Quick Reminder, Real Life
Despite a load of money spent on transfer window signings, Wolves found themselves in the relegation zone on the last day of the season but miraculously survived - finishing the season with 40 points - only one more than both Birmingham and Blackpool. Despite a -20 goal difference on the season, Wolves had some memorable wins at home (they beat Manchester United and Chelsea) and the form of winger Matt Jarvis and (when fit) striker Steven Fletcher went a long way in cementing the club’s Premier League status for one more year. The likable Mick McCarthy has won more games than he’s lost at Wolves - dating back to his time managing the club in the Championship, and despite the poor results for a majority of the 2010-2011 campaign, always displayed a sense of calm and confidence in his players.
Quick Reminder, Fantasy
Starting at the back, George Elokobi was a decent 5th defender in the Official PL game - coming in at a bargain basement price and chipping in with a few goals and assists but it was further up the field - specifically Jamie O’Hara on loan from Tottenham - who really provided the fantasy spark. When fit, O’Hara was instrumental in creating chances for his Wolves teammates and his delivery from set pieces earned him much praise. His strike against West Brom was a ‘goal of the season’ contender. The well-known forwards Kevin Doyle and Steven Fletcher combined to score 15 league goals but lacked the season-long consistency necessary for prolonged fantasy investment.
- O'Hara finally leaves Spurs - After several years of "will he/won't he?" O'Hara finally left Spurs for good and signed for Wolves. He was quickly at the heart of things for the club on loan last season and hope to pick up right where he left off.
- Roger Johnson comes in from Birmingham - This is a massive capture for Mick McCarthy and the club. Johnson was a superb performer in the heart of Birmingham’s defense last season and brings strength and experience with him. He’s already been named the new Club Captain and is surely the first name on Mick’s team sheet.
- Mancienne to Hamburg - Injured most of last season, the former Chelsea defender (and perpetual Wolves loanee) Michael Mancienne joined Hamburg in the Bundesliga and will look to establish himself abroad
2011-12 Outlook, Real Life
A somewhat quiet summer other than the excellent signing of Johnson from relegated Birmingham, but certainly not an unsuccessful summer - as Wolves brim with confidence entering the new season. The club have looked superb in their pre-season friendly matches and have beaten Celtic, Ipswich, and Real Zaragoza over the last two weeks. As expected, Jamie O’Hara and Roger Johnson have been the two key performers in pre-season and should be expected to continue in their central roles as the focal point of the Wolves attack and defense, respectively. Without O’Hara and Johnson fit and firing all season long, Wolves are a relegation candidate but with the experience and quality those two bring to the table, another season shooting for mid-table looks likely. Role players like Stephen Hunt and the aggressive (to say the least) Karl Henry have loads of experience as well and could play a big part in any relegation battle. Look for a 12th-17th place finish but no higher.
Probable Starting XI
Hennessey, Foley, Johnson, Berra, Elokobi, Jarvis, Henry, O’Hara, Hunt, Doyle, Fletcher
2011-12 Scouting Report, Yahoo Fantasy
- Fantasy Gold - O'Hara will be the pick of this litter as he'll likely hog set-pieces. We're hoping for a return to his Pompey days as far as levels of fantasy productivity.
- On The Rise - Every season a variety of factors create opportunities for value buying in the Yahoo! game:
- Hunt (returning from injury) Hunt is a force of nature on his day - though not always in a good way. But he can be a steady fantasy producer if he is indeed over his injury problems.
- Hennessey (up-and-coming) He displaced Marcus Hahnneman last season and is Wolves' established number one. However, Wolves did buy Dorus de Vries to challenge for the job. Hennessey will have to improve his consistency, but an improved back-four should help him do just that.
- Traps - Kevin Doyle played a lone-striker role to much acclaim last season. But he didn't score with any regularity and after missing the back-end of last season with injury he looks set to miss this season's opener with a recurrence of that knee injury.
2011-12 Outlook, Official PL Fantasy
Studs: Jamie O’Hara comes in priced at 6M but is a certain fantasy stud. He proved at Portsmouth two seasons ago and again at Wolves last spring that he can command a Premier League central midfield, and with a lack of creative fantasy options around him in central midfield (Henry isn’t exactly a ‘ball-playing’ midfielder in more ways than one) O’Hara should see enough touches and hog enough set pieces to produce a 5+ assist season and rack up the bonus points.
Duds: In “Real Life” he often looks so solid and tempting, but Nenad Milijas comes in priced at 5.5M and has failed to earn a long term starting role at Wolves. The Serbian has superb technique and I enjoy watching him play but that hasn’t translated into fantasy points thus far in his league career. Perhaps that changes this season. Unless O’Hara or Hunt go down with a long term injury, stay away from Milijas. He’ll follow up a big score with 3 or 4 disappointing appearances off the bench.
On the fence:Hunt (6M) and Jarvis (6M) aren’t cheap for a team that doesn’t look like they’ll score tons of goals but both have proven their worth in the top flight, and on form, can be good 5-10 week plays if fixtures coincide. Up front, both Doyle (6M) and Fletcher (6.5M) must stay fit and if they do, could form a partnership that produces 20+ league goals - which would place them both in the ‘stud’ category above. For now, with their injury history, they are on the fence.