Fantasy Football: The Victor Wanyama conundrum

There are several different levels of Fantasy Football manager, from the one who picks a team in pre-season and never looks at it again to the hardcore player who spends hours mulling over a transfer on Saturday morning, considers an abundance of statistics on which to base the decision and then leaves it until the final minute to finally settle on their captain.

The more casual players are beneficial to the serious others in terms of helping them finish in a higher final position, but they can make life difficult in certain situations too.

One of these is best explained through Victor Wanyama in this season’s game.

The Southampton man is currently selected by a fifth of Fantasy Football managers, with Eden Hazard, Jordan Henderson and Memphis Depay the only midfielders with a higher ownership.

Chief among the reasons for this is the Kenyan’s price tag of £4.5m. In this price bracket he is rare in that he is a guaranteed starter for his club with the possibility of attacking returns.

Among the changes to this season’s game is the addition of a chip for each manager called Bench Boost, which they are able to play in a single gameweek throughout the season and means that all 15 of their squad players will score points, rather than the usual starting XI.

What this also means is some managers will be more reluctant to fill their bench with the weakest fodder to improve their chances of landing an extra star name in attack.

Even to the casual manager, it will not have gone unnoticed that Wanyama represents good value for money in terms of a cheap option that will be starting games for his club.

The problem with Wanyama’s inclusion in numerous casual teams is that he is more likely than most other players to suffer an early-season price drop.

Casual managers will often utilise their wildcard early and base their unlimited transfers on those to have started the season promisingly.

Wanyama is unlikely to bring big points returns early and will probably be sacrificed for the likes of Watford’s Ikechi Anya or West Ham’s Diego Poyet if they happen to make a positive contribution to their clubs.

Alternatively, the Saints midfielder and another of a higher price may both be ditched and two mid-price options brought in instead.

If this happens and Wanyama is transferred out of a hefty number of teams, his price will plummet. This makes it tougher for the more serious managers to trade him out at a later date as they will have suffered a loss on their purchase price.

Therefore, those that select Wanyama early will have to live with that consequence or be prepared to keep him as the fifth midfield option for the entire season.

The other option is to start without him and potentially sign him for as little as £4.3m after a few gameweeks, which will free up extra cash for others.

Other budget players that could suffer a similar early-season fate and are therefore dangerous purchases include Wes Morgan (17.4% ownership), Nathan Baker (14.5%) and Julian Speroni (12.5%).

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.