There's nothing so valuable in fantasy football - well, except for a world-class striker who is exempt from rotation and playing two promoted teams in a game week - as a player playing in advance of the position in which he's listed in the fantasy game.
On the flip side, nothing can hurt a manager - except for an expensive player getting sent-off in game one of a double week - like a player who plays deeper than his listed position.
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Here's the first in a series of posts that will look at the Yahoo! Fantasy Football player listings and try to identify potential bargains as well as pitfalls.
We'll start in the back with players listed as defenders.
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Midfielders Listed as Defenders
There are two likely scenarios here, either a) the fullback lines up on the wing, or b) a center back can double as a defensive midfielder. Obviously the former is the more viable for fantasy. But either is hard to resist.
- Leighton Baines - Baines has been deployed as a traditional fullback, but even from there he's been one of the league's most creative player. Now with Roberto Martinez as manager, and the possibility that he brings his 3-4-3 system to Everton, Baines could line up in midfield. Assuming he stays at Everton, that is. Unlike Seamus Coleman on the other side of the pitch, Baines ALSO gives you at least the potential for clean sheet points.
- David Luiz - The great enigma of defense. Rafa Benitez played him in midfield on a fair few occassions and Luiz returned points for fantasy managers. It remains to be seen if Mourinho fancies the same experiment.
- José Enrique - Here's a defender who spent time last season on the left-side of Liverpool's front three! He was also their most willing shooter from his advanced position. With Liverpool's reinforcing their attack, we're unlikely to see that again. Indeed, Enrique now faces a fight to hold on to his spot.
- Geoff Cameron - Mr. Versatility. Cameron can play at center-half, full-back, or in midfield. He returned consistent points for Stoke last season.
- Ryan Shotton - Elsewhere in the Stoke side, Ryan Shotton was a semi-regular on the right side of midfield. How he supplanted Michael Kightly in the role is beyond me, and one of the questions that may have led to Tony Pulis' departure. He may move back into defense this season if Andy Wilkinson can't control his temper.
- Phil Jones - Another utility player who can seemingly play anywhere. At the tail end of last season, he was a cheap defensive option being played alongside Michael Carrick in Manchester United's midfield. Nothing could have been sweeter.
- Martin Olsson - Olsson can play at either fullback or wing, though tends to get time in defense - often playing behind his twin brother, Marcus. It remains to be seen how Chris Hughton will use him at Norwich.
- Johnny Heitinga - Capable of playing defensive midfielder. Just not well.
- Ryan Bertrand - Famously played the Champions League final on the left side of Chelsea's midfield.
- Nathan Aké - Another utility player who made some appearances towards the end of last season. Not sure how close he remains to the first team. He was rumoured to have refused a loan out for regular playing time.
Goalkeepers Listed as Defenders
In the interest of thouroughness, here's a list of players that are listed as defenders for fantasy, but have played in net.
- Phil Jagielka - Well, he did it once. Though I don't remember if he got save points for denying Robin van Persie.