Playing Fantasy Football next year? It’s wise to steer clear of Man City

For those of you, like me, who keep a close eye on summer wheelings and dealings to bolster their fantasy football squads should be fearful of the latest sounds coming out of Manchester City. Roberto Mancini has announced that he will be employing the dreaded ‘R’ word for next year. Rotation – the word that frustrates players of fantasy football more than anything. You spend a vast chunk of your budget on a star striker, only to find out that he’ll be sitting out for half of his side’s Premier League games.

I think that Manchester City will be providing the most headaches for those of us compiling our squads come August. Our eyes will be awash will the glitz of the star names: Tevez, Adebayor, Toure, Silva, Barry, Johnson and whoever else they bring in between now and September. You’ll want to wow everybody with your team of super-stars, but don’t let these big names fool you; it is unlikely that their point return will match their wages. Rotation means that starting line-ups are likely to change week in week out so the likes of Tevez or Silva could only be looking at playing cameo roles from the bench. This is fine for Mancini, but not for you when you see your team slipping even further behind your mates in your custom league.

Come crunch time be a little more savvy, think about players who are assured a starting role and leaders who play 90 minutes every week – your players can’t compile stats if they don’t play. The likes of Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney are sure bets, players who are pivotal to the success of their team and if something good happens it goes through them. But also consider the likes of Darren Bent, Tim Cahill and my personal favourite Kevin Davies. They may play for more unfashionable clubs but are more or less guaranteed their starting place and get through a big work load.

Concentrate on players who perform in teams slightly lower down the league. Teams with smaller squads, and competing for fewer trophies, are more likely to have settled line ups, I would also put Spurs and Villa in this bracket. Karl Henry for Wolves, Matthew Etherington for Stoke and Stilian Petrov for Villa are some of those who could prove shrewd moves when looking for under-priced midfielders.

Choosing defenders and goalkeepers normally gives you safer material to work with, Premier League managers are usually more reluctant to tinker with a solid defence. But Man City even prove to be an enigma here. With genuine competition for the number 1 jersey I would be wary of taking a punt on either Given or Hart, and despite it only being a year that they paid over £20 million for him, Joleon Lescott is anything but guaranteed a game. My best return for a defender last year came from Richard Dunne, with Robert Huth close behind.

It may sound obvious, but attacking full backs and versatile players should also be top of your wish list, you can put Gareth Bale as your left-back and enjoy the point return he gets from left-midfield. Charles N’Zogbia and Darren Fletcher are players who can fill numerous roles for you and their teams.

So have a think, and consider your moves wisely, your reputation amongst your friends may depend on it!

Written By Karl Sears

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