Who’s the Best Fantasy Premier League Villa Players to Have in Your Team?
By Nick Simmons
I have been playing the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) for 8 years, and no matter how hard I try not to, I have to start with a Villa player or two. Sometimes this works out extremely well – remember Martin Laursen’s 6 league goals in 07/08? However, last year, I was tempted to go with Charles N’Zogbia, while other popular pre-season FPL picks last season for Villa fans were Stephen Ireland and Darren Bent. Hmmm, we all know how they worked out.
We needn’t have worried too much though, the rise and rise of Christian Benteke, starting from his goal as a second-half substitute in Game week 4 (GW4) vs. Swansea was a sign of things to come. Benteke became our top individual season Premier League scorer with 19 goals, and along with 4 assists and 23 bonus points, amassed 166 points last season. Beastly.
We all know you want a Villa player, and we can use our Aston Villa logo on our FPL team page to justify picking perhaps one or two players. Here are some points worth considering before I analyse some of our top prospects:
1) Villa play twice in the first week (GW1). With Chelsea’s Super Cup game against Bayern Munich meaning that our away game with Chelsea in GW3 was moved forward, we now start with an away game at Arsenal AND an away game at Stamford Bridge to look forward to. With only Villa and Chelsea playing twice in the first week, it means we can be a little riskier with our Villa picks.
2) Due to point 1) Villa don’t play in GW3. As Chelsea have two potentially high-scoring games in the first week (Hull City and Villa at home), many us of (including myself) will most likely start with 3 Chelsea players. Thus, if we have 3 Chelsea players, the more Villa players we own the more players we have missing from our teams in GW3.
3) Our fixtures. Arsenal (a), Chelsea (a), Liverpool (h), BLANK. We also play Man City early on. This could be a sign of going with an attacker over a defender.
Christian Benteke (9m) – How could I not start with him? Now that he’s signed a new contract, he’s the first player in many of our teams. He was the top league goalscorer in 2013, and the 4th highest in Europe. Villa’s improvement coincided with Benteke’s increased maturity in front of goal, and as a result, we ended the season with 5W 2D and 3L in the final 10 games. Benteke played a part (an assist or goal) in 49% of our goals – an indication, then, that he was the main fantasy man. At 9m, he will still represent good value if he matches his output from last season. Also listed as forwards we have Agbonlahor (7m) and Weimann (6m). Both are likely to start the majority of games, so are potential cheaper ways into our forward line. Gabby managed 9 goals and 6 assists, whilst Andi managed 7 goals 4 assists. I’d recommend Benteke.
One to watch – Helenius. At 5.5m, if he gets a few starts, he has the potential to do well. As Benteke is likely to start up front, Helenius could get a chance as a second striker. After telling Lambert he’d like to play there, he has FPL potential.
This is trickier – despite all of our midfielders being very cheap (the most expensive midfielder we have is Westwood at 5.5m!), there aren’t many high points scorers there. Delph (4.5m) is likely to start alongside Westwood in the double pivot, but he’s never scored or assisted a Premier League goal!
Ones to watch – Bacuna and Tonev (both 5m). Bacuna has had the better pre-season, with three assists and a wonder goal at Crewe. Tonev’s injury would put him behind Bacuna right now in terms of a starting place. If either establishes themselves in the first team, they are both potential bargains.
The prices for our defenders is fair – Lowton is at 5m and all others are either at 4.5m or 4m. Lowton’s assist potential increased at the end of last season, with all 4 of his assists coming towards the end of the season. If you want somebody a bit cheaper, Luna, Vlaar and Okore all come in at 4.5m. Okore has 5 goals in 65 for Nordsjælland, so is a potential pick. For assured starts, you’d back Vlaar and Luna to start virtually all games, so at 4.5m they represent decent value. Guzan at 5m is a nailed on choice; Steer is unlikely to get many league starts over our Player of the Year.
One to watch – Nathan Baker. At 4m, if he starts ahead of Okore, he’ll represent fantastic value.
Benteke has to be first choice. We play twice in the first week so a punt on another attacker may work out. Once our fixtures become easier, a defender seems great value, as I expect us to be a lot stronger defensively with Luna and Okore. With faith and confidence very high at VP right now, I’d expect Villa players to be popular picks once we get going. UTV.
Other FPL bargains
Some potential bargains are as follows:
Kevin Mirallas (Everton, 7.5) – Now reclassified as a midfielder, Mirallas will start on the right of a front 3 for Everton.
Gareth Bale (Spurs, 12m) – Given Van Persie’s price of 14m, he is the alternative captain choice to Van Persie, and 2m cheaper. A must-have (if he stays!).
James Chester (Hull City, 4m) – One of only a few defenders priced at 4m who will play regularly. Bargain.
Sturridge/Aspas/Coutinho (Liverpool) – With Suarez banned, these three Liverpool players are appealing. Liverpool actually scored more goals when Suarez wasn’t on the pitch last season.
Chelsea players – As I mentioned earlier, they play twice in the first week. Hence, Hazard, Lukaku, Mata, Terry, Lampard etc, are all hugely appealing. Be careful of Mourinho rotation, though. They also play United away after the Villa game, so (hopefully!) we may see a few names rested or rotated.
Man City defenders – All fairly cheap here, Nastasic at 5.5m is a bargain, if he is fit in time given his injury a few days ago. Alternatively, Kompany at 6.5m is a bargain, and Zabaleta at 6m is a slightly cheaper option, although he has Richards to compete with at RB. Joe Hart has kept the most clean sheets the last 3 seasons, with a minimum of 17.
Lambert/Berbatov (both 7.5m). These two finished 3rd and 5th respectively in the forward rankings for points last year, so at 7.5m they represent great value, if they can replicate their goalscoring form of last year. Remember, like with Benteke, you’re more often than not better off getting the main attacker for a lower rated team than an attacking player for a top team, who have many different goalscorers.
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Good luck chasing your FPL dreams and we’ll have a progress check at the end of August.
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