Club Fantasy Profiles: Queens Park Rangers

qpr

Harry’s Rangers are back in the Premier League after an up and down season in the Championship. Heavy favourites to win that particular division the “R’s” set the pace early, but fell away after Christmas and ended up in the lottery of the playoffs. A goal at the death in the final, by Premier League stalwart Bobby Zamora broke the hearts of Derby County and gave the Shepherds Bush outfit another crack at the big time.

 

Team Overview

Despite having World Cup hero Julio Cesar on the roster, ex-England keeper Robert Green will be the man in goal for QPR. A reliable hand and Premier League veteran, Green may be useful in Fantasy this season. QPR played a possession game in the Championship last season and did an excellent job of keeping the other team from scoring. With their bolstered defence I could see that continuing on a smaller scale in the Premier League. Green could be a shrewd bargain pick up if you’re brave enough.

Ferndinand has seen better days, but he can still be a leader for QPR

Ferndinand has seen better days, but he can still be a leader for QPR

At the back is where manager Redknapp has done the biggest part of his transfer dealings. They’ve signed Manchester United stalwart Rio Ferdinand, who at 35 is well past his best days, but he will be an asset at the back with his organistional skills and positional sense. He will be partnered by £12m man Steven Caulker, signed from relegated Cardiff City. Caulker has got it all if he applies himself: speed, athleticism and great aerial ability. He could learn a lot playing alongside Ferdinand and with guaranteed game time he could become a very good defender.

Nedum Onouha is another with bags of Premier League experience and could be something of a fantasy sleeper as one of the cheaper options in the QPR back line. Danny Simpson and Armand Traore look to be in possession of the full back positions, again, with a theme of Premier League experience is occurring. I’m not buying Simpson, but Traore likes to get forward and could provide a few assists. In truth, though both are shaky options.

Club captain Clint Hill is still around, a solid pro and clearly influential in the dressing room, but he has struggled in the Premiership before and won’t be troubling your fantasy roster.

Richard Dunne (you guessed it, bags of EPL experience) was a regular last season but the presence of Ferdinand and Caulker might make playing time hard to come by.

Another new signing is Chilean wing back Mauricio Isla, an unknown quantity of good pedigree, he only made 29 appearances for Juventus in two years. It remains to be seen how he will do in the EPL.

Another capture from Cardiff, Jordon Mutch has been added to Rangers midfield. The talented young Englishman was pound for pound the best bargain in Fantasy last season; he was dirt cheap and ended the season as a top 10 midfielder, providing assists and goals as well as some star performances. He will be joined in midfield by Joey Barton, the outspoken scouser has become a calming influence in the QPR midfield but his days as a fantasy option are behind him.

I Sound like a stuck record here, but many of Rangers midfield options have vast experience in the top flight; Karl Henry is a traditional hatchet man that will see the field and the ref’s notebook. Jermaine Jenas has never fulfilled his potential, but Redknapp seems to be enamored with him and he has a goal in him if nothing else; Junior Hoillett and Shaun Wright Phillips man the wide areas, both are dicey Fantasy plays, but Hoillett has the most upside of the pair. Adel Taarabt looks to be outward bound, and possibly to Serie A.

Another player from their last promotion campaign, Alejandro Faurlin, is still at the club and has recently signed a new contract. He’s clearly part of the plans and talented so it will be interesting to see if he can make a better fist of the Premier League this time around. The club were also linked with Rafael Van De Vaart this past week.

In attack, the R’s main source of goals has been Charlie Austin. A £7m buy a year ago from Burnley, Austin is relatively young and has an impressive scoring record at lower levels. This will be his first crack in the Premier League, and I believe he can do well. My worry is that he’ll be deployed up front alone as Redknapp did for much of last season. Playing up top alone against world class defenders is a tough ask for a rookie, but the path to safety for QPR may be to shut up shop. Austin will be an affordable option and as first choice starter he’s well worth a fantasy punt.

After much rumour and speculation (and a failed medical) it looks as if Loic Remy will start the season at Loftus Road. Again, he’s definitely worth an add on your fantasy teams. He has an impressive goal record in the EPL and was described by his manager as a “£20m striker” this past week. Him and Austin could form a very dangerous partnership if allowed to play together. Remy has 20 goals in 40 Premier League games and has mainly done that on poor teams; he’s a steal when he puts it together.

Bobby Zamora is the only other forward on the roster, but may find games hard to come by as Redknapp is actively searching for strikers.

 

Stud Player

remy

Remy is a quality striker who can be had at a bargain.

Loic Remy

As stated earlier, Remy seems to be gold in the EPL. A one goal for every two games strike rate since he came over from France has made him hot property with Arsenal and Liverpool actively pursuing him all summer. He had talks on Merseyside but failed a medical because of a long standing heart problem. A quick and direct forward, Remy could be the perfect foil for Charlie Austin and I think the two could form a nice partnership. The kicker with Remy is a release clause in his contract. Any club in the top four  can acquire him for £8m; a snip for a player of his quality. A move could be a boom or a bust for his fantasy value, but I happen to think he’s worth the risk. He just seems to be made for this league. Power and pace.

 

Key New Signings

Mutch could be the steal of fantasy drafts

Mutch could be the steal of fantasy drafts

Rio Ferdinand

Some would say it’s a step back to their old transfer policy and that not a great deal of long term thinking has gone into this signing, but tend to disagree. If they use him right and he can form a partnership with Caulker, then he could be a steady source of points this season

Stephen Caulker

Bound to be reasonably priced in a traditional dream team format, Caulker is another player I like for Fantasy purposes. QPR are built to keep it tight and should be capable of doing so against a lot of their mid to lower table counterparts. Caulker will only help that and also has a goal in him. A lot to like here….A LOT. Nice upside.

Jordon Mutch

It remains to be seen if Mutch will be deployed in an advanced roll as he was at Cardiff but there’s little doubt that he’s the best attacker of QPR’s central midfield group, and should be very affordable this season. As I said above, pound for pound the best bargain in fantasy last season.

 

YOUNG GUNS

Michael Petrasso

Not a club famed for promoting youth, the best of the bunch seems to be Canadian winger Petrasso. Plucked from the academy of Toronto FC, the young flier made a huge impression in the youth ranks at Rangers before impressing on loan in the third tier of English football with Oldham and Coventry City. Redknapp handed the youngster his debut in the Championship last season, so he’s certainly on the radar, but in truth unlikely to figure much this season.

Coll Donaldson

Scottish defender Donaldson was bought for a small fee from Livingston in his homeland. Like Petrasso, he was also given his debut last season in the Championship and was courted by Manchester United earlier in his career. A raw prospect as it stands but a Redknapp signing so he has that in his favour. An injury crisis would be his path to game time.

 

 

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