Greetings, fellow watchers of grown men kicking stuff in shorts! I will offer you my fantasy tips, but first I want to get some introductory text out of the way, so it doesn’t look like I’m merely offering advice without substance. How’s the weather? Good? Nice. Uh…well…this is awkward. What’s not awkward? This fantasy advice:
Obvious: ANY SOUTHAMPTON PLAYERS! I’m breaking from script a bit here to offer a PSA. It’s okay because it’s my script. Here we go:
Look at the Premier League standings. Who is on top? Chelsea, of course. Jose Mourinho’s men have a stout defense, the best D-mid in the league (Matic), the leader in assists (Fábregas) and the #2 in goals (Costa). Of course
we’re they’re on top. But who’s second? It’s not
Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, or anyone like that.
It’s Southampton. A team so obscure to non-EPL fans that the #1 thing Americans
identified them with was Jozy Altidore, who doesn’t play for Southampton, but
Sunderland, which is on the other side of England.
The friendly southern team that only Portsmouth hates is in 2nd place, despite selling of many of their top players (Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, and Dejan Lovren to Liverpool, Luke Shaw to Man United, and Callum Chambers to Arsenal) this off-season. A good reason of this is their attack, trailing only Chelsea’s, but mainly it’s their defense. They have conceded 5 goals this year, while no one else has conceded less than 10.
Yes, 5 goals! That’s less goals conceded than Henry VIII had wives! They have 6 clean sheets in 10 games this year, including three straight! They play Leicester at home (a team in the relegation zone) and then they head to Aston Villa, a team that has scored only 5 goals, which is last in the league! Their schedule after that gets tricky (City, Arsenal, United) but even then they could still collect points. They’ve been great defensively. Nathanial Clyne, Ryan Bertrand, Jose Fonte, and Toby Alderweireld are all solid additions to your team. By the way, I’m counting this PSA as both obvious and bargain for defenders.
Super-Bargain: Neil Taylor (Swansea), £4.7. The Swans have conceded only 10 goals this year, and Taylor is the second best defender, points-wise this season, that costs less than £5.0 (the first is Chambers–who got most of his points in a few good games). Sure, with Arsenal and Man City coming up this isn’t the best pick, but at that price I’m not sure what more you could want.
Obvious: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), £10.7. I already talked about Sanchez? Yeah, I did. It’s a repost. See if I care. He’s scored 5 goals in his last 3 games! ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN!!! To quote the one and only Ray Hudson: ELECTRIC SANCHEZ!!!!!
Bargain: Nacer Chadli (Tottenham), £6.5. He’s done pretty good, getting at least 6 points in half of his games. Stoke-Hull-Everton isn’t the hardest of stretches, although it could be easier. Chadli should get you some good points, but don’t expect him to win your league by himself.
Super-Bargain: Victor Wanyama (Southampton), £4.6. He’s inconsistent, but not a bad bench option at the price. Also, re-read that PSA if you want further reason to get him. Especially this part: “A good reason of this is their attack, trailing only Chelsea’s, but mainly it’s their defense. They have conceded 5 goals this year, while no one else has conceded less than 10.” Yeah, I just quoted myself.
I’ve already mentioned all the “obvious” guys, so I’ll just give a nifty dose of fantasy wisdom: strikers are normally streaky. They don’t get as many points from other things, they need goals. When they get goals, they’re the best players in the game. But that’s hard to predict. The key is to anticipate when the striker will begin their streak, and buy them around that time, and then sell when the goals have dried up. There’s lots of psychology that goes into the position of striker. Their job is to score goals, which is very hard to do. They need confidence, chances, and skill. These things come and go (they’re sorted in order of fluctuation). How can an outsider predict when they come and go? I have no idea.
Bargain: Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers), £5.7. The former brick-layer has scored 3 goals in his last two games, and has an astonishing 32 points in his last five. Yes, he doesn’t really have a steady flow of chances playing for a weak team like QPR, and he probably doesn’t have the skill of Aguero or Costa to lean on, but boy, does he have the confidence, and that might just be enough to get points.
Super-Bargain: Ayoze Perez (Newcastle), £4.8. Yeah, I know, he only has two games with multiple points, but he also only has two games with more than 32 minutes played. And you know what? He scored in both of those games. The man has two goals in 219 minutes, and most of those minutes were played in games where he barely had enough time to score. It’s a small sample size and thus a long shot, but hey, at that price, it’s one to consider if you don’t need the transfer on other things.