As relief sweeps through Fantasy Football Scout’s boards with the news that Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is finally up and running, we’ve decided to run our eye over the starting prices. There are some pleasant surprises to be found amongst the 2011/12 player listings, with plenty squad variety offered by what’s on offer. So, amongst the barrage of Rate My Teams, here’s our rundown on the most eye-catching of the FPL player pricing for this upcoming season:
In light of Gael Clichy’s move to Man City, Kieran Gibbs may well turn out to be the best option Arsenal’s defence. Coming in at 5.5, Gibbs is 0.5 less than the likes of Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny, and Arsene Wenger has hinted at giving Gibbs a chance to claim the left-back as his own. Thomas Vermaelen, despite playing only 5 games due to injury last season, is still priced relatively highly (7.0), with his 138pt, 2009/10 performances still clearly in FPL’s mind. With Wojciech Szczęsny now looking like the Gunners number one, his price jumps to 6.0, up from last year’s 4.5. No longer such a bargain, then.
Both Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie are amongst a select few to come in at 12.0, the highest price for this upcoming Fantasy campaign. The Arsenal skipper’s likely move to Barcelona perhaps opens the door for Aaron Ramsey, at 6.5, though Jack Wilshere, also at 6.5, is a guaranteed starter and, depending on Arsene Wenger’s thinking, could fill the void left by Cesc’s departure. Theo Walcott has a jump in price, with the winger now at 9.0, only 0.5 less than Samir Nasri. Gervinho’s price, when added to the game, will be of great interest to Fantasy managers- if plenty starts are guaranteed, he could be better value for money than any Arsenal midfielder, though pre-season will reveal more.
The departures of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing means Marc Albrighton‘s position as right winger for Aston Villa looks nailed-on at present, and at 6.5 should represent good value for money. Darren Bent‘s consistency, season after season, sees him now priced at 10.0. New Villa keeper Shay Given starts at 5.0 and is a contender for cheap(ish) keeper rotation.
Blackburn’s Martin Olsson and Junior Hoilett may suffer as a result of their classification- Olsson comes in as a 5.5 midfielder but was fielded as left-back plenty times last season. Hoilett comes in as a 6.0 forward and although he may prove to be a viable third cheap striker, Steve Kean fielded him as a midfielder on a number of occasions last time round. Chris Samba, at 5.5, may be the best option to begin with, until Kean’s plans for his starting XI become more obvious. For 5.5, Bolton’s Gary Cahill stays the same price as last term and will perhaps only provide good value for money if a move away from the Reebok comes to fruition- he only just broke 100 in 2010/11.
Petr Cech is one of only two keepers to come in at a pricey 7.0. Both John Terry and Ashley Cole are listed at 7.5 but it’s the battle to partner Terry in the heart of the Chelsea back-four that may prove the most intriguing from a Fantasy perspective- Alex is 6.0 and David Luiz 6.5.
Frank Lampard is the highest priced Chelsea player, coming in at 12.0, with Florent Malouda listed at 10.5. Much depends on Andres Villas-Boas’ thinking but if the Frenchman continues as a first-choice player, his performances last season suggest he could provide better value for your budget. Fernando Torres will cost you 11.0, which is 0.5 more than Didier Drogba, but, once again, there’s so much uncertainty over who will be number one choice under the new boss that choosing one over the other is still just guesswork right now. Daniel Sturridge, at 6.5, could appear on many radars if he finds himself farmed out on loan again.
Along with Nemanja Vidic, Leighton Baines is the top-priced defender this term, starting at 8.0. Baines’ consistency, however, should still see him provide plenty value for money. Mikel Arteta is also priced at 8.0 and providing he stays fit, may be something of bargain, with set-pieces and penalties in his locker. Seamus Coleman is no longer a cut-price defender- last season’s performances have seen him rise to 7.0 and also re-classified as a midfielder. Coleman may well play at right-back this season and his number of Fantasy suitors will dwindle. If Jermaine Beckford can better his goal tally of 8 last season and crack double figures, a 6.5 pricing could bring him into the picture.
