Out-of-Position: Defensive MIDSunday, August 11, 2013
Welcome to part three of a series of columns looking at the Yahoo! fantasy game player listings and idenfitying players that play out-of-position compared to that listing. Part one looked at midfielders listed as defenders; part two was forwards listed as midfielders.
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Now, we'll take a look at the other side of the coin: the out-of-position player with less, not more, fantasy value. Specifically, we'll look at players who are listed as midfielders in the Y! game, but play in defence. These players are less likely to get you points because the play farther away from the opposition goal, and when the defence does well and keeps a clean sheet, they're not eligible for those points!
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- Jonas Gutiérrez, Newcastle United - Jonas has been a bit of a utility player for Newcastle. He is usually a left-sided midfielder but has played in center midfield, and yes, left full-back. He'll likely not be needed there this season with Davide Santon and Massimo Haidara available, but may also find it hard to get into the Magpie midfield either.
- Craig Gardner, Sunderland - While Gardner was Sunderland's second highest scorer last term, he was also regularly the club's starting right back. That looks set to continue as the Black Cats have frozen out Phil Bardsley but have yet to bring in a replacement.
- Michael Carrick, Manchester Utd - Arguably Manchester United's player of the season in midfield last year, he will turn out from time to time in central defence. Despite Manchester United's riches in that department - Rio, Vidic, Smalling, Evans, and Jones! - injuries seem to force Carrick into a defensive role.
- Seb Larsson, Sunderland - Like Gardner above, Sunderland's lack of fullbacks forced Larsson into that role at times last season. And again, as they haven't solved that problem - and Gardner is suspended for the first game of the seaspon - he may have to play their again.
- Jack Colback, Sunderland - The third, but not the last name on our list from Sunderland! Colback looks to go into the next season as Sunderland's starting left back. Di Canio has promised that his fullbacks will be "like wingers" and that would be sweet music to fantasy manager's ears if the players weren't already listed in the game as midfielders.
- Seamus Coleman, Everton - Probably the quintessential name on this list. When he first broke into the Everton first team, Coleman was playing as a midfielder and the positioning stuck for the fantasy game. However, since then he's become Everton's first choice right back, and would be great value for fantasy as an attacking defender on a good team, if that's indeed how he were listed.
- Danny Rose, Tottenham Hotspur - Rose shone as Sunderland's left back last season but is now back at Spurs where he'll compete with Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Kyle Naughton for the a place. Regardless of which team he's on, he's emerged as a defender, and not a midfielder, and is thus not a viable fantasy player.
- Stewart Downing, Liverpool - Downing may start the season Newcastle, or more likely West Ham, but at Liverpool he was seen as a viable alternative to Jose Enrique at left back. Rodgers thought that his attacking skills could be best deployed from deep. Great for them, bad for fantasy.
- Antonio Valencia, Manchester Utd - Valencia has proven himself to be a viable right back for Manchester United. Will David Moyes see fit to use him as such? Rafael is probably the incumbent there, and both Jones and Smalling can cover. But Valencia might be a natural fit, especially if Zaha can make the midfield spot his own.
- Ki Sung-Yueng, Swansea City - Ki filled in for the injured Chico Flores at center back when the Spanish defender missed the Carling Cup final. Swansea has reinforced the position, and several others, and Ki will probably find himself a valuable squad player again this season.
- Gareth Barry, Manchester City - Barry makes this list mostly on his history as left back (and left-sided central defender) all those years ago with Aston Villa. But he is more than capable of filling in at the back again, and with Manchester City reinforcing in central midfield, it might be a more viable way back into the team for him.
- Ryan Taylor, Newcastle United - Ryan Taylor will most likely miss the season again with injury, but when he plays he plays in defence. Shame, because his skill at set-pieces would otherwise make him a valuable fantasy asset.
- Matt Taylor, West Ham United - Taylor used to be listed as a defender who found himself playing in attack and as such he was a fantasy favorite. However, his listing as moved to midfielder, and he still finds himself covering at left back on occassion. West Ham now have Razvan Rat and Joey O'Brien at that position so he'll probably be an attacker, when he plays.
- David Fox, Norwich City - Fox only makes this list because I confused him Southampton's left back, Danny Fox.
- Leandro Bacuna - Bacuna is a new signing at Aston Villa who plays as a winger, sees his future as a box-to-box midfielder, but has lined up in pre-season as a fullback. Clearly Bacuna can play anywhere on the pitch, and it remains to be seen where, and if, Paul Lambert will use him.
- Javi García, Manchester City - Garcia, like Michael Carrick, was forced into central defence due to injuries at Manchester City last season. He's not likely to play there often, but nor is he likely to get back into a more crowded City midfield. His role, and his future, is a very interesting question going forward.
- Ahmed Elmohamady, Hull City - Elmohamady played on loan last season for Hull City as a wing-back in Bruce's 3-5-2 system. He signed permanently from Sunderland this summer, and the question was where he would be listed in the fantasy games. The answer is midfield, which ruins any value he might have had.
- Michael Essien, Chelsea - Scores spectacular goals from right back, where Jose Mourinho has used him in the past. Surely he'll be rotated in central midfield, but the option (and temptation) to play him in defence will remain.
- Ashley Richards, Swansea City - Jazz is Swansea's second-choice right back and will fill in for mellifluous Angel Rangel when the Spanaird can't play, or needs a rest. However, he's not a midfielder, despite his listing in the Y! fantasy game.
- Jack Rodwell, Manchester City - Rodwell had some very encouraging matches in center midfield when he returned from injury last season. But like Barry and Garcia, he can play in central defence as well and may find his opportunities there. In fact, while at Everton it was discussed that his future lay there, instead of in midfield, where's he's played most of his football to date.
- Chris Herd, Aston Villa - Herd has primarily played for Villa as a defensive midfielder, but has also lined up at right back and center back.
Next up, the most difficult group to value for fantasy purposes: Midfielders, primarily attacking midfielders, who are listed as forwards in the fantasy game.