Colm Hayes is here with your weekly fill on how to climb that Fantasy Premier League ladder.
With the international break looming, fantasy managers must savour this weekend and hope for huge points hauls before the two-week hiatus.
Wayne Rooney’s suspension coupled with Aaron Ramsey’s injury has hit many squads hard and a fair few wildcards may have been cashed in this week. This may be no bad thing as managers try to find different avenues to climb their mini-leagues.
Here we look at some of those differentials that could prove profitable to accommodate in your team this weekend and onwards. This week, mid-price midfielders that can free up funds to possibly invest in heavy-hitters elsewhere are the topic of choice.
Stewart Downing (5.6m) – Next four fixtures: QPR(H), Burnley(A), Man City(H), Stoke(A)
Not a name you would expect to find anywhere near a fantasy football piece, unless it was one advising on players to steer clear of. However, Downing has been an attacking revelation for the Hammers this season and is flourishing in his new role at the tip of West Ham’s diamond.
This form has translated into some excellent fantasy returns, and apart from a tough home clash on the horizon against the champions, the Irons and Downing have the fixtures to continue reaping the points.
Of course, there is the worry that Big Sam may revert to old habits and limit his team’s attacking potential in favour of a more disciplined approach. Even so, when West Ham go forward Downing is likely to be heavily involved and could be one of the season’s steals at 5.6m.
Sadio Mané (6.9m) – Next four fixtures: Spurs(A), S’land(H), Stoke(H), Hull(A)
Speaking of revelations, Southampton have surpassed all expectations so far this season. Nearly every week we mention how the Saints’ fixture-list is the envy of every Premier League club, and this theme looks to continue for the next few gameweeks at least.
Senegalese sensation Sadio Mané gave us a taste of his ability last weekend with an audacious assist for Ryan Bertrand. Mané managed 45 goals and 32 assists in just 87 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg, and even though it is obviously a much less competitive league those are seriously impressive returns.
Coming in at 0.6m cheaper than teammate Dusan Tadic, Mané’s blistering pace and ability to play off the shoulder of defenders could see him take full advantage of some tasty-looking fixtures for the South Coast club.
Jason Puncheon (5.9m) – Next four fixtures: Hull(A), Chelsea(H), WBA(A), S’land(H)
Many people, this writer included, felt that Jason Puncheon would have a hard time finding a place in Palace’s starting eleven after Neil Warnock’s appointment with his highly publicised remarks regarding the manager last year. However, the pair seem to have settled their differences and Puncheon is proving his worth with a goal and two assists in four games since Warnock re-took charge.
No stranger to fantasy returns, Puncheon was the budget midfield choice for many in the second half of last season. The flying winger has recovered from his sending-off on the first day of the season and looks to be a mainstay of a free-scoring Palace side.
There are many budget midfield options showing form currently but Puncheon has the added quality of fantasy pedigree to go along with a very affordable price-tag.
Victor Moses (5.5m) – Next four fixtures: S’land(A), Swans(H), S’hampton(A), West Ham(H)
The much-maligned Moses may have finally found a club where his talents will be used to their greatest effect. Two assists in his last two games and delivering numerous crosses to an in-form Peter Crouch could be the making of yet another budget midfield option.
However, if like myself you jumped on Moses after his debut goal for Liverpool last season only to find the wool had been pulled over your eyes, wariness is understandable.
There is definitely the potential for him to flourish in this Stoke side though, and he looks nailed-on after Diouf’s injury. A word of warning: Moses picked up a small injury in Stoke’s last outing but is expected to be fit for the weekend.
Colm Hayes, Pundit Arena.
Current Pundit Arena Fantasy Premier League Leaders
- Thisdoesntf**kinslip (Sean Deasy) – 352 points
- Bromley Forum AFC (Brendan Riordan) – 348 points
- Craggy Island Ovr75s (Padraig Murphy) – 343 points
- Dirty Sanchez (Michael Myers) – 340 points
- Paris FC (Patricia H) – 338 points