The big news of the week was the inevitable RVP to Manchester United move. But we still have a Fantasy Premier League season just 2 days away to prepare for. After previewing FPL goalkeepers and then the best FPL defenders, we now take a look at stud & dud Fantasy Premier League midfielders.
Last year’s top scoring midfielder Clint Dempsey [9.5m] has to be left off the list of studs this time around. Apologies to our American readers, but at 9.5m, Dempsey is not a stud this year despite his 200+ fantasy points last season. He may be on his way to Liverpool from Fulham, and we’ll keep you updated- but he won’t score 17 league goals this time around – maybe 10 should be expected. Thus, he’s a dud. So don’t be tempted despite the statistical aberration of a season last time around. Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some no-brainer studs.
Studs: Mata [9.5m], Bale [9.5m] and Silva [10m] all continue as super-studs this season. They aren’t nearly as expensive as Gerrard / Lampard / Ronaldo used to be during the height of their midfield supremacy ~ 5 years ago, but they are nearly as consistent week in and week out and are heavily relied upon by their respective Top 4 challenging teams. You can’t go wrong with one or more. Studs.
After those three, we see a bit of a drop-off. The Manchester United boys Valencia and Nani – both 9m as well as Kagawa and Young – both 8.5m all scream value IF AND ONLY IF they receive regular starts. None of them are value playing 2 out of 3 league games and finding themselves with a 20 minute cameo every other week. But ALL four of them are superb value if they play 90 minutes for 33+ league games. The burning question then remains, who receives the most consistent playing time? Kagawa seems the most likely as a new signing who can play in the hole – so he’s the most likely to be a stud. Next is Valencia as his service from wide areas to Rooney (and now RVP!) will be crucial. Nani and Young are explosive but aren’t to be trusted as much as Sir Alex has yanked them in and out of the lineup in recent years. Form players, surely, who can have a devastating month followed by a disappointing month. They are all 4 studs when in form and playing, but proceed with caution.
Next up are Tottenham studs Van der Vaart [9m] and Sigurdsson [9m]. Who will hog set pieces? Again – an answer that we must wait 1-2 weeks to receive. Once the alpha dog in the free kick list is established between those two, then you have yourself a stud 9m rated midfielder. Bale, of course, is just 0.5m more and perhaps more explosive, however.
Gerrard [9.5m] and Lampard [9m] both have starting prices that are in the single digits. Wow. But don’t be deceived by the vintage goalscorers, they’ll find it tough to compete with the aforementioned 9m rated studs. They are duds, then, though Gerrard much less so as Lampard has to compete with Mata and new signing Hazard [9m] for points. Put Gerrard on the stud/dud fence and Lampard firmly in the duds category this time.
Let’s take a look at a few more moderately priced stud midfielders:
- Sunderland’s McClean [6.5m] scored 101 fantasy points last season and though he’s overshadowed by teammate Sessegnon [8m], he should improve on his 5 goals and 3 assists from last season. He’s raw, has pace, and is tough. And can finish. Great qualities for an attacking midfielder. STUD.
- Reading’s Jobi McAnuff [5.5m] is cheap and while he’s already 30 years old and doesn’t score tons of goals, could be a nice value stud 5th midfielder provided he can continue distributing and notching up a load of assists. Very much a stud risk, however.
- Jon Walters [6.5m] and Adel Taarabt [6m] are two names fantasy managers know well. Walters scored 140 fantasy points last season with Stoke and is again classified as a midfielder, though he often features not only as a wide player but as a second forward – and he’s on penalties. Good value stud. Taarabt was a big disappointment at QPR last season after a tremendous Championship campaign the year before but found a bit of form at the end of the season and will be supporting Zamora and/or Cisse from an advanced midfield role which should see him score well. Stud.
- Charles N’Zogbia [6.5m] deserves his own bullet point. No one dribbles at defenders as much as he does and he’s a joy to watch when on form. He also had a rough season last year at Aston Villa, but I think, like Taarabt, he will be a superb FPL acquisition because his price is so cheap. At 6.5m, production isn’t to be expected from a midfielder, but N’Zogbia will provide it anyway. Stud. Honorable mention goes to teammate Stephen Ireland [5.5m] who is even cheaper and has a nice FPL track record if he can stay fit and receive consistent starts.
- We spoke about Swansea’s Michu [6.5m] in our FPL Transfers preview and new manager Michael Laudrup expects big things from him. He could be one to rival the likes of N’Zogbia and Walters for mid-priced stud status and FPL glory.
Duds: Other than the aforementioned duds Dempsey and Lampard, and the Manchester United quartet that is on the stud/dud fence only because of rotation issues, there are still a few other potential dud FPL midfielders to avoid – or at least proceed with caution.
- Newcastle supposed studs Ben Arfa [7.5m] and Cabaye [7m] make me a bit nervous. I like their consistent production if they are classified in the 6m – 6.5m range but at 7m+ I just don’t think it will be worth the effort. Newcastle peaked last season and while a Top 10 finish is surely table stakes, I don’t think a Top 5 finish is possible. Cabaye and Ben Arfa have two great finishers up front in Ba and Cisse, but at 7m it may be a stretch with so much value in the 6m range. Duds for me.
- Mikel Arteta [8m] is another player that could frustrate. He surely will not be on the “dud list” if he takes over penalty kick duties – though it may be Lukas Podolski who does that. If Arteta doesn’t have penalty kick duties, then he surely won’t outscore more attacking midfield options like Cazorla or Walcott [both 9m] so he won’t be great value despite his impressive FPL history.
- James Milner [6.5m] and Samir Nasri [8.5m] also frighten me due to rotation at Manchester City. Both looked good in the Community Shield so it seems strange to classify them as duds, but while they could both start the season strong as studs in the first few gameweeks, as season long selections they are too dangerous due to rotation – and thus become duds. A “dud technicality,” then but one worth mentioning despite their obvious talents.
What FPL stud and dud midfielders did we miss? Let us know on Twitter @NickyButt or in the comments. Good luck to all fantasy managers.