It’s time to take a closer look at the newly promoted teams and see what they’ve got to offer. As we all know the “bargain bin” is integral to fantasy success, for us to get the Bale’s and RVP’s we need cheap players to offset them. It would be great if those cheap players chipped in with some points as well!
The first team under the spotlight is Cardiff City… The Bluebirds ran away with the Championship last season finishing 8 points clear after taking top spot way back in November. They’ve undertaken a few changes in the past 18 months or so… See that crest up there? It didn’t always look like that, and they didn’t always play in red either. The Malaysian owner, Vincent Tan, completely rebranded the club and as you can imagine, some of the fans are not too pleased. Vinny would be hoping the relative success of making the Premier League will keep the “ungrateful” fans at bay.
Any champion team needs a pretty good defence and Cardiff are no different. Their back 5, including the keeper, remained together for the majority of the season and the end result was the second best defence in the division. Marshall (GK – 4.5m), Connolly(4.5m) or McNaughton(4.0m), Taylor (4.5m), Hudson (4.5m) and Turner (4.0m) will make up the defence barring any new signings. If you’re willing to take a risk with one of these, last season Taylor had 6 assists from 43 starts, CONNOLLY 5 goals from 36 and HUDSON 4 goals from 33. Taylor may be the best option at a push, the others don’t have particularly good goal scoring records prior to last season. For the record, Marshall played every game and had 18 clean sheets.
Cardiff’s midfield is a bit more interesting however… They are the type of team that don’t rely on one player to score all the goals and the midfield chipped in with more than their fair share. The mainstays will be Gunnarsson (5.0m – 8 goals, 5 assists from 35 starts) and Whittingham (5.0m – 8 goals, 6 assists from 37). Whittingham will be a potential pick for me as the resident set piece specialist (netted 4 penalties last season). The other midfielder spots seem to be up for grabs with Kim (5.0m), Noone (5.0m), Conway (4.5m), Mutch (4.5m) and Bellamy (5.5m) in the mix. Noone could be a good shout (7 goals, 9 assists, 25 starts) from a wing if he gets regular game time or perhaps the recently matured Bellamy (10 assists from 28 starts) but he’s always going to be a bit of risk in my opinion. Kim has big wraps but will have to see more to gauge fantasy relevance.
Like I said before, Cardiff’s goals were well spread last season so the striker/s would usually be left well alone. Helguson (-) was the leading scorer with 8 goals from 27 starts, but he’s retired. That leaves it up to the likes of Maynard (4.5m) or Campbell(5.5m), neither of whom lit it up last season. Cornelius (5.5m) is one that I would keep an eye on though… The kid’s only played one full season of professional football at FC Copenhagen where he put away 18 goals from 32 league games last season as a 19 year old, before he completed his big money move to Cardiff this off-season. He’s a solid 6’4″ so should be able to handle the tough stuff straight away.
So there it is… Cardiff are capable of keeping it tight at the back but the Premier League is a long way from the Championship so I’d recommend being wary of their defence for now. There’s better options at 4-5m. The midfield do have a few potential bargains, and if you’re up for a punter keep an eye on Cornelius’ pre-season and see how he goes. Big thanks to that guys at FPLaddicts for the chance to put a few words together and hope its helped!