It is a proven fact that the third of anything is always the best. Hence, why they added a third yodel to pack, and why the third rail is always talked about while the other two are neglected. 3-D is all the rage for just about every pictorial display… and now? Midfielders. Once again I am joined by the ambiguously-ranking duo of Kevin Devries and John Wallin. Both titans in their fields, even if that field is a farmers market and they are the foremost zucchini experts. Nonetheless, they are my boys and mad props for doing these rankings with me for the preseason. Midfield is by far the hardest group to rank for me because one man’s opine about a player is sometimes vastly different than the others. Parity makes the world go round, and at least this year it looks like we don’t have a set template team that we did for most of last year. So on with the show, and let’s look at the fantasy stalwarts that are middies. Cheers!
|Kevin De Bruyne||Mesut Ozil||Mesut Ozil|
|Mesut Ozil||Kevin De Bruyne||Kevin De Bruyne|
|Alexis Sanchez||Dimitri Payet||Dimitri Payet|
|Dimitri Payet||Alexis Sanchez||Alexis Sanchez|
|Roberto Firmino||Riyad Mahrez||Eden Hazard|
|Riyad Mahrez||Christian Eriksen||Roberto Firmino|
|Eden Hazard||Dele Alli||Riyad Mahrez|
|Henrik Mkhitaryan||Eden Hazard||Ross Barkley|
|Dusan Tadic||Henrik Mkhitaryan||Gylfi Sigurdsson|
|Dele Alli||Ross Barkley||David Silva|
|Nathan Redmond||Roberto Firmino||Christian Eriksen|
|Christian Eriksen||Cesc Fabregas||Anthony Martial|
|Andros Townsend||Gylfi Sigurdsson||Willian|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson||Dusan Tadic||Georginio Wijnaldum|
|Yohan Cabaye||Willian||Henrik Mkhitaryan|
|Andre Ayew||Matthew Albrighton||Yohan Cabaye|
|Marko Arnautovic||Andre Ayew||Dusan Tadic|
|Sadio Mane||Sadio Mane||Marko Arnautovic|
|Gerry Deulofeu||David Silva||Ahmed Elmohamady|
|David Silva||Erik Lamela||Sterwart Downing|
|Ross Barkley||Gerry Deulofeu||Nolito|
|Erik Lamela||Nathan Redmond||Juan Mata|
|Coutinho||Anthony Martial||Dele Alli|
|Stewart Downing||Georgionio Wijnaldum||Gerry Deulofeu|
|Michail Antonio||Mark Noble||Xherdan Shaqiri|
|Jordan Ibe||Daniel Drinkwater||Cesc Fabregas|
|Aaron Ramsey||Juan Cuadrado||Memphis Depay|
|Anthony Martial||Max Gradel||Daniel Drinkwater|
*Analysis in Red is that of Kevin Devries.
Kevin De Bruyne, Man City £10.5 – KDB is the goods. Seven goals and 10 assists in just a shade over 2000 minutes is phenomenal production from my number one stunner. He is surrounded by playmakers and they bring even more off the bench. Give him 2600-2800 minutes and he may go 12/15.
Mesut Ozil, Arsenal £9.5 – The assist king of Chicago is primed to do it again. The product that the Gunners put on the pitch when he isn’t the head facilitator is severely less. I think a return to high teens assists is a near given and he is discounted a bit from KDB, but lacks the goal scoring ability that he has.
Dimitri Payet, West Ham £9.5 – Payet was tremendous for West Ham last season and carried that form into the Euros where he had the most balls delivered into the penalty area. Europa League football could knock him down a peg this season but his price is 9.5 and I’m willing to Payet. Get it? Pay it… Payet? No? *Cough*
Riyad Mahrez, Leicester £9.5 – The question is will he repeat or will he be on someone else and do it again but different. The king that carried a season for most owners. I think he can do it again but the discount and rosterability just isn’t there yet.
Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal £11.0– He ended the 15/16 season on a high with 4 goals and 4 assists in his last 10 matches. Then he went with Chile to the Copa America where he had 3 goals and 2 assists in 6 matches. 11.0 is expensive, but worth it for that kind of production. There’s a chance he could sit until the beginning of September so just keep an eye on that.
