Fantasy soccer is a game of opportunities. If a player does not have an opportunity to take a shot, he really is not valuable to a fantasy roster (not considering defenders). Along those lines, an increase in opportunity can also lead to an increase in fantasy value. This could not have been any truer than it was in Gameweek 25.
29 goals were scored this past weekend (none of those came from a player wearing a Manchester City jersey, but that is a different topic). Over a quarter of those goals were accounted for by a player that recently changed teams in the winter transfer window. Shane Long, Nikica Jelavic, Peter Odemwingie, Tom Ince, Joe Ledley, and Thievy Bifouma all scored goals in Gameweek 25 for teams they joined within the last 40 days. Expand the list to assists and you can add Juan Mata and Lewis Holtby. Tom Ince added an assist as well, which came on Ledley’s goal.
One of the things all of these players have in common is an increase in playing time, and thus, opportunity. Each of these guys are either new to the Premier League, getting a chance to play more regularly, or are getting a chance to stay in the game for a longer period of time. The same could be said for players like Wilfried Zaha and Kenwyne Jones, who have contributed either an assist or a goal since joining their new clubs. Increased opportunity can also translate to increased fantasy value.
Changing teams is not the only way a player can see increased opportunity. A teammate leaving could open up chances for other players. Dimitar Berbatov's departure from Fulham has opened up a spot at striker for the Cottagers. Darren Bent has since responded by scoring a goal in his increased opportunity.
Injuries also play a part, as Kevin Mirallas has taken over the Everton attack after injuries to Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku. Even after Barkley’s return, Mirallas had established himself as a scoring option for Everton and continues to be a good fantasy option.
“Ability is nothing without opportunity.” It is a famous quote that rings true in the fantasy soccer world. It is something to keep in mind when selecting your roster each week. It is especially true when looking for bargains for your roster. Many of the names mentioned above can be owned at below-average pricing. All it takes is a little extra opportunity to make these players fantasy relevant, and now some of them have their chance.
With all that in mind, here are Gameweek 26’s Bargain Bin players:
Adrian has kept four clean sheets in the five matches he has started since taking over as West Ham's starting keeper, and this week he will get to face Norwich City. Only two clubs have scored fewer goals than the Canaries’ eight away goals this season. The matchup should serve nicely for Adrian to add to his clean sheet total and one of the game’s hottest goalkeepers.
James Tomkins makes the list thanks to West Ham's clean sheet chances against Norwich City. He gets the nod over his fellow defenders thanks to his participation in the West Ham attack. Tomkins has attempted a shot in each of his last four matches and will look to add some offense to what should be a great day defensively for the Hammers.
Danny Rose and Tottenham will be on the road this week, but that does not mean their clean sheet chances are nil. Spurs will travel to Newcastle, where the Magpies have struggled mightily on the attack with the departure of Yohan Cabaye and the suspension of Loic Remy. Tottenham are coming off a nice performance defensively against Everton, and will look to keep their top-four hopes alive by blanking Newcastle.
Kevin Nolan has stepped up in the absence of Andy Carroll, scoring four goals, while leading the West Ham attack. We’ve already discussed the clean sheet possibility for the Hammers against Norwich City, but the Canaries are also vulnerable defensively away from home. The have allowed the third most away goals and should pose little threat to Nolan continuing his fine scoring form.
Charlie Adam has been just as impressive his last two matches. The midfielder has two goals and two assists for Stoke City, which means he has been a part of each of the Potters last four goals. Swansea City have not allowed the most away goals this season, but they have allowed goals in 10 of their 12 road tilts. Stoke City should find a way to get on the board Wednesday, and Adam has proven that he will more than likely be involved.
Nikica Jelavic has attempted 19 shots in his four matches since joining Hull City, and he has been accurate with nearly 40 percent of them. If he keeps up his current pace, he is due to score again, after finding the back of the net last Saturday against Sunderland. Tuesday, Hull City will host Southampton, who are coming off a clean sheet in their latest road match (although it was against lowly Fulham). Prior to that game, Southampton had allowed goals in nine of their last ten away matches. Hull City should have a good chance to score against Southampton, and Jelavic will certainly be looking to add onto his Hull goal total.
Kenwyne Jones has led Cardiff City in shots since making his first appearance at the beginning of February. He has been the only Bluebird to attempt multiple shots in both matches this month. The high shot total should come in handy against a visiting Aston Villa on Tuesday. Aston Villa have allowed two goals in six of their last seven away matches, while also allowing plenty of shots on target. Jones should see plenty of chances Tuesday to score his second goal since joining Cardiff.