FPL Preview: Swansea

Swansea

Swansea sprung somewhat of a surprise on the Premier League with their 8th place finish in their first full season under Gary Monk. Having struggled early in the 2013/14 season, something similar was expected but Swansea got off to a great start last year and had done such a good job by January that they were able to sell their talisman striker, Wilfred Bony for a massive profit without worry of it costing them heavily.

Swansea got the main parts of their transfer business done early this summer, adding Andre Ayew, Eder, Franck Tabanou and Kristoffer Nordfeldt. While Ayew is the stand out signing Eder, Tabanou and Nordfeldt all offer both depth and potential competition for first team playing time this season. Nobody crucial has gone out of the club with Jazz Richards the only man being sold rather than released.

Early Fixtures Outlook: @ Chelsea, vs Newcastle, @ Sunderland, vs Man United, @ Watford, vs Everton

This looks a really tough start defensively considering they have Chelsea and Man United in the first month with Everton then coming to Swansea two weeks later. The Chelsea/Man United start means its best to avoid the defensive options for the first month. The addition of Newcastle and Sunderland means it could be a tough start going forward so you could find Siggy and Gomis a buy low after the first month before things get easier with a visit to Watford.

Goalkeeper Outlook: Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m)

Fabianski stunned the fantasy world by ending the season as the number one ranked goalkeeper with 151 points. In the 2014/15 season he kept 13 clean sheets and made 137 saves, so he delivered the best of both worlds as a guy who made enough saves to get the bonus points but also kept the clean sheets. With the Swansea defence looking similar for this season there is a fair chance Fabianski could have another great year. And at £5.0m is a must own goalkeeper, either as a true number one or in a match-up rotation based style.

Defence

Stud: Ashley Williams (£5.0m)

Williams had another solid season for Swansea, scoring over 100 points for the fourth year running. Playing in 37 games, he kept 13 clean sheets and finished the year as a top 20 defensive option. Goals aren’t something that can be relied on given that he has scored two in four years, but for someone near enough guaranteed 100 points £5.0m is a safe bet as a fourth/fifth defender.

Sleeper: Kyle Naughton (£5.0m)

Naughton will enter the season slightly underrated given that he has struggled for playing time since he went on loan to Norwich in the 2011/12 season. After his move to Swansea he became the starting option for the Swans and that should continue into this season. Getting forward hasn’t been his game, limiting his assist and crossing opportunities, but there is room for that to grow with increased playing time. Naughton is a low-end defensive option with the potential to score more points if he can get forward, and therefore he is a potential late round draft pick in crossing leagues.

Neil Taylor and Federico Fernandez are the two guys I expect to complete the back four and both are valued at £5.0m. Taylor is the better option of the two because of his job security, whereas Fernandez has a few rivals for his spot making him impossible to own. The other names in the hat to start are Jordi Amat and Kyle Bartley in the centre with Franck Tabanou a potential left back option if Taylor struggles but none of those are ownable options to start the year.

Midfield

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Stud: Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m)

Sigurdsson got off to a storming start in 2015 before slowing off later in the season. However, he still finished the season as the 11th best midfielder on the official FPL site with 154 points thanks to seven goals and 10 assists. Siggy should be a lock to start in the central attacking role once again this year and while he won’t have the man mountain that is Bony to feed off he should still be able to create plenty of chances and feed of Gomis or Eder. Siggy should once again be a top 15 option among midfielders in most formats whilst continuing as Swansea’s biggest playmaker.

Sleeper: Ki Sung-yueng (£5.5m)

Ki had a really nice year last year and rivalled Jedinak and Boyd for the biggest low-priced impact player among midfielders. Whilst a repeat of his eight goals last season would be a surprise, I can still see him being a valuable fantasy option for a low priced midfielder, with the opportunity to be a low priced bargain once again. With a £5.5m option you’re looking for a player who will play consistently but who can also have the big weeks. And Ki fits that bill wonderfully.

With the arrival of Andre Ayew, I would expect the Swansea midfield to line-up with Ayew and Montero either side of Sigurdsson. Ayew is the greater goal threat out of the two but he is also the more expensive option at £7.0m, compared to Montero’s £6.0m. However, Montero managed to provide seven assists last season and that is something I expect him to be able to keep up, whilst hopefully getting the ball in the box a bit more to make him more relevant in leagues that give bonus points for crossing. As for the rest of the midfield, I expect Shelvey to be the other central midfielder and at £5.5m he could also be the one to step up and do what Ki did last year. However, I would probably avoid Montero and Shelvey in salary cap leagues because there is a chance they could face competition from Dyer, Routledge, Cork and Fulton for their jobs. In draft leagues I would take a late round flyer on Montero for his upside but I wouldn’t gamble on anyone other than the four of Ki, Siggy, Ayew and Montero.

Strikers

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Stud: Bafetimbi Gomis (£7.0m)

Gomis did a superb job stepping up last season to replace Wilfried Bony, and his performance in the last four months of the season will likely have earned him first shot at the job this season. If you extrapolate his points over a full season of around 2,500 minutes played, then he would have scored in the range of 120 points – making him a top 15 striking option However, at £7.0m in salary cap leagues he is bordering a dangerous no man’s land where he isn’t quite good enough to be a top 10 striker. But when you can get Defoe for £5.5m this feels like an overpay (Defoe is ridiculously under-priced, in my opinion). Gomis is a quality player and will have decent games, so in draft leagues he should go off the board in the 10-15 range among strikers. But handcuffing him with the man below is probably a good tactic to use.

Sleeper: Eder (£5.5m)

Eder looks to be a real good under-the-radar signing from Swansea. While I don’t expect him to set the world on fire, it feels much like a similar move to when they brought Gomis in to back up Bony. Eder will have time to ease into the league and if Gomis over performs the Swans can look to move him and promote Eder to starter. Eder has the potential to be a low price/late-round bargain if he can get into the starting line-up either through injury or the sale of Gomis. A potential handcuff who could come good in draft leagues and a cheap option to keep an eye on for salary cap leagues.

It looks as though Marvin Emnes’ chances of finding his way into the Swansea starting line-up have been vanquished by the arrival of Eder this summer. Emnes was never going to be first choice but I liked his chances to beat out Modou Barrow as the back-up but now I think fantasy value from Emnes is highly unlikely unless both strikers get injured in front of him.

Predicted Opening day line-up:

GK: Lukasz Fabianski

RB: Kyle Naughton

CB: Federico Fernandez

CB: Ashley Williams

LB: Neil Taylor

CM: Ki Sung-yeung

CM: Jonjo Shelvey

CAM: Gylfi Sigurdsson

RW: Jefferson Montero

LW: Andre Ayew

FWD: Bafetimbi Gomis

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