-up keeper, but his price has soared to £5.5m forcing you regard him as your number one.
Nathan Dyer and Joe Allen are both studs. Allen will be a stud if he stays with Swansea and also if the rumours are true and he follows Rodgers to Merseyside. Both players are priced at £5.5m and are definite starters who score goals and gain assists. Scott Sinclair is worth noting as a stud as well but has an elevated price tag of £7m.
New signing Miguel Perez Cuesta, or more easily known as ‘Michu’, could be the bargain of the transfer window. With the departure of Sigurdsson to Spurs, the Swans were looking for someone to fill the gap behind the striker in their 4–2–3–1 formation. Scoring 15 goals in 37 league games for Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, anywhere close to this in the Premier League will be very impressive especially at £6.5m.
Article by Greg Hall
Remember to come back tomorrow for the fifth and final part of Greg Hall's Fantasy Football studs and duds analysis where he will be looking at Spurs, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan Athletic.
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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