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5 fantasy league bargains to gamble on this season

Ahead of the new season, we’ve highlighted a few players that could do well in your team this season.

Shane Long chases the ball during a match at St Mary's Stadium last season.
Shane Long chases the ball during a match at St Mary's Stadium last season.
Image: Chris Ison

THE CLOCK IS ticking.

There’s only a few days to go before the eight-month carnival rolls into town as Hull City welcome the champions, Leicester City, to the KCOM Stadium.

Over the next week, family members and bosses must be prepared to deal with absent-minded fantasy league players as they ponder the best available buys before the start of the new season.

Which guys will make the breakthrough this season?

Who will do an Eden Hazard and flop?

The next eight months all hinges on this week’s decisions. Your season could be over after a fortnight, or a good start could see you build a wave of momentum that could carry you through to May.

Below are a selection of players that could make it or break it for your team this term.

Tom Heaton

Bradford City v Burnley - Pre-Season Friendly - Coral Windows Stadium Burnley's Tom Heaton warms up before a pre-season friendly against Bradford City. Source: Dave Howarth

The 30-year old is sure to play a pivotal role in Burnley’s quest to stay up in the Premier League this season, just as he did on their way to claiming the Championship last term.

Goalkeepers don’t regularly score you a bucket load of points and punting on a cheap one is often a rational move.

Price matters when it comes to goalkeepers, especially since you need to save as much as possible to fund your main talisman up front. The English netminder is great value at £4.5m, while many of the usual suspects can cost you £5.5m.

Heaton played every game in the Championship last season collecting 20 clean sheets in the process.

Although Burnley were relegated from the Premier League after the 2014/15 season, the shot-stopper still managed to a keep a clean sheet in 10 games. He could be a prime target to keep your points tally ticking over this campaign.

Dusan Tadic

Southampton v Crystal Palace - Barclays Premier League - St Mary's Stadium Southampton's Dušan Tadić tussles with Crystal Palace's Jordan Mutch during a match at St. Mary's Stadium last season. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

He may not claim as many headlines as other attacking midfielders in the league, but the Serbian will be hoping to build on some impeccable form from last season when Southampton’s campaign begins next weekend.

At £7.5m, he is one of the most underpriced players in the league. Comparing his statistics with Dimitri Payet provides proof of this.

The Frenchman netted nine goals last season as well as having 12 assists. Tadić also had 12 assists while scoring seven goals over the course of the season. It is also worth noting that the West Ham talisman played 300 more minutes during the season.

Although they share similar statistics, Payet is significantly more expensive that Tadić costing £9.5m.

Only 4.2% of players have selected the 27-year old so far making him the ideal man to give you the edge over your peers, while also giving you extra funds to buy some of the bigger names.

Ahmed Musa

Oxford United v Leicester City - Pre-Season Friendly - Kassam Stadium Leicester's new signing Ahmed Musa came on as a substitute in their pre-season friendly against Oxford United. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Obviously we don’t have any Premier League statistics for the Nigerian as he hasn’t yet played in the league. He has, however, played in the Russian Premier League and his numbers there are astounding.

Since signing for CSKA Moscow in 2012, he has scored 42 goals in 125 games for the club. If he continues with similar form at the King Power Stadium, he will be an invaluable addition to any fantasy team.

He fits perfectly into the current Leicester City team and his ability to play on either the wing or up front means that he is sure to build up points assisting the likes of Mahrez and Vardy, if not scoring himself.

Most importantly, he is very reasonably priced at £7.5m. He has already shown sparks of brilliance in pre-season games proving that he is capable of matching the points carded by Mahrez and Vardy who are priced at £9.5m and £10.0m respectively. He’s a player not be shunned.

If you remain unconvinced by the 23-year-old, check out his performance in Leicester’s game against Barcelona recently.

Shane Long

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Southampton v Newcastle United - Barclays Premier League - St Mary's Shane Long celebrates scoring a goal for Southampton against Newcastle United last April. Source: Clive Gee

We can all be accused of leading with our hearts instead of our heads, but the Irishman remains a calculated and cunning acquisition.

He scored 10 goals in total last season, equaling the amount scored by both Roberto Firmino and Delle Alli but they remain a significant £2.0 more expensive than the Tipperary man.

His £6.5m price tag facilitates you to fund other world class players in your squad without dropping many points.

The departure of players such as Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama will result in increased pressure being exerted on the 29-year old to deliver goals this season, something Long is well capable of doing.

This could be a big season for the striker at St Mary’s, before he makes his obligatory move to Anfield next summer.

Patrick van Aanholt

Hartlepool United v Sunderland - Pre-Season Friendly - Victoria Park Patrick van Aanholt passes the ball during Sunderland's game against Hartepool United last month. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Defenders won’t score as many points as attackers but if you can ensure that your defenders post effective points consistently, it can be vital to your team’s success.

It is important that you don’t spend extravagant amounts on defenders and the young Dutchman is the ideal player to deliver week on week at a reasonable £5.0m.

From a fantasy points angle, the versatile player was Sunderland’s second top scorer last season, topped only by Jermaine Defoe.

Turning 26 at the end of the month, the Dutchman is in the prime of his career and if he continues on from his form at the latter end of last season, he will be a great addition to all setups.

He also obtains a keen eye for goal becoming Sunderland’s second highest goalscorer last season with six goals, a statistic most midfielders would be proud of.

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