Season Preview: Wigan Athletic

Overall Outlook - It's hard to know what to expect from Wigan's roster shuffling thus far.  More importantly, the question is whether that shuffling - specifically the "headed out the door" part is yet complete for the summer.  There have been persistent rumors that either N'Zogbia or Rodallega will be departing for clubs farther up the table.  If either of those players departs, the outlook at Wigan will be dramatically different than it would be with them.  There seems to be a growing base of solid talent but N'Zog and Yayga are the only two who have proven themselves to be potential match-winners.  While neither are so exceptional that they are going to push Wigan firmly into the top half, the lack of a couple proven match winners is going to make it very difficult for them to stay out of a relegation battle.  If both players stay, I predict something in the 13th to 16th place finish area.  If one goes then they'll probably survive but only just barely.  If both go, then we'll be seeing Roberto Martinez back in the Championship next season.

Projected Starters - Kirkland, Figueroa, Boyce, Alcaraz, Stam, McCarthy, Diame, Watson, N'Zogbia, Boselli, Rodallega

In the Rotation - Gomez, Gohouri, Caldwell, Moses, McCarthur

Kicks - McCarthy and N'Zogbia should get the majority of the kicks with Gomez taking some as well when he is rotated in. 


  • Boselli, F - Seemingly quite a coup for Martinez and Wigan to land one of the more prolific strikers in South American football over the last couple of years.  Boselli should be coming into his prime at 25 and will be given every opportunity to be the partner for Yayga that Jason Scotland never turned out to be.  If he can continue his Estudiantes and pre-season form when the matches really count, he'll be a great bargain;
  • Alcaraz, D - Wigan have done an excellent job picking up players from extremely low profile footballing countries and have turned those finds into some solid financial returns on guys like Palacios and potentially Figueroa.  Alcaraz had a strong World Cup and seems poised to be the next in line in this regard for Wigan.  With the opener against Blackpool, the first week of the season may be the time to get the value from the new Center Back;
  • Stam, D - If you're looking for longer term value in the Wigan defence, Ronnie Stam may be the answer.  As the only true right back on the roster (others like Caldwell play there but are really center backs playing out of position), he's going to get every opportunity to start.  If he shows anything going forward he should be a nice bargain if you take him early and stick with him;
  • McCarthur, M - The McCarthy acquisition was a solid one for Wigan so they went back to Hamilton and got the next player off of that particular assembly line.  It seems likely that he'll be mostly relegated to bench duty early on as he learns the ropes but we'll see how he progresses and whether he starts showing any signs of breaking into the line-up;
Rising Youth
  • McCarthy, M - He made the move up from the Scottish league to the Prem last season and did quite well despite being 18 when the season started.  With a season under his belt in the Premier League and another year of physical and mental maturity there's every reason to expect that McCarthy can improve upon his performances of last season;
  • Watson, M - Perhaps a little old at 25 to be considered "rising youth" but his last two seasons have been somewhat of a wash.  He was injured 2 seasons ago and last season he tried to reclaim his form with two loan spells in the Championship.  As one of the few hold-over young players Wigan will be hoping that Watson can nail down one of the two central midfield roles and make it his.  If he does, he could represent decent fantasy value if his performances last season are any indication.  He only got five matches so the sample size is small but he averaged more points than his cost which is rare for a starter so this merits watching especially if you need someone on the cheap;
Fantasy Breakdown
  • Best - Yayga (that's Hugo Rodallega for the uninitiated) is only a slightly better than average striker overall in the Yahoo fantasy game but at Wigan, that's enough to make him the best fantasy option on the team;
  • Best Value (non-newcomer) - McCarthy was an up-and-down performer last season - he had a lot of sub-4 point matches but he also had some 15+ point matches as well.  There is every reason to believe that he'll improve with age and experience given the potential we saw last season;
  • Best Projected Value - Boselli and Stam are the two contenders with Boselli getting the nod due to the fact that strikers generally will have more upside than right backs especially since Stam is likely to have N'Zogbia in front of him taking most of the attacking points from the right side;
  • Worth Considering With Good Match-ups - Kirkland, Stam, Alcaraz, Figueroa, McCarthy, Watson, N'Zogbia, Boselli, Yayga;
  • Worth Knowing If He's Starting - Gomez


  1. ... and they open the season at home to Blackpool!

  2. Anonymous2:54 PM

    no love for moses... as a rising star and worth knowing when starting?