Fantasy Focus

One year on

May 12, 2009
By Dale Johnson
(Archive)

Another season draws to a close and the usual suspects are leading the way in Premier League fantasy. But some of the stars of 2007-08 have hit upon hard times, and will have quickly become a transfer faux pas. We highlight some of the biggest disappointments of this term.

David James
GettyImages / JoePeplerDavid James: Not able to engineer a move away from Fratton Park

• David James - Portsmouth

The England goalkeeper proved to be a real hidden gem last season, being the third highest scoring goalkeeper behind Tim Howard and Pepe Reina on 96 points. It's been a different story for James this season as the departure of Harry Redknapp in October and the troubles which followed led to a downturn in fortunes.

James had notched 14 points from the eight games before the manager's departure, including three clean sheets. Since then he's picked up 33 points from 27 matches with just five more clean sheets. The veteran is now the 13th best goalkeeper and seems set to finish with a points tally around half of last season's, meaning his value has plummeted from £6m to £5m.

• Stewart Downing - Middlesbrough

Another England international, Downing was the fifth best midfielder but, just like his club, has failed to get anywhere near prior achievements. Downing has not managed a single goal this season as Boro have notched just 25 from 35 games, which means it is no surprise that the winger has only recorded three key contributions.

Downing is only 39th this season despite being a first team certainty at the Riverside. His total points has slumped from 145 to just 83 coupled with a value loss of £0.6m.

• David Bentley - Tottenham Hotspur

The fall from grace of a player once thought of as David Beckham's natural successor on the right of midfield continues apace. As the star man of Blackburn Rovers he notched 130 points to be seventh in the midfielder rankings but at White Hart Lane he's done virtually nothing.

Now way down in 72nd for midfielders, Bentley struggles to get any playing time and even the arrival of Redknapp in place of Juande Ramos did not manage to turn around his fortunes. His 57 points are made up of one solitary goal against Arsenal and three key contributions. A huge value loss of a £2m will have managers thinking more than twice next season.

Cesc Fabregas
GettyImages / ShaunBotterillCesc Fabregas: Gunners hope to hold on

• Francesc Fabregas - Arsenal

The inclusion of Fabregas may be somewhat controversial but, regardless of fitness issues, the fact remains that his points haul from last season to this is just half, and when you factor in that Andrei Arshavin has outscored him it tells its own story.

Fabregas has still managed 20 starts this term, so has not missed as many matches as you might think. He was the fourth best midfielder of 2007-08 thanks to an amazing early run of goals but now finds himself in 46th with three goals and eight key contributions. His stats would have been even worse but for his recent brace against Middlesbrough, with 74 points compared to last term's 147 and the biggest value drop yet of £2.8m.

• Roque Santa Cruz - Blackburn Rovers

Many managers pinned their hopes on the Paraguayan striker after he was second only to Emmanuel Adebayor - not to mention being the fourth highest scorer overall. But a series of injuries have curtailed his involvement to just 17 starts and three substitute appearances in which he scored four goals and notched two key contributions.

Santa Cruz is 42nd for strikers now as his comparative tally shows a drop in points from 162 to a mere 57. Many fantasy managers dumped him post-Christmas when it became clear there was going to be little reward, which is reflected in a £2m value drop.

• Wes Brown

Right-back Wes Brown was earmarked by many as a cheap alternative for a Big Four defender at the start of the season. And you could blame no-one for taking that option after Brown finished as the fourth best defender last May. A season crippled by injury has changed that view.

Priced at just £6m at the start of the campaign, he has only lost £0.7m of his original price. With just seven appearances in 2008-09 it will come as no shock to see Brown way down the rankings in 104th with just 19 points after scoring 104 the previous campaign.