If you’re currently considering the Fantasy merits of QPR’s Ryan Nelsen, one thing is for certain – you can’t be accused of chasing points. With just Fantasy Premier League (FPL) 18 points garnered over the first nine Gameweeks, the former Blackburn man has hardly set the Fantasy world alight this term but the Kiwi is starting to suggest he could offer us a viable cut-price defensive option.
Having missed the first two matches of the 2012/13 campaign after his Olympic Games exertions with New Zealand, Nelsen couldn’t have asked for a more difficult debut as Mark Hughes’ side were seen off 3-1 at the Etihad in Gameweek 3. The following week, however, his first game in front of the Loftus Road faithful not only produced an unexpected clean sheet against Chelsea but also earned the centre-half maximum FPL bonus points, helping his owners to a nine point return.
While Anton Ferdinand seems to have fallen out of favour since that Gameweek 4 goalless draw, starting just a single game since, Nelsen has been the only mainstay in the ever-changing QPR defence, with Hughes clearly reliant on his physical presence and organisational skills at the heart of the back-four. Although the R’s have failed to register another clean sheet, Nelsen again picked up bonus in his second home match despite the home side falling 2-1 to West Ham.
Over the past couple of Gameweeks, QPR’s resilience at the back has propelled Nelsen onto our recently updated Watchlist rankings. With just a single goal conceded against Everton and Arsenal, there are hopes that Hughes’ side are finally starting to tighten up just in time for a trio of crucial fixtures for the Premier League basement-dwellers.
If Hughes is to engineer a climb out of the drop zone, the upcoming home games against Reading and Southampton, with a trip to Stoke sandwiched in between, will be vital to the R’s prospects. There’s no doubt his acquisition would be something of a punt but if you fancy picking up Nelsen purely for home games alone, his next five Loftus Road showdowns read (REA, SOT, AVL, FUL, WBA) all the way up to Gameweek 19. Priced at 4.0 in FPL and 3.9 in the Sky Sports game, there are few cut-price defensive options who offer such a consistency of starts with decent home fixtures to follow.