The English Premier League, and European soccer in general, is a great sport for all kinds of fans, from die-hard to casual. Their offseason is less than three months. In comparison, the NFL has about seven months between the Super Bowl and the first game of the season, while the NBA has roughly five months between the Finals and early season basketball. Even MLB has around four months of inactivity.
While the offseason is short, most teams still travel across the World for preseason games. As we see in America, plenty of European clubs come over to the States and tour multiple MLS clubs or even play other Euro teams. Still, plenty more teams travel to China or other parts of Europe for out of league action.
With a nine-month long season and an active offseason, there isn’t much to complain about as a European soccer fan. Unless of course the club you follow isn’t very good and they always seem to be stuck at the bottom of the table.
No matter, another season is here which means the Fantasy Soccer season is back as well. Gone are players from Bolton, Blackburn and Wolves. Incoming are the clubs of Reading, Southampton and West Ham.
You’ll find a few new players in the rankings below, but many are the usual suspects. Remember, a player may be good, but they usually aren’t outstanding in their first season in the Premier League.
As always, these rankings are based off the most popular Fantasy Soccer game in the World at PremierLeague.com.
1. Joe Hart, Manchester City, 7.0m
He was England’s starter in this past summer’s Euro 2012 and plays for last year’s winners in Man City. Hart is more expensive than everyone else for a reason.
2. Tim Howard, Everton, 5.5m
The dude is crazy consistent and never misses a match. If you get Howard on your squad now, you won’t have to change him out the entire campaign.
3. David de Gea, Manchester United, 6.0m
He probably wasn’t ready for the pressure last year, so give him a pass even though he still finished as the No. 9 GK. De Gea is the current starting keeper for Man United and that’s all that matters.
4. Brad Friedel, Tottenham, 5.5m
He’s in the same territory as Howard is. Friedel stays healthy and knows what he’s doing. He was the No. 4 Fantasy keeper last year and will likely keep that pace up.
5. Tim Krul, Newcastle, 5.5m
Even though Krul’s back line was beaten and battered for half of the 2011-12 season, he was still the No. 3 Fantasy GK. His value leaves him as a top option.
6. Michel Vorm, Swansea, 5.5m
Vorm came out of nowhere last year and was a beast between the pipes for Swansea. Some people will get him because of that, others will get him because of his name. If Swansea can improve just a tad this year, Vorm will be a top keeper again.
7. Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal, 5.5m
Remember, last season was still the first full campaign for Szczesny. He’s quickly made a name for himself on the Gunners and his value is nice for a top club.
8. Petr Cech, Chelsea, 6.5m
The Czech is getting older and his bones are getting frail, as he seems to pick up a new injury every season. Nevertheless, he’s still one of the best.
9. Ben Foster, West Brom, 5.0m
Foster has been a solid, cheap option for a couple years now. He had the sixth most Fantasy points for goalies last campaign even though West Brom was rather ragged on defense.
10. Jose Reina, Liverpool, 6.0m
He’s a great goalkeeper, but that doesn’t mean much if his defense is inconsistent. At Reina’s hefty price, he might not be worth the trouble.
1. Patrice Evra, Manchester United, 7.0m
The Frenchman is getting plenty of disdain from fans for his inconsistent play last season. However, that doesn’t translate to the Fantasy stat sheet. He destroyed all other Fantasy Defenders last year with 159 points and can easily keep up that pace. Surprisingly, no one else agrees, as he’s only owned on 10 percent of squads.
2. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City, 7.5m
Kompany is currently the most owned defender even though he costs more than everyone else. He can surely back it up playing for Man City, but keep in mind last season was his first truly great one.
3. Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal, 7.0m
The main problem here is health. Vermaelen has missed significant time the last two seasons. Even so, he missed a fourth of the 2011-12 campaign and finished as the No. 7 Fantasy Defender. He can score regularly from corner kicks.
4. John Terry, Chelsea, 7.0m
Year after year, JT doesn’t seem to move much in Fantasy terms. Since 2006, his value has never fallen below 7.0m and that doesn’t look like changing. He probably won’t get six goals again this year, but he definitely knows what to do in front of the net.
5. Ryan Taylor, Newcastle, 5.5m
Taylor was one of the top defenders half way through last season and then got hurt. He’s really cheap for a defender that takes a lot of free kicks for his club. Through those kicks, he gets goals and assists, something that is nice for a defender.
6. Leighton Baines, Everton, 7.0m
He fell a bit last year, mainly because it was impossible to improve on his five-goal, 11-assist 2010-11 season. Just like the Everton goalkeeper, Baines is a steady option.
7. Kyle Walker, Tottenham, 6.5m
His teammate Benoit Assou-Ekotto could also fit here, but Walker is the more intriguing player. Keep in mind he’s only 22 years old and last year was his first full season in the Premier League.
