EPL Fantasy Forwards Analysis – Part II

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We analyse the ‘Value’ EPL Fantasy Forwards you should be targeting for this coming Premier League season.

Don’t forget to check out Part I of our EPL Fantasy Forwards Analysis – Premiums in 2013/2014!

Make sure you don’t miss Part I of our Midfield AnalysisPart II of our Midfield Analysis, EPL Fantasy Goalkeepers or our EPL Fantasy Defenders analysis to see the premium midfielders and defenders you should be scouting for this upcoming season.

Having already analysed the premium forwards for this coming fantasy season, we shift our attention to the bargains on the market in Part II.

This season, we’re pursuing players around the cusp of the two lists in order to avoid sacrificing other positions for the benefit of our forward line. Regardless of what strategy you try to implement however, there are players at multiple price levels for you to invest in and get a positive return on.

Before the season gets underway on August 17, we’ll examine options across all positions, from all teams and within two key price brackets; Elite and Value. Avoiding players destined to perform poorly is just as significant selecting the best players available, so we will also highlight the players we believe to be either over-priced or destined for a fall in production over the coming season.

The following advice if made with the Official Premier League Fantasy game in mind. Whilst it can be used to a certain extent within other competitions, feel free to ask us in the comment section below or in our forums whether particular players have increased or decreased value when selected in one of the other fantasy competitions we’ve analyzed for the upcoming season!

 

EPL Fantasy – ‘Value’ Forwards (£7.5 million – £4.5 million)                 

Must Have’ Consider

Avoid

Iago Aspas Andy Carroll Bryan Ruiz
Edin Dzeko Arouna Kone Nicolas Anelka
Loic Remy Darren Bent Jozy Altidore
Ricky van Wolfswinkel Rickie Lambert Nikica Jelavic

 

Iago Aspas (LIV – £7 million) and Bryan Ruiz (FUL – £6 million)

Iago Aspas presents a risky, yet potentially game-changing fantasy selection at Liverpool. The winger is guaranteed an attacking position in Rodgers’ 4-2-3-1 alongside Coutinho and Sturridge and his pedigree suggests he may convert that chance into production. Scoring 12 goals in 33 La Liga appearances for relegation chances Celta last season, Aspas has tremendous potential when injected into a technically superior side. Whilst his skill shave come under intense criticism following his transfer to England, Rodgers has been impressed with the 26-year old’s efficiency and impact throughout preseason. Expect up to 10 goals and a similar number of assists if a starting spot is maintained.

It pains us to discourage the selection of Bryan Ruiz. For such an incredibly talented player, the Costa Rican just doesn’t do enough to justify selection ahead of other, marginally more expensive alternatives. Not only do Fulham have a largely indifferent opening 5 weeks of the season, but with Martin Jol reportedly interested in signing Darren Bent, Ruiz is likely to play a slightly more creative role this coming season. With 4 goals and 10 assists last campaign, Ruiz is a tremendous talent, however Fulham also overproduced in attack last season, and with their ladder position suffering as a result of a consequentially weakened defence, expect lower numbers this season.

Loic Remy (NEW – £7.5 million) and Ricky van Wolfswinkel (NOR – £7 million)

Loic Remy’s arrival at Newcastle takes some pressure off what has been a heavily-scrutinized summer at St James’ Park. The QPR striker was impressive towards the end of last season following his move from Marseilles and adds to a large French contingent already (somewhat comically) in black-and-white. Despite competition from Papiss Cisse, Remy should start for Newcastle and with Gameweeks 2-7 providing incredibly favorable match-ups, if you’re looking at playing a 4-4-2 or a 3-5-2, sit Remy on your bench against City in week 1 and let him run free against West Ham on August 24. Delaying your purchase of Remy is made easier by the Frenchman’s current niggling calf injury and therefore his absence of a pre-season.

Another option in a similar price bracket (and arguably our favorite) is Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Not only does Norwich’s new recruit possess arguably the best name in the league, but his replacement of Grant Holt, a proven player in a proven system, effectively ensures him production. Whilst Wes Hoolahan’s time as a standing striker is sure to end with the signing of Gary Hooper, Norwich will retain the 4-4-2 they played towards the end of last season in the hope of boosting their attacking prowess. With an impeccable scoring record over the last 4 seasons (54 goals), van Wolfswinkel is a name most haven’t heard before, but will hear a lot of in 2013/2014.

Edin Dzeko (MCI – £7.5 million)

Potentially the biggest bargain available in the forwards this season, Dzeko’s value is largely contingent on his appearances under Pellegrini at Manchester City. Notoriously out-of-favor under Roberto Mancini, the Bosnian still managed to score 14 goals and provide 6 assists in each of the last two seasons. Playing just 3332 minutes across the two seasons however, Dzeko (1 point every 12.5 minutes) has scored more points per minute than Santi Carzola (1 point every 16.1 minutes), despite the Spaniard’s price tag being £3 million higher. Pellegrini’s high endorsement of Dzeko over pre-season has done little to clear things up for us. Whilst he’ll undoubtedly remain a Manchester City player, he’s far from guaranteed starts. We’re predicting him to start the season, however quickly move into a rotation with the other 3 strikers City paid in excess of £20 million for. Somewhere in the region of 18-19 goals should reflect his additional playing time.

