Eliteserien Fantasy is back! It’s always a tediously long wait from the end of the season in December to the Eliteserien’s resumption in April but the elongated pre-season allows us a good look at all 16 teams & their potential star players for the upcoming season.
So, first things first, who am I and what right do I have to tell you all about the quirks of the Norwegian Eliteserien this season?
My name’s Ben Wells and I’ve been following Norwegian football for 5 years now as a part of my day to day job working for football analytics firm Football Radar. I also co-host & produce the Reverse Nisselue podcast with my colleague Ben Killick, who will also be contributing here, where we speak about all of Norwegian football’s talking points each week. We get some awesome guests on the show, including one of the darlings of the 2019 Eliteserien Fantasy season, former Viking midfielder Kristian Thorstvedt.
Anyway, back to business! As a part of my role at Football Radar I watch every single Eliteserien game. This includes all of the pre-season friendlies that are currently happening as teams prepare for the 2020 season. From a fantasy perspective, it’s great to watch these games as it gives you a good idea of players who could potentially be undervalued or ones who could be due a breakout season.
In this article, I’ll go over a few ‘mid-range’ priced picks who have stood out to me in pre-season already and give you my analysis of whether they could be worth selecting in your Eliteserien Fantasy team. It’s worth bearing in mind as we dive in that many prices have been somewhat inflated in the 2020 edition of the Eliteserien Fantasy, due to a lack of top tier players being signed into the league.
Jens Petter Hauge, Bodø/Glimt (7.5, MID)
- Likely starter for Bodø/Glimt this season
- A key cog in one of the most fluent attacking units in Norway
- A chance of being the side’s penalty taker this season
Hauge has been one of my favourite young Norwegian players for a long while now (any search of my old tweets will yield a shedload of praise…) and whilst he has not been a regular for Glimt since their stint in the OBOS Ligaen in 2017, when Hauge registered 13 assists in 28 games, he has a chance now to become a key player for the side this season.
Håkon Evjen, now of AZ Alkmaar, was one of the most popular picks in the game last season and Hauge is the man earmarked to take Evjen’s role in the Glimt XI this season. The two are fairly similar in their styles of play, Hauge likes to play out wide in a 4-3-3 either on the left or the right-hand side dependent on whether he is playing as an inside forward or more of a natural winger.
A quick look at Hauge’s average positions last season for Glimt will show that he has lots more touches inside the box than an average winger, as he likes to play as an ‘inside forward’ often cutting inside defenders to get a shot away or a late cut back to one of Glimt’s strikers in the middle. This means that his potential G/A output in 2020 could be large, if he plays all 30 games as expected.
7.5 as a price is a little steep for a player who was not a regular last season, but the prices in this year’s game have been inflated this season due to a lack of top transfer business from clubs this Winter. I personally believe Hauge will easily repay this slightly inflated fee, there have been a number of foreign clubs following his progress of late and 2020 could be the season that Hauge finally lives up to his enormous potential.
Benjamin Kallmann, FK Haugesund (7.0, ATT)
- With usual number 1 forward Ibrahima Wadji suspended until July, Kallman is a sure starter.
- 3 goals & 1 assist for Viking last season (11 league games, 9 starts)
- Improved every week after joining Viking in the Summer, due a BIG season
As previously mentioned, the market for strikers in Eliteserien Fantasy this season is hugely inflated at present. Players such as Veton Berisha (9.0), Mos Abdellaoue (7.5) & Erik Botheim (7.0) have all had their prices jacked up significantly despite failing to impress or even play that much in 2019.
At 7.0, I think Benjamin Kallman of FK Haugesund is huge value for money in the current market. His stats on paper for Viking last season are not too impressive, but he took a little while to adapt to their style of play having joined mid-season and ended up turning in a number of impressive performances towards the end of the season.
Kallmann is still a young player, a full Finnish international, and is due a big breakout season. With confidence placed in him already by the Haugesund management (named as their number one striker), I think that 2020 could be the season we finally see him start to cash in on some goals. Kallmann often gets in brilliant goalscoring positions, but his finishing has let him down in the past.
It would not surprise me if Kallman scored between 10-15 in the league this season, which would make him great value at just 7.0. Currently selected by just 2.3% of fantasy managers, I feel that Kallmann could quickly become a popular value pick upfront.
Christian Borchgrevink, Valerenga IF (5.0, DEF)
- Young RB who will be first choice for Valerenga this season
- Has previously been on the fringes, but new manager Fagermo rates him highly
- Good attacking output and due to Valerenga’s style of play, will be relied upon heavily for balls into the box.
Borchgrevink is a Norwegian U21 international who has been earmarked for success at Valerenga for a few years now. Despite a couple of average loan spells with Ham-Kam and Notodden in the OBOS Ligaen, Borchgrevink is now Valerenga’s first choice RB ahead of the experienced Amin Nouri and is sure to make an impression in the 2020 Eliteserien.
Borchgrevink is naturally an attacking, modern full-back who is often relied upon for his good delivery into the box from out wide. He also has a goal in him, as evidenced by his long-range stunner vs. Rosenborg last season (2:13 on the video).
There are a lot of good value defenders in the Eliteserien this season, at just 5.0, Borchgrevink is high on the list for me. Whilst Valerenga’s defence may not be relied upon for regular clean sheets, Borchgrevink is the kind of player who can easily make up for this with good offensive performances. At the time of writing, he has been selected by just 2.9% of players, which is sure to rise quickly!
There is still just under a month to go until the Eliteserien season kicks off. March is always an important month in the calendar for Eliteserien sides as they start to tease their favoured starting XI in this month’s training matches, so make sure to keep an eye on that.
It’s also worth looking out for new signings on the horizon. Brann are close to confirming a huge loan move for Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann who could easily go in as the highest priced goalkeeper in the game this season & more clubs are likely to make late moves in the market.
More to come
Myself & my co-host Ben Killick will continue to write here with regular updates on the Eliteserien and Eliteserien Fantasy, as well as speaking about Eliteserien Fantasy in a segment every week on our Podcast, in collaboration with Fantasy Football Scout. Tune in every week!
Discussion about the weekly Podcast will happen right here on Fantasy Football Scout, in the latest Eliteserien article.
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