Branislav Ivanovic and his ability was no secret coming into this season, but still he has appeared to be a draft day bargain for fantasy owners due to the concern surrounding his selection. The arrival of Filipe Luis meant that there was no guarantee that Cesar Azpilicueta would start at left back for Chelsea, but Mourinho’s love of the hard working full back caused concern that he may replace Ivanovic at right back. Therefore, Ivanovic was deemed a risk too high for many owners in preseason with people preferring to go for players they were sure would be first choice selections for their respective team. Some of those sure fire first choices have back fired spectacularly on fantasy owners early on in the season, with names such as Scott Dann, Danny Rose, Eric Dier and Craig Dawson above the likes of John Terry, Gary Cahill, Laurent Koscielny, and Vincent Kompany.
As with the Goalkeepers I will look at the top point scorers and the disappointing players, as well as updating you on solid upcoming match ups. In addition, I will look at the surprisingly good options based on fantasy points who has been consistently useful fantasy performers, whilst also analyzing some of the middle-of-the-pack guys who’s Fakepremierlg Performance Rating (FPR) show them to be underachieving in terms of fantasy points and may be due to a breakout.
The Top 5
Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) 44 Points (Three Clean Sheets, Two Goals Scored and One Assist): As I said above, he has been an absolute beast so far this year and has more than vindicated Mourinho’s decision to stick with him at right back rather than moving him to centre back. With a FPR of 1.71 placing him third overall, he has been one of the most consistent contributors to fantasy teams. Playing for a Chelsea team who is just getting back to their solid best, he should easily finish top of the rankings in terms of fantasy scoring.
Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton) 36 Points (Three Clean Sheets, One Goal Scored and One Assist): Clyne has been a wonderful surprise this year considering everyone expected Southampton to struggle at the back with the loss of Lovren. That has not been the case and they have kept three clean sheets putting Clyne in the top five for total scoring and FPR.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) 36 Points (Three Clean Sheets, One Goal Scored and One Assist): Everything I said about Southampton above goes here with Bertrand and he has a been a big reason for the seamless transition into this season for Southampton. Filling Luke Shaw’s shoes isn’t easy, but he has done it in both directions so far. Currently sitting top five in both fantasy points and FPR, suggesting this is no fluke.
Eric Dier (Tottenham) 34 Points (Two Clean Sheets and Two Goals Scored): Dier got off to a flying start this year scoring 29 points in the first two weeks causing a mad rush for him on the waivers, but since then he has put a measly five points. He currently sits 42nd in the FPR leaderboard, suggesting that his appearance at the top of this leader board may be doomed to end.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 32 Points (Three Clean Sheets and One Assist): I was so sure he was going to lose his spot this year and for that reason I was down on him. Boy was I wrong! He has taken Mourinho’s faith and ran with it consistently being one of the best Chelsea players on the pitch in a team full of stunning quality. He currently sits top 10 in FPR, showing he has been a handy defender to own this year and I don’t expect that to end any time soon.
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) 20 Points (One Clean Sheet and One Goal Scored): Perhaps a good indication of just how much Dier’s stats are over inflated, is that he’s currently tied with Koscielny in FPR. And anyone who owns Koscielny seems to be disappointed on a weekly basis. Of his 20 points, 10 came in week one and since then he has gone 0, 1, 1, 6, 2, 0 with Arsenal only keeping a clean sheet against Villa’s anaemic attack. They have had some tough match ups (Chelsea, Man City, Everton, Tottenham) but they have also had match ups that you have been disappointed not to see a clean sheet (Crystal Palace and Leicester). I see a few good weeks coming up for him, so if he doesn’t perform then consider him easily replaceable. One thing to watch for is an Achilles injury, so it is worth seeing how he is when he returns from the international break.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham) 15 Points (Two Clean Sheets): Jan has missed a few weeks through niggling injuries this year meaning he has only played four games. He currently has an FPR of 1.25 and sits 26th among defenders who have played at least half the games this season meaning you shouldn’t panic. However, for the price you paid he has been a disappointment and with Man City this week he’s going to be unusable. But then a run of Newcastle, Villa, Stoke and Hull should be enough for you to judge whether he is useable this year.
Seamus Coleman (Everton) 14 Points (One Clean Sheet, One Goal and One Assist): Another injury-hit guy who you paid a high price for this year. He has missed the last three games and is still trying to come back from a knock. With a decent couple of games coming you should keep an eye on his status as Everton will be desperate to prove they can keep clean sheets regularly and he is a menace going forward.
Pablo Zabaleta (Man City) 13 Points (One Clean Sheet and Two Assists): Zabaleta got off to the start from hell for fantasy owners scoring -1 points after five games whilst only playing three of them. Since then he has improved with two assists against Hull and a clean sheet against Villa, returning him to a semi-respectable but still ultimately disappointing 13 points. He currently sits 70th in the FPR rankings, but having started the season slowly in an attempt to recover from his World Cup exertions so I expect both his fantasy points and FPR to improve regardless of match ups over the coming month.
Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) 9 Points: A third highly valued player who has missed a couple of game through injury, however, even when he has been on the field he has been terrible for fantasy teams; averaging a measly 1.8 points per game. If Liverpool don’t improve their defensive capabilities soon I can see many fantasy owners giving up on him. Three nice match ups coming in QPR, Hull and Newcastle, so chuck him out there and hope for an improvement.
High FPR guys
Kolarov (Man City) 18 Points, FPR: 1.80 (1st) (Two Clean Sheets and One Assist): Kolarov has been the most consistent player this year with his 18 points coming over 5 games with no score lower than two in any one game. The big issue with Kolarov? They insist on splitting time between him and Clichy and there doesn’t appear to be any clear pattern to who starts when. If Kolarov can grip the job or a clear pattern emerges so you can trust, he could be a solid consistent performer for your fantasy team.
