With two weeks left in the season, we are coming upon everyone’s favorite part of the year: the year-end awards. We will detail the Bargain Bin Starting XI next week, but this week is reserved for those who left us frustrated and scratching our heads.
Plenty of players came through for their teams last week, especially those that can be owned by your fantasy team at bargain pricing. Unfortunately, not every player has produced. There are some players that had expectations to perform and never did. For that, we are announcing the Bargain Bin Frustrating XI. Here is a lineup of bargain players (they may not all be bargain level now, but at some point this season they were) that frustrated fantasy owners and left them wishing they had made a better investment.
Our starting lineup is a 2-3-5 formation. If Chelsea can start six defenders for a Champions League semifinal, it think it is more than fair to include five forwards here.
Frustrating XI Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan
Guzan has started all 35 of Aston Villa's Premier League matches this season. He’s been their goalkeeper no matter what, but that has not produced much fantasy value. In those 35 starts, Guzan has only kept nine clean sheets. His 25 percent clean sheet percentage ranks him 16 out of the 18 goalkeepers that have made at least 20 starts for their squad. Odds are if you started Guzan, you did not get much return.
Frustrating XI Defenders - Phil Bardsley and Martin Skrtel
Both players have actually done quite well overall on the season, but clearly that is not why they made this list. Both players have made multiple mistakes that have cost your fantasy team. In fact, their mistakes have probably led many to refuse to play either of them. Skrtel leads the Premier League in own goals scored this season. In fact, he had a stretch back in December which saw him score two own goals in the span of three matches.
Not to be outdone, Bardsley comes in second overall with two own goals. In addition, he has picked up nine yellow cards, third most for defenders this season. His two goals this season are nice, but they are completely overshadowed by some of the negative damage he has caused to fantasy teams.
Frustrating XI Midfielders - Andros Townsend, Nathan Redmond, and Hatem Ben Arfa
The list of midfielders all have one thing in common: poor conversion rates. Redmond has the worst conversion rate of any Premier League player this season that has attempted at least 50 shots and Townsend is right behind him. Redmond has scored just one goal on 62 shots, while Townsend converted just one of his 56 shots. Fantasy owners were always lured in with the high shot-totals (Townsend especially after he scored for England in the World Cup qualifiers) just to be let down week after week.
Ben Arfa has a poor conversion rate as well, converting just 46 shots into three goals. However, much was expected of Ben Arfa after the departure of Yohan Cabaye in January. Ben Arfa had three goals in 2013 before Cabaye left for PSG. Once Cabaye was gone, fantasy owners were looking for Ben Arfa to step up and build upon his production. They have been left with just one assist in 2014, as Ben Arfa’s last goal came back on December 21, while Cabaye was still on the roster.
Frustrating XI Forwards - Kostas Mitroglou, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper, Jozy Altidore, and Fernando Torres
Mitroglou leads the list thanks to the amount of money Fulham spent to bring him in. They broke the bank to sign the Greek striker and had Fulham supporters and fantasy owners excited about the possibilities. Unfortunately, they’ve been disappointed, as Mitroglou has managed to play just 119 minutes for the club since joining in January. His time on the pitch has led to seven shots but zero goals or assists. He has contributed nothing to Fulham’s relegation fight or fantasy teams' bid to climb up the rankings.
Just like Mitroglou, the pair of Norwich City strikers were expected to break onto the scene and produce some good value for fantasy owners. Van Wolfswinkel was coming off back-to-back seasons of 14 goals for Sporting CP in Portugal, while Hooper was a former Scottish Golden Boot winner and had scored at least 19 goals in each of his previous five seasons. Well, the two have combined for a total of seven goals this season with just one of those scored in 2014. If Norwich are looking for a reason for why they may be playing next season in the Championship, their lack of goal-scoring is certainly a good place to start.
Altidore was coming off a monster international season, scoring 23 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie. He was clearly ready to make the leap to play in the Premier League this time around and he was going to be given every opportunity by Sunderland. Except it never panned out. He has scored just one goal in league play this season and has many wondering if he’s even ready for the World Cup this summer. He may some day figure out the style of play in the Premier League, but the 2013-14 season was not one for Altidore or his fantasy owners to remember.
Torres is one of those players that is just tough to figure out. He seems disinterested at times and you wonder how long he will be at Chelsea. In fact, his demeanor would force many to stay away as his four goals could almost be expected this season. The problem is, he shows so much more potential outside of the Premier League. He has just as many goals in the Champions League as he does in the Premier League this season. Every time fantasy owners try to write him off, he’d score a Champions League goal and reopen the door. Except he was not able to do much with it. Hopefully you had Torres on your fantasy Champions League team and were able to stay away during Premier League play.
Gameweek 37 brings back the double gameweek for one final time. Manchester United, Manchester City, Hull City, Sunderland, West Brom, and Aston Villa all have the benefit from playing twice this week. Be sure to keep that in mind as you set your lineup for the penultimate time this season. Also keep these players in mind if you’re looking for cheap options to fill your roster with value production. We’ve already stretched this article out long enough, the player notes below will be in Twitter format (140 characters or less). Which reminds me, if you like what you read and are on Twitter, be sure to give me a follow (@EPL_MOstradamus) for fantasy advice and information.
David de Gea - 2 matches at home against bottom half teams? Playing for Giggs? I like the clean sheet chances.
Danny Rose - West Ham have scored the third-fewest away goals and are trending the wrong way. Rose can add some offense, too.
Marcos Alonso - The Manchester match is not all that enticing, but home against West Brom should be good. Alonso leads Sunderland defenders in shots.
Jonjo Shelvey - Plays beautifully with Wilfried Bony. High shot totals plus the chance for an assist.
Jason Puncheon - Has anyone seen the Liverpool defense? Beatable. And Puncheon has four goals in his last five matches.
Connor Wickham - No one in the planet is hotter right now. At the right time, too. Will have two chances to extend his fantasy scoring streak.
Shane Long - Has increased his shot attempts, which puts him ahead of Nikica Jelavic for me. Two matches this week, with the one against Aston Villa the most promising.