Article by Adam
Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to introduce you to, Somehow I Manage. This isn’t my book on business or even advice as good as “Everybody likes the person who offers them a stick of gum” this is my collection of weekend warriors. My whole hearted bunch of guys who are going to take the fantasy football world by storm.
Adam will be blogging as often as he can about his adventures in the 2015/16 Fantasy Premier League season. Here he intends to tell you not just how results went but the thinking about the decisions not only he did make but perhaps also the ones he didn’t.
A New Dawn
A new season is always difficult for me as, unlike some I do not have an unsociable appetite from the first second a ball is spotted anywhere near a preseason pitch. As such until a ball is kicked in anger I don’t really have a feel for the form or physical condition of players or teams besides some of the anecdotal evidence I pick up from friends and the internet.
Jack Butland - £4.5m
This was an easy decision for me. Last season Begovic was a high percentage pick for a lot of fantasy players and while there is no disputing his talent I don’t think Stoke’s solid defensive performances were purely down to him. So in Butland I saw what I considered to be a slightly undervalued player.
If at the end of last season you had asked me to name 3 defensive fantasy geniuses I probably wouldn’t have said Kompany… Koscielny…
I would have said Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand. However having lost two of those four and perhaps more importantly Schneiderlin playing in front of them I do not expect Southampton to offer the same defensive solidity as last season and as such I have stuck well clear and selected:
John Terry £7m
Leighton Baines £6.5
Hector Bellerin £5.5
I have maybe gone a bit big here in terms of money spent however I was happy with the return. Its difficult to look beyond Terry as I expect Chelsea to retain their defensive solidity and he will always chip in with the odd goal. As for Baines and Bellerin I expect both teams to be defensively improved from last season and both to score points going forward, especially Baines taking set pieces. This however is where my lack of love of the preseason has already started to do me over. Neither Baines nor Bellerin even made their teams match day squads with reports today that Baines could be out for as long as 3 months. This, to put it lightly, was an error.
In the Premier League it could be said that our cup runneth over with talented top of the range midfielders all of who you should expect to score you a large amount of points. My golden rule of fantasy football has always been to always select a forward misclassified as a midfielder. Be it Ronaldo, Bale or Sanchez last season you expect them to score 15-20 goals and that extra point per goal really starts to add up. With that in mind my game week one selections were:
Eden Hazard £11.5m
Theo Walcot £9m
Juan Mata £8.5m
Yohan Cabaye £6.5m
Eden Hazard for me is a must pick and with over 57% of fantasy players also picking him people seem to agree. With the improvements of Man Utd and Arsenal I believe Chelsea will need Hazard to be somewhere near his best to compete this year. At that high a percentage pick if you don’t have him and he blows up you will be left well and truly behind.
That same faith in Arsenal and Man Utd is why you see Walcott and Mata also picked. Walcott was a toss-up with Cazorla and I was disappointed to see Walcott start on the bench but I had taken the gamble on what I perceived to be the greater goal threat. Once I am comfortable that Sanchez will start week in week out he will take this spot. Mata was a choice between him and Depay and this early in the season I decided to go with the proven Premier League player, especially as they are the same price.
Cabaye was for me a no brainer. A real talent when he was last in the league and back at a club playing well at the end of last season under a manager who knows his game well. I needed to have that variety in values and Cabaye fit the bill perfectly. He is to August 2015 what Sigurdsson was to August 2014. And with all this talk of high value high reward midfielders with his goal and 3 point bonus Cabaye has shown that cider behind a skip can sometimes be better that champagne and caviar.
What is the most important part of a fantasy football team? Is it the goalkeeper? Is in the Defence? No it’s the strikers. Investment in strikers! Last season if you got in early you had the delight of a bargain basement Harry Kane while you could also ride the crest of the wave of some inform cheaper options such as Pelle or Uloa. That may have allowed you to select 2 powerhouse strikers, with that in mind here are my opening week selections:
Wayne Rooney £10.5m
Troy Deeney £5.5m
Saido Berahino £6.5m
I am really doubling down on Man Utd and Wayne Rooney. I also have a small wager on him being the league top scorer at 12/1 so my happiness this season largely depends on him. When Rooney plays through the middle as a number 9 for Man Utd he tends to score 30+ goals a season. This is the kind of return I am banking on hoping the majority of these are in the league.
In Troy Deeney I have taken a bit of a flyer. He has long been linked with Premier League clubs and now he has his chance getting Watford promoted. He has always scored a lot of goals in The Championship so I am hoping that I have found this seasons Charlie Austin.
While I don’t expect West Brom to be at the top end of the table I expect them to be improved on last season. They don’t have a huge amount of goals around that team so if they are to succeed Berahino may have to fire them to glory. That or I’ll luck out and he will join Spurs. Either way I considered him the best value available for the money I had remaining.
The bench always plays very little part in my fantasy team. I take the risk that my selections will play and try and save as much as I can with the cheapest options available. From my selections below I only really expect Matt Ritchie to play regularly.
Declan Rudd £4m
Matt Ritchie £6m
Angel Rangel £4.5m
Adam Smith £4m
What will next week bring?
As for Hector Bellerin’s injury I will have to monitor this via my Arsenal supporting friends. I don’t want to make 2 changes so may play my “All-out Attack” option. I don’t really rate this as a bonus so am happy to play it if it means I can save myself from wasting Matt Ritchie’s points on the bench. As for everything else I will be watching out for the other super start strikers to check they don’t find early form otherwise a move for Aguero or Costa may be unavoidable. Double that with the fact the transfer window is still open there is still a huge amount of flux. My advice would be that while you shouldn’t be afraid to play and early wildcard (especially with the introduction of a second winter wildcard now). Playing it for game week 2 is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s at least wait until the transfer window closes.