Fantasy Football Rankings: Goalkeepers

Chelsea keeper, Petr Chech is always among the top fantasy keepers

Chelsea keeper, Petr Chech, is always among the top fantasy keepers

 

Welcome to the inaugural version of what I hope to be my annual fantasy football (soccer or EPL to the American readers) rankings. You will notice as you go through these rankings articles that I am not doing my preseason articles in the standard rankings way of listing players 1-whatever. Instead, I will rank them by tiers because it is easier for me to show you how I group players together.

 

Explaining the Tiers

For those of you who have not come across a tiers system before, here are the basics behind it. I will generally place the tiers in order of best to worst (Goalkeeper is a little different but I will explain later). What the tiers do is allow you to see in your draft where I view there to be a drop off, so generally you should be looking to pick up the last guy available in each tier. For example, I tier Boruc, Begovic, Speroni, Adrian and Krul together meaning that I am not worried which one I get out of that tier if they are the level of guys available. That means that if I am on the clock and all five are available then I will look to address a different position of need, and then see how the goalkeeper landscape plays out when it is my turn to pick again.

The Tiers

 

Elite: Hart (Manchester City), Howard (Everton)

Hart plays for one of the best defensive teams in the league meaning that there will be games he will rack up clean sheets while doing nothing, but when they’re playing quality teams who can unlock their defense, then he’s a good enough Goalkeeper to still maintain a clean sheet. He will rarely concede more than 2 goals, which means he’s unlikely to land you negative points.

On a shot-stopping rate alone, Howard could be one of the first keepers chosen

On a shot-stopping rate alone, Howard could be one of the first keepers chosen

Howard plays for a second tier team but he’s such a quality goalkeeper that he will make a number of saves a game which will rack up points. When he does both (clean sheet and a number of saves) you are looking at eight-plus points which is rare for other ‘keepers in this league.

Potentially Elite: Cech (Chelsea), Courtois (Chelsea),  Szczesny (Arsenal), Ospina (Arsenal)

This is an interesting tier because, for me, all four of these guys could be elite if they’re the number one choice for their team. The issue is, we don’t know who will be the number one for Chelsea or Arsenal right now.

Cech and Courtois speak for themselves in their previous form and in playing for the typically stingy Chelsea. The guy who gets the Chelsea job would be my number one ranked ‘keeper even with Courtois’ lack of Premier League experience.

The winner of the Arsenal pair will keep less clean sheets but will rack up more saves points as their defense is often more leaky. If Arsenal do a 360 and do not sign Ospina,then Szczesny moves into the elite group for me as a Hart/Howard combination. He will keep more clean sheets than Howard but less than Hart, whilst making more saves than Hart but less than Howard.

Near Elite: Mignolet (Liverpool), De Gea (Man United), Lloris (Tottenham)

I love all three of these ‘keepers but each one has a frailty which stops me from putting them in with the elite group.

Mignolet plays behind a defensive unit that is frankly horrible at times and he’s also prone to a few mental mistakes that can be costly for fantasy. He’s under a slight threat from the returning Reina, but Liverpool chose him last year and he didn’t disgrace himself so I expect him to start.

De Gea plays for a top club and has the tools to be one of the best fantasy keepers

De Gea plays for a top club and has the tools to be one of the best fantasy keepers

De Gea showed his quality last year but he has also shown his frailties in recent years and they still worry me. He’s not a big man for a ‘keeper and when you combine that with a shaky-looking United defense right now, I can’t advise people to invest in De Gea over the elite guys. However, he does play for Man United and he’s a great talent so he’s above the next group by some way in my opinion.

Lloris resembles a crazy man at times when he comes rushing off his line but is an immense shot stopper who can play a Neuer- like (German keeper who plays for Bayern and the German national team, and is widely considered to be the best keeper in the world) role for Tottenham. This kamikaze attitude can be costly, and as a fantasy player you will watch Lloris through your fingers, but he’s a quality keeper on a strong team.

Solid: Boruc (Southampton), Begovic (Stoke), Speroni (Crystal Palace), Adrian (West Ham), Krul (Newcastle), Fabianski (Swansea)

This is a group of players who play for middle-of-the-road teams – at best, but are top quality ‘keepers. All of them will have game weeks where they keep clean sheets but often those clean sheets will come with a number of save points as well. However, they will also be prone to the occasional game where they concede three-plus goals, and that stops them from being any more than a solid option.

Potentially Solid: Mannone (Sunderland), Pantilimon (Sunderland)

If you can guarantee me one of these will definitely start the season, then he would move up into the solid group. The other goes down to the radar group, so it’s risky. Get the right one and you could have a decent ‘keeper on your hands. For reference, I had Vorm and Fabianski in this group but Vorm’s move meant Fabianski went up and Vorm went down.

Match Up: Guzan (Aston Villa), Green (QPR), McGregor (Hull), Foster (WBA)

All three of these guys can have their good days, but if I own one of them I potentially want another one so I can play the match ups each week. Guzan is the best in the bunch in my opinion, but his team is as leaky as a broken gutter.

Upside: Caballero (Man City), Lindegaard (Man Utd), Reina (Liverpool), Vorm (Tottenham)

If you own one of the big guns then it’s worth getting these as a backup in case of an injury. If you told me they were definitely playing then Caballero and Reina would slot into the “Near Elite”, while Vorm and Lindegaard would be “Solids”.

The losers in the Chelsea and Arsenal races would slot into this group if they stay at their respective teams.

Radar: Gilks (Burnley), Heaton (Burnley), Hamer (Leicester), Schmeichel (Leicester), Jaaskeleinen (West Ham), Sorensen (Stokes), Robles (Everton)

Look into his eyes. Burnley backstop, Matt Gilks is someone who should be on your radar

Look into his eyes. Burnley backstop, Matt Gilks is someone who should be on your radar

In the case of Robles, Jaaskeleinen and Sorensen, who are backups that would be solid choices, but they aren’t in the same class as Lindegaard and Vorm because of the teams they play for.

Gilks, Heaton, Hamer and Schmeichel  are all guys to keep an eye on in case their teams keep it tight at the back, but for now I wouldn’t be taking any of these guys unless I’m going really deep in the ‘keeper pool.

 

So there you have my Goalkeeper rankings for 2014/15. I don’t think there are any real surprises in these tiers and with 31 goalkeepers covered anyone who is likely to be relevant this season should have been touched upon. Of course ay questions about guys on this list or new signings then contact me @brolfe1507 on twitter.

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