Fantasy Football: potential bargains to be had this season

Looking through the official Fantasy Premier League game for 2011/12, I was concerned that this might turn out to be a blank article. Not many players will want to consider the likes of Salomon Kalou, Darren Fletcher or Abou Diaby at £7.5million a pop. And surely Marouane Chamakh and Dimitar Berbatov are overpriced at £8.5million and £9.5million respectively? However, after scouring the lists for the upcoming season, I’ve compiled a team that certainly has the potential to score a few points this season. So if you’ve blown most of your budget on Van Persie and Rooney and find yourself needing to scrimp, maybe you should consider a few of these lads..

Ali Al-Habsi – £4.5m (last season: 125 points)
Most people will be considering Joe Hart or Petr Cech, but at £4.5m, Al-Habsi could prove good value for a backup keeper. Will be Wigan’s No.1 after the Latics signed him from Bolton and proved to be terrific stopper in away games last season.

Sylvain Distin – £5.5m (last season: 124 points)
Ever present for Everton in the league last season, helping the Toffees to secure a 7th place finish.  Bags of Premier League experience, hopefully he can chip in with the odd goal this season.

Richard Dunne – £5.5m (last season: 73 points)
Had a fine debut season for Villa under Martin O’Neill in 2009/10 and it could be time to bring him back. Under Alex McLeish, Birmingham were ultimately relegated last season after struggling to score goals but the new Villa boss has shown he’s more than capable of organising a defensive unit.

Christopher Samba – £5.5m (last season: 111 points)
While Blackburn may struggle to keep many clean sheets, the giant defender is a real threat from set pieces and managed to get himself on the scoresheet four times last season.  He’s likely to be a popular choice, particularly if the likes of Spurs or Arsenal are able to prise him away from Rovers.

Ryan Shawcross – £5m (last season: 92 points)
Club captain of a Stoke side which is not easy to break down, particularly away from home. Everyone knows anything can happen when they ping their set pieces into the box and Shawcross will usually be in amongst the chaos.

Chris Brunt – £6m (last season: 130 points)
Roy Hodgson showed how highly he rates the Northern Ireland international, making him West Brom’s captain in February. Demonstrating terrific ability from corners and free kicks, Brunt registered four goals and eleven assists in 2010/11.

Joey Barton – £6m (last season: 131 points)
Another player who put in some tremendous deliveries from free kicks and corners last season, Barton came up with nine assists. Unlikely to sign a new contract at St James Park, Barton can leave Newcastle on a free next summer and will want to put himself in the shop window this season.

Jamie O’Hara – £6m (last season: 56 points)
Helped Wolves to stay up last season after moving to Molineux on loan in January. Scoring three goals in 14 games, O’Hara has shown he has the ability to become the Steven Gerrard of Wolves.

Matt Jarvis – £6m (last season: 133 points)
A string of impressive displays for Wolves earned the former Gillingham winger an England call-up from Fabio Capello last season. With two seasons of regular Premiership football under his belt, Jarvis is likely to chip in with his fair share of goals and assists for Wolves.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – £6.5m (last season: 55 points)
Scored only 55 points in a disappointing season but could be the player to step forward and become Villa’s main man this term, following the departures of Stewart Downing and Ashley Young. Capable of operating as a winger or striker, during Martin O’Neill’s tenure at Villa Park, Agbonlahor showed he knows exactly where the goal is.

Jay Bothroyd – £6m (last season: n/a)
It ‘s not always easy to find value in the players at newly promoted clubs, but Bothroyd must have something about him to have earned an England call-up while playing the Championship. Showed immense form for Cardiff last season, scoring 18 goals in 37 appearances, the former Arsenal trainee is likely to prove a handful for any Premiership defender.

These boys look a bit pricey...