At 5.0, Mark Schwarzer looks another strong option as goalkeeper, though Fulham’s ability to repel opponents under Martin Jol is yet to be tested to the full. John Arne Riise‘s attacking strengths have been immediately acknowledged, as the Norwegian comes in at 6.0 in his return to the Premier League. Brede Hangeland is 6.5 due to the goal scoring exploits that saw him score 6 times last season, though central defensive partner Aaron Hughes‘ 5.0 may well prove to be the best value for money. Danny Murphy, at 6.0, looks nailed-on for penalties and may grab more goals from open play under Jol, though Clint Dempsey’s 8.5 sees him leap considerably from last year‘s 7.0 and the American may resultantly lose some of his appeal. Jol should play 4-4-2, though, and with Bobby Zamora, at 7.0, likely to be joined by Moussa Dembele or Andy Johnson (both priced 5.5), Fulham’s front men may come good next term.
Pepe Reina, at 6.5, is more expensive than all but one of the Liverpool defence; Glen Johnson‘s attacking game sees the full-back come in at 7.0, though if Martin Kelly can follow up last season’s performances, a price of 5.5 could be worth a punt if it becomes apparent he‘s a first choice.
A look at Liverpool’s new midfield boys sees Jordan Henderson at 6.5, Stewart Downing at 8.5, with Charlie Adam the highest at 9.0. Of the three, Downing looks the one guaranteed most starts. Dirk Kuyt comes in at 10.0 and Steven Gerrard at 11.0 but perhaps the biggest surprise comes when turning to their forwards; Luis Suarez is just 9.5 and will surely attract major investment, with the Uruguayan cheaper than Andy Carroll at 10.0.
Man City sees another pleasant surprise- while Vincent Kompany is re-classified as a defender this season, the Belgian is just 6.0, less than Aleksander Kolarov and Joleon Lescott, who are both priced at 6.5. Kompany will surely see plenty of interest on the back of this. With 18 clean sheets last term, the most of any keeper, Joe Hart is 7.0.
Both Yaya Toure and David Silva climb in price; Toure, despite outscoring Silva last time round, is 8.0 to the latter’s 9.5. Little surprise to see Carlos Tevez at 12.0, though with the Argentine likely to leave Eastlands, Mario Balotelli (9.0) or Edin Dzeko (8.5) could prove to be bargains, if Roberto Mancini decides not to replace Tevez and keep the faith in his current front men.
David de Gea‘s debut season sees the new Man United keeper start at 6.5, less than Hart and Cech. Rafael, at 5.5, will interest plenty Fantasy Managers if he nails down the right-back slot at Old Trafford- with John O’Shea out of the picture following his move to Sunderland, Rafael’s chances look good. As mentioned, Nemanja Vidic is priced at 8.0, with Rio Ferdinand‘s ongoing back problems seeing him come in at 6.5, less than Patrice Evra on 7.
The pricing of United’s wingers may come as a surprise- while both Nani and Ashley Young start at 10, Antonio Valencia comes in at 8.0; a strange one, given he should see just as many starts as the other two. Wayne Rooney begins at 12.0, though Javier Hernandez’s sensational debut campaign sees him jump to 10.0, with Dimitar Berbatov the lowest priced of the trio, on 9.5, despite his 21 goal haul last term.
With uncertainty over who will be Newcastle number one for 2011/12, FPL have hedged their bets and priced both Tim Krul and Steve Harper at 4.5. If either one establishes himself as a clear favourite, they could become a nice cheap keeper option. Jose Enrique starts at 5.0 for Newcastle but looks like being a good pick only if a move to the likes of Arsenal or Liverpool goes through. Steven Taylor, at 4.5, could be a good alternative here- he scored in the last three games of 2010/11. Joey Barton, at 6.0, still looks great value for money with set-pieces pretty much assured. Hatim Ben Arfa could prove to be a real bargain if he recovers full fitness, with 5.5 his starting price. Johan Cabaye is also 6.0 but the new signing is unproven in the Premier League and may take time to settle. Demba Ba looks more than decent value at 6.5 and will be a guaranteed starter.
