When putting together your Premier League fantasy squad at the beginning of the year, it is crucial to make sure that you invest your money wisely. While some games like Fantrax will forgive poor early decisions or whiffs, games like the Official BPL game are much less forgiving. We always have to have some star names in our team; but when those stars don’t deliver, if you don’t cut the player and move on quickly, you can find yourself stuck in a hole you might not ever dig out of.
Sometimes it is due to bad luck, while other times it is purely down to the individual player just not performing. Whatever the reason, an underachieving player is a frustrating obstacle for every manager to overcome. Sometimes our patience in the star is rewarded, while other times they never recover. Here are five players who have, on the whole, been massive failures for the managers who spent large parts of their budget to sign them in the first place.
(Stats and cost are from the official BPL game)
SANTI CAZORLA, M, ARSENAL
Cost: 8.5m to start, 8.1m now
Return: 40 points, 0 G, 3 A (Last season: 168 P, 7 G, 11 A)
The Gunners midfielder was expected by many to have another solid season. After contributing double-digit assists two of the last three seasons, this season has not been kind to the Spaniard. While Arsenal has had a terrific start to the campaign, Cazorla has struggled to find his footing. He has contributed three assists this season, but that is not the return owners expect when they purchase a midfielder who was among the ten highest-cost players at his position. His lack of goals, given his history of being the penalty taker for the Gunners, is also a tough pill to swallow. What makes it worse is that he has played a full 90 minutes in 10 of Arsenal’s 12 matches, yet has scored three points or less in nine of the twelve matches in which he has appeared.
Outlook: With Arsenal sitting at the top of the table, it’s conceivable that his points will return, but at his cost it is probably easier to punt him until his form returns.
CESC FABREGAS, M, CHELSEA
Cost: 9.0m to start, 8.4m now
Return: 25 points, 0 G, 1 A (Last season: 165 P, 3 G, 19 A)
Chelsea has struggled to score goals this season, and often times that has been blamed on the midfield. It takes looking no further than Fabregas to see proof of this. Only one assist in 12 matches played is horrid for a midfielder who cost nearly a tenth of an owner’s budget. On top of that, he has seen only 21 minutes in each of the last two matches; and only once this season has he scored over three points in a match. While he had high ownership at the start of the season, anybody still holding onto Cesc is either not an active manager, a dedicated Chelsea fan, or simply not sure how to play this game.
Outlook: There is no reason to think his season is going to turn around. And at any price over 6m, I would suggest running the other way. Should be avoided and should not even be owned.
EDEN HAZARD, M, CHELSEA
Cost: 11.5m to start, 10.9m now
Return: 38 points, 1 G, 3 A (Last season: 233 P, 14 G, 10A)
Probably the biggest bust of the entire season, Hazard burned a lot of managers—myself included—who made him the big purchase in their teams. At 11.5m, including him took a lot of sacrifices at other positions and made filling the bench somewhat tougher, but with three consecutive seasons of at least 190 points, it felt like a sure bet. Wrong. Dead wrong. It took him until Chelsea’s sixth match of the season to put a ball into the back of the net….and we are still waiting for him to do it a second time. And in Chelsea’s twelve matches—ten of which have seen him play a full 90 minutes—the Belgian winger has failed to score more than two points on eight occasions. He has looked lost most of the season, and any owner who held onto him past the first few matches may feel the same thing about their season—lost.
Outlook: If—and that’s a big if—Chelsea can turn their season around, then he is worth a look. When he is in form, he can dominate a match. But for now, he should not be owned, and he definitely should not still cost over 10m to have him in your squad.
HARRY KANE, F, TOTTENHAM
Cost: 9.5m to start, 9.4m now
Return: 54 points, 6 G, 0 A (Last season: 191 P, 21 G, 7 A)
While Kane, unlike the others on this list, has turned it around, you cannot ignore the rough start that he had. It took him seven matches to finally find the scoresheet, and another three after that before he got his second goal. While he has scored five in his last three matches, the hole he put many owners into early on is a tough one to overcome. What made is worse is that, unlike last season, he is not contributing any assists to offset his lack of scoring. Eight of his first nine matches saw him contribute only two points—or fewer—for his owners.
Outlook: At 9.4m, he isn’t terribly costly, given his recent form; however, he still costs more than (among others) forwards Jamie Vardy, Romelu Lukaku, and Graziano Pelle, all of whom—in my opinion—are better options for the cost. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing to own him, but be ready to dump him if the goal-scoring drought returns.
WAYNE ROONEY, F, MANCHESTER UNITED
Cost: 10.5m to start, 10.1m now
Return: 34 points, 2 G, 1 A (Last season: 132 P, 12 G, 5 A)
Where do I start on the dumpster fire that is Wayne Rooney? He’s turned it over at a higher rate than nearly every other player in the Premier League. His touch has deserted him. If he gets a shot close enough to make the goalkeeper move, it’s a rare sight. And yet, somehow, he still costs over 10 million?! That is criminal. Coming from a United fan, the BPL would have to GIVE me extra salary to take him onto my team. And even then I wouldn’t do it. When you consider the fact that he still costs almost three million more than Vardy, it’s laughable. And yet, somehow, he is still owned by 10.9% of owners in the BPL game as of last week. I don’t see any sign of him improving on his results so far, especially when you look at his point totals having dropped from 190 two seasons ago to just 132 last campaign.
Outlook: Run and don’t look back. Not even if he pulls an Aguero and scores five in one match, it’s a trick. Don’t get fooled.