Taking a break from the statistical analysis, lets take a trip around the league and see what managers, players and even pundits are talking about, as we try and glean some concrete information upon which to base our fantasy strategies:
Frank Lampard is my new Kaka
This one all but confirms Frank's return to my team, with a promotion to default Captain highly likely. For those who don't follow Italian football, here is Kaka's line from last season at Milan:
31 appearances (3 as sub), 16 goals, 9 assists
Lampard, in his fantasy leading 226 point season had 12 goals and 10 assists, so the type of production seen above would be outstanding. Of course, I think we all agree that Kaka is a more gifted player but Anelotti's system does promise much and in light of Gerrard's court issues (see below) I think Lampard is the premier player in the league right now.
Lampard also converted a penalty against Inter, as if to further underline his fantasy value for the upcoming campaign.
Gerrard in court over assault charges
This one is still ongoing, so there's no point writing Gerrard off yet, but the case is concerning and it is unclear as to the consequences if Gerrard is found guilty.Either way, the pre season preparation is far from ideal, and only further underlines my point above that Lampard is the premier player to open the season with.
Samir Nasri breaks leg, Eduardo also out for start of campaign.
Not too hard to read between the lines to guess the fantasy impact of this one! Nasri, who was a decent potential fantasy option, is out for three months and should therefore have no bearing on anyone's team to open the season. At 8m it is going to be hard to fit him in your lineup when he returns but his 6 goal return last season was useful and he might be worth thinking about if you're slumping around October/November
In further bad news for the Gunners, Wenger has confirmed that Eduardo will be out for two months. With the Chamakh deal seemingly dead, I am starting to really like Carlos Vela and at 5.5m I think he could be a possible steal for anyone looking to differentiate their team early on.
Berbatov vows to improve
The much maligned Bulgarian was a favourite of mine during his time at Leverkusen and Spurs and I never quite understood the criticism levelled at him. If Ferguson and co signed him expecting a Tevez like work rate and Kevin Davies like desire, then they should be fired for negligence. Berbatov's presence is hard to measure in terms of stats and he is United's best source of providing a spot of class with the departure of Portugal's golden boy. Last season was not considered a success for the front man, but he was quietly 5th among fantasy strikers, beating out the likes of Rooney, Adebayour and Torres. With Ronaldo gone, Berbatov should get extra minutes, and could even take out penalty duties, with no other obvious candidates presenting themselves.
At 10m Berbatov does not come cheap, but he could be safest United attacker to select for those desperate to get three players from the Champions in their ranks. Certainly one to stick on the watchlist at least.
Alvaro Negredo nearing EPL move
The once fancied front man has found himself surplus to requirements at Madrid and looks set to head for Spurs, in what could be an intriguing addition to the fantasy striker ranks. Spurs do not appear desperate for a new striker with Keane, Defoe, Bent and Pavlyuchenko all still on board, but the classy Spaniard would be a welcome addition to that fairly average pack.
More updates to come over the summer, as the build up to the new season intensifies. As always, more updates come be found on Twitter @plfantasy.