Sunday, July 26, 2009

Striker merry-go-round

Its no secret that I am not a huge fan of this year's striker class. There are very few strikers who are guaranteed a game every week, nevermind guaranteed fantasy point production. Many strikers are currently involved in transfer speculation and others have already moved so lets run round the league and sum up whose moving where and how that might affect their production.

Done deals

Michael Owen (8.5m)
Owen has made an impressive start to his United career during the pre-season and the indications from Alex Ferguson are that Owen will get a decent chance to shine during the season, suggesting that the English hitman can reach 15 goals this season. Owen's career Premier League goal ratio is one every 1.64 games which over a 38 game season would give 23 goals. However, Owen has only played in more than 20 games in the league once since 2004 and with Rooney reverting to a central role and Macheda looking like the real deal it is hard to see Owen topping 20 or so games this term. Ferguson has suggested that Owen might only feature 'every 10 days' which again suggests that 20 games is a reasonable suggestion. This would lead to a goal haul of around 12-14 and a 100-120 point season. Those are decent figures but can probably be had from a Carlton Cole or Kevin Davies and do not justify the 8.5m tag at this time.

Carlos Tevez (8.5m)
Tevez was never given sufficient playing time last season to get on a goalscoring run so I will not hold his 5 goal tally against him. However, the Argentinian appears to have walked in another rotation situation with arguably as much fire power at Eastlands as that which he left behind at Old Trafford. For that reason, I simply cannot see Tevez playing the 30 games he had in 2007-08 when he scored 166 fantasy points. Like Owen above, I think Tevez's situation is just too crowded for him to be great value and his owners will be guessing all season whether to bench him or not.

Emmanuel Adebayor (10m)
This one is really intriguing to me, as the 25m price tag should ensure plenty of chances to shine for the former Arsenal man. I am not the biggest fan of the Togo striker, whose criticism of the Arsenal fans and general un-professionalism has been a showcase for all that is wrong with modern football. However, when he played 32 games in 2007-08 he smashed 24 goals on his way to a 200 point season (a mark that no striker even sniffed last year). With Robinho, Santa Cruz or Tevez to partner him and Ireland, Barry and Shaun Wright Phillips providing support, he has arguably more talent around him now than at the Emirates in that landmark season. Adebayor is a big risk but this move probably makes him more valuable as he will be more motivated (for now) and has a point to prove. Caveat emptor certainly applies here but with a 2.3% holding to date, Adebayor is the cheapest and least held player who could hit 200 points this season.

Roque Santa Cruz (9m)
Santa Cruz's value has probably increased with his move to City, as like Adebayor above, he was unhappy at Ewood and his production showed this last year (4 goals and just 60 fantasy points). The former Bayern man is reunited with Sparky Hughes, under whom he flourished, scoring 19 goals in 2007-08. For 9m though I need guaranteed games and unless Hughes moves to a 4-3-3 permanently, I think Robinho and Adebayor will see the most games with Tevez and Santa Cruz having to settle for somewhere around the 22 game mark.

Fraizer Campbell (6m)
Campbell certainly has the makings of a fantasy sleeper, and this move gives his value as big of a boost as any other player around. He would have been bench fodder at United or Spurs, where he spent last season on loan, but has now escaped to Sunderland where he should be much happier ('escaping to Sunderland' and 'being happy' must be too of the least used phrases in history). A couple of good looking 6m or less options exist out there (Beattie, Ashton, Ebanks-Blake) but Campbell certainly has to be in the discussion with these. With Sunderland out of the Crouch race (see below) and the Chamakh deal stalling, Campbell should be guaranteed a starting place alongside the powerful Kenwyne Jones which could give the Stadium of Light its most dangerous partnership since Niall Quinn was nodding down flick-ons to a young Kevin Phillips. While unlikely to hit 15+ goals, Campbell should give you a consistent stream of points, totalling out somewhere along the 100 point mark for the season.

On the cards
Peter Crouch (7.5m)
Crouch's prolonged move from Fratton Park appears to be almost complete, as Spurs have had an offer for the big man accepted, which would see him once again re-united with 'Arry Redknapp. Unless Bent, Pavlyuchenko or both leave Spurs, their front line looks to be a bit crowded and it is hard to see one player dominating in the scoring charts. As bad as Pompey are, Crouch's value may actually be diminished by this move until he is proven to be the focal point of the Spurs attack. If this is the case though, he suddenly becomes a very interesting 7.5m man considering his partners and suppliers (Modric, Lennon, Palacios etc). Of all players under 8m Crouch probably has the highest ceiling, if he gets 30+ appearances this season. If not, he'll just be another frustrating striker who will leave you guessing as to when to activate your robot.

