This is undoubtedly where many a league will be won or lost come the end of the season and the amount of options available to fantasy mangers are frightening. Looking at the stats from last season the importance of selecting the right forward line can not be understated as this us usually where the vast majority of managers will place the captains armband.
30 Goals Gone
But it is also worth stating that things may not be as straight forward as last season with the leading goal scorer Van Persie looking highly unlikely to repeat his amazing feats of last year despite making the move to Old Trafford, thus giving managers another variable to consider.Both Rooney and Sergio Aguero produced far stronger form in home matches in the campaign gone by. This means we either earmark two heavy-hitting forwards that rotate and cover for this inconsistency, or we perhaps rely on the midfield to step up.
The Rotating Pair
One big reason the Rooney and Aguero strike pairing could work so well is the fact that they offer perfect home and away rotation. This ensures that you have a run of 38 home matches, which offers a big incentive to target their top two attacking players in order to make the decision of the captain an easy one, week to week.
But again this may not be possible depending on how you have configured your team across the rest of the pitch. Eden Hazard is another that will be flirting with selection after making the move to the premier league from France. There is certainly an argument for Carloz Tevez after his showing during pre-season and let us not forget Fernando Torres offers two games in the first week and this could turn the head of many a manager.
Of course the big name and big price options may not be viable due to price constraints but I wouldn’t worry about it too much as there are a number of mid priced options available who are sure to post a return. The likes of Papiss Cisse and Nikica Jelavic clearly offer value. Both will be regular starters and both will be expected to reach the 15+ goals mark, maybe even pushing up into 20+.
Both also offer decent rotation options, although not with each other. Cisse works well with Rooney and offers home and away rotation right up until week 16. Jelavic is less effective in tandem with Rooney and works okay with City’s Aguero, although it’s far from seamless.
The question you have to ask, of course, is whether you’ll be comfortable handing the armband to Cisse or Jelavic when either Rooney or Aguero face away trips?
Both Pavel Pogrebnyak and Rickie Lambert immediately stand out as budget options, with Swansea’s Danny Graham another who has rightly attracted pre-season interest, as has Fulham’s Mladen Petric.
Pogrebnyak and Graham rotate extremely efficiently over the season should you wish to adopt a twin budget pairing. The Reading striker also works well with West Ham’s Mark Noble – a popular budget midfield selection. The case for the Russian forward, is a strong one, then.
Lambert is potentially more profitable, although he does come as a risk. He represents greater investment and that extra cash just makes it slightly more disappointing if he doesn’t perform.
Both Graham and Petric are also options worth looking at but you must remember you may not always be able to take them out of your team due to injury or suspension elsewhere in your squad so, when selecting any of these players, you have to ask yourself do I have the faith in them come the harder games.
Have a plan
So if you are reliant on budget options up front you us must have a plan in place for when the going gets tough. The thinking here is to have a look at 2 or 3 players who can come in and out and decide at what point one must replace the other, because at some point the big names are going to let you down that we know from experience.
Don’t forget if you register your team for The Irish Times Fantasy Premier League before Saturday you could be in with a chance of winning €200 for the best team name!