Hey lads, Matt here continuing the pre-season articles in which I analyse the most popular picks from each line and tell you which ones I believe are going to back up the hype! Today I will evaluate the Midfielders: (Since there is so many I will be splitting the fwds and mids into 2 parts, more to look forward too I guess!)
Hazard- Sprung from the Garden of Eden (Let me know if I should give it up) Hazard seems to have been carved by fantasy angels, so I’m sure we all made our prayers and thanked the fantasy gods for what has been brought upon us (especially any Chelsea fans out there!). He has been added to the FPL with a price tag of 9.5 which at first seemed very generous (based on last year’s prices). However when all the prices were released he was rated the second most expensive midfielder, but it’s for good reason too. Coming from Lille where he scored 7 goals and 10 assists in 2010/11 (at the age of 19 mind you), he built on that proving his worth with a massive 20 goals and 15 assists last year! He has just turned 21, absolutely incredible (I’m sure Adz is happy he’s made it to Chelsea)! He has a lot to learn in the epl and can still grow further, but is it too early to back him in over the likes of Nani, Valencia, Van Der Vaart, Dempsey that are proven fantasy talent? I think he is worth a shot, the stats say he will be huge, his early pre-season games have shown he will be an integral part of Chelsea’s upcoming campaign and with a double gameweek coming straight up he is definitely worth a punt. By GW 3 (when Chelsea miss), if he hasn’t performed he is priced high enough for you to trade him to practically any midfielder, which is always a good thing. One unknown with these new players entering the EPL is how well received they will be to getting bonus points as some rack up more than others, but that’s another issue entirely. I believe he will be very solid, maybe not exceptional as it’s only his first season in the EPL (I may be wrong!) but like I say, he’s almost a must have in your teams to begin with and can take it from there. It seems 26.6% managers have so far agreed with me, I think it should be higher… Get on board!
Cabaye- Gonna be honest here, this one surprised me a lot! Yes he had a decent season last year, but now he’s the second most popular mid selected by 23.2% of teams! Have I missed something? 4 goals and 8 assists last year was a solid return for someone his price, accumulating 129 points (missing 5 games). Roughly scoring 4 points per game, he picked up 15 bonus points along the way (handy, but by no means outstanding). These are not exactly huge figures. Then I thought, it was his first season in the EPL, gotta give a guy some time to adjust. He definitely saw an uprise in returns later on in the season, finishing strong after Cisse’s arrival. Priced at just 7.0, he certainly could be a steal but at the same time he could reproduce similar, uninspiring figures… What do I think? I’ve gone with the strategy of picking 4 premium mids, not taking a risk on any mid-pricers (It’s just as big a risk as a mid-pricer in DT). Having said that if he frees up some much needed room in your budget then he might just be a risk worth taking. Also look at players similarly priced around him, such as Nolan, Sinclair, and Walters who i’m sure will come up in any POD (point of difference) or bargain articles to come but for now, all I can say he is a risk and further analysing of his pre-season role in the team could be crucial in making a more clear cut call. Sitting on the fence there…
Silva- Now for a man who I have picked, Silva! Dropped off slightly during City’s mid-season slump but previous to that he was simply stunning, averaging at least a goal or an assist in every 8 out of 10 matches… incredible! Scoring 6 and assisting 17 (yes, 17!!!) he was a fantasy pig, also collecting 21 bp’s throughout the season (3rd most for a mid). I’m with the 19.7% of teams who have jumped on him this time. Playing in the hole behind Aguero, Silva is part of nearly all City attacks and explains why he provides such consistent returns as they were last season’s top goal scoring team. There are some more risky options in midfield for just under his price, but I am taking the safe route this year, a lot is at stake! We know this guy will be brilliant once again, yet there seems to be some voodoo around his 10.0 price tag. It’s only 0.5 more than hazard guys! Over the course of the season i’m expecting Silva to back his most expensive mid price tag and be the highest scorer (or at least the top 3), and by believing this I just had sacrifice a bench option in order to get him in, I’m going out on a limb to call him a must have (almost… maybe… I’ll just say if you can afford him, get him!!!). We wouldn’t say no to swan if he was priced at $601,000 instead of $590,000 so don’t do it here, Trust me and back him in!
Bale- The final midfielder I will review today, and another one of the most popular selections this season. Priced at 9.5 and selected by 16.5% of teams he was the league’s second highest scoring midfielder last year scoring 195 points. After turning 23 just 9 days ago he is another young star making a mockery of the EPL. He had his first breakout season as a fantasy star making 14 assists to go along with his 10 goals. He collected 21 bonus points along the way (equal third for mids) which is very solid. One thing he definitely improved from previous years was his consistency. We all knew he was capable of huge double figure scores on his day, but he just didn’t produce these often enough. However we know consistency usually comes with age, as Hazard proved last year in the Ligue 1, and just as Bale did last year their goals and assists tally more than doubled. The positive is that he can only get better and should be just as good if not better this year. I’m sure Bushey will elaborate on spurs scoring avenues without Adebayor but don’t let this put you off. One other option is Van Der Vaart, as I believe you can only carry one. VdV has penalty duties locked away for now and, despite missing numerous games through injury and only playing two thirds of the season, still managed to produce 11 goals and 7 assists along with 27 bp’s (6 more than Bale over the whole season and interestingly by far the highest tally of any midfielder) to tally 167 points, a higher points per game ratio. The problem with Rafa is his injuries and he is certainly a risk, but also a POD. The safe option here is Bale and if you’re worrying about him not being able to re-create last season’s heroics, think again! Will be great again this season for sure.
Of the most popular midfielders, I am backing Silva and Hazard in my team (for now) based on them being fairly safe selections. Bale is another great option (I have chosen VdV, also not locked in) and will be brilliant again this season. Cabaye is an interesting one, but if you’re a risk taker back him in, because if it doesn’t come off you will be scouring the market for some midfield bargains! I’m not totally convinced yet but anyway I hope this was helpful for all you FPLaddicts out there and I will bring you the second instalment this time tomorrow (Look out for Kagawa, Dempsey and more)! Keep an eye out for @jimbobfiore ‘s points of difference and more later today, in the mean time Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and feel free to give me any more ideas on articles you wish to be published or what I can help you with, you can also just hit me up on twitter (@MattCraigDT) and I will try to sort it out! Cheers.