Dean Ashton (6m)
Stoke, Hull and Fulham have all been linked with the West Ham striker, though I am still a bit puzzled as to why West Ham want to sell low on the former England striker. Ashton is probably a better player in reality than in fantasy terms but he could reach 100 points again (as in 2007-08) in the right situation. However, none of these teams provide a good opportunity for Ashton who would be better served partnering Carlton Cole in West Ham.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
The Dutch striker has been linked with both Spurs and Arsenal, and has been declared surplus to requirements at Real Madrid. Huntelaar has been prolific everywhere he has played and has the tools to succeed in the Premier League. A move to Arsenal seems like the dream ticket as the Gunners have been in need of a player of Huntelaar's finishing class since Thierry Henry left. He could fill the gap left by Adebayor and could easily surpass 15 goals and 8 assist for the season. He is likely to be given a price tag somewhere in the 9m range, and after a few games to settle in this could be a great price for a potential top 5 striker.

As always, I will keep you posted on the transfer moves as the window progresses with live updates available on Twitter.


Thommas said...

I agree with most of the things you say here. But i wonder where Torres is? If he can stay fit, I think he can be the topscorer in PL this season!

TD Ocho said...

I'm gambling on Campbell having a breakout season with Sunderland this year, or at least a solid fantasy one.

Anonymous said...

Right folks here is my team so far..what do you think? Feel free to add any suggestions.

1: Schwarzer (G)
2: Evra
3: Shawcross
4: Johnson
5: Lampard (C)
6: Fabregas
7: Larsson
8: Cahill
9: Ebanks-Blake
10: Adebayor
11: Campbell
12: Sorensen (G)
13: Hughes
14: Turner
15: Muamba

Thommas said...

TD Ocho: Me too aswell, I think he can make a good impact this season.

Colin: That team doesnt look half bad at all =) I'm a huge Liverpool fan, so I must have Torres up front, I think he can go over 200p this season

TD Ocho said...

Thommas - I agree with you on Torres too, I can see a 20 goal season for him. Now there are talks of Darren Bent going to Sunderland, so maybe Campbell won't have that chance to shine.

Colin - pretty solid team. Johnson is too expensive for my taste and I think Turner and Hull will be an absolute bust this year but the rest is good.

TD Ocho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Glover said...

Thommas - I had Torres in right up until I wrote the article but I bumped him for Drogba as I think they can both hit 18 goals but DD is 1m cheaper. I am deducted some points from a desire to not base the team too much around Liverpool.

Colin, great looking side so far though I would echo TD and say I think Turner will be a bust.

Anonymous said...

Cheers boys.

Its only provisional at the moment...I've got to see where some players end up though. Fraizer might be sitting bench for alot!

Feel free to put your teams forward also!

Great blog Chris..its going take me to the summit this season.

Ollycee said...

Hi guys,

At the moment I have both Lamps and Stevie G in my provisional side. I just couldnt pick one over the other so I went for both! The downside of this is that I have blown 25% of my budget on 2 players! But on the upside if they both score similar points as last season I should be well on the way to the top of my league. Because I have both in my team I have had to sacrifice my forward line up and have three cheap strikers (under 6.5million), who I think will produce a decent return over the season. What does everyone think about this? Is it worth having both of these players in your team at the expense of another area of your side?

I like Arshavin as a long term investment to maybe replace one of these two.. but Arsenal are away at Everton in the first week and dont play in week two.

Great blog by the way.. Keep up the good work!!

Chris Glover said...

Thanks for the post. I like the strategy and at the moment I am doing the same (though I am tempted to take Arshavin instead of Gerard to save a bit of cash). I think at least one of Campbell, Ashton, Beattie, Vela, Benitez will turn into an every week starter allowing you to rotate the other striker by opponent. Captaining either SG or Lamps and holding the other could give you 600+ points which is a great start, even for 25% of your cash.

Ollycee said...

Chris your probably right but I have been tinkering and have managed to wangle Lampard Arshavin and Torres in to my team!! I really like those three for the long term and I think Torres is the only striker capable of banging 20+ goals this season... Only time will tell I suppose!