Fantasy Football Guide has ranked the three hottest players in each of the teams from the Fantasy Football manager’s point of view, based on the pre-season friendlies. Three because that’s the maximum amount of players that a manager can choose from one team in the Official Fantasy Premier League game. FFG has also picked a possible bargain from each team, based on their performances in the pre-season friendlies. The teams included are the first ten teams that I have analyzed, the next 10 teams will be published in the weekend.
1. Robin van Persie. Not only the brightest shining star in Arsenal right now, but also one of the best players in the games that Arsenal has played in this summer. He has played in the same style as he finished last season.
2. Gervinho. Scored two against Cologne, which in itself doesn’t say much about the quality of a player. He seems happy in his new team though and that is one of the most important things when you are new in a team.
3. Thomas Vermaelen. He was injured almost all last season. If he could remain injury-free all this season it’s definitely the best possible news for Arsenal.
Possible bargain: Jack Wilshere. For 6.5 he could be a real bargain if he keeps on getting more and more responsibility in the team. Of what he has shown in the pre-season friendlies it is possible that this could be his breakthrough season.
1. Darren Bent. Looking for a reasonably priced striker that you know will perform well? Then Bent is your choice. He has been in really good shape in the friendlies and has scored regularly, three goals in three games.
2. Charles N’Zogbia. Ok, he hasn’t been involved in any pre-season friendlies yet with Aston Villa, but based on the performances last year it’s quite clear that he will be one of the star players in Aston Villa and one to consider picking from this team.
3. Shay Given. He has been in extremely good shape during the pre-season and has created stability in Aston Villa’s defense. He is one of the main reasons why I consider to upgrade the team’s rating.
Possible bargain: Barry Bannan. Could this player be the new Albrighton? Based on the preseason friendlies he could even deprive Albrighton his place in the team.
1. David Dunn. He now looks to be in the same great shape as two seasons ago, when he was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Based on the pre-season friendlies he now plays in the same way as we want to see him when he is at his best, combining well with strikers and shooting from all kinds of angles.
2. Mauro Formica. This could be a hidden treasure for most of the Fantasy Football managers, since he hasn’t played a single game in Premier League although he joined Blackburn already in January this year. He has been the best player in Blackburn in the pre-season friendlies and it looks as if he will get a very offensive role in Blackburn’s formation.
3. Christopher Samba. If he decides to stay in Blackburn, he is the most solid performer in the team. With his enormous size he always looks dangerous at set pieces and the statistics don’t lie, four goals in the two last seasons from a centre-back isn’t bad at all.
Possible bargain: Ryan Nelsen. He has always been undervalued and looks like he would be it also this year. £ 5.0 is a very good price for a regular centre-back that likes to score for fun.
1. Martin Petrov. He has simply been the best in Bolton’s team in the pre-season friendlies. Not just scoring, but also being involved in most of the goals scored by Bolton. He wasn’t great in his first season at the club, but it now looks as if he would be on his way to his best season so far.
2. Ivan Klasnic. It’s a tough choice to make between him and his striker colleague Kevin Davies, but based on the Pre-season he is the one that has scored more goals. He now looks reborn after Johan Elmander left for Galatasaray. Perhaps it’s the prospect of more playing time which spurs him.
3. Gary Cahill. He has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League the last seasons and it’s a wonder how none of the big spenders haven’t bought him yet. With him you are guaranteed lots of bonus points and a few goals, but when it comes to clean sheets it’s more uncertain.
Possible bargains: Darren Pratley. Pretty unknown for most of the Fantasy Football managers and it’s no wonder, because he has played in the Championship for Swansea most of his footballing career. The Jamaican international rejected a new deal with Swansea after last season and moved to Bolton instead. He has played regularly in the pre-season friendlies and has also scored a few vital goals and being involved in many chances going forward. For an offensive midfielder a price tag of 5.5 isn’t much. He could also get lots of playing time, now that Chung-Yong is injured.
1. Frank Lampard. It’s impossible to not mention this player as the hottest of all players in Chelsea right now. We Fantasy Football managers that have been in this game for many years remember this player as the one to pick as your captain week in and week out. Last season with all his injuries maybe overshadowed some of the good memories. This year’s pre-season friendlies have shown that he is back at his best again, being involved in most of the good things happening forward in Chelsea’s play. He also takes all of the penalties for Chelsea, which is a big plus in a team with players like Torres and Malouda.
2. Fernando Torres. Based on last season’s performances Torres almost ruined his reputation as good goal scorer, but let’s not forget that it was his first season in his new team and he also came into the team in the middle of the season. Now he with the team for the build-up of the new season and the pre-season friendlies have shown that he is still capable of scoring.
3. Branislav Ivanovic. It’s not easy to choose the third of the players that are in good shape based on the pre-season friendlies. Especially since Chelsea has rotated their squad quite a lot in the games and not played that many games. It seems, though, like Ivanovic would be as dangerous as ever at set pieces and a regular scorer despite his playing position.
Possible bargains: Daniel Sturridge. It’s not easy to find bargains with a cheap price tag from a team like Chelsea, but 6.5 looks quite low for a striker of Sturridge’s quality. He was very good in his loan-spell at Bolton last year and scored 8 goals and gained 17 bonus points from the games that he played. I’m quite sure that he will get lots of playing time later on in the season.
