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Fantasy Football: Top player picks

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This week saw the long awaited return of league football to England and with the Premier League season a little over two weeks away, it might be time for fantasy managers to take to the keyboard.

Yet with names such as Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Vincent Kompany making up the backbone of most teams, GMS Academy contributor James Robinson is here to get you one step ahead of the game.

So without further ado, here are some 'less recognisable' names to look out for this season that may well be worth the gamble in your fantasy line-ups.

Goalkeepers

Asmir Begovic | Stoke City

Stoke have done tremendously well to fend of interest for the big Bosnian, who was rumoured to be on the radar of both Manchester clubs.

Begovic is a great out-and-out shot stopper and with a reliable defensive unit in front of him, Begovic will once again be a clever option if you are looking for an alternative in your goalkeeper position.

Maarten Stekelenburg | Fulham

The Cottagers lost long-term goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to west London rivals Chelsea last month after replacing him with the fantastically experienced Maarten Stekelenburg.

The Dutchman, who has been capped 54 times for his national side, signed from Roma.

The goalkeeper is a great acquisition for the club and at age 31, could still have a long and glistening career in the Premier League.

Steklenburg will also have the advantage of playing behind two league veterans in Brede Hangeland and Philippe Senderos in what should be a solid defensive unit.

Expect a few clean sheets and a half decent price. 

Defenders

Jores Okore| Aston Villa

The Villans struggled defensively last season and Paul Lambert has been quick to rectify this.

Jores Okore is a solid defender and even has Champions League experience under his belt with Danish outfit FC Nordsjaelland.

The centre-back starred against Chelsea last season and even caught the attention of the Blues before deciding on a more sensible move to the Midlands.

The Ivorian may be just 20 but plays a mature game and will no doubt form a solid partnership with Dutch defender Ron Vlaar.

Luke Shaw | Southampton

The young left-back impressed in his debut Premier League season last year and will be looking to build on this success.

Often touted as the natural replacement to Ashley Cole, the England Under-17 starlet is both defensively solid and strong in attack.

In a game where Leighton Baines and Ashley Cole correctly dominate the left-back position, Shaw may be a slightly cheaper, yet effective, option.

On top of this, Shaw also forms a formidable full-back partnership with England Under-21 star Nathaniel Clyne, who is also a good defensive option for any fantasy team.

Steven Caulker | Cardiff City

This may be one of the more controversial of picks considering Cardiff’s defence will come under heavy pressure in their maiden Premier League season. yet Caulker has proven to be a useful defender for Tottenham and definitely has a bright future ahead of him.

I for one was quite shocked to see him leave Tottenham considering the lack of defensive back-up players available to Spurs but the England Under-21 man will certainly get more game time in the Welsh capital.

Although Caulker might not rack up the clean sheet bonuses this year, he will grab minutes for what should be a relatively good price.

Midfielders

Ross Barkley | Everton

The Everton academy product had a good start to his Premier League career last season playing seven games for the Merseyside club.

Although he may not be a regular starter this season he will no doubt fit in well with the philosophy of new manager Roberto Martinez.

Technically gifted and enthusiastic to play, the midfielder has bags of potential but importantly won’t break the bank.

Emanuele Giaccherini | Sunderland

A new signing for Sunderland, the Italian was impressive in their Asia Trophy clash against fellow Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur.

The midfielder has plenty of experience in the top leagues, making 40 appearances in two seasons for Italian giants Juventus, and will certainly be looking to impress in his time with the Black Cats.

As of yet, Giaccherini has been operated mainly on the left by manager Paolo Di Canio but can also play in the centre of midfield and has proven to be a goal threat with 39 career goals.

Victor Wanyama | Southampton

The Kenyan midfielder was signed for a club record £12.5 million from Celtic this summer and will have to perform well to live up to his high price tag.

Yet the tough-tackling Wanyama has all the attributes to succeed in what is still a physically demanding league.

To add to this, the Kenyan international is technically proficient and showed this with a well-taken goal during Celtic’s monumental 2-1 victory against Barcelona last season.

Expect him to rack up a few bonus points this season and perhaps several goals too.

Strikers

Wilfried Bony | Swansea

The Ivorian striker had a phenomenal goalscoring record at his old club Vitesse with a staggering 46 goals in 65 games.

He is a big presence in the box despite being a rather average height, but more importantly is a lethal finisher and showed this with a brace on his competitive debut for the Swans against Swedish side Malmo FF.

Bony will no doubt have to adapt to Premier League life but with an attacking team like Swansea behind him, he will certainly be one to watch.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel | Norwich

All change for Norwich’s front line with Grant Holt out and Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper brought in.

Both players are proven goalscorers and some may argue that Hooper would be the better choice considering he may need less time to adapt to the English game.

However, Van Wolfswinkel is a class act and will not only score but can also drop deep to provide the occasional assist.

His goalscoring record alone reads well with 45 goals in 87 games for Sporting CP in what is a competitive Portuguese league.

 

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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