Arouna Kone (EVE – £7 million) and Nikica Jelavic (EVE – £7.5 million)

Everton’s forward options seemed somewhat limited heading into 2013/2014, however the preseason form of Jelavic has changed all of that. Whilst Kone was the vastly superior player last year, the Croatian international has shown over recent weeks that his poor showing last year was form related, not an indication of his quality as a player.

Kone should remain the first-choice striker in Martinez’s 3-4-3 formation, however rotation will be noticeable. Having played under Martinez at Wigan last season, Kone not only has an improved support cast this season, but has had significant faith shown in him by the manager who has rescued him from a relegation. Neither will be a viable fantasy option if a heavy rotation policy is pursued, however Everton’s kind opening fixtures require us to take some kind of a risk and recommend one to purchase.

It is hard to look past Kone. Not only will the Ivorian start most games, but Martinez clearly sees something in the player who scored 11 goals in a campaign which ended in relegation last season. Jelavic holds value off the bench, and with matches against Norwich, West Brom and Cardiff, should score adequately over the first month. Considering he won’t score as prolifically as his under-priced team mate however, we think it is understandable that only 2.4% of managers have selected him, compared to the 10.9% who think Kone deserves selection to begin the season.

Andy Carroll (WHU – £7.5 million) and Darren Bent (ASV – £6.5 million)

Andy Carroll starts the season under an injury cloud which leads him to being downgraded in our analysis to a ‘consider’. If fit to start the opening game against Cardiff, the recently signed striker could be an incredibly unique (owned by 1.1% of teams) and prolific scorer in the early season. The general defensive resolve of Stoke aside, matches against Cardiff, Newcastle, Southampton, Everton and Hull to begin the season screams goal-potential. Even if Carroll has yet to score more than 7 goals in a season since his high-profile move from Newcastle, and even if he is injury prone, definitely take a risk on him to start the season.

In relation to others in a similar price bracket, we rate Carroll above his Everton counter-parts, equal to Remy and as slightly inferior to Aspas.

Darren Bent’s situation last season was highly bizarre. A striker of his quality should not be benched in a team like Aston Villa, ever, however the former star for the Villains somehow found himself out of favor enough to warrant his exit from the club. Whilst the former England international hasn’t quite secured a move away from Villa Park, he is guaranteed to leave, meaning that his situation is entirely dependent on his destination. At Fulham, he would partner (and maybe play slightly ahead of Berbatov. At Stoke, an entire attack would orient around him as he would be almost the only player capable of scoring a goal, whilst at Crystal Palace, his talents would be utilized in a way comparable to Christian Benteke, the man who has ousted him at Villa.

All we know is that for £6.5 million, a player with few miles in his legs after a quiet 2012/2013 and of Bent’s quality (53 goals between 2008/2009 and 2010/2011) will be raring to go.

Nicolas Anelka (WBA – £5.5 million) and Jozy Altidore (SUN – £7 million)

Nicolas Anelka’s return to the Premier League is bound to attract managers. A big name at a club looking to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku, who returns to Chelsea, one of Anelka’s former clubs, from his loan spell. Lukaku scored 17 goals in just 2005 minutes last season, however is undeniably more talented than the aging Anelka. Presuming he starts alongside Shane Long, ahead of Odemwingie (who himself had a better season in 2012/2013 than Long), Anelka represents relative value considering his kind schedule for the opening 5 weeks. Regardless of his value however, Anelka just isn’t likely to score very many goals (one season with more than 11 goals since 2006/2007) and with his days at Chelsea over, he won’t post points by virtue of merely showing up and playing. Despite netting 6 times in his first 6 matches at the Baggies (3 coming against Cork), we can’t see the veteran scoring more than 9 goals this season. West Bromwich’s draw is far more easily exploited through selecting Lugano or Foster in defense or as a keeper respectively.

In a similar position, Altidore returns to the Premier League for the first time since a horror spell with Hull in 2009/2010. No doubt improving since then, Altidore is poised to fill-in for the injured Steven Fletcher to begin the season, however with an incredibly challenging fixture ahead, isn’t even worth considering at his £7 million price tag.

Rickie Lambert (SOU – £7.5 million)

Rickie Lambert was sensational last season and thoroughly deserves to be on fantasy radars, however he has set himself some incredibly lofty standards to maintain this coming season. Regardless, a favorable opening schedule has us slightly nervous about recommending the Saints’ star front man somewhat half-heartedly. Almost 17% of managers have jumped on him early (and we can’t blame them), however it wouldn’t surprise us to see a 12 goal, 7 assist season (15 goals, 8 assists last campaign), not really what you’re looking for with so many star strikers at affordable prices this campaign.

Most of our ‘consider’ options have been dependent on playing time, so with Lambert guaranteed starts, his appeal is increased, and from our point of view, is largely reliant on the consistency he promises. Not only that, but with Lukaku just £500,000 more expensive, Dzeko priced equally and Aspas available £500,000 cheaper, we feel there are better options on the market – even if they are riskier.

The above advice if made with the Official Premier League Fantasy game in mind. Whilst it can be used to a certain extent within other competitions, feel free to ask us in the comment section below or in our forums whether particular players have increased or decreased value when selected in one of the other fantasy competitions we’ve analysed for the upcoming season!

Don’t forget to check out Part I of our EPL Fantasy Forwards Analysis – Premiums in 2013/2014!

Also, don’t forget to check out the various EPL Fantasy Competitions available to you to compete for this coming season. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve got it covered.

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On twitter @rombarbera. Australian sports by day, international sports by night. Co-founder of Blindside Sport. Fantasy sport addict.

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