The Premier League opens the 2017-18 season on 11 August. That leaves you with just under a month to get your fantasy club in order for the Brace The Hammer league.
If you’re new to the fantasy scene, the official Premier League fantasy game allows you a £100 spending limit to assemble a 14-man squad. This includes 2 goalkeepers, 5 defense, 5 midfield, and 3 forwards. Prior to the season start, you can make as many transfers as you like, but once the season begins, you can only make 1 transfer per week. To avoid any confusion, I’ll only mention that there are a couple exceptions to that.
The point, though, is that the squad you start with is extremely important to the success of your season.
Obviously, there are about a million ways to construct your team, but the objective is the same:
Assemble the best combination of £100-worth of players to get the most points every week.
West Ham can provide you with some options that won’t break the bank, but might help you win your pool.
Michail Antonio - The most expensive Hammer (as of 21 July) can be yours for a bargain bin price of £7.5. Antonio scored 132 points in last years game, and when you consider how much time was lost due to injury, it comes out to 4.6 points per gameweek. For comparison, bigger and more expensive names like Mesut Ozil finsihed with 5.1 ppg and will cost you £2 more.
Manuel Lanzini - £7.0 provides your squad with this Jewel in the midfield. His 8 goals and 3 assists from last year’s campaign should only increase with the additions of attacking options Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (who yet to be priced in the game) and Marko Arnautovic (more on him next). You may want to get in on the ground floor on him, as his price will only increase as the year goes on.
Marko Arnautovic- a £7.0 price tag comes with the 6’4”Austrian forward. In the 2015-16 season he tallied 165 points and could approach that number again with the number of weapons being assembled for West Ham’s attack this off-season.
Often overlooked in fantasy, some sneaky gains can be had be organizing a defensive group on the cheap. 2 Hammers in particular look like great deals to me:
Winston Reid - Checking in at £5.0, Reid is a great option in defense. Despite battling through injuries, Reid managed 102 points in the 2016-17 season. He’s not going to approach Caesar Azpilicueta numbers (170 pts) but he also won’t cost you funds that could help you get some big names at forward or midfield that will get you more points regularly. Reid has some upside to surpass the 102 from last season and won’t break the bank to do it.
Angelo Ogbonna - a whopping £4.5 will get you a man that many of us West Ham fans expect or at least want to be a starting CB in our defense. He only accumulated 45 points last season, sure but his first season in the Premier League, but if you’re looking for a defender with upside, that can be had for next to nothing, and is sure to get a lot of minutes, then Ogbonna is your man. Even if you just stick him on your bench for most matches, you can’t really go wrong.
Andy Carroll - £6.0. That’s all it will cost for Mr. Carroll. This man is probably my favorite Hammers pick of the lot. Why? Because at £6.0, I feel just fine grabbing him and keeping him on my bench until a matchup I like comes along or even rolling him out as a 2nd starting forward to bring in a solid, consistent flow of points. You shouldn’t grab him as a guy you’re counting on being your top forward, especially with Chicharito in the mix, but for a low-cost, high-value play that I don’t see fluctuating in price much, you could do a lot worse than Andy Carroll.
Joe Hart - £TBD - The only Hammer goalkeeper worth owning. I don’t know if I’d suggest selecting him, depending on what his price is set at, but if you must have a GK from West Ham, it’s a pretty obvious selection.
There you have it!
Now you can join the Brace The Hammer fantasy pool and get started building your squad, kicking tails, and taking names.
There are other great options. Obiang is listed at £4.5, for example. However, by my estimation, these 7 players are the most sure to be major contributors in any fantasy pool.
Chicharito - £7.0. Run don’t walk!