Quick Reminder, Real Life
What an ugly season. They dropped from 10th place in 2009/10 to 15th in the standings last season. They fired a solid if not spectacular manager in Big Sam and replaced him with Steve Kean who excites exactly nobody. They didn’t score well, they didn’t defend well. Really, the only thing that went even passably well was their defending at home which was the sixth most effective in the league. Sadly, their scoring at home was tied for second from the bottom so even the thing they did well didn’t help THAT much other than allowing them to avoid relegation.
Quick Reminder, Fantasy
A slight return to adequacy by Morten Gamst Pedersen and continued fantasy excellence from Christopher Samba were notable performances, as was the emergence of David "Junior" Hoillet. I suppose you could say Robbo rebounded from a long while in the fantasy wilderness. It would be stretching to get excited about much else as occasional fantasy stalwarts like Nelsen and Dunn were injured more frequently than usual.
- One Out for Sure - One of two really promising young players at Rovers, Phil Jones, was poached by Manchester United meaning they’ll likely have to watch as he sits on the bench at Old Trafford for the next couple seasons instead of filling the gap at the back for Blackburn that is likely coming soon with Nelsen finally falling apart physically and/or Samba leaving for a bigger club.
- Two More to Follow? - The rumor mill has Kalinic and Samba headed to the exits. Not good news when one is your joint top scorer and the other is both your best defender and joint second top scorer. Granted the goal totals for the two were 5 and 4 but when you struggle to score like Rovers did last season those are big numbers. Oh, and Hoilett is in the last season of his deal and he hasn’t yet signed a new deal. Not good news all the way around.
- Replacements? - Even more disappointing than the potential departures is the fact that Rovers don’t seem to be doing much to replace them. The Venky’s crew do know that you can be relegated from the Premier League and the big TV checks eventually stop coming, right?
2011-12 Outlook, Real Life
It is sort of a rare thing when an established Premier League club looks like a solid lock to be relegated before the season starts. Usually the pundits feel pretty good about assuming that the three newly promoted teams will go straight back down but recent history and the situation at Ewood Park give you the feeling that they’ll be heading down pretty come May unless something pretty dramatic happens between now and the close of the transfer window (or in January).
Probable Starting XI
Robinson, Givet, Nelsen, Samba, Salgado, Nzonzi, Emerton, Dunn, MGP, Formica, Goodwillie
2011-12 Scouting Report, Yahoo Fantasy
- Fantasy Gold - Not much gold in these here hills but we’ll give the nod here to Samba with the unlikely assumption that he’s still here when matches start.
- On The Rise - Every season a variety of factors create opportunities for value buying in the Yahoo! game:
- Hoilett (rising talent) should take the step up from occasional starter to regular starter and have a chance to pick it up from 5 goals to a total more like 10 which would be monumental in this Rovers side.
- Dunn (returning from injury) always seems to be returning from injury but in this case his injuries and lackluster season drove his price way down. IF he’s healthy he’s worth a lot more than his current price.
- Goodwillie (rising talent) the young Scottish forward should get his chances in a goal-shy Rovers side. There is a mixed history of players of that nationality at this position in the Premier League but usually they don't come south on the upswing of their careers.
- Traps - At current valuations, MGP and Nelsen seem to be priced more based on their performances of a few seasons ago than on what we saw last season and are likely to ever see again as they start staring at the downsides of their respective careers.
2011-12 Outlook, Official PL Fantasy
Studs: I don’t see much I like at Blackburn but Samba (5.5M) and Givet (4.5M) could be decent third defender options - especially at the start of the season with 2-of-3 games at home. At the time of writing Mauro Formica has yet to be added to the Officlal PL Fantasy game but the Argentine midfielder is an attacking player that scored 17 goals in 76 appearances in Argentina - a god return for a midfielder - and if priced under 5.5M could be worth a punt this season if he can hold down a starting spot.
Duds: Jason Roberts (6M) comes top of Blackburn’s striker list in terms of points scored but at 6M you shouldn’t expect much from the 33 year old Grenadian forward.
On the fence: David Dunn and Morten Gamst Pederson are both priced at 6.5M and both great fantasy players when on form - but the problem is their lack of consistency and in Dunn’s case, frequent injuries. Both are set piece specialists and both can easily deliver 6 goals and 6 assists each per season, which would be a great return in the mid-priced budget bracket, but until they prove fitness and form week in and week out, it’s a “wait and see” approach for me. David Hoilett is another promising fantasy prospect but he is classified as a forward (6M) and he could feature in midfield - which would be a shame as he’d be a reverse out of position fantasy acquisition. Those aren’t the best in the world to buy, but that said, if he gets 90 minutes week in and week out - he could finish with around 8-10 goals.
UPDATE: We were remiss in not including this in the season preview. It, more than anything, is going to shape and color Rovers' season.