ESPN FC fantasy picks expert Sir John Culea concludes his Premier League team preview with a look at the last five teams. Go to the ESPN FC EPL fantasy page to join the game.
Last season: 11-8-19
Goals: 45 scored, 68 conceded
Newcastle was crummy last season and the Magpies have done little to avert becoming relegation cow pies. So far, they have made only one deal of note, acquiring French striker Loic Remy (6.4 fantasy value) from QPR. Remy is a possible third striker fantasy option having scored six goals in 13 games for QPR, but the 26-year-old also had off-the-field issues. One other fantasy possibility is forward Papiss Cisse (6.5) who scored eight goals in 36 games, but clearly missed his ex-teammate, Demba Ba.
Midfield has major fantasy disappointments in Hatem Ben Arfa (6.6) and Moussa Sissoko (6.3). Newcastle has no defensive fantasy quality other than goalkeeper Tim Krul (5.8), who missed 24 games with injuries.
Last season: 9-12-17
Goals: 41 scored, 54 conceded
Sunderland was Dunderland on offense, barely avoiding relegation. A good fantasy player is forward Steven Fletcher (6.5) who led the team with 11 goals, but he is injured to start the season. Hopes for the Black Cat faithful are on American Jozy Altidore (5.5) who comes on a transfer from Dutch team AZ Alkmaar where he scored 23 goals in 21 league matches. Altidore had a brief, unsuccessful PL try with Hull four years ago and is hot right now, having scored a hat trick for the U.S. Wednesday in Bosnia.
Midfielder Stephane Sessegnon (6.9) offers marginal fantasy prospects having scored seven goals and getting three assists. Defender John O’Shea (5.5) was the 18th best fantasy point defender. A fantasy gamble might be Wes Brown (4.5) who is back healthy.
THE NEW TRIO: Cardiff, Hull, and Crystal Palace
As the season begins, there are very few players on these teams to recommend for fantasy rosters. Of course, you never know when a Michu or a Ricky Lambert might surface. Exceptions might be Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall (5.3) who had 197 saves in 46 Championship games and Crystal Palace GK Julian Speroni (5.3) who had 205 saves in 49 LC games. Crystal Palace also signed Arsenal’s flopped striker Marouane Chamakh (6.1) to a one-year deal.
-Johnson: Fantasy preview 2013-14
Two “name” players for Cardiff are defender Steven Caulker (5.9), a transfer from Spurs, and former Liverpool and Manchester City midfielder Craig Bellamy (4.6). Meantime, Hull has signed Tottenham’s midfield duo of Tom Huddlestone and on-loan Jack Livermore.
Most of the players on the three promoted teams will be picked strictly because they are cheap and to fill out the bench.
Next: Gameweek 1 Fantasy Preview