Season Preview - Swansea City

Quick Reminder, Real Life

Finishing in a dead heat (on points) for third in the Championship with Welsh rivals Cardiff City, the Swans made the grade in the playoffs on the strength of a Scott Sinclair hat trick against Reading. An odd team, they were the 2nd strongest defensive team in the league and managed an impressive 23 clean sheets. On the other hand, when they were scored on it was at a clip of nearly 2 per match. Not sure exactly how that will translate to the Premier League. Regardless, the Premier League will have a trip to Wales to contend with this season which is a nice change of pace.

Quick Reminder, Fantasy

With Swansea not in the division last season it’s hard to figure exactly how their players would have performed in fantasy. The defenders and keeper obviously would have done well with all those clean sheets. Sinclair scored 22 goals in 42 matches in the Championship which certainly should translate to something. He isn’t much of an assist guy (2) so his upside is being a poor man’s Darren Bent. Darren Pratley had a nice season (10 Goals, 5 Assists) before leaving for Bolton and a more certain spot in the Prem.

Summer Changes

  • Graham a Cracker? - 38 goals over two seasons in the Championship with a bunch of assists thrown in as well. Danny Graham is relatively young which makes for a reasonable chance that he’ll continue to grow into the top flight.
  • Wayne’s World - We’ve been waiting for Wayne Routledge to have a big season for a long time now but it seems that it just isn’t in the cards. This is probably about where he belongs, top of the Championship/bottom of the Prem. That said, he could create a little value in a pinch, just don’t expect it regularly.
  • Bad, Bad Leroy Lita - I have to admit to STILL having a soccer crush on the Reading team from 2006-07 and as a result I’ll likely always like Lita a little more than he deserves based on him being a part of that team. Not much else to be said about a forward who is only an occasional scorer in the Championship moving up to the Prem.

2011-12 Outlook, Real Life

Seems unlikely that they’ll make much of a splash based on their lack of signings but they do have a core of young players which has been a path to success for other newly promoted teams. You look at their roster and you certainly can’t say for certain that they have less talent than Wigan (or even Bolton if they lose Cahill and don’t supplement their attack).

Probable Starting XI

Jose Moreira, Angel Rangel, Alan Tate, Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Kemy Agustien, Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer, Scott Sinclair, Danny Graham

2011-12 Scouting Report, Yahoo Fantasy
  • Fantasy Gold - As with the other promoted teams, there’s no one here that one would consider fantasy gold - there just aren’t any players with a strong track record in the top flight to get excited about as a sure bet.
  • On The Rise - Every season a variety of factors create opportunities for value buying in the Yahoo! game:
    • Neil Taylor (new to the division) is a left back who occasionally moves up to left midfield and has the potential to bring some attacking points to whatever he can earn from the defensive end.
    • Nathan Dyer (new to the division) is a pint-sized winger who won the Supporters Player of the Year for the Swans last season. Hard to say whether he can make the leap at a mere 5’5” but he has some potential to bring phantom points.
    • Scott Sinclair(relatively new to the division) scored 22 goals in 42 matches in Swansea’s promotion campaign. Unlike fellow promoted high scorer Grant Holt, Sinclair is athletic, young and no the rise which means he could make the leap.
    • Danny Graham (new to the division) looks like he could be a very interesting prospect given his Championship stat line that has a TH14 from the glory days look to it. Obviously he won’t be repeating that in the big time but if he’s good for 12 goals and 6 assists that’s not so bad for someone whose price is going to stay low for a while.
  • Traps - No real traps here to be honest. You’ll recognize Wayne Routledge and Leroy Lita but neither will likely be worth even the current modest price.

2011-12 Outlook, Official PL Fantasy

Studs: Sinclair (6M) is on penalties and the former Chelsea man bagged 19 league goals last season in the Championship. Classified as a midfielder, he’s certainly the most explosive player with potential in the Swansea side. Nathan Dyer (4.5M) was named Swansea’s player of the year last season and while he won’t out-produce Sinclair, he’s 1.5M cheaper and should be a regular starter - a superb bargain for a 5th midfielder if he can make sure to stay out of trouble off the pitch (he was convicted for theft in 2008).

Duds: Leroy Lita (4.5M) and Craig Beattie (4.5M) are so cheap but they’ve never lit the Premier League on fire in the past and I can’t imagine they will do so this time around. Avoid them unless Graham gets injured and they start playing 90 minutes week in and week out.

On the fence: Danny Graham (5M) was signed this summer for a club record fee from Watford and if he can successfully make the step up to the Premier League, he could turn into a bargain stud. He’s 25 years old and has scored double figure goals in the Championship the last few years but the Premier League is another beast entirely. Take a wait and see approach.

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