Fantasy Premier League: Eden Hazard, Shinji Kagawa and Other Players to Avoid
The Barclays English Premier league, and subsequently the Fantasy Premier League starts in less than a week, and football fanatics from all over have already started to meticulously assemble their dream team. Picking an ideal team is a cumbersome process. Hence, last week, I wrote an article on how to pick an ideal squad for the season.
It astonished me a bit when I realized that several people were investing a lot into players who, whilst great, will not translate into a lot of fantasy points.
Let us look at some of these players:
As of now, 25.5% of Fantasy Players have selected Torres as one of the three forwards. It does make some sense given the resurgence he had in the latter half of the season for Chelsea, his Golden Boot at the Euros and also the acquisition of players like Oscar and Eden Hazard who might link up better with him.
Furthermore, as Chelsea are playing two games in the first game week, picking Torres means double the points.
However, I am not convinced of El Nino's exploits yet, and at a ridiculously high price of 10.0mn, he is a bit of a gamble. Players with a similar price bracket are Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez, Sergio Agüero and Papiss Demba Cisse. Nikica Jelavic is available for less.
Players like Pavel Pogrebenyak signify cheaper options (not to mention he too is playing two games). If I had to pick an expensive striker, Torres would not be it. Rather someone like Agüero, Rooney, Cisse or Jelavic.
If the reason for picking him is because Chelsea are playing twice, I'd pick players like Ashley Cole, John Terry, Juan Mata or Petr Cech. These are solid options who will continue to bring in points throughout the season.
Chelsea have a plethora of options to choose from in midfield. Will Oscar start immediately? Only time will tell.
Extensive rotation might mean that he might not feature in all games. And at a price of 8.5mn, I'd say that such money would be better invested elsewhere. Like Steven Pienaar, Antonio Valencia, Scott Sinclair, Stephane Sessegnon etc.
Last season, Frank Lampard did not feature in as many games as he would have liked. With acquisitions of several high-profile players that play in midfield, and given his age, he might feature even less.
If he starts, he is always a potent threat. But there is a big "if" looming in the background. Lampard too does not come cheap. 9.0mn is a lot for a player whom we are not sure will start every game. You could pick someone like Nathan Dyer at 5.5mn, and have a bit of cash left over to fix other areas.
The last of the Chelsea players to make this list, Eden Hazard is the likeliest to start all games. The flanks have been a problematic area for Chelsea, and the Belgian has been brought in to fix exactly this.
However, I would be a little hesitant to include him in my team right from the get-go. Like his counterparts, Hazard is expensive at a whooping 9.5mn. And we cannot be entirely sure that he will succeed from the start.
There is no doubting his ability, but gelling into a team takes time. Remember that when Marouane Chamakh had arrived, he too was the reigning Ligue 1 Player of the Year.
Since Chelsea are playing two games in the first game week, it makes sense to pick three Chelsea players. Picking three Chelsea players also mitigates risk, as you will not have to replace them extensively saving you some transfer points.
With Roberto Di Matteo in charge, Chelsea's defence will prove resilient and tough to break down. Picking Ashley Cole (contributes assists) and John Terry (scores goals) might be two good options. The third player could be Petr Cech, Juan Mata or Ramires.
I have always been a huge fan of Shinji Kagawa, but including him in your fantasy team from the very beginning does not make sense.
He is an attacking midfielder, so in a 4-4-2 formation, he would probably have to play right behind the striker giving way to a 4-4-1-1 formation. That leaves room for only one striker which is problematic, as United have three superb strikers in Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. Hence, chances are Kagawa will either be used as a sub or will be subbed off. Same goes if Sir Alex Ferguson decides to employ a 4-2-3-1.
Preseason wise, Kagawa has been stunning, and he will contribute a lot in the offensive third. I would say wait for a couple of weeks, and then introduce him knowing how much playing time he is given in the first weeks.
A much safer option at a similar price range is Antonio Valencia; he regularly racks up assists and scores a few himself.
Manchester City Strikers
Champions City have a plethora of world-class strikers to choose from. Carlos Tevez, Sergio Agüero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko are all classy forwards capable of wreaking havoc on opposition defences.
This means, barring Agüero, others might see limited playing time or no time at all. Even Agüero is not safe, as many times last season, when I made him captain, he did not feature at all or only made a cameo appearance.
It's a dreadful sight to witness your most expensive player whom you've made captain (i.e. double the points) not feature.
Having a great defensive midfielder is a key to success for most teams. Think Claude Makelele. However, they will rarely give you points in a game like the FPL which favors more attack minded players.
Hence fantastic players like Scott Parker, Lucas Leiva, Michael Carrick et. al. will not rack up a lot of points.
Even players like Alex Song and Yaya Toure who sometimes play a bit more advanced can leave you frustrated.
A lot of people might pick players like John Obi Mikel because they signify a cheaper option. Look into players from Newcastle United or Swansea. Players like Leon Britton are better options. If you look at Norwich, picking someone like Bradley Johnson equips you with options if your main men are injured.
Follow me on Twitter: @BrenGoetze
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