1. Leighton Baines. He was the player that had the highest overall points of all defenders last season and has also looked good in the pre-season friendlies. The good thing with Baines from the Fantasy Football manager’s point of view is that he is very much involved in the games. He has a wonderful left foot and has a habit of having many assists to goals every season.
2. Tim Cahill. He hasn’t impressed during the pre-season friendlies and this selection is much due to the fact that he is a true goal scorer, despite the fact that he is classified as a midfielder in the Official Premier League game.
3. Mikel Arteta. This selection is also due to the fact that not many players have impressed in Everton in their pre-season friendlies. If he stays injury-free, he is always much involved in the games. He takes most of the corners and free-kicks and is also one of the players that is regularly getting the bonus points from the games.
Possible bargains: Magaye Gueye. He has scored three goals in the pre-season friendlies and is one of the most interesting young players in Everton. He has been given a lot of confidence in the friendlies but wasn’t in the starting line-up against Werder Bremen in their last friendly that they played. His price tag is only 5.0 and he could be worth keeping your eyes on later in the season.
1. Brede Hangeland. Has looked as solid as ever in the European League qualifiers being played right now. He had second most overall points of all defenders in last year’s Fantasy Premier League game and a defender that scores 6 goals in a season always has to be considered for a Fantasy Football team.
2. Clint Dempsey. He hasn’t still been involved in the pre-season friendlies, but based on last seasons performances he should be the one to consider if you are looking for a solid performer from Fulham. Always dangerous in the air and plays almost like a striker despite being classified as a midfielder in the game. 12 goals and on fifth most overall points of all midfielders last year.
3. Bobby Zamora. He only played 757 minutes in the Premier League last year, but had 5 goals and 5 assists in those few games. He has during the pre-season shown that he could be back at his best by scoring a few important goals. Fulham hasn’t by the way had an ordinary pre-season because of the European League games that are being played right now.
Possible bargains: Matthew Briggs. He hasn’t really played in the Premier League in previous seasons, which is understandable considering his age. Martin Jol has put his confidence in him during the pre-season and I see no reason why he wouldn’t keep on playing when the League starts, despite the fact that John Arne Riise has joined the team.
1. Luis Suarez. With so much quality in their team it’s not easy to pick the player that you believe is the best for a Fantasy Football team. Suarez hasn’t really been involved in the pre-season friendlies for Liverpool, but his performances in Copa America can serve as a reference to what he is capable of. Was voted as player of the tournament and that’s quite an achievement in a tournament with players from Argentina and Brazil.
2. Charlie Adam. With Gerrard injured it looks as if he would get a big role as playmaker in Liverpool’s team. If you remember him from Blackpool, he will probably get quite a lot of assists to his name by taking corners and set pieces.
3. Andy Carroll. If I would pick a high performer from the pre-season friendlies played until now, it would have to be Andy Carroll. It looks as if he would suit Liverpool’s style of play very well and a player with a self-confidence like his is never going to let you down.
Possible bargains: Maxi Rodriguez. 7.5 for a midfielder that scored 10 goals in last season isn’t much is it? I’m aware of that it may get hard to get to the starting line-up in a team with players like Downing, Kuyt, Henderson, Cole and Meireles, all capable of playing as wingers. But he was very effective when he got his chance last year and has continued on the same path in the pre-season friendlies, by scoring a two goals in the few minutes he has played.
1. Joe Hart. With a player like Hart, Manchester City is likely to have a lot of clean sheets this season. He isn’t just the goalkeeper that had the most overall points of all goalkeepers last season, he is also clearly the best keeper in the whole league. Especially since Van der Saar decided to retire.
2. David Silva. The best is yet to come. It took a while to get into the Premier League tempo last year, but now that he’s used to it, he will only get better.
3. Sergio Aguero. He is young, but still experienced. A world-class player that we shouldn’t have to wait for too long, until he delivers.
Possible Bargains: Mario Balotelli. Based on the pre-season friendlies he has alongside Shaun Wright-Phillips been Man.City’s best player. He has showed already last season that he is a world-class forward, but does he get Mancini’s confidence, considering all the trouble that he causes. 9.0 isn’t much for a world-class forward in a world-class team though.
1. Wayne Rooney. One of the best players in Premier League has showed lately that he could be on his way to the same kind of season that he had two seasons ago. If not anything surprising happens this year, he will probably be the forward with the most points of all the forwards when we sum up the season.
2. Nani. He has showed what he is capable of lately in the pre-season friendlies against Chicago Fire and Barcelona. He was the player with the highest overall points of all midfielders last year with 9 goals and 18 assists. It’s unsure how the arrival of Ashley Young will affect his play, since he is a player that likes to be involved much in the games, but the game against Barcelona showed that they probably will be able to get along well.
3. Nemanja Vidic. He is the player that Man.Utd rely on in defence, especially now when they have a new goalkeeper. Alongside Rooney one of the few players in Man.Utd that are never rested.
Possible bargains: Rafael. In a team with so much quality it’s not easy to find bargains. Usually you have to look at positions like full-backs in order to find the bargains. Much depends on the rotating policy of Sir Alex Ferguson, but would he decide to play Rafael in the league games he has a tendency to stick to that strategy and play another player in the European games. Rafael is a player that develop all the time and he is now ready to take more responsibility in the games.