The Fantasy Premier League is back. If you haven’t joined the World Soccer Talk private league of Fantasy Premier League, what are you waiting for? Find out more details about the invitation code.
In this season’s Fantasy Premier League game, the league has adjusted the official rulebook, introducing a new bonus points system (BPS, if you want another acronym in your life). The system uses various metrics to determine each match’s top performer. In previous seasons, actual people assigned these bonus points. This change probably qualifies as an improvement. Now that statistics like “tackles made” and “passes completed” directly affect point-scoring, bloggers won’t waste quite as much time hyperventilating over, say, the travesty that was the league’s failure to award Adel Taarabt bonus points during Gameweek 37 of the 2011/12 season.
I can’t say this lineup won’t change between now and tonight, but here’s what I’m going with:
Goalkeeper (Southampton): Artur Boruc (4.5) – He’s inexpensive, and he starts football matches. That’s pretty much all I look for in a goalkeeper.
Defender (Aston Villa): Ron Vlaar (4.5) – Vlaar is arguably the scariest-looking defender in the Premier League. (And that includes you, Vincent Kompany.) He also plays for an Aston Villa team that shouldn’t have been anywhere near the relegation zone last season. I reckon Villa will finish in the top half.
Defender (Fulham): Sascha Riether (5.0) – Apparently, Riether’s already pretty popular among fantasy nerds. He’s cheap and scores plenty of points.
Defender (Norwich): Sebastian Bassong (5.0) – Decent center half, bona fide goal threat. Enough said.
Midfielder (Chelsea): Eden Hazard (9.5) – Chelsea will win the Premier League this year – mostly because Hazard, who has produced a few genuinely outstanding performance over the past nine months, will only get better.
Midfielder (Chelsea): Juan Mata (10.5) – Mata has been linked to other clubs, but Chelsea says he’s going nowhere. He’s probably the best midfielder in the Premier League.
Midfielder (Manchester City): David Silva (9.0) – Silva underperformed last season, partly because Mancini’s City team ran out of ideas, partly because international tournaments are extremely tiring. Manuel Pellegrini is a good manager; Silva will bounce back.
Midfielder (Norwich): Robert Snodgrass (6.5) – Ah, my token mid-table player, the guy who starts because I can’t afford anyone better. Not that Snodgrass isn’t a useful midfielder: he takes set pieces, scores goals and generally makes his presence felt.
Striker (Southampton): Rickie Lambert (7.5) – Picking Lambert isn’t the daring, hipster-ish move it was this time last year. These days, he’s, like, totally mainstream. No matter. He scores goals.
Striker (Everton): Arouna Kone (7.0) – To win the Fantasy Premier League – and that’s what I intend to do – you have to take big risks. Kone, who has followed Roberto Martinez from Wigan to Everton, is not a star striker. He is a good player who might excel this year. Or he might crash and burn. Fingers crossed.
Striker (Manchester United): Robin van Persie (14.0) – He’s worth the money. And he’s my captain.
Bench (the cheapest available): Steven Davis (4.0), Jack Colback (4.5), Nathan Baker (4.0), and Stanislav Manolev (4.0).