Summers without the Premier League are difficult. Between playing fantasy games, watching matches, and writing for the blog it takes up a lot of my time while the league is in play. It gives rhythm to both my weeks and my weekends. When it's gone there is a definite sense of something missing. As a result, it is with a great sense of anticipation that I and we here at Never Manage Alone begin our preview of the way life should be - with the Premier League and all of the fantasy games that go with it in season.
What you'll see over the next two weeks leading up to the first weekend of matches:
The Rules - we'll update our "evergreen" post that gives you an outline of the rules we, as longtime fantasy players, live by. For experienced players this will likely be review, but one worth checking out. For those who are relatively new to fantasy games and/or Never Manage Alone, it will give you the basics of fantasy strategy and a sense of why we recommend some of the players we recommend - especially the ones you may never have heard of.
The Newbies - Regardless of whether you're playing the Yahoo game or the PremierLeague.com game, we'll give you a rundown of the players new to the Premier League who are likely to offer big bargains early in the season. Those who have played both in the past will know that the list will be much longer for the Yahoo format - they don't attempt to estimate the value of new players - while the PremierLeague.com format will be shorter as they make (usually reasonable) assumptions about how much a player will be worth.
Team-by-Team Previews - We'll break down each team and try to give you an idea which players are over-valued, which are undervalued and which obscure players are likely to make you look like a fantasy genius.
The Week Ahead & Nik's Player Picks - As the first weekend of the season approaches, of course, you'll get the initial editions of Neal and Nik's recommendations for your line-ups.
Fantasy Analysis of Breaking Transfers - We know that final rosters aren't quite set, especially for some of the bigger clubs. We'll follow the sagas surrounding players like Robin van Persie, Santi Cazorla, Emmanuel Adebayor, Luka Modric, and more and let you know how those players are likely to do in their new location and the ripple effects that those moves may have. Want an example:
If Robin van Persie were to leave for Manchester United the ripples would be felt all over the fantasy universe. At Arsenal, Oliver Giroud would go from dubious fantasy value (based on uncertain playing time) to being a likely key contributor on a team likely to fight for a Top 4 spot. At Manchester United, you have to assume the values of Wayne Rooney and van Persie would both go down as they shared the goals. In this scenario, RvP would also likely see fewer set piece opportunities as United have a number of players - Ashley Young, Rooney, and Nani - that take at least some. Those players would also see at least somewhat fewer as van Persie would be unlikely to be entirely left out of the set piece fun. Most important among those set pieces for fantasy managers would be penalties which RvP took a large majority of at Arsenal last season - what, you thought Ramsey was taking them? - and he'd be unlikely to continue. Finally, with RvP at Old Trafford you'd have to expect that Rooney and RvP would take small hits in playing time and Chicharito and Welbeck would take huge hits to theirs. So, in summation:
If RvP were to move to Manchester United then: Oliver Giroud's stock goes way up; Rooney and van Persie's both go down as much at 15-20%; Ashley Young probably loses 5-10% of his value; and Chicharito and Welbeck lose about the same amount of value that Giroud would be gaining (which is to say a lot).
Here's hoping we don't have to find out if I'm right on all of those accounts.