For many, the only time you hear the word ‘barn door’ in relation to football is when someone announces to their friends over a beer that “Since leaving Liverpool, Torres couldn’t hit a barn door with a bus”. In fantasy football terms however it refers to a key strategic approach – making transfers after the current week has locked down but before player prices have been updated to reflect the weekend's performances. In the majority of cases this requires bringing in new players while matches are happening or immediately thereafter. What’s the point? Securing players at their cheapest value improves your overall chance of over-performance the following week and frees up funds to spend on higher cost players.
So, in which situations should you consider barn-dooring?
- A player turns out to be unexpectedly good (a very likely week one scenario) and after watching him score well you want to secure his services before the resulting price hike.
- A player (or team) has an OK week followed by a dead easy week. This means that they’re unlikely to be your first choice in the current week but as there’s a chance they’ll outperform in the upcoming week and you want to get them in at the best price ahead of their easy week.
- A player could be up against a really difficult team but having an easy week next time out coupled with an approach that will likely score high (ordinarily set piece takers) means they’re still likely to go up in price.
The limitation when writing this column of course is that I don’t have a crystal ball, psychic powers or the gift of foresight and therefore cannot predict this week’s performance. What I can do is look to next week and give you some ideas of players that should be at the top of your barn door list based on favourable up-coming match-ups.
The teams I suspect will perform well next week (crystal ball firmly in hand) are:
Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester United, Hull, Southampton, Swansea and Crystal Palace.
I have purposefully listed the Swans and Palace at the end of this list as I suspect, given their difficult week 1 match-ups, that their prices will be going down rather than up after this weekend.
Here are the players that I think should be on your radar:
- Lamela – There are two different types of fantasy football managers; 16.11% who want to win and 83.89% who don’t.
- Lloris – Next week, against former manager Harry Redknapp, I can see something of a grudge match coming and plenty of saves from Lloris. It’s definitely a risk but one where there’s plenty of upside.
- Kaboul – At £4.89m he’s dirt cheap for a quality central defender supported by Vertonghen. His price will only go in one direction.
- Costa – I always have concerns over new players in week one (especially at Turf Moor – it can be a true stronghold) but week 2….GET HIM IN!
- Fabregas – A Premier League veteran, he is fully aware of what Chelsea needs from him and at home against Leicester he looks, quite frankly, awesome.
- Courtois – I’m not convinced of either his starting berth or his expected performance but getting hold of Chelsea’s goalkeeper at £9.5m sounds like it could be good business.
Many managers will have already loaded up on Manchester United players as they have such a great opening six games (I currently have four). If you haven’t already, you may well want to bring in (the reasons are obvious) Herrera, Young, Mata, De Gea and Rooney before their prices undoubtedly go up.
- McGregor – I wouldn’t call you crazy if you had McGregor already as I think he’s extremely well priced, at home to Stoke he’s another good choice.
- Snodgrass – The whole team at Rotoworld has already spoken at length at how well priced Snodgrass is, I can’t currently fit him in my team but I may well for week 2 - his price is definitely going to go up.
- Jelavic – This is just a hunch. He’s turned up some amazing fantasy returns in the past and if he has a great week against QPR then that confidence could lead to a great return against Stoke
- Brady – Similar to Jelavic, this player knows how to build up a great fantasy score and if he starts producing, £5.72m may look like an amazing bargain.
Who knows how they’re going to perform? They’ve lost some amazing players and their manager over the summer but that doesn’t mean the replacement team are without hope. At home to West Brom might be a good place for them to shine and Pelle, Tadic and Bertrand are all of interest.
As a final important note, when barn-dooring it is important to know in advance which players in your team are likely to perform poorly next week. This will allow you to clear the deadwood out as soon as the teams are locked down and free up spaces for new superstars. The teams that stand out to me are Arsenal and Liverpool who go from relatively easy matches to away games against Everton and Man City respectively.
It is worth noting as well that Yahoo have made some significant improvements to the game this year and as such I’m not aware of whether you can hold players prices without saving them. Personally, I’ll be bringing in my new players and saving my team to make sure that the value is locked in.