With the Premier League kickoff only a week away, the time for budding managers to pick their fantasy league sides is in full flow. The time where everyone starts with good intentions, promising themselves they will be loyal to their *insert witty team name* FC, checking up on the squad every week and making suitable changes. We know deep down that for the majority of Fantasy League gaffers, three weeks will go by and fantasy league will be binned for yet another year. Whether you are a budding football coach or a complete football novice, we have some Fantasy League selection tips for you – at least before you throw in the towel (again).
Goalkeeping choices can go one of two ways. The majority of points awarded to goalkeepers either come from clean sheets, or total number of saves per game. While most managers go for a goalkeeper playing for a potential top four side, others point to one guaranteed to start for their mid to lower table club. This second option has proved fruitful in the fantasy football era. Not only do you save money to be used on a star striker, but the sheer bulk of saves to make means almost guaranteed points every week. For example, the highest scoring goalkeeper last season was David Marshall of relegated Cardiff City. On the flip side though, you are also running the risk of a top side putting five goals past your number one. Petr Cech was the most widely selected goalkeeper last season despite being one of the most expensive, but finished in the top three highest scoring keepers. With two routes to take, the choice is yours.
Recommended bargain Goalkeepers; Vito Mannone, Tim Krul, Allan McGregor, Kasper Schmeichel, Asmir Begovic
Recommended expensive Goalkeepers; Tim Howard, Hugo Lloris, David De Gea, Joe Hart, Thibaut Courtois
The baseline requirement for a defender in fantasy football is one who is playing in a team capable of keeping clean sheets. Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal were the three sides to keep the most clean sheets last season in the Premier League, something which fantasy football points to the respective defenders displayed. As a bonus, the highest point scoring defenders also chip in with the odd assist and headed goal from a corner. Everton’s Seamus Coleman finished the 2013-14 season as the highest scoring Defender in the league, with 6 goals, 2 assists and 15 clean sheets. Since most fantasy league managers look to spend big money on two defenders in a back four, make sure the money is spent wisely on a complete defender who also has a good disciplinary record as yellow and red cards mean penalty points.
Recommended bargain Defenders; Steven Caulker, Ron Vlaar, Jose Fonte, Dejan Lovren, Daryl Janmaat
Recommended expensive Defenders; Gary Cahill, Jan Vertonghen, Leighton Baines, Laurent Koscielny, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany
Midfield is arguably the most important part of a fantasy league side. Goal scoring midfielders/wingers are awarded handsomely per goal, as well as assists and a clean sheet point too. The big money last minute move of Mesut Ozil to Arsenal last summer enticed many fantasy league managers, but the German only just made the top 10 point scoring midfielders. It was Yaya Toure who finished as the highest point scoring Midfielder last season after his incredible season on all fronts for Manchester City. The Ivorian’s value on Fantasy Premier League increased a massive £2.1million during the course of the season. Despite lengthy injury spells, Aaron Ramsey finished as the 7th highest scoring Midfielder in England, and started last season priced only £5.5million. Bargains are there to be had in the midfield department, especially with many new signings coming in from foreign leagues being quite under-priced. Some transferred midfielders with more playing opportunities may surprise too.
Recommended bargain Midfielders; Remy Cabella, Siem De Jong, Emre Can, Dusan Tadic, Jack Rodwell, Nemanja Matic, James Ward-Prows, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Mutch, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Jason Puncheon, Jonjo Shelvey, Steven Davis, Moussa Sissokho, Robert Snodgrass, Fabian Delph, Marko Arnautovic
Recommended expensive Midfielders; Erik Lamela, Yaya Toure, Steven Gerrard, Eden Hazard, Samir Nasri, David Silva, Aaron Ramsey, Raheem Sterling, Christian Eriksen, Juan Mata
The most expensive players in fantasy football tend to be strikers, and for good reason too. Strikers generally finish the season with the highest points tallies of all. Luis Suarez’s 31 goals and 21 assists left him as the highest scoring player comfortably last season, but which marquee man will do the business this season? The biggest name striker to come into the Premier League this summer is £32m man Diego Costa. His physical playing style looks perfect for the Premier League as he looks to build on his 27 league goals for Atletico Madrid last season. Despite Swansea’s rocky start to the season, Wilfried Bony finished the season as the best Premier League newcomer. Bony joined Swansea after a terrific goal scoring season for Vitesse in Eredivisie, so could another Eredivise import; Graziano Pelle, do the same thing for Southampton this coming season? Dutchman Robin Van Persie will be hoping to put the disappointment of last season behind him, after being reunited with his former Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal, and replicate his form of the 2012-13 season where he finished with the most fantasy league points. Another interesting thought is whether players like Charlie Austin and Danny Ings can carry their superb Championship form with them to the new heights of the Premier League. The striker position is another where bargains are available – especially with unpredictable foreign imports.
Recommended bargain Strikers; Bojan Krkic, Mauro Zarate, Graziano Pelle, Danny Ings, Steven Fletcher, Charlie Austin, Loic Remy, Dwight Gayle, Steven Naismith, Shane Long, Fraizer Campbell,
Recommended expensive Strikers; Diego Costa, Stevan Jovetic, Wilfried Bony, Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Romelu Lukaku
Stats and fantasy league facts via fantasy.premierleague.com. To join the TBR fantasy competition use the following code – 275208-73981!