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Returning Players: Where The Value Is

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Neal doesn't like this guy much but he's likely the bargain of the summer for Yahoo fantasy managers. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Neal doesn't like this guy much but he's likely the bargain of the summer for Yahoo fantasy managers. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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I'm sure yesterday was fun for everyone with the news that the Yahoo game has opened up coming the day after the official PremierLeague.com game released it's full price list. In years past, my "first day of the new game" routine was probably similar to yours - finding all of the new, high profile players and starting to construct teams around them. I did a little of this yesterday as well. The thing is, we all know who these guys are. Other than being a bit disappointed that Eden Hazard is listed as a forward and not a midfielder (and to a lesser extent having the same complaint about a few others both new and old) that excitement didn't last long.

What I did next was start digging into the returning players to figure out where the value can be found. Sadly, Pepe Reina didn't start off the season nearly as cheaply as he ended last season. On the plus side, Blog Favorite Gylfi Sigurdsson (BFGS doesn't really scream as a great acronym, does it?) is a good bit cheaper than he was at the end of last season (although sadly he's nowhere near as cheap as he was when we all picked him up in January or early February). In any event, looking at returning players got me into the mode of trying to figure out where the cheapest returning points are to be had in the game based on last season's point totals and this season's starting prices. Jump to get the list of the players who look to be the best bargains among returning players:

Just to give you a sense of comparison, Robin van Persie's points/unit spent number based on last year's stellar production and this season's opening price is 0.567 while Wayne Rooney comes in at 0.593. The other thing you'll notice as you read through the list is that there isn't a goalkeeper to be found. The value ratio on returning goalkeepers guaranteed to be starters this season is pretty rotten. Here's hoping that Hugo Loris finds his way to the Prem.

Top 20 Best Value Players in the Yahoo Game
Player Name Points/Unit Spent Comments
Eric Lichaj 1.021 The young American wasn't first choice but with a new manager in Paul Lambert there and Alan Hutton not featuring last night against the Philadelphia Union in pre-season, he has a chance to be a strong value early in the season at 4.60.
Nathan Baker 1.017 Similar outlook to Lichaj with the difference being that he's probably further down the pecking order depending on where Ciaran Clark ends up (CB or HM). Still one to watch given price and production in limited action last season.
Djribil Cisse 1.013 The Lord of the Manor of Frodsham is never dull. Throw in the fact that QPR have been upgrading and Cisse's price and value are still among the best in the game and you've got someone to keep an eye on.
Fabio 0.937 Perhaps the best deal out there right now with a price of 2.24 and a likely starting berth at left back for QPR. Maybe he only averages 5ish points/match but at that price, he's a steal that you'll want to keep all season. Now if only he weren't such an @ss.
Michael Dawson 0.853 With Vertonghen arriving, Dawson may be relegated to being the 3rd CB behind Vert and Kaboul but we'll see how that goes - just know that he's a strong potential value in the event he starts.
Nemanja Vidic 0.849 Nothing like an extended injury to land a player on this list. At 8.53 Vidic seems like another player to stick in your team and just leave there for exceptional value as he'll likely be hovering in the 12s soon enough.
Papiss Cisse 0.844 The real question is whether he can keep up his incredible strike rate over the course of a season. The price is high at 15.64 but he produced 13.21points/match over 14 matches last season which is great value.
Nikica Jelavic 0.839 Like Papiss Cisse, Jelavic was another second half darling who produced great results and continues to have great value heading into 2012-13
Keiron Gibbs 0.821 See Vidic above, long term injuries do wonders for your value heading into a new season. The big question here (as always with the fragile left back) is whether he can stay healthy.
Wes Brown 0.797 He had a great run as a 2+ point defender last season before he got hurt but his price dipped back down late after the injury and puts him back as a nice bargain.
Jean Beausejour 0.794 Another guy I had for 2ish for a long stretch last season but the numbers show that he was value even at a much higher price which is where he starts this season.
Pavel Pogrebayak 0.793 Chris Jones' favorite player continues a trend of January additions who remain a bargain even if the bargain isn't as strong as it was last season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson 0.783 The only question is whether he loses any of his value because he will be less of a focal point with Bale, van der Vaart, etc. around him.
Paul Scholes 0.781 He's actually a much better fantasy player at his current price to production ratio than he was in the 4 or 5 years leading up to his first retirement
Stephen Ireland 0.739 Can Paul Lambert get more production out of the once-promising central midfielder? If so, he's priced to move at 6.29 and even at last season's production that is a strong price. If there continues to be upside then we'll all be happy with this acquisition.
Steven Pienaar 0.729 If he stays at Spurs then his value likely takes a dip but if, as expected, he heads back to Everton then he could represent great value even at 10.85 as he showed when he did get to play last season.
Emmanuel Adebayor 0.693 K2 isn't officially a Spurs player again and, as you can see, the value equation is dropping pretty dramatically here but worth keeping in mind none-the-less.
Hatem Ben Arfa 0.685 Showed why he was so coveted in spurts last season and remains a solid value at 7.12 while producing just under 5 points/match. If there were more incoming midfielders with strong potential, this would be far less exciting but so far there isn't much to choose from.
Mario Balotelli 0.677 This is a pretty strong value number considering the fact that he wasn't a regular starter. His value will depend entirely on what happens with City's forward situation over the balance of the summer.