8. Jose Enrique, Liverpool, 6.0m
If the Liverpool defense could figure things out, Enrique could be a beast of a Fantasy Defender. Enrique was regularly one of the more consistent and better players on the field for the Reds last season.
9. Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City, 5.0m
Shawcross always seems to find his way in early season rankings just because he knows how to score. Stoke may not have the greatest defense, but it’s good enough for Shawcross’s price.
10. Ashley Cole, Chelsea, 6.5m
It was between Cole and Phil Jones for this last spot, but I decided to go with experience. United has the better defense, but they also have more depth. Cole is needed in the Chelsea back line.
1. David Silva, Manchester City, 10.0m
This was a tough one, but Silva was Mr. Consistency for a good portion of last campaign. While he fell off a bit at the end, he’s still a key player in the Man City attack.
2. Juan Mata, Chelsea, 9.5m
Last season was Silva’s second year playing in England. This will be Mata’s second season. Both of them came from the Spanish Liga in Valencia. An increase in production for Mata (like Silva had) would make him very, very good.
3. Gareth Bale, Tottenham, 9.5m
Bale is becoming a constant as a top attacking midfielder. The fact that he’s still only 23 years old has a lot to say about what he can become. He had 10 goals and 14 assists last year.
4. Antonio Valencia, Manchester United, 9.0m
While Sir Alex Ferguson likes to change his lineups at a whim, Valencia has an advantage in that he can play multiple positions. That’s why he’s above Nani and Shinji Kagawa.
5. Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal, 6.0m
Ramsey isn’t the best Gunner, but he’s cheap enough to look at. He’s healthy at the moment and has shown that he can be a quality player. For a couple million less than Mikel Arteta, take a chance.
6. Victor Moses, Wigan, 7.0m
He came on strong late last year and is primed to become the new Charles N’Zogbia of Wigan. Moses doesn’t cost much and should surpass a combined 15 goals and assists.
7. Theo Walcott, Arsenal, 9.0m
Okay, he’s never healthy, but when he is, he can’t be stopped. He finished as the No. 4 Fantasy Midfielder last season yet battled injuries throughout the year. That’s enough upside for me.
8. Scott Sinclair, Swansea, 7.0m
Swansea had their moments last year and Sinclair usually was involved in them. He had eight goals and five assists in his first year as a full-time starter. Improvement would put him in the Top 10.
9. Ji-Sung Park, QPR, 6.0m
Everyone always wondered why Park didn’t get more playing time at United, now is his chance to show the Premier League World what he can do. He is a workhorse and in his limited time at Manchester, you always knew when he was on the field.
10. Clint Dempsey, Fulham, 9.5m
Well, he won’t be playing for Fulham this year so he’s going to be on a better club (if a deal goes through). That may be good for him, but not for Fantasy owners as his numbers won’t be near what he had last season. He’s only in my Top 10 because he was the No. 1 midfielder last season.
1. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, 11.5m
Aguero is probably the favorite to get the most minutes as a Man City forward this season, which is why his price is that high. He’s in more favor than any other forward on his club and that goes a long way.
2. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United, 12.0m
RVP is in town which means Rooney’s role may get pushed back a bit. Rooney has never played more than 3,000 minutes in the Premier League yet still produces.
3. Robin van Persie, Manchester United, 13.0m
For one, he’s joining a new club that is better than his previous club. United won’t need RVP as much as Arsenal needed him. He always picks up a few knocks here and there which means RVP won’t be pushed into the lineup when he can be saved.
4. Carlos Tevez, Manchester City, 9.0m
Look how cheap he is! Tevez was the No. 1 forward a couple years ago. I know Man City has a ton of options up front, but this is Carlos Tevez we’re talking about.
5. Fernando Torres, Chelsea, 10.0m
Didier Drogba is gone which means Torres is ready to roll, as he’ll get his chance to shine once again. The additions of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar should only help.
6. Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 9.5m
Suarez is great, he makes things happen. Unfortunately, he has yet to live up to his potential in the Premier League. He has chances, yet doesn’t finish at a great rate. Could this be the year?
7. Emmanuel Adebayor, Manchester City, 9.5m
Adebayor will land in Tottenham at some point, we just don’t know when. He finished with 17 goals and 12 assists last year and he wasn’t even a Spur the entire season.
8. Pavel Pogrebnyak, Reading, 5.0m
Here is your third forward. The Pog already has experience playing for Fulham late last year scoring six goals. Playing for Reading, he’ll get plenty of field time and doesn’t have to be in your lineup every week at 5.0m.
9. Nikica Jelavic, Everton, 8.5m
Jelavic came out of nowhere last season and averaged close to one goal per 100 minutes (better rate than RVP). Everton finally has a young attacker that can do the job.
10. Richard Lambert, Southampton, 6.0m
I don’t care how old he is (30), Lambert was the Player of the Year last season in the Championship and won the Golden Boot in three of the last four seasons. This man can score.
*Stats up-to-date as of August 15