Last time out we built a top heavy team based on three elite strikers. This time we focus on building a team that capitalizes on the double Gameweek for Chelsea and Reading.
Chelsea made a statement in the transfer window, signing both Eden Hazard and Oscar. Both are attacking midfielders and add to Chelsea’s formidable midfield. Fantasy wise, both come under consideration alongside Mata, Ramires, and Lampard. Lets look at the options one by one:
- Mata was Chelsea’s highest scoring Fantasy player last season with six goals and sixteen assists for a total of 162 points in a little over 2500 minutes. Given that it was Mata’s first season in English football we can expect at least similar returns this season. He costs a hefty £9.5 but will most likely play in the hole and is the safe pick of the bunch.
- Considering the amount of money Chelsea spent on Hazard he’ll play a prominent role from the start. Coming off an amazing season at Lille, with 20 goals and 15 assists in 38 appearances he has the talent needed to thrive at Chelsea. The only question is whether he will need time to settle. Because of that I would rather go with Mata from the get go.
- Ramires is an intriguing option at only £7.0 and could start the season as part of the attacking three in Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 lineup. However, we are setting up the team to maximize our double Gameweek assets and Mata will outscore Ramires 99% of the time.
- With Lampard both nearing the end of his career and his likely move further back in the holding two in midfield he’s not an option for now.
- Oscar’s purchase is one for the future and he will be bedded in slowly at Chelsea. He could come to prominence later in the season but he’s not a bet I’m willing to place early on.
Drogba has left Chelsea to play in China which leaves Fernando Torres as the main striker. Priced at £10.0, I’m betting that a combination of attacking support, confidence boost from the European Championships, and being guaranteed a starting place will see him start the season on a high note.
This leaves us with a pick of Chelsea’s defenders. Terry, Cole, and Ivanovic look set for starting spots under Di Matteo. Thus, Luiz and Cahill will battle for the last spot and the uncertainty makes them poor picks for our Fantasy team. Terry is out of consideration because of his impending disciplinary hearing.
This leaves us picking between Cole and Ivanovic. Cole is our pick. He is Chelsea’s most reliable pick and has delivered four to six assists a season in his last three seasons.
Reading kept clean sheets in almost half of their league games last season and are an enticing budget defence option for the start of the season. There is a marked lack of quality options in midfield, especially with Jimmy Kebe likely to be injured for the start of the season.
Reading’s goalkeeper, Adam Federici, is only priced at £4.5 which enables us to pick another cheap goalkeeper for a budget rotation policy.
Doubling down on the clean sheet bet, we’ll opt for center back Gorkss who is priced at £4.0. You could choose any of Gorkss, Pearce, and Mariappa, based on who is likely to start against Stoke.
The most popular Reading pick is new signing Pogrebnyak who had an excellent late entrance to last season, scoring six goals in 943 minutes for Fulham. He is in almost 17% of Fantasy managers’ teams at the moment. Keep in mind though that Pogrebnyak scored six goals in only seven shots on target, which is an indicator that a regression to fewer goals scored per game can be expected. However, a lower strike rate can be tolerated due to the starting price of £5.0.
Tottenham and Manchester United Cover
Picking three Chelsea and Reading players puts us back by £39.5, leaving around £6.7 per remaining player (a total of £60.5).
By focusing on the double Gameweek we face the problem of neither Chelsea nor Reading playing in Gameweek 3. This means even if we transfer out Reading or Chelsea players after Gameweek 1 and 2 we’ll have a non-player for Gameweek 3. We’ll have to be extra careful to pick guaranteed starters for the rest of the team, and a good Gameweek 2 and 3 captain’s pick.
According to Chris Glover’s goalkeeper analysis Federici rotates well with Sunderlands’s Mignolet. Mignolet in general rotates well with several keepers which gives us the option of shipping Federici out early on.
RvP’s transfer to Manchester United reinforces my belief that Aguero is the must-have striker for the beginning of the season, while we assess the effect of RvP’s and Rooney’s partnership. Aguero comes in at a hefty £11.5 which leaves us with £44.0 and our striker and goalkeeper spots filled up.
Because of our focus on the double Gameweek we have attacking cover from neither Tottenham nor Manchester United. With no striker slots available we look at the midfield options. In the analysis yesterday I opted for Tottenham’s Van der Vaart but for an extra £0.5 we get Gareth Bale, who offers more consistency.
From United I chose Nani as Valencia looks likely to start the season at right back giving Nani his preferred right wing spot. Nani and Bale delivered eight to fourteen goals and assists last season and should be guaranteed starters for the opening games. Nani could be more of a doubt later in the season due to United’s wealth of attacking options.
Rounding out the midfield we opt for budget picks Nathan Dyer of Swansea and Aston Villa’s Stephen Ireland.
Dyer is set to play a prominent role in Michael Laudrup’s attacking setup and is priced right for us.
Paul Lambert recently told reporters he felt Ireland was a “real talent” and “we’ve got to get him in positions where he can hurt teams”. Based on Norwich’s attacking prowess last season we can assume that Aston Villa and Ireland will delivered more Fantasy points this season.
Now our options get more limited. Nani and Bale set us back an £18.5. Even though Dyer and Ireland are priced more modestly, we have little wiggle room for our remaining defensive spots. In essence, we are in the same spot as in yesterday’s analysis, trying to pick budget options in defence.
This time, we’ll explore other options to mix it up a little bit.
Micah Richards is injured for the start of the season opening up the right back spot for Pablo Zabaleta. Priced £1.5 lower than Kompany, the wily Argentinian provides access to one of the meanest defences in the Premier League.
To accommodate him we’ll need to pick two dirt cheap defenders. Chris Hughton’s Norwich will play a more defensive brand of football than last season under Lambert. This means we can take a punt on full back Tierney at £4.0.
We’ll finish our purchases with Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa (£4.5). He’s a reliable choice in Wigan’s three man defence who performed admirably at the end of last season. Should Wigan carry that form over to the new season Figueroa could provide cheap clean sheet points. He has a home game against Stoke in Gameweek three which suits us just fine.
An obvious criticism of the setup of the team is having to do a double transfer in either of the first two Gameweeks to avoid having to field a non-player in Gameweek three. The best solution would be to play only two Reading players (e.g. swapping Federici for Jaaskelainen) from the start, allowing for a single transfer in the next two Gameweeks and fielding eleven point-getters in Gameweek three.
Another important thing to note is that we have no budget for change. A popular option will be to start with Torres and transfer him out for Rooney or RvP in Gameweek three. To be able to do that we either have to sell Cole or Mata for a cheaper option after the first Gameweek or start with a cheaper team. An option here would be to trade in Nani for a midfielder priced at £6.0 – £7.0, such as Sunderland’s Larsson or Stoke’s Etherington.
Despite this being an interesting exercise, I will not go this route for my team. I would rather start with a more balanced team while still gambling on double Gameweek players. Starting with two Chelsea players and a Reading defender would make navigating around Gameweek three much easier.