Abounding in every kitchen, but an unsatisfactory meal in themselves: budget defenders are the condiments of the Fantasy football feast. Only earning a place at the table if they marry with the main course, for every ketchup there’s a forgotten chutney, peacefully gathering mould in the dusty recesses of the cupboard. With few Fantasy managers ambitious of employing their free transfers to chop and change the cheapies that no longer cut the mustard, and fewer still prepared to pay points to preserve themselves from such pickles, Winter Wildcard season affords a welcome window to clear the shelves and stock up afresh for the closing months of the campaign:
Boasting both long term promise and short term appeal, Swansea’s Ben Davies stakes a claim as the most appetising option in the budget bracket at present. Promoted to the starting line up in the wake of Neil Taylor’s broken leg on September 1, the young Welshman has ably fended off competition from emergency signing Dwight Tiendalli to make the left-back berth his own. Initially priced at just 4.0 in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL), a cool million less than the rest of the Swansea rearguard, Davies has emerged as the obvious choice for those keen to tap into the clean sheets on offer from Michael Laudrup’s side.
Swansea sit joint seventh in the Premier League in terms of clean sheets, and fifth in terms of fewest goals conceded – on both counts that’s comfortably ahead of Manchester United, and crucially it’s a better defensive record than the other teams with budget defenders on offer. Of players with an initial price of 4.0 in the FPL, Davies currently sits third in terms of total points on 56, with only the potentially Canada-bound Ryan Nelsen and the hamstrung Hammer Joey O’Brien ahead of him. Even if Nelsen stays at Loftus Road and O’Brien quickly recovers, the Swans’ fixture list should afford Davies the chance to challenge for the top spot over the coming weeks.
Stoke arrive at the Liberty on Saturday in uncharacteristically shaky form, having shipped 10 goals in their last three games and failed to find the net away from the Britannia since December 1. Following that are trips to Sunderland and West Ham – both of whom boast an underwhelming tally of just 24 goals for the season thus far. As the spring approaches the Swans host strugglers QPR and Newcastle, with a testing trip to Anfield tucked in between.
Priced at just 4.2 in the FPL (3.6 in the Sky Sports game) Fantasy managers are likely to have few qualms about playing Davies at home and benching him for tricky away trips but it’s worth noting that the Swans backline has been breached just twice in their last five away games. Indeed, a total of nine goals against outside of the Liberty is the joint-best away defence along with Arsenal. With fullbacks afforded license to roam in Laudrup’s system, those who opt for a home-only schedule over the short-term (STK, QPR, NEW) should provide Davies good chances to augment his haul of two assists and reap returns at both ends of the pitch.
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For Gameweek 38
- van Persie
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“I am happy with the way I’ve started, but on the other hand, I should have scored four or five more, so that’s something for me to work on.”Robin Van Persie talks about his early form at United ahead of his first Manchester derby