Right, let’s get this out of the way… Swansea are not the most exciting team for fantasy managers. There’s no guarantee of a clean sheet here, and no 30-goal strikers either. However, what they can provide managers is some quality options for squad depth, bench fillers, 5th midfielders and of course Gylfi Sigurdsson.
After seeing a somewhat of a revival under Paul Clement Swansea City looked to be a more stable option in the latter half of last season. Despite outward appearances they have had a reasonably active summer in terms of transfers so far. They’ve cleared out some old cobwebs, signed goalkeeper Erwin Mulder on a free, shored up their midfield by nabbing highly rated Las Palmas defensive midfielder Roque Mesa (terrible moustache, but likely to free the Swans attackers to play further forward) and signed Chelsea’s young prospect Tammy Abraham on loan.
However, the crucial bit of summer dealing the Welsh club will do is keeping a firm grip on their prize assets; namely Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente.
The start of Swansea’s season is a bit of a mixed bag. Their first home match is against Manchester United, who look to have been strengthened in many areas over the summer transfer window. And they move on to play Spurs away in gameweek 5. However, they don’t play a top four club again until they face Arsenal (*oops, not top four) away from home in gameweek 10. The majority of their other opening 10 fixtures look pretty favourable. In fact, they face the away legs of all three of the newly promoted teams in gameweek 4, 8, and 11. Unfortunately it is difficult to count on a clean sheet or a win for Swansea, so managers should mostly be looking for the occasional goal and assists from their assets.
STAR MAN – Gylfi Sigurdsson (8.5m)
I have to start with this guy. If you’re an experienced Fantasy Premier League (FPL) player then Siggy has almost definitely been in your squad a few times in the last seasons. He is one of those stalwart players that manages to slip your mind until you notice him cropping up with a goal or an assist week-in-week-out. Last season saw him score 9 goals and gain the third highest assists tally with 13. In FPL last year he finished the 6th highest midfielder, and the 9th highest overall in points with 181. What the FPL savvy know about Siggy is that he provides points in spite of his teammates and regardless of fixtures. This is mostly down to his astute ability to pick a long ball, his threat on direct free kicks, and his position as Swansea penalty taker.
Sigurdsson has been priced between 6.5m to 7.5m in his last years at Swansea. These were bargain prices, making him an ideal candidate to provide balance and value to your midfield. However, his consistency as an FPL darling and his potential move away to a bigger club have jumped his price this year to 8.5m. In my opinion Siggy could justify this price tag throughout the season but unsurprisingly it has dissuaded many managers from jumping on early (only picked by 8.6% of 1.4m managers). Sigurdsson is admittedly a bit of a luxury while he is still with the Swans, but if his seemingly inevitable move to Everton does come through he will surely attract more interest from managers.
HIDDEN GEM(S) – Fernando Llorente (7.5m)/Tammy Abraham (5.5m)
I’m bundling these two in together namely because Llorente broke his arm while riding his bike like a chump. This opens up the field a while for Abraham to prove his mettle in the Premier League. Priced at 5.5m and with 23 goals in his 41 appearances for Bristol City in the Championship last season and a goal against Germany in the Under-21 championship he certainly looks sharp. However, let’s not forget he was also one of the players who missed his penalty in that same U21 match to come crashing out of the tournament. Perhaps emphasising his young age of 19 and potential lack of self-assurance on the big stage. His pace and indirect set-piece threat is likely to add something novel to Swansea’s attacking options, so given Llorente’s lay-off he could well be getting on the end of a few of those Sigurdsson assists. He could certainly be a good short-term option and at 5.5m easily slots in as a third forward.
In the longer term Llorente is unlikely to miss out on too much of the season overall, given his broken arm wasn’t bad enough to require any surgery. With 15 goals and 3 assists in his first season in the Premier League, the Spaniard made a good start and came in with the 8th highest FPL points for a forward with 146. His larger bulk and threat in the air makes him a good counterpart to a well-received cross. Starting at 7.5m he fits well as a somewhat premium third forward in a 3-4-3 formation, or as a cheaper second striker in a midfield orientated 3-5-2 squad. Unfortunately several other strikers come in at this price, so you’ll have to be selective. Overall he is not consistent enough to be considered fixture proof, but his previous experience seems to have done him well as he closed out last season with goals in some important games for Swansea. However, with Diego Costa almost certainly heading for the Chelsea door, the club has renewed their interest in the forward as back up for Morata. If he does go
Abraham’s fantasy stock will certainly rise, so watch this space.
BARGAIN – Tom Carroll (4.5m)
Finally look to young midfielder Tom Carroll for a great midfield enabler coming in at 4.5m. Playing centrally Carroll’s strength is in his passing and movement of the ball. He came in with a respectable goal and two assists last season. With the potential departure of Siggy Carroll could fill in the gap he leaves, raising his FPL potential exponentially. For now, Carroll is ideal as bench fodder that will hopefully come in with some minutes and the occasional goal when you need him.
As a bonus bargain pick keep an eye on Swansea’s cheapo defenders. Most are priced around 4.5m with the likes of Kyle Naughton getting solid game time and ending with 81pts last season. Star defender Mawson popped up with 4 goals and looks a good prospect but is priced high at 5.0m and doesn’t really have a place in the bargain bucket. However, watch out for injuries that might give Rangel, 4.0m, a run in the main team. Hilariously he is currently the third highest owned defender in the game (20.4% of 1.4m managers) and looks to be this season’s Jordi Amat. However that comes with the caveat that if/when managers jump ship he will drop dramatically in price and you will have difficulty replacing him.
Naughton – Fernandez – Mawson – Olsson
Fer – Mesa – Carroll
Narsingh – Abraham – Sigurdsson
If you have enjoyed this early view of the fantasy potential of Swansea, be sure to check the other teams here.
Written by Pad Ful (@PadFul)