Us football fans all like to think we know more about football than anybody else. Whether it is at work, in the pub, with friends and even as we walk through the turnstiles, there’s simply no point in denying one of football’s worst kept secrets – we all have an opinion and it is usually right! if only we had the chance to prove it, we would show the world that we mean business…
As the Premier League kicks off this weekend, every single one of us will have the chance of doing just that by picking a fantasy football team and joining a fantasy league. Are you a “marquee signing” man and won’t even consider the idea of leaving Aguero and Rooney out of your team or would you rather unearth gems a la Jelavic?
Whatever your philosophy, this is the only occasion where the playing field is leveled as far as financial power is concerned, so what are your waiting for? Have a look at our fantasy league guide and challenge your mates!
Prices and statistics according to fantasy.premierleague.com
Joe Hart – Manchester City (£7m, selected by 14.3% of players)
Hart had a blinder last season, keeping 17 clean sheets and conceding only 29 goals as City won their first title in 44 years. The England custodian scored 166 points and thanks to a solid defence we can expect more of the same this year.
Michel Vorm – Swansea (£5.5m, selected by 16% of players)
Vorm was one the main reasons behind Swansea’s excellent campaign last season. The Dutchman kept 14 clean sheets and scored 158 points and at £5.5m is definitely worth the money.
Tim Krul – Newcastle United (£5.5m, selected by 21.6% of players)
Another Dutch keeper who impressed last season, Krul was pivotal to Newcastle’s surge for a European spot, keeping 15 clean sheets and scoring 156 points along the way. With the Magpies looking to cement their status as European contender, Krul has been tipped to continue his outstanding form.
Ali Al-Habsi – Wigan Athletic (£5m, selected by 4% of players).
At £5m Al-Habsi represents an excellent back-up choice considering his penalty-saving record (he saved four last season). Wigan’s back four isn’t exactly solid though, you’ve been warned!
Patrice Evra – Manchester United (£7m, selected by 10.7% of players)
Evra was the highest-scoring defender last season, with 159 points courtesy of six assists and 19 clean sheets. Pricey, but worth it.
Vincent Kompany – Manchester City (£7.5m, selected by 26.5% of players)
Kompany was arguably the standout defender in the league last year as he marshaled City to the title, scoring 145 points. At £7.5m he’s the most expensive defender available, but his three goals last year show he’s an investment worth every penny.
Kyle Walker – Tottenham Hotspurs (£6.5m, selected by 22.4% of players)
Walker established himself at White Hart Lane last year, combining marauding runs with defensive solidity as his 14 clean sheets and two goals yielded 140 fantasy football points. Expect him to follow the same path this year.
John Terry – Chelsea (£7m, selected by 10.5% of players)
Despite the controversies off the pitch, only three defenders scored more fantasy football points than JT’s 138 last season. At £7m he’s not a bargain, but his six league goals last season should make him a popular choice.
Ashley Williams – Swansea (£5m, selected by 15.4% of players)
Williams was one of Swansea’s star performers last year, scoring 123 points. £5m for a player who’s a certain starter is money well spent.
Nathaniel Clyne – Southampton (£4m, selected by 5.0% of players)
Clyne makes his debut in the top-flight with newly-promoted Southampton and while big things are expected from the former Palace man, the fact that Saints won’t have any pressure on their shoulders could help him. At £4m he’s worth a gamble.
Clint Dempsey – Fulham (£9.5m, selected by 12.5% of players)
Dempsey was the highest-scoring midfielder in fantasy football last season, netting 17 times and providing seven assists for a return of 209 points, before spending the summer waiting for a proposed move to Liverpool to materialise. Will he repeat last season’s heroics or will you invest £9.5m on another player?
Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspurs (£9.5m, selected by 19.6% of players)
At this level they don’t come cheap – and the Spurs flyer certainly isn’t – but 10 goals and 14 assists for a 195 points tally should be enough to wet your appetite.
David Silva – Manchester City (£10m, selected by 16.6% of players)
At £10m Silva is the most expensive midfielder in the league, but he was also City’s guiding light for long spells of last season as he scored six goals and produced 17 assists worth 184 points. With City looking to retain the title, the Spaniard will yet again be expected to shine. Will you make him one of your star signings?
Juan Mata – Chelsea (£9.5m, selected by 12% of players)
Mata’s first season at Stamford Bridge was a success as he established himself as one the best midfielders in the league, scoring six goals and producing 16 assists for a total of 162 points. Enough to make your team?
Nathan Dyer – Swansea (£5.5m, selected by 13% of players)
Midfield is a crucial area to your fantasy team’s success and a midfielder worth only £5.5 is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Even more so if, as in Dyer’s case, he scored five goals and delivered four assists last season for a total of 122 fantasy football points.
