Spurs, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan: 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 but 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's preseason, 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.
Over the past five days I've taken a detailed look at every Premier League club.
Part three: Newcastle United, Norwich City, QPR and Reading
I’d like to keep it interactive, so comments a plenty are welcome. Well, let’s get to it.
I didn’t particularly like Harry Redknapp, and I don’t really like AVB, but I like Tottenham. Not to support, but they have some very good fantasy players.
Kyle Walker (£6.5m), Benoit Asso-Ekotto (£6.5m) and Brad Freidel are all studs from the back line of Tottenham - they recorded 14 clean sheets last year, with both full-backs scoring twice. If Freidel doesn’t get replaced this summer, he will be a stud again, trying to replicate his 153 points. Gareth Bale is a definite start and a definite stud in the midfield - Ten goals, 14 assists and just short of the magic 200. If you can afford him (£9.5m) he will score an abundance of points.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was immense last year for Swansea and hopefully will be the same for Tottenham. The only issue is that he might be drowned out by the likes of VDV and Luca Modric (if he sticks around) with regard to free-kicks and general playmaking.
Aaron Lennon and Scott Parker are all fantasy duds, Parker the most so. His game time just does not equal into fantasy points. No goals and only one assist, but 2,467 minutes played. I’d stay well away from the defensive midfielder.
Jan Vertonghen is one to watch if he can cement himself as the starting centre back. Also note that Adebayor may yet come back to the London club, and if so is definitely worth thinking about as a striking option.
West Bromwich Albion
The Baggies finished 10th in 2011/12, but no-one really sticks out fantasy wise from this squad, thus no studs or duds.
Claudio Yacob, Yassine El Ghanassy are the big summer signings from Steve Clarke's side. Yacob is an Argentine international with three caps and one goal. His performance on paper from the past six years at Racing aren’t astonishing, but the 25-year-old will be looking to make his mark in the English game, as will the Belgian-Moroccan midfielder El Ghanassy. Both these players will be interesting to watch, but from a fantasy stand point this early in the season, I can’t recommend them yet.
If you require a cheap defender you could look to Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olson. Both scored more than a hundred points last season and got nine clean sheets and are both at £5m.
The newly promoted Newham club finished third in the nPower Championship, and fought off the rest to win the play-offs. News about a loan deal being placed for Andy Carroll will keep fantasy managers eager, but news outlets are reporting that Carroll only wants to go back to his North-East home. Who knows what’s going to happen, so we should just concentrate on the here and now.
One such player is Ricardo Vaz Te. Bought by West Ham from Burnley in January, the Portuguese striker scored 10 goals in 15 games, as well as scoring the winner against Blackpool in the play-off final. He looks like he has the skill to carry this on in the Premier League. Priced at a very cheap £5.5m he could be a good addition, especially with a home game against Villa up first.
New signing Modibo Maiga is one to watch as well. With 24 goals from 59 appearances he is the same price as Vaz Te. I’d wait and see what his transition to the Premier League goes like, or if you feeling in a gambling mode jump straight on the bandwagon. Rumours are Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr had his eye on him, so if that’s anything to go by, Maiga could be a great asset.
Jussi Jaaskelainen is a goalkeeping stud for me. Not as a number one, but definitely as your back up keeper. Proving himself as the starting man for Bolton for years, and having 56 appearances for the Finland national team under his belt, he is a household name in the Premier League and well worth the £4.5m. Kevin Nolan is also an ex-Premier League player, and when he was playing for Newcastle in 2010/11 he scored 12 goals and gained 140 points, albeit a little bit out of position. He’s a little bit of a gamble and his price tag of £6m might scare some punters off, but he will score some goals this season. You can count on it.
No duds from West Ham for me, their defence is so cheap that you can't lose having one as a fifth defender and saving money elsewhere, and possibly given them a game due to an easier fixture than the rest of you backline.
A huge change of gears at the end of the season saved Wigan from the drop. Roberto Martinez will be hoping to start this season the way they ended the last campaign and guarantee safety a lot sooner.
Huge standouts in this team are Victor Moses and Ali Al-Habsi. The goalkeeper scored an impressive 138 points on the back of four penalty saves and eight clean sheets. He also had the third highest saves count out of the whole league. Lots of managers had him as a second keeper last year, and although he is priced a little higher (£5m) this season, he is still able to be a great back up for you.
Victor Moses was the best player in the Wigan team - six goals and six assists and a possible move to Chelsea have seen his price rocket to £7m. Transfer rumours a plenty for the 21-year-old Nigerian may cause a few managers to hold off buying him. If he sticks with Wigan he could be the pivot of the team and be worth the price, but a move to say Chelsea will see him lose game time to the already stacked team they have over at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking of Chelsea, they are Wigan's first opponents of the new campaign, at home. Because of this, the Wigan defence are all duds. Only until the second week though, when they visit Southampton. The back line, like that of West Ham’s, is cheap and can be used to fill in gaps and save some cash.
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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