Earlier this week, we reached a landmark day in the countdown to the start of the new Premier League season- the opening of the Premier League’s new look fantasy site. In the wake of that monumental occurrence, it seems right to preview eleven Premier League players worth a look in 11/12 so you can get a head start on the Fantasy Premier League game.
Here are my eleven hot picks:
1. David De Gea– Priced at only 6.5 million, De Gea is an obvious choice in goal to start out the new season. As a newcomer into the league, his price is lower than established players like Cech and Hart, but he is guaranteed to start the season as Manchester United’s number one. However, any would be buyer should be careful to keep an eye on his form; any loss of it, and the Spaniard will be usurped by the ambitious Anders Lindegaard.
2. Demba Ba– Ba’s form at West Ham last season wasn’t enough to keep the East London club in the Premier League, but it did manage to insure a future in the top flight for the Senegalese himself. At 6.5 million, Ba is one of the cheaper strikers in the game, but as he proved at West Ham, a mediocre setting is not enough to curb his goalscoring.
3. Leighton Baines– There is no more valuable asset in the game than a goalscoring defender, making Baines an ideal Fantasy target. Not only is he likely to rack up the assists from his full back position, but he is also Everton’s main set piece taker – dominating over corners, free kicks and most importantly, penalties.
4. Rafael Da Silva– When evaluating fantasy options pre season, one of the most important things to consider are the underrated portions of a strong defense. While players like Vidic and Evra are highly costly members of United’s back line, Rafael (though likely to make just as many appearances) is a cheaper option. Available for 5.5 million, signing him is a must; with both O’Shea and Brown off to Sunderland, the stage is set for Rafael to hold the right back spot for the season’s duration.
5. Adel Taarabt– QPR’s announcement that Taarabt would be remaining at Loftus Road was not only a huge relief to fans of the newly promoted side, fantasy gurus too were immensely happy to see a potential “cheap gem” remain in the league. Taarabt has been an enigmatic character throughout his career, but if he can stay in form throughout the upcoming campaign, then anyone willing to take a risk on him will be rewarded for it.
6. Aaron Hughes– Over the last few years, virtually all fantasy users have at one point considered Aaron Hughes their secret weapon; his attraction soon caught on after initial buyers were rewarded hugely. With Fulham perenially a solid defensive team, Hughes is a way to guarantee clean sheets, yet his price is far more reasonable than that of fellow center half Brede Hangelaand.
Statistical Note: Aaron Hughes claimed fourteen clean sheets last season, just as many as John Terry.
7. Robert Huth– An uncompromising center back, Huth takes no prisoners, and is the sort of player valued immensely by Tony Pulis’ Stoke City side. Aggressive in the air, Huth is the perfect foil for Rory Delap’s throw ins, just the man to get that telling flick onto one of the Irishman’s bombs. At 6 million pounds, Huth should feature heavily in your fantasy masterplan.
Statistical Note: Huth was tied for most goals scored from defense last season with six. He also registered three assists, tied for fourth best from the back.
8. David Silva– Assists, goals, performance points, David Silva offers the fantasy manager everything required from a midfield player. His terrific showings last season led to critical acclaim from experts everywhere, and going into next year, the Spaniard is expected to pick up from where he left off. Availabe for 9.5 million, David Silva is worth a look.
9. Kieran Gibbs– Arsene Wenger’s decision to sell Gael Clichy to Manchester City served as a clear message to Fantasy managers everywhere: Kieran Gibbs is ready to step up. Much like Rafael, Gibbs is likely to start in defense for one of the better teams in the league, though without carrying such a heavy price tag.
10. Didier Drogba– Drogba was nowhere near his best last season, but that drop in performance level has only set him up to be someone’s secret weapon this year. At a reduced price of 10.5 million, the Ivorian deserves consideration – following his failure to perform in 2009, he won the golden boot in 2010, and there is no reason to believe that he isn’t capable of pulling off a similar feat this year.
Statistical Note: Drogba claimed more assists than any other striker last season; 15.
11. Stewart Downing– Last year, Stewart Downing was one of the Premier League’s most underrated performers. By far Aston Villa’s player of the season, Downing managed to engineer his way back into England contention, as well as into the transfer plans of Kenny Dalglish… With nine assists last campaign, Downing is expected to continue to set up others; his crosses from the left will be greatly enjoyed by Andy Carroll.