Fantasy

PREMIER LEAGUE FANTASY FOOTBALL – GAMBLE OR PLAY IT SAFE?

If you’re still playing the official Premier League Fantasy Football after 12 games, there can only be one of five reasons for doing so:

  1. You’re In a paid-entry Fantasy Football league
    2. You’re In a work-related league
    3. You’re in a family or friends league
    4. You watch way too much football
    5. All of the above

If you’ve put money down before the season, the likelihood is that you’re now in the chase to catch up those who made wiser moves sooner than you. If so, you’re going to need some help.

If you’re in a work-related league, you’re either top dog, swanning around between workstations telling everyone how you pick Tammy Abraham after he hit the post at Old Trafford on the opening day because you ‘just knew’. Or you’re lagging behind employees who report to you, skulking around, dodging that guy from accounts who sold Teemu Pukki after his man of the match performance against Man City and can’t resist telling you exactly why.

If you’re in a family league, then you’re in a world of hurt unless you’re top, and even then you live in fear, waking in the night muttering new formations, haunted by the thought that your annoying big sister who thinks you’re clinically tragic and still has Joe Hart in goal because she ‘likes his hair’ is just three bonus points away from overtaking you.

Friends leagues are even worse. They’re like a family league but multiplied by the power of n, and that n stands for ‘needle’. Banter was back in August, gentle ribbing saved for September and October, those halcyon times. By now, late November, you’re getting merciless abuse on a daily basis for investing most of your money on Harry Kane and Harry Maguire. Your name in the pub is ‘Harry’, even though it’s Steve.

We’re going to assume that you fit in one of those groups, because if you watch way too much football, then you are already miles clear at the top of your league and besides, you know it all anyway and won’t care what we think, right?

We thought so.

Goalkeepers

Top pick: Mat Ryan (Brighton)
Points Obtained: 55
Current Player Cost: 4.7

So far, it’s the Brighton stopper who has earned the most points and certainly proved to be the best value, though it’s a close run thing with Bournemouth’s young Aaron Ramsdale, who at 4.6 cost, has earned 52 points, the same as Kasper Schemichel. Popular picks such as Ederson (6.0 / 45 points) and David De Gea (5.5 / 42 points) are some way behind.

If you can’t book the Brighton or Bournemouth stoppers, then Tim Krul (4.5 / 37 points) looks good value and he’s a penalty saver extraordinaire. With Norwich likely to concede penalties all season, the Dutch stopper might be your best chance.

Defenders

Top pick: John Lundstram (Sheffield United)
Points Obtained: 70
Current Player Cost: 4.9

Five clean sheets, ten bonus points and three goals in a dozen games, it’s Sheffield United’s John Lundstram who tops the charts for defending at this stage of the season. The Blades have been one of the surprise packages of the season, and Lundstram is comfortably ahead of Ricardo Pereira (6.3 / 61 points) and Andrew Robertson (7.0 / 57 points).

Lundstram has to be in your squad by now, but Ben Chilwell (5.7 / 54 points) is a full-back coming into great form and 1.5 points cheaper than the costly-but-effective Trent Alexander Arnold (7.2 / 52 points).

Elsewhere, Lewis Dunk is in goalscoring form having found the net at Old Trafford, but is suspended until 30th November, so if you fancy him as your next defensive trade, you’ll need to wait a week.

Midfielders

Top pick: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
Points Obtained: 83
Current Player Cost: 12.1

When it comes to your midfield, you’ve likely established by now that you can only afford one of the ‘big four’ players, who are Mané, Kevin De Bruyne (10.2 / 76 points), Mo Salah (12.3 / 72 points) and Raheem Sterling (12.0 / 67 points). Of those, clearly Mané is the current best pick, but don’t be surprised to see De Bruyne come into his own, especially this weekend with Bernardo Silva suspended.

Below the fab four, however, there is the best value to be had, and a solid argument for not picking any of the top four could be made on the strength of the chasing pack. James Maddison (7.5 / 62 points) has been incredible value so far, as has the mercurial Mason Mount (6.8 / 58 points), a player who has bridged the gap from Championship to Premier League like it was nothing at all.

Our own tip at this stage, however, is a Manchester United player. No, really. No, we know, but honestly, trust us. Anthony Martial is 7.7 points to purchase and has already accumulated 38 points, having only played six games. Averaging over six points per game is one thing, but the French finisher is essentially United’s number 9 when fit and has scored two in two. Bon chance.

Forwards

Top pick: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Points Obtained: 92
Current Player Cost: 9.6

Goals change games, as they say, but they change fantasy football dreams even more. Whoever you have up front, you need them bagging goals, which is why the forwards section of every squad is ever-changing.

While Jamie Vardy is clearly a player worth picking every week just because he is so central to Leicester City’s current goal-hungry style, others fill the same role at other clubs and should be on your radar. Tammy Abraham (8.0 / 81 points) has been a fantastic pick, but he’s not alone is proving great value.

Danny Ings (6.0 / 52 points) has been a ray of light in an otherwise shoddy Southampton showing so far this season. Teemu Pukki (6.7 / 61 points) and Wolves’ Raul Jiménez (7.3 / 61 points) have both impressed at different stages of the campaign, but we like Aston Villa’s Wesley (6.0 / 48 points) as a pick right now. He’s cheap, he plays the lone striker role, and he has John McGinn (5.7 and great value himself in midfield) slotting him in.

Whoever you go with for the crucial Christmas and New Year period, remember that if you haven’t already blown your Bench Boost, Free Hit, Triple Captain or most crucially, your Wildcard, then you have those boosts under your belt.

What do you mean, you’ve used them all and your Uncle Gary has saved all of his for after the January transfer window? We’re disappointed in you.




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