Is Adebayor ready to join the ranks of the fantasy elite? Is he worthy of not just a roster spot but also the captain's armband? Let's take a look at the facts . . .
Today's goal at Portsmouth maintained Adebayor's 100% strike record for the season and thrust him forward in the argument for the league's best fantasy striker. I have said previously that this is going to be the year of the big name striker and for the first time in memory, you might want to invest upwards of 20m on front men rather than defenders and midfielders from the big four (or six as the case might now be). Five top strikers are starting to distance themselves this year, namely Torres, Rooney, Drogba, Defoe and Adebayor. In terms of value (points per million spent) Adebayor (.867) is currently top of this list ahead of Drogba (.816), Defoe (.811), Rooney (.746) and Torres (.554). Lets look at how his future production compares with his fellow strikers:
The five strikers noted above have all scored either four (Defoe and Rooney) or three goals (Adebayor, Drogba and Torres) so far this year. They have all played 4 games except Adebayor who has only played 3. Based on last year's defensive records, Adebayor has had the easiest schedule to date (1.41 goals per game) with Torres facing the toughest (1.29 GPG). Defoe and Rooney also bring some extra value here due to their penalty taking duties. I think there is a possibility of all five strikers reaching 20 goals this year and the difference between them may come in the other scoring categories.
The key difference between Adebayor and Drogba comes in the assist category, of which Drogba has 3 and Adebayor has none. This trend is likely to continue all season as Adebayor is the focal point of a 4-3-3 system where as Drogba has a partner (Anelka) to square to for valuable assists. A look at their week 4 chalkboards shows the situation nicely (Adebayor: left, Drogba: right)
While Drogba is being played into the channels to then cross for Anelka or pull back for Lampard, Adebayor is holding up the ball a bit deeper to then play in runners such as Wright Phillips and Ireland who will then cross to someone else for the goals. Adebayor's assists will therefore be limited all year long unless Robinho or Tevez are pushed alongside him into a more natural partnership role. Rooney, Defoe and to a lesser extent Torres are also affected by this and so Adebayor only really loses ground to Drogba here.
I would have crowned Rooney king of the bonus points (9 in 4 games). but with Ade's 3 points today, he now has 8 in just 3 games. Points when a player gets a hattrick or dominates a game are one thing, but the key is those that are given in games when no-one really excels. Ronaldo and Lampard were the kings of these phantom points last year and Rooney appears to have taken Ronaldo's crown. Whether or not Adebayor can be added to the list is yet to be seen, but for now he is certainly as good as anyone in this category. Drogba and Torres suffer the most here as they is competing with Lampard and Gerrard though Defoe's 4 points are also a bit worrying.
No massive differences here with each player facing a number of easy and tough games. After the next two weeks (Arsenal, @Man United) City's fixtures looks great until weeks 13-15 when they face Liverpool and Chelsea. Rooney faces the toughest schedule as trips to Spurs, Stoke, Liverpool and Chelsea look unlikely to give him too much joy.
Overall I think that Adebayor is a great pick for the upcoming season and he has proven that he will be legitimate star for City this year. The question is when to bring him in as the next two games look tough but his price looks set to rise immanently as he has net transfers in of 20,000 in week 4 and another 6,000 already in week 5. I plan to start the cogs in motion (freeing up cash) to get the Ciy hitman and wouldn't hesitate to advise the same for anyone who has faith that the former Arsenal man can continue to repay City for the hefty transfer fee they paid for him.