Dusan Tadic, Southampton £7.5 – All the Saints to me are a value. Because the results last year weren’t conducive for a fantasy ride. He will play opposite of Nathan and behind Long to form the discount trio for fantasy. If all breaks right he could be in the 10 and 10 club. Be wary of S’ton extra games and his usage in them.
Dele Alli, Spurs £8.5 – The price is bad for rostering. His stats most likely won’t be. A poor showing in the Euro’s and the extra schedule could hurt him. I still like him more than Eriksen.
Christian Eriksen, Spurs £8.5 – The line between he and Alli is very thin, but I’m going to go with the great Dane. He was basically Ozil-lite last season with slightly fewer assists, chances created, key passes, etc. He’s one of the most lethal set piece takers in the Premier League and that’s what earns the nod from me.
Roberto Firmino, Liverpool £8.5 – Bobby Digital is a tough one to predict. On a per minute basis he is Mahrez, but is that what he is? The goals will be there for sure, neck tattoo absolutely. The constant shuffling of the line-up by Klopp, definitely. I think he is a fantasy stallion from day one.
Andre Ayew, Swansea £7.5 – He is basically the default striker for the Swans with no real other options currently there with his skill. At 7.5 I would take a repeat of last year when he went 12 and 5. Anything more for his mid-level entry point is pure gravy. This one gets really interesting if he ends up playing up front for either Swansea or West Ham (if rumors are to be believed.) He doesn’t offer much outside of goals and assists but hey, that’s what gets you fantasy points.
Henrik Mkhitaryan, Man United £7.5 – He had 11 goals and 20 assists for Dortmund last season and will be whipping crosses into the likes of Ibrahimovic, Martial, and Rooney this season. That’s a lot of assists potential. Also, for you Scrabble nerds out there you’d get 23 points if you played Mkhitaryan… if you missed every multiplier square, and somebody had already played “tar” because you only get 7 tiles, and you can’t use proper nouns. Nevermind.
Willian, Chelsea £7.5 – I was huge on Willian last season and he repaid my faith in full in both draft and budget leagues. He finally played more than 2500 minutes winning the job from Oscar and started to make some pretty audacious free kicks. This Chelsea midfield is going to be a quagmire of sorts but I’m willing to bet Willian is featured more often than not.
Sadio Mane, Liverpool £9.0 – The price tag and the uncertainty of the ‘Pool playing time makes me leery. No that is not a compliment, I think he is all world potential, bottled up in a system that may not be his cup of tea.
Stewart Downing, Middlesbrough £5.5 – Based on price point, hype for his team and previous success he could be a steal. Moderate return on investment and an easy shift via transfer from him if he struggles to get advanced in the Boro play.
David Silva, Man City £9.0 – Silva is just too talented to fall out of my top 20. He disappointed heavily last season and now has to compete for minutes with De Bruyne who will tuck inside more often due to City acquiring both Leroy Sane and Nolito. I hate it when rankers due this, but I doubt he finishes at 20. Either he is fit and cements his place in Guardiola’s XI which would make him a lock for top 10, or he doesn’t, his minutes get cut and he falls closer to 30. All my bets are hedged.
Jordan Ibe, Bournemouth £5.5 – I love what I am seeing pre-season from the Liverpool cast off. Scoring goals and giving defence fits. The Cherries have some real athletic guys to stretch the field with Callum Wilson and Max Gradel. They could be this years bargain bin for fantasy goodies.
Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool £8.0 – Liverpool is a weird landing spot for Wijnaldum as he’ll either have limited minutes on the wing, where he played most of last season for Newcastle, or he’ll get plenty of minutes as a central midfielder meaning he’ll have less opportunities to put shots on goal. His value is limited either way.
Anthony Martial, Man United £9.5 – His price is nuking his value, even in the high-flying Devils offense. I could say the same about Henrik. Someone is going to get the secondary goals and assists for United I just think it gets so scattered around that it robs Peter to pay Paul. Tony Marshall being listed as a midfielder would’ve been great last season when he was a forward… but now he’s actually a midfielder. I still think he finishes with 8+ goals and 8+ assists but at his price point I’d much rather have Ozil and Payet and Mahrez, oh my
Max Gradel, Bournemouth £5.5 – He was terrific when he was fit which was, admittedly, not often. He only finished last season with a goal and 4 assists, but If you scaled his stats up he would have finished the year with 10 goals and 19 assists! That’s well worth a 5.5 gamble for me… after week 6. His schedule before that is terrifying.
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