EPL or BPL? An American returns to the other fantasy football

You're not gonna believe this, but the English (Barclays?) Premier League season starts tomorrow, Saturday, the 18th of August. And I thought the NBA season was long. This means it is time to get back into the ESPN Premier Fantasy game that we played last year. I feel much more prepared this time. There are a couple important things to note going into the season.

First of all, Robin van Persie is now on Manchester United, which means the 1st and 2nd highest fantasy-scoring forwards from last season are on the same team with him and Rooney. How will this impact their value? I am guessing they don't end up 1 and 2 again this year. They're currently priced as the most expensive forwards, so have caution there.

 I strongly recommend reading the Premier League Fantasy Blog for really helpful analysis of every team and potential strategies. I personally adopted the 'keeper rotation' strategy last season, using two low-priced keepers and rotating whoever had the best match up, and found it both enjoyable and effective.

 I also strongly recommend last year's strategy of looking at the finishing league table from last season and sorting by "goals for" and "goals against". The idea is you want the most attacking players from the highest-scoring teams, and the most defensive players from the least-scored-on teams. Keep in mind ESPN has a 3-player cap from a single team however.

 The scoringest (I went there) teams from last season are clearly Man City (93 goals) and Man United (88), with Arsenal (74) behind them. I'd be shocked if City and United weren't the top 2 again, but Arsenal without RvP may be in there with Tottenham, Chelsea, and Newcastle in a second tier. Although it's a popular team, Liverpool (47) was astonishingly mediocre at scoring last season.

 Defensively, City (29 goals against) and United (33) were again top two, with Everton (40), Liverpool (40), and Tottenham (41) behind them. A team like Everton or Sunderland (46) can provide reasonably-priced defenders to fill out your squad if you use all your Manchester players on the attacking positions, like I did.

 Two other important strategy notes for this season:

1.  The Manchester teams almost appear to be overstuffed with talent to begin the season, which creates its own kind of points scarcity.  If you roster Balotelli, who is expensive, but then Tevez plays, you get zero points if you didn't have a "sub" available.  Their midfields and forwards both have more good players than can feasibly get full minutes.  This situation makes me reticent to play a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation, in which your Forward or Midfielder, respectively, would have no sub.  I will be watching minutes played veryyy closely to start the season.

 2.  ESPN's game has rising and falling budgets now, so if your players appreciate in value, you keep that extra value when you transfer them out. This is another reason why I'm being wary about going out and getting the expensive players on the Manchesters to start the season, for fear that they don't get enough minutes and their high values fall. If you're interested in joining our group drop us a line, all readers are welcome. Any tips for the fantasy game, or thoughts on the Premier League in general?


  1. In retrospect there should've been a 3rd point here:

    3. Clint Dempsey is holding out, so don't roster him. Thanks, inadequate Premier League reporting! And I thought you were the NFL of England... God forbid you do player reporting with NFL rigor.

  2. After two games, the RVP and Rooney situation looks worse than LeBron and Wade in their first two games. Who the hell is going to score? Are they going to take turns? And Kigawa, Welbeck, Valencia, Young and Nani could all be scoring options. It wouldn't surprise me if ManU has five guys in the top 20 goal scorer, but no one in the top 5.

    Live update: Rooney is out for 4 weeks with a thigh injury. It might be weird to think that is a good thing for ManU. Actually, it's a really bad thing for ManU, BUT it's a great thing for fantasy purposes. No more captaining RVP and see him not start, then captain Rooney the next week and watch him not start.

  3. Agreed. I think after the Rooney injury RvP is a no-brainer as your main striker. Especially consider Aguero, another top striker, is also injured at the moment.