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Fullback or center back? The risk and reward decision in ESPN Fantasy Soccer

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Matchweek 13 in the Premier League is in the books and, as is often the case, there were some surprising names at the top of the fantasy points leaderboard.

Four players finished with braces. For Huddersfield Town’s Aaron Mooy and Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong, it was their first two goals of the season, so don’t get too excited.cheap nfl jerseys wholesale china

Leroy Sane was the overall leader, thanks in large part to two goals and an assist. But he’s only started in six of Manchester City’s first 13 league games.3

And then there’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, who notched his sixth and seventh goals of the season in Claudio Ranieri’s first game in charge at Fulham. Perhaps Ranieri’s appointment will lead to a resurgence from Mitrovic, who had gone goal-less in Fulham’s previous six games.

Twenty-one different players scored a goal this weekend, and 16 players picked up an assist. But as I scanned the leaderboard, I was more intrigued once I got down to the players who didn’t have a goal or assist.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was the best of this bunch, finishing with a very solid 14.2 points. And right behind him was Everton defender Michael Keane (14.1) and Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi (14.0). These three even finished above two players who scored goals, and eight of the 16 who had assists!nfl jersey cheap wholesale china

Van Dijk, Keane and Otamendi are all center backs. And those of us who have played fantasy soccer in other formats — Fantasy Premier League, daily fantasy, etc. — are programmed to avoid center backs and choose fullbacks as our defenders, since they’re usually more involved in their teams’ attacks, and more likely to get goals and assists.

But ESPN’s fantasy soccer game is proving to be different. I wrote about this in early October, and the trend has continued: Center backs are generally outperforming fullbacks, at least thus far.

One player in my 10-team ESPN fantasy league had van Dijk on his roster this week. And only one other player selected a center back in either of his defender slots (West Ham’s Fabian Balbuena, who only managed to accumulate 6.1 points).

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