Taylor (Swansea) 25 Points, FPR: 1.57 (6st) (Three Clean Sheets and One Assist): Swansea have been superb at both ends of the field to start the year and the solidity of their back four has big part of that. Taylor has stepped in superbly at left back to replace Ben Davies when he moved to Tottenham. A zero in week one has been followed up with a string of useful performances that have seen Taylor be a solid fantasy option who came undrafted or at a very cheap price.
Williams (Swansea) 26 Points, FPR: 1.57 (6th) (Three Clean Sheets): Williams only blips this season came against Chelsea (unsurprisingly) and Newcastle (surprisingly), but other than that he has been minimum two points with a five, a seven and a nine point game. Another guy who came late in drafts or undrafted that has returned solid consistent value early on
Rangel (Swansea) 19 Points, FPR: 1.67 (5th) (Three Clean Sheets): Two average weeks (two points) one bad week (zero points) and three above average weeks (two sixes and a three that should have six if he hadn’t got sent off!). Just another part of Swansea’s surprisingly solid start and with two good match ups for these guys stay invested and look to sell high if you can.
Rafael (Man United) 16 Points, FPR: 1.50 (13th) (One Clean Sheet and One Assist): Having missed the first three games I would have been stunned if he was any higher than middle of the pack in fantasy points. His FPR shows there is some potential here with him being the best right back on this team by a mile. Man united are a very attacking team this year and he will have plenty of chances to get forward and plenty of talented players who can finish if he hits his crosses right. One good matchup is followed by two nightmare one’s that you will want to consider sitting him for.
Shawcross (Stoke) 30 Points, FPR: 1.57 (6th) (Two Clean Sheets and One Goal): As always, Stoke have been top class defensively this season and Shawcross has been the general in the middle of it. The goal always helps fantasy points but playing for Stoke there will always be strong defensive performances for their players.
Wilson (Stoke) 23 Points, FPR: 1.71 (2nd) (Two Clean Sheets): One of Stoke’s best performers this week and he sits higher than Shawcross in consistency simply because he has one less yellow card, meaning he has yet to put up a zero.
Bardsley (Stoke) 23 Points, FPR: 1.57 (6th) (Two Clean Sheets and One Assist): Bardsley has never garnered much respect in fantasy but in this Stoke defence he is a useable option most weeks, as Stoke are nearly always solid at the back against mid-level opponents and are always capable of stepping it up for the big boys as well.
Cahill (Chelsea) 22 Points, FPR: 1.57 (6th) (Three Clean Sheets): Cahill has once again been a figurehead at the centre of a Chelsea defence that has so far failed to live up to expectations. He has the same FPR as his teammate Azpilicueta, but has 10 fantasy points left and that is why I have included him here to show the fantasy value of full backs compared to centre backs. Generally full backs have a higher earning potential in fantasy as they can influence the game both going forward and backwards. Chelsea’s defensive record will improve as they settle into their new style of play and begin to boss both aspect of the game.
Low FPR Guys
Chambers (Arsenal) 16 Points, FPR: 0.71 (79th) (Two Clean Sheets): Chambers has slotted straight into this Arsenal defence, initially at centre back but also at right back, which is more than many expected from him this season. However, his FPR is abysmal for someone playing for one of the top teams in the league and stems from the fact he has been shown five yellow cards in seven games meaning he is often below league average. He is suspended for the Hull game but then he has a decent couple of match ups against Burnley and Sunderland that he should get to play in with Debuchy out.
Robertson (Hull) 22 Points, FPR: 0.57 (83rd) (Two Clean Sheets and One Assist): 19 of his 22 points have come in two games playing for a team who has struggled to keep it tight at the back even with good match ups. He shouldn’t be owned in any league.
Morgan (Leicester) 13 Points, FPR: 0.71 (79th) (One Clean Sheet): Eight points in two games with one in each of the other three for a team who consistently concede two goals. Should not be owned.
Konchesky (Leicester) 18 Points, FPR: 0.71 (79th) (One Clean Sheet and One Assist): 13 of his points have come in two games and with one in each of the other five he is no more valuable to you than Morgan or Robertson in this team and therefore should be dropped if owned.
Coloccini (Newcastle) 13 Points, FPR: 0.50 (84th) (One Clean Sheet): A lot of people will have picked up Coloccini at the start of the season based on his previous seasons performances when healthy but this year he has been pathetic. He has scored zero points three times, one point twice and two points once. A nine point game in week two showed a glimmer of hope but consider Coloccini un-rosterable until Newcastle show they have learnt to defend.
Good Month Coming?
Italics = Good match up, Underlined = Bad match up
Arsenal: Hull (H), Sunderland (A), Burnley (H), Swansea (A)
Everton: Aston Villa (H), Burnley (A), Swansea (H), Sunderland (A)
Liverpool: QPR (A), Hull (H), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H)
Southampton: Sunderland (H), Stoke (H), Hull (A), Leicester (H)
Tottenham: Man City (A), Newcastle (H), Aston Villa (A), Stoke (H)
Bad Month Coming?
Crystal Palace: Chelsea (H), West Brom (A), Sunderland (H), Man United (A)
Hull: Arsenal (A), Liverpool (A), Southampton (H), Burnley (A)
Man United: West Brom (A), Chelsea (H), Man City (A), Crystal Palace (H)
QPR: Liverpool (H), Aston Villa (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H)
Swansea: Stoke (A), Leicester (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H)
I will be leaving injury updates out this week as it is unlikely you are making many roster decisions this week based on injury, but if you have any questions about injured players please direct them to me on twitter. General rule of thumb for salary cap leagues is if you think they are missing the next game week then get them out of your roster.