Fantasy Football new faces
Sky Sports Fantasy Football guru Jamie Casey looks at some potential bargains from the new players in the Premier League.
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Every season without fail, the Premier League produces a surprise package - be that in the form of an individual or an entire team. However, as Jamie Casey explains, it's merely a guessing game for Sky Sports Fantasy Football managers at this stage of the summer.
In the goalscorers' chart last season, expensive heavyweight trio Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale were joined by Christian Benteke, Michu and Romelu Lukaku respectively, all three of whom were moderately priced at the beginning of last season.
They'll each be out to prove they're not one-season wonders in the difficult second season but, as ever, there are new kids on the block ready to take centre stage - it's just a matter of judging who has the Premier League X-factor.
It's not only up front where the fantasy points are won, though, and there's plenty to choose from when predicting this season's Jan Vertonghen, Jason Puncheon and Ricky Lambert, each of which proved bargain buys for many managers last season.
Here, Sky Sports Fantasy Football's Jamie Casey picks the potential candidates who can rack up the points.
Norwich appear to have picked up one of the most exciting signings of the summer in Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Costing a club record £8.5m from Sporting Lisbon, the word 'shrewd' is probably not the best adjective for the transfer, but there's certainly a lot of sense in bringing the Holland international to the Premier League and the Canaries have helped all parties out by completing the deal in March. That gives van Wolfswinkel more than enough time to mentally prepare for the move and he should go straight into Chris Hughton's starting line-up. He's available to buy in Sky Sports Fantasy Football for £7.5million and represents better value for money than equally-priced alternative options Fabio Borini, Victor Anichebe and Kenwyne Jones. His name is sure to write its own headlines this coming season but be mindful though, as van Wolfswinkel tends to score in bursts, so perhaps wait for him to break his duck before drafting him into your side.
Having brought 19-goal Benteke to the Premier League last season, Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert's reputation in the transfer market went up a notch, with the big Belgian perhaps saving him from the chop on a number of occasions last season. With Darren Bent likely to join Newcastle, new signing Nicklas Helenius will be in the reckoning quickly and, if his pre-season form is anything to go by, the signing from Aalborg could well be a shrewd choice for Sky Sports Fantasy Football managers at just £6.6million. Helenius has all the attributes to succeed - he's 6ft 5in, aggressive and works hard off the ball. He'll have to grab his first chance by the scruff of the neck though, as he faces competition from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann and Nathan Delfouneso as well.
Fans of Football Manager will have expected to see Romania captain Razvan Rat in the Premier League long before now, but in reality a big-money move to a top-four side was never likely to materialise. That is not to say that he can't do a good job at West Ham at the age of 32, though, and under what better manager can a veteran begin life in England's top flight than Sam Allardyce? From declaring his interest in the Inter Milan job to gambling on ageing stars such as Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha and Michel Salgado, Allardyce's managerial career has seemed like one big game of the Football Manager, but a successful one at that. Big Sam is renowned for getting the best out of players in the twilight of their careers, and Rat brings with him a wealth of experience having been capped 89 times by his country as well as claiming 15 honours at club level. He's available for just £4.7million in Sky Sports Fantasy Football and, whilst he might not provide many goals, he is no stranger to assists and should fit nicely into a defence that kept 11 clean sheets in the Premier League last term.
New Manchester United boss David Moyes tried to sign Leroy Fer on a number of occasions during his last few seasons at Everton, so Norwich can feel pretty chuffed with themselves to have stepped in and sewn up the a deal after the new Toffees boss Roberto Martinez showed no interest. Although down as a midfielder in Sky Sports Fantasy Football, Fer can play as a centre-half but he'll grab goals from set-pieces no matter where on the pitch Chris Hughton plans to use him, such is his aerial prowess. The Dutchman was one of Holland's best players during their run to the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship this summer, and he's worth considering for your team at only £5.3million. For a little more, managers could opt for Ryan Giggs (£5.5million) or Victor Moses (£5.5million), but Fer is likely to play week-in-week-out for the Canaries, unlike the aforementioned duo, so will accumulate more points in the long run.