We are just a few days away from the Fantasy Premier League Gameweek One kickoff. Amazing. Over the next few days, we are going to round out our preview articles with 4 new original posts – FPL tips for goalkeepers, defenders, and forwards – as well as our traditional Gameweek 1 preview. Let’s start with the crazy guys in between the posts:
Studs: Manchester City’s Joe Hart [7m] is the obvious top choice for those fantasy managers who just want to “set it and forget it.” He’s very expensive, but barring injury, you won’t have to make any GK transfers the rest of the season and you’ll pick up 15-20 clean sheets in the process. 7m is a lot of money for a goalkeeper, but with teammate Vincent Kompany at 7.5m, Hart actually isn’t the most “expensive asset” on the defending champions.
But last season, goalkeeping studs were all about value – the likes of Vorm, Krul and even Al-Habsi all had superb seasons. And those 2M+ saved ‘downgrading’ from a Hart to a Vorm can be used to upgrade from say, an Odemwingie to a Suarez or Tevez. And that’s a big upgrade. So let’s take a look at some value studs for possible selection:
- QPR’s Robert Green [4.5m] is someone we spoke highly of a few days ago in our transfer window preview. He has experience as England’s #1 and could turn out to be great value if Mark Hughes’ men can put together 8-10 clean sheets this season.
- Replacing Green at West Ham is former Bolton star Jussi Jaaskelainen [4.5m] - a reliable selection and one who should also be considered when fixtures are strong, as they are at the start of the season.
- Federici, Davis, and Ruddy are all 4.5m rated prospects as well that could pleasantly surprise – though they are a bit less experienced than Green and Jaaskelainen at Premier League level.
- In the mid priced range we have Arsenal’s Szczesny [5.5m] and Tottenham’s Friedel [5.5m] - two players at opposite ends of their careers with the same goal: A Champions League place. Friedel may face some competition if AVB brings in another goalkeeper in the transfer window but Szczesny could produce 10-15 clean sheets this season – more than any other goalkeeper besides Joe Hart, if he hits form. I’m high on the Pole.
Duds: While we have many Manchester United fans as loyal readers of the blog – the ‘real life’ battle for the #1 jersey puts a damper on David de Gea [6m] and Anders Lindegaard [5.5m] as fantasy prospects. It’s just a tough proposition unless Sir Alex tips his hand. Both may receive action and that’s never fun for fantasy managers who need to rely on a #1 shot stopper.
Newcastle’s Tim Krul and Swansea’s Michel Vorm are both priced at 5.5m after superb seasons last year but I don’t think they are value studs this season because it will be very difficult to repeat their heroics. Sure, fantasy managers will choose them as they are in the mid-priced bracket, but I think they are both 0.5m too expensive to be trusted this time around. I may be wrong, but they’re duds to me, despite their significant ownership levels last season.
So there you have it. A high priced option in Hart as the “no brainer,” a number of good value plays at the 4.5m level, or a cheeky punt on a mid-priced asset in the 5.5m category.
Plenty to think about for fantasy managers entering the season looking for a solution at the back.
Good luck to all.