Quick Reminder, Real Life
It was a bit of an odd ride to clinching the Championship title last season with the threat of 10 point penalty hanging over the club until the waning days of the season. With that disaster averted, Rangers are free to celebrate their return to the Premier League on the back of a particularly stingy defense which conceded 10 fewer goals than the next closest competitor. Next stop, the big time.
Quick Reminder, Fantasy
If the defense were getting points, they’d have had a great fantasy season on the back of 24 clean sheets. That’s 24. Not bad at all. Throw the crazy season from Adel Taarabt that saw 19 goals and 16 assists credited to his account and you have some solid fantasy promise coming into their return season in the Prem.
- Adel Stays - After lots of speculation surrounding a departure from Taarabt, he ended up staying around which will give Rangers a chance to score enough to stay up. Especially when he gets help from...
- DJ - One of the quietest extremely effective seasons in recent memory was submitted by DJ Campbell last season for Blackpool. Despite 13 goals in league play, there was barely any interest in him on the transfer market and that will benefit QPR who scooped him up to supplement Taarabt going forward.
- Depth Plays - I don’t think any of Danny Gabbidon, Kieron Dyer, or Jay Bothroyd will turn QPR’s season around but all will provide valuable depth that will be required if they are to stay up for a second year in the big time.
2011-12 Outlook, Real Life
It is pretty fashionable to predict that all three promoted clubs will go back down. That said, it hasn’t actually happened in ages. My guess is that QPR finish somewhere in the 14th or 15th range and have a chance to consolidate their position as a league regular.
Probable Starting XI
Kenny, Hill, Hall, Gabbidon, Derry, Faurlin, Dyer, Taarabt, Smith, Campbell, Bothroyd
2011-12 Scouting Report, Yahoo Fantasy
- Fantasy Gold - It is speculation and projection but I feel pretty good about putting Adel Taarabt in this spot. He likely won’t reach the heights of last season but even at half that production, he’ll be a fantasy stalwart - especially at his opening price.
- On The Rise - Every season a variety of factors create opportunities for value buying in the Yahoo! game:
- Bothroyd (relative newcomer) has had a few cups of coffee in the Premier League but has never managed to translate his Championship credentials into the top flight, at 28 years old this is his big chance. He should be the starter.
- Mackie (injury return - eventually) was young and coming up when he was injured last January. It isn’t clear when he’ll be back but he could be a James McFadden-like presence who drifts between forward and the right side of midfield while Yahoo has him listed as a midfielder.
- Campbell (relative newcomer) as noted above had a great season for Blackpool that was somehow lost in the rush to praise Charlie Adam. It is uncertain as to whether Yahoo will “reset” Campbell’s price but if they do, he’s a great bargain.
- Traps - Not really a trap to be had on the roster given the low prices and low-profile nature of their squad. If I had to choose one though, it would be Heidur Helguson whose name many will remember from at least semi-productive Premier League seasons in the past. This time around, it appears he won’t be in the first team so don’t be suckered in by a name you recognize at a low price.
2011-12 Outlook, Official PL Fantasy
Studs: All signs point to a massive season for Taarabt but his price tag (6.5M) is certainly not cheap for a player coming in from a promoted side. Could he be this year’s Charlie Adam? Perhaps. Speaking of Adam, his old Blackpool teammate D.J. Campbell comes into the Official PL game priced at 5.5M and if he ousts Bothroyd (6M) as QPR’s main starting forward up front, or at least partners Bothroyd, he could be a stud bargain third striker as well.
Duds: It’s really hard to find any duds in the QPR team at this stage due to their low prices though Kieron Dyer at 4.5M could appeal to some fantasy managers for his ‘name’ and ‘pedigree’ as well as price, but will only let you down as he comes in and out of the team with various injuries all season long. He might even be st for a run at right back. If he stays fit, I could be made to eat my words, but he’s a dud for me at this point.
On the fence: Orr (4M) and Gabbidon (4M) are two defenders that come in priced at the lowest possible cost in the Official PL game, and if one or both can lock down 90 minute week in and week out slots, they could be very reliable 5th defenders for any fantasy manager. Keep an eye on their early playing time and Warnock’s preferred starters.