The Canaries are back in the Premier League the season after selling off James Maddison to Leicester City and Joshua Murphy to Cardiff City. While Murphy didn’t move the needle in the Premier League he was a strong Championship-caliber talent and Maddison looks to be the real deal at the next level. Losing those two players from a side that didn’t win promotion and then being promoted anyway is something to be applauded and should give the management team at Carrow Road the benefit of the doubt.
The Canaries were promoted leading the Championship in both points and goals scored and have telegraphed to the world that it is their intent to continue to rely on their high-pressing, attack-oriented approach despite the competition getting stiffer in the top flight. This should be good news to fantasy managers everywhere. They certainly won’t score 93 goals again against Premier League competition but even half that would indicate that they brought a few real breakthrough contributors with them upon promotion.
The Canaries typically played a 4-2-3-1 formation last season with Teemu Pukki, he of the 29 goals and 9 assists last campaign, leading the line ahead of an array of prolific midfielders including Emi Buendía (8G, 12A), Marco Stiepermann (9G, 6A), Onel Hernández (8G, 9A), and Mario Vrancic (10G, 7A). They also boast a promising outside back in young Max Aarons. Josip Drmic is a former 17-goal scorer in the Bundesliga whose career has been derailed due to injury who arrives on a free to give Pukki competition and try to resurrect his career.
The history of high-scoring players coming up from the Championship is as spotty as the history of high-scoring players coming over from the Eredivisie. Sometimes you get a Robin van Persie or Ruud van Nistelrooy, sometimes you get a Jordie Classie. Given how well things as Carrow Road seem to have been managed, I am suspecting that the Canaries will stay up and not even struggle significantly with relegation. I’m positive that not all of their high scorers from their promotion season will break out in the Premier League but one or two of them certainly will with a reasonable possibility of three being fantasy-relevant given the combination of solid contributions and low prices.
If I had to bet, I’d be betting that Teemu Pukki, Emi Buendía, and Marco Stiepermann will be the players to consider owning as the natural successors to the Andrew Johnsons, Gylfi Sigurdssons, and Pascal Gross’s of promotion seasons past. You should be considering them as potential third forward and fifth midfielder respectively for both salary cap and draft formats.
There isn’t as much available fantasy data to go on from last season but Norwich City gave up a lot of goals in the Championship last season, 57 in total good for 16 more than the best defense in the division. Moving up a level of competition and not having added significantly to their back line, I do foresee great fantasy production from Canaries defenders or former Magpie Tim Krul. What points do come with come from the attacking midfielders and Pukki. The Canaries should be a fascinating watch and fantasy managers will have to react quickly once we have some evidence as to whom from among the many attacking candidates will make the leap to the next level with the most impact.