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 By John Culea
Jul 30, 2014

2014-15 midfielders' value assessed

Top fantasy midfielder Yaya Toure had 20 goals and nine assists in 35 Premier League appearances.

ESPN FC's 2014-15 Premier League fantasy season begins Aug. 16. Managers have until then to put together their best 15 players within the 100 million-pound spending limit.

Having looked at the available forwards already, here are observations on selected midfield players with comparisons to last season and considerations for players new to the Premier League.

Most expensive

Yaya Toure, Manchester City: 10.0 (last season: 10.5)

Toure was the leading fantasy point producer. City plays three top clubs in their first five matches. He remains a solid pick, but not until the sixth week.

Recommended picks

Eden Hazard, Chelsea: 9.4 (9.6)

Fourteen goals and seven assists for Chelsea, but largely anonymous in the World Cup. Tied for second in fantasy points.

Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal: 9.2 (9.3)

Until injured, he was having a career year. Scored 10 goals and eight assists in only 23 games with three goals in his last four games. Good value

Kevin Mirallas, Everton: 7.0 (8.2)

He was the sixth-highest fantasy midfielder and opens surprisingly low.

Christian Eriksen, Tottenham: 6.8 (7.8)

He was the 21st-highest fantasy midfielder, and with few additions to the team will be a key player.

Raheem Sterling, Liverpool: 7.4 (unchanged)

Looked good in the World Cup and seems ready to produce big fantasy numbers.

Jason Puncheon, Crystal Palace: 6.0 (6.4)

Had a strong finish last season.

David Silva, Manchester City: 7.7 (9.1)

Was the seventh-highest fantasy midfielder. Missed four games with injuries but scored seven goals and had nine assists.

Jordan Henderson, Liverpool: 6.6 (6.9)

Quietly finished as the ninth-highest fantasy midfielder.

Overpriced

Marouane Fellaini, Manchester United: 6.3 (7.2)

A wasted pick. Not in Louis van Gaal's plans.

Theo Walcott, Arsenal: 8.2 (7.7)

Fragile and returning from a major injury. Scored 14 goals.

Santi Cazorla, Arsenal: 8.3 (8.7)

Disappointing season as the 13th-highest fantasy midfielder, and if not peddled, will be hard-pressed for playing time.

Mesut Ozil, Arsenal: 7.9 (8.6)

In 26 games he had five goals and nine assists and has not lived up to his press clippings. Risky.

Andre Schurrle, Chelsea: 6.6 (5.2)

A star in the World Cup, but will his defensive shortcomings keep him out of the starting XI?

Juan Mata, Manchester United: 8.0 (8.9)

A new manager and a budding star in Ander Herrera may limit playing time.

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool: 9.0 (10.0)

Aging, blunder-prone, and relegated to a deeper position, his main fantasy value is for penalty kicks.

Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool: 7.6 (7.5)

Tantalizing but gets bumped around a lot and rarely finishes a game.

Samir Nasri, Manchester City: 7.5 (8.4)

Not a great goal scorer, although he put in a few toward the end of the season.

Nemanja Matic, Chelsea: 6.7 (7.4)

Finished 92nd for midfielders and used primarily as a holding midfielder.

Good gambles

Ander Herrera, Manchester United: 6.2, (new)

Looked terrific on the summer tour, but so did Shinji Kagawa two years ago.

Thomas Ince, Hull: 5.5 (5.2)

He is with a new club that needs him and may produce big fantasy numbers.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea: 6.1 (5.1)

Back with a team he starred at while on loan, and with Michu gone, could link up nicely with Wilfried Bony.

Dusan Tadic, Southampton: 5.5 (new)

The Serbian transfer comes to a team with many defections and needing a goal scorer. He had multiple goals for FC Twente.

Marko Arnautovic, Stoke: 5.9 (6.6)

An opportunistic goal poacher, he is on an upgraded Potters team.

Erik Lamela, Tottenham: 6.2 (6.5)

After a dismal season, Lamela has played well this summer.

Erik Lamela could rebound and live up to his hefty 30 million-pound transfer fee last season.

Bad picks

Jack Wilshere, Arsenal: 6.6 (7.3)

Three goals and four assists in 24 games. Loved by the British media but ranked 69th, constantly disappoints as a fantasy player.

Cheik Tiote, Newcastle: 5.1 (5.5)

A walking yellow card. He had 10 of them.

Lee Cattermole, Sunderland: 5.1 (5.6)

Another multiple offender with seven yellows and a red.

Other bad picks (poor fantasy performers)

Gareth Barry, Everton; Stewart Downing, West Ham; and Lucas, Liverpool

Question mark

Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea: 8.4 (new)

While Fabregas has PL experience, he joins a new team and a new system, but looks to have fit in.

Other question marks with lack of playing time

Willian, Ramires, and Oscar, Chelsea; Jesus Navas, Manchester City; Adnan Januzaj, Manchester United; and Aaron Lennon, Tottenham

John Culea

John Culea is an American living in San Diego who became hooked on football while serving in the Navy for two years in London. A former TV news, Emmy Award-winning anchor/reporter, he goes by the fantasy honorary title of "Sir John." He is a devoted Chelsea supporter and offers previews of upcoming Premier League action and a review of the games played from an American perspective.

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