Rejoice, football fans, for it is finally that time of year again! After the joys of Euro 2016, we are weeks away from the start of the new Premiership season. And that can only mean one thing – fantasy football is back!
Most of you know the format: spend €100 million on a squad of 15 players. Most people will go for the obvious choices – Sergio Agüero featuring in more teams than a set of pitch-side water-bottles. But what happens when you’ve players to pick but no spends left? Every year, fantasy football leagues up and down the countries are won by those who do a little bit of digging and uncover some hidden gems.
Bargain fantasy football players – Goalkeeper
Heurelo Gomes – Watford – £5 million
At first glance, most people would overlook Gomes down to his craziness: only 3% of players are picking him. Delve a litter deeper into his fantasy football statistics and you’ll see a decent bargain emerge. Scoring 157 points last year, maintaining 11 clean sheets and making 123 saves, Watford’s stopper towers over the much lauded David De Gea. De Gea earned 142 points and made 83 saves last season. As bargain fantasy football players go, Gomes is likely as good as they come and a half million cheaper than the United number one – plus he’s a bit of craic to watch.
Bargain fantasy football players – Defender
Patrick Van Aanholt – Sunderland – £5 million
Despite Sunderland just about escaping relegation last year, former Chelsea benchwarmer Van Aanholt was one of their standout performers, especially in the second half of the season. A return of 6 goals and 4 assists did much to contribute to his final score of 127 points. A great positive for a defender is also his low risk nature, having only picked up 2 yellow cards all season. Van Aanholt’s run of form is on par with Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, highest scoring fantasy football defender last year – but costing £1.5 million more. Van Aanholt is a very attractive offering for a defender spot indeed.
Bargain fantasy football players – Midfielders
George Boyd – Burnley – £5.5 million
For a bargain midfield option who could fit into any fantasy football team, look no further than Burnley’s George Boyd. Boyd played a critical role in getting Burnley back into the Premiership for this season, and has previous Premiership experience with the Clarets – he was named Burnley’s player of the year in 2014/15, and scored 110 points. That’s just 21 points shy of Kevin De Bruyne last year, who costs nearly double the price at £10.5 million. Boyd can also do this:
N’Golo Kanté – Chelsea – £5 million
Despite what Gary Lineker might say on Twitter, Kanté moving from Leicester to Chelsea represents another step in the players’ meteoric evolution (2 years ago, he was playing for Caen in France. We’d never heard of them either). £5 million is a snip for a player who is likely to be Antonio Conte’s midfield general at Chelsea, especially with Matic looking likely to move away. Kanté logged 108 points for his fantasy football managers last year at Leicester, but expect a higher return from him this year.
Bargain fantasy football players – Striker
Shane Long – Southampton – £6.5 million
With Southampton in a state of transition thanks to Koeman’s move to Everton and a number of other clubs interested in signing him, Long is good value at £6.5 million. His stats aren’t bad either. Long scored 10 goals and 109 points last year, even though he spent most of the season as backup. But with Pelle likely on the move to China, Long looks set to get more playing time this year, which means more terrified defences and an even higher points return.
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