In Fantasy soccer, with our fixed salary caps, ideally a bargain allows us to afford more expensive players to fill out our rosters. Bargain shopping, of course, comes with a price. These players are usually bargain-priced for a good reason. Have they been injured? Are they a part-time starter? Are they a new addition to the team? The best bargain is the player who comes in and locks down a starting position, and continues to start throughout the season. A good example of this is Kevin de Bruyne, of Manchester City, a player that many of us added early on.
The worst scenario, might be to jump on a one match bandwagon, such as the low priced Guillermo Varela, suggested as a bargain pick by many pundits last week. And, of course, he ended up not starting, when the lineups were announced.
Anyway, let's take a look at where the bargains might be ahead of the Boxing Day fixtures:
Thibaut Courtois is assuredly a bargain for Chelsea and it would not surprise many if they were to turn their season around with his return and the appointment of Guus Hiddink. His price is only 2.660 in Fantrax. Consider him possibly as a season keeper, if Chelsea get another result this weekend.
If you are looking for a bargain in the official game you should take a look at Heurelho Gomes for the surprising Watford team at only 4.7.
Leighton Baines is in the bargain of the year category in Fantrax right now, at only 2.726. He has delivered 15 points in his two matches back so far and last year he was already priced around 14. Get him now.
If you like a front runner, try Danny Simpson, for Leicester, priced at only 5.7. Since starting, he has delivered 6.8 ppg and he has locked down the right back slot.
Jonas Olsson is back for West Brom and only 4.685. The Baggies have struggled a bit defensively this season, but many expect their defense to get on top of their game shortly.
Miguel Britos is a solid starter for Watford at only 5.8 and has delivered an average of 7.25 points per match. Be aware that Sebastian Prodl is nearing a return to fitness, though, and may reclaim the starting role.
Ryan Bertrand and Per Mertesacker are also bargain priced under 6.3, if you like either the Southampton or Arsenal defense to get back on track.
Keep an eye on team news for the return of the injured Vincent Kompany. He is only 6.834 an assuredly He will assuredly solidify the Manchester City defense upon his return.
David Silva is at the top of the list at only 6.8 his quality will always shine through over the course of the season lock him in.i Right now he is still delivering 7.44 points per game. I expect more as Man City makes a title push.
Junior Stanislas is another bargain at 5.94. He has delivered points at a rate of 8.75, while spearheading Bournemouth's surge. Check the injury list for details about his hamstring. His cost is only 4.2 in the official game and it is indicated he has a 75% chance of playing on Friday, so he may be a great pickup for the festive period as well.
Jordan Henderson has returned for Liverpool and is priced at only 4.69 in Fantrax. When healthy he has produced at a rate of 8.6 per game, and was one of the few bright spots in the defeat away to Watford.
Ander Herrera has recovered from his own hamstring injury and costs only 5.7. Louis Van Gaal does not rush his players back from injury. Herrera played 30 minutes of the end of the match and should be set to go this week for the goal starved Manchester United side. He delivers points at a rate of 6.1per match, many of which have come in substrate appearances.
Marouane Fellaini should you like him to continue to start for Manchester United will only set you back 2.47. He delivered 18 fantasy points two weeks ago but got a -1 last week. As usual, it's boom or bust with the fro.
Joe Ledley maneuvered his way into the Crystal Palace midfield last week. He costs only 1.9 And despite having a spectacular match delivered but 6 points. Of course, it's hard to say if he will start again with the extent of Yohan Cabaye's heel injury as yet unknown. That's the concern with real bargains.
One of the best place to find bargains in the official game is to check the value to form category and see who shows up. Riyad Mahrez leads the way and his price is still very affordable in the official game, considering his output. Ross Barkley is also right up there. Both are bargains at their current prices.
Two players I was watching, Chelsea's Pedro and West Ham's Mauro Zarate, both played well last week and are almost out of the bargain category, but remain for another week, at least. Don't miss the train if you're interested in either player or it may be too late.
Two old favorites are definitely in the bargain category. Wayne Rooney is priced at only 6.3 in Fantrax, as is Christian Benteke of Liverpool. Either can explode for a hat trick at any time. We all know that goal scorers get their chances in the premiership and that it often only takes one goal to restore confidence. If Benteke remains out of the starting lineup, there could be another opportunity for Divock Origi to showcase his talent, and he's even cheaper.
Joel Campbell has been starting for Arsenal is priced at only 4.1 and delivers 6.4 points per game. And he could surely lose a starting position at any moment. That is part of the concern with bargains, they emerge and then submerge, often quickly. Competition exists from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is himself a bargain. Keep an eye on team news to see who will start.
In the official game, the usual suspects like Odion Ighalo and Jamie Vardy are leading the way and still bargain priced for their production, but keep an eye on their teammates Troy Deeney and Shinji Okazaki, who have also been among the goals of late.
Anyway, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and best wishes with your bargain-hunting over the holidays. Of course, good luck with any player that you select!