Nick Pitner does a great job finding the Best XI players each week, but filling a roster with some of those players can come at a great cost. Finding players who provide more value per dollar, pound or euro are key to affording as many top-priced players as possible. Players that can produce at a below-average cost are crucial.
This article aims to give you options for filling in the roster with value players. Each week, we will feature players that have increased chances at good fantasy production despite their reduced prices. These values could be because of matchup, injury to another player, or because of a hot streak. Regardless of the reason, here are our “bargain bin” guys for Week 2.
Saves are always important for fantasy goalkeepers, but clean sheets provide the most bang for the buck. Asmir Begovic looks to have a good chance to keep a clean sheet as Stoke host newly-promoted Crystal Palace. Begovic was sensational last week against Liverpool, making 10 saves and allowing just one goal. This week should be an easier task facing a Crystal Palace squad that managed just five shots last week against Tottenham. In addition, Crystal Palace struggled to score on the road last season, knocking in only 21 goals away from Selhurst Park, ranking them 22nd out of the 24 Championship squads. It will only be harder now that they are in the Premier League. With the odds against Crystal Palace, Begovic is plenty good enough to keep a clean sheet this Saturday.
Similar to goalkeepers, defenders are going to build their value by playing lots of minutes and recording clean sheets. Goals from defenders are hard to come by, so consider anything of the sort to be a bonus. You also want to be careful to avoid players that get booked far too often, as the loss of points can cut any value gained during the match.
While Begovic will benefit from playing Crystal Palace this week, so will the guys helping him to protect the net. When it comes to picking a defender from Stoke City from your roster, take a look at Robert Huth. Huth typically leads Stoke City defenders in shots taken and will usually handle the ball more than any of his defensive teammates. He also led all Stoke City defenders in fewest bookings per minute last season.
A second defender to keep an eye on is Joleon Lescott. This one is a little tricky because part of his upside is dependent upon the return of Matija Nastasic. Nastasic was out last week for Manchester City’s match with Swansea City because of an ankle injury he sustained during the pre-season. In his place, Lescott got the start and played a full 90 minutes. Lescott may also benefit from Vincent Kompany's groin injury that will sideline him this week as well. Regardless of the reason that Lescott winds up on the field, he and his fellow Sky Blues will be facing a Cardiff City squad that struggled to get effective shots on net against West Ham last week. Only one of their 12 shots was on target and now Cardiff City will have to try to score against a Manchester City squad that held Newcastle to a league low five shots last Monday. Lescott and Manchester City have a good chance to pick up a clean sheet this week against the Cardiff boys.
Now we’re getting to the guys who you want to find the back of the net. Midfielders can get you some points by getting clean sheets, but their value comes from scoring goals and getting assists. When looking for valuable midfielders, you want to find players that are going to be part of matches that could have a lot of scoring.
Ross Barkley played a big part in Everton’s offensive strategy last week. He scored one of their two goals with a tremendous shot early in the second half and he accounted for 20 percent of the team’s shot total. The uncertainty surrounding Marouane Fellaini could also help his status. In addition to getting a good number of opportunities, Barkley and Everton will be facing a West Brom squad that finished 13th in goals allowed on the road last season. That includes giving up two goals to Everton the last time they visited Goodison Park. In fact, their last two trips to Everton have seen the home squad score twice. Barkley has a good chance to be involved in some scoring this week against West Brom.
Joe Cole has surely taken advantage of rejoining West Ham, scoring three goals in his last eleven appearances. Translated out to a full season, that pace would put him on track to score double-digit goals. One of those goals came last week, showing that he is already involved in the attacking plans this season. This week, his Hammers get to play a Newcastle squad that looked porous in defeat to Manchester City on Monday. Newcastle are clearly struggling, as the uncertainty surrounding star player Yohan Cabaye continues. This could mean trouble for Newcastle and good things for Cole and West Ham.
The key to forward success begins and ends with goal scoring. Just like midfielders, you want your forwards to be part of high scoring affairs.
Cole will not be the only West Ham player on the pitch this Saturday that could be a productive fantasy contributor: Mobido Maiga is another one, as he will be manning the front line for the Hammers in place of the injured Andy Carroll (heel). Carroll is expected to be out until September, which means Maiga should continue to get the starts in his place. This week’s matchup with Newcastle will provide him one of his best opportunities to find the back of the net.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel is also benefiting from a teammate's injury. Gary Hooper's shin injury caused him to miss last week’s match against Everton and Van Wolfswinkel took advantage by scoring his first goal for his new squad. Van Wolfswinkel should be able to find time on the pitch regardless of Hooper's status, although if the latter cannot play, van Wolfswinkel should get more chances to score. This week's opponent is a Hull City squad that allowed 23 shots last week against Chelsea. The Canaries are likely to have plenty of opportunities to score and van Wolfswinkel should be a key beneficiary.