3 gameweeks down, 35 to go. That’s 92% of the Premier League season left, then. Plenty of work for fantasy managers to do. Let us help you a bit as you wait out the international break this week and we get ready to return to league action next weekend.
There are certain players, who are ‘under the radar,’ undervalued, and worth jumping on early in the season due to their performances. We’ve written about many of them on this blog – Michu, Eden Hazard, Funny Feeling Friday Steven Fletcher, Carlos Tevez, and more. It’s obvious that there are great bargains and in-form players to be had out there, and don’t worry – we’ll continue to monitor the statistical trends and unearth gems for you.
But sometimes, there are false promises, and West Brom’s Gareth McAuley, is one of those. He’s owned by nearly 5% of fantasy managers and has already seen his price increase from 5.0m to 5.1m this week on the back of a goal and clean sheet this past weekend against Everton.
But we are a community of seasoned fantasy veterans here, not amateurs. We’ve been playing the game for nearly 10 years. We aren’t jumping on McAuley as a long term transfer despite his price ascent and early season attacking rewards.
- The second highest scoring defender in the game, he’s picked up 2 clean sheets in the first 3 games of the season – but this pace is unsustainable at West Brom. 10-12 clean sheets for the entire season would be amazing, while 8-10 [or only 6-8 more in 35 games] are more likely.
- McAuley has already scored a goal and grabbed an assist, as well as 4 bonus points this season. Last season in nearly 3,000 minutes he scored 2 goals and grabbed 1 assist. This pace is unsustainable.
- 5.1m is a bit pricey when Arsenal’s Jenkinson [4.7m] and Gibbs [5.5m] play on a Top-4 contending side and are in a similar price range. Even teammate Ben Foster is cheaper – at 5m, and will rack up save points while being able to be rotated with other goalkeepers.
- He’s not historically an attacking / goalscoring defender. Only 2 goals in 35 games for Northern Ireland. 5 goals in 117 games in the second tier at Ipswich. And he turns 33 years old in December.
Nothing against Gareth McAuley personally – he’s just a nice analogy early in the season to bring us back down to earth. A 5m rated defender at West Brom with not much upside other than perhaps a few more clean sheets this season and probably 1 more goal.
As Fantasy Premier League managers, we need to keep a cool head. The international break is one of those times where we can tinker with our teams – play the wildcard, search for new blood, etc. But we need to take the first 3 weeks with a grain of salt.
It’s only 3 weeks. We have 92% to go. Trust me, by this time in May, you won’t even remember the name Gareth McAuley.
Stay focussed. Good luck to all fantasy managers.