Chris Brunt – West Bromwich Albion (£6m, selected by 1% of players)
Brunt had a typically solid season last year, scoring twice and delivering eight assists. His stats might not set the world alight, but fantasy managers know that, being WBA’s penalty taker, Brunt is likely to repay the £6m investment.
Robin Van Persie – Manchester United (£13m, selected by 13.7% of players)
Following one the longest transfer sagas in recent years, last year’s top scorer and PFA Player of the Year left the Emirates Stadium and moved to Manchester United. £13m is a big investment but fantasy football managers will hardly be fazed, considering RVP scored 30 goals and delivered 13 assists for a massive 269 points.
Wayne Rooney – Manchester United (£12m, selected by 26.1% of players)
Rooney scored 27 goals and added eight assists last season, worth 230 fantasy football points. After buying RVP, United now have the deadliest strike force in the league. Will fantasy managers fork out £12m to recreate that partnerships in their teams?
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City (£11.5m, selected by 32.1% of players)
Aguero took the Premier League by storm last season, registering a total of 211 fantasy league points courtesy of 23 goals and eight assists. At £11.5 he’s slightly cheaper than RVP and Rooney, which could make the pendulum swing his way as fantasy managers finalise their deals.
Demba Ba – Newcastle United (£7.5m, selected by 13.2% of players)
Ba was one of the signings of the season last year, scoring 16 goals and chipping in with five assists for a total of 165 points. The prospect of a partnership between him and Papiss Cissè has the Toon Army fans dreaming and at £7.5m he represents a true bargain.
Grant Holt – Norwich City (£6.5m, selected by 8.8% of players)
Apart from Wayne Rooney no other Englishman scored more than the Norwich targetman last season with 15 goals, worth 138 fantasy league points. Holt will be again the main man for the Canaries but will he be able to deliver the goods again? Expect many to spend £6.5m following his performances last season.
Rickie Lambert – Southampton (£6m, selected by 3.9% of players)
Lambert was a pivotal figure for the Saints last season as they achieved promotion to the Premier League, scoring 27 league goals. At £6m he could be a slightly expensive gamble but could he also prove to be a late blossomer like Grant Holt?
10 new imports to keep an eye on
Ron Vlaar – Aston Villa (£5m, selected by 1.3% of players)
The Dutchman will be a key figure in Villa’s back four as he looks to bring his experience to Paul Lambert’s side. At £5m he could prove an excellent back-up for your team.
Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspurs (£6.5m, selected by 3.6% of players)
The Belgium international was one of AVB’s first signings for Spurs and his versatility could make him extremely popular with fantasy managers. At £6.5m he could prove to be an astute purchase.
Steven Whittaker – Norwich City (£4.5m, selected by 0.1% of players)
Reliability and ability to play in both defence and midfield, make the former Rangers defender an interesting, if underrated, option for many fantasy managers. Six goals and seven assists in two season aren’t too bad for a right-back either.
Michu – Swansea (£6.5m, selected by 2.2% of players)
The highly-rated Spaniard was one Michael Laudrup’s first deals of the summer and following his 15 league goals last season, fans at Liberty Stadium hope he’ll thrive in Swansea’s passing game.
Shinij Kagawa – Manchester United (£8.5m, selected by 14,7% of players)
Following the arrival of Van Persie, the signing of the Japanese international has gone largely under the radar but expect him to light up the league with goals and assists and don’t be surprised if his price reaches double digit during the season.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea (£9.5m, selected by 13.4% of players)
Chelsea’s biggest signing of the summer represents a gamble for most fantasy managers. A terrific talent or just a over-hyped ego? Things to consider when planning to pay almost £10m.
Oscar – Chelsea (£8.5m, selected by 2.1% of players)
The Brazilian showed what he’s capable of at the Olympic Games, as Brazil finished as runners-up but will he get enough games to establish himself as a regular at the Bridge? Not many managers would like to see an £8.5m investment warming the bench.
Santi Cazorla – Arsenal (£9m, selected by 6.3% of players)
Following RVP’s goodbye Arsenal need a new hero and the Spanish international could fill the gap. A midfielder with an eye for goal, expect him to deliver assist after assist. At £9m he’s pricey but almost a certain starter.
Lukas Podolski – Arsenal (£8.5 m, selected by 16.4% of players)
Alongside Olivier Giroud the German international will be assigned the task to provide the goods in front of goal. Which he’s more than capable to do, as well as chipping in with a few assists too. Not a bad signing at £8.5m.
Mladen Petric – Fulham (£6m, selected by 1.2% of players)
Petric has been on fire in pre-season and will look to carry his form into the season as he seeks to establish himself as a regular for the Cottagers. Don’t bet against him getting 10 goals this season.
You had the desire, you had the strategy, you had the money (well, fantasy money that is) and now you have the guide to this year fantasy league. Time to join the Football Rascal Fantasy League on the Premier League website, to show that you’re the best fantasy manager out there.
Simply register on fantasy.premierleague.com and enter PIN 718463-181169.