For Norwich, Grant Holt is 5.5 and will be number one penalty taker to begin with. Wes Hoolahan also comes in at 5.5 and as the Canaries chief creator, could come good for those willing take a risky punt. Adel Taarabt starts at 6.5 for QPR but with French giants Paris St Germain seemingly ready to make a bid, it’s doubtful whether he’ll be at Loftus Road for the start of the season. New signing Jay Bothroyd begins the season at 6.0, though it’s unclear who will take penalties or free-kicks in the event of Taarabt’s departure. Spot-kick duties for Bothroyd would certainly increase his appeal but he seems a little too pricey in comparison to other, more assured options.
Asmir Begovic, beginning at 5.0, looks a safe bet for Stoke; with the keeper showing his capabilities between the sticks last term, more attention is likely to follow. Robert Huth‘s barnstorming previous season sees him come in at 6.0, and the big German looks like suffering in terms of Fantasy investment this upcoming campaign, with Begovic joined by Ryan Shawcross on 5.0. Matthew Etherington, at 6.5, looks another decent mid-range midfield option, particularly if he’s on penalties for Tony Pulis’ side.
John O’Shea starts his Sunderland career at 5.0 and, with his presence likely to boost the Black Cats defence, looks like being subject to heavy investment. Ex Man United team-mate Wes Brown begins at 4.5 and if he looks like a certain starter, may be the preferred option. Sunderland’s midfield offers up some intriguing options- Craig Gardner is 6.0, and if he’s given penalty duties by Steve Bruce, could prove to be a bargain. Bruce has hinted at playing Stephane Sessegnon in the hole behind a lone forward- if this materialises, his 6.5 price could even prove the better option. Seb Larsson is also 6.5 and is always a set-piece threat. Asamoah Gyan, the Black Cats main man up front, comes in at 8.0.
For the final promoted side, Scott Sinclair will see the most investment for Swansea; priced as a 6.0 midfielder, many have hopes for Sinclair to be this year’s Charlie Adam, with plenty goal threat and spot-kick duties. New striker Danny Graham will be Swansea’s number one forward next season and comes in at a mere 5.0 – Graham could be a dark horse here and is, arguably, the best low-price forward available.
Kyle Walker’s impressive loan spell at Aston Villa last term sees FPL slap a 5.5 price tag on the Spurs right-back, the same as Michael Dawson and new keeper Brad Friedel. Raphael Van der Vaart comes in at 10.0 but with a share of set-pieces in addition to spot-kicks, the Dutchman still looks good value. Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are both 8.0, though if Modric goes to Chelsea and plays further forward, the little Croatian could be a steal.
Peter Odemwingie start at 7.5, a reflection of the superb debut campaign that saw him grab 15 goals, 9 assists and 28 Bonus Points. With penalty duties also in the bag, the price won’t deter too many suitors. Roy Hodgson has hinted at more game time for Somen Tchoyi this season, with the player possibly utilised as a forward. At 5.5, he could be a great out-of-position player but is surely too risky to start the season with. Chris Brunt grabbed a respectable 130 points last time round and comes in at 6.0.
Charles N’Zogbia starts at 7.5 and looks value for money whether he stays at Wigan or moves on, with Everton and Aston Villa both intent on acquiring his services. N’Zogbia’s departure could allow Victor Moses to come to the fore for the Latics, and at 5.0, may be one to watch out for. Will new boy Dorus de Vries claim the keeper’s jersey for Wolves? If he does, a price of just 4.0 will boost his Fantasy attraction considerably. Jamie O’Hara, at 6.0, looks another good mid-price midfielder and with set-piece duties added to his ability to pick up Bonus, is surely a better option than Stephen Hunt and Matt Jarvis, who are also priced at 6.0. A fit-again Kevin Doyle could be a viable cheap forward option, with a 6.0 price tag against his name, 0.5 lower than fellow front man Steven Fletcher.