So here we are now with Reading. A team no one would likely have cared about but for cheap filler in rotations. Now thanks to Chelski being in the Super Cup Final, their players open the season with an infamous DGW (a double gameweek for the unitiated in the ways of FFS…..Wait, what are ye doing here??? Go away!!! ……… Are you gone? Good). Reading players have been given an boost to their fantasy prospects although the current uncertainty over their starting XI has really dampened enthusiasm again.
In goals, Adam Federici at 4.5 represents probably the safest route into the Reading defence. He acts as a very good filler alongside De Gea and Friedel and is one of the best options for an uber cheap rotation policy in between the sticks.
In defense, it has been hard to work out who will get the nod. Last season, they regularly fielded a back four (from right to left) of Cummings-4.0, Pearce-4.5, Gorkss-4.0 and Harte-4.5. 3 new signings have however thrown a real spanner in the works. Gunter-4.0 was probably brought in to be first choice at right back but a recent return from injury may prevent him from starting the season. Likewise Mariappa-4.0 certainly has a starting role at centre back in his sights but it is hard to guess which one if either of last season’s will make way. At left back we have Harte, a bandwagon which failed before the prices were even out due to the signing of Shorey-4.5. Rotation is quite possibly in McDermott’s plans for this position.
In the centre of the park, the hard working duo off Karacan-4.5 and Leighterwood-5.0 ply their trade. The signing of Guthrie-4.5 has also made it hard to know which of the trio will get the most minutes although their considerable defensive duties won’t make them the best of fantasy prospects even with the potential for the odd goal. It was down the wings where most of Reading’s assists came from last year and Jobi McAnuff-5.5 was the star man on the left and will continue in this role for the season. On the right flank, things are a bit more confusing. Kebe-5.0 was there last season and stood a chance of continuing this season with a threat from the new signing of McCleary-5.0. An injury to Kebe and the good form of HRK-4.5 (Hal Robson-Kanu for those newbies who stuck around) in preseason have left it up in the air as to who will start. It is also worth noting that HRK can play on the left and up top so could pick up minutes as filling in for injured/suspended players too.
Up top, Pogrebnyak-5.0 will take Roberts’-4.5 starting position and has been the the most popular selection from the Reading frontline so far due to his decent returns at Fulham in half a seaon. Similar to HRK, last season’s supersub striker, Le Fondre-4.5 is pushing Hunt-4.5 all the way thanks to his preseason form. All Reading strikers should be ignored due to their isolation from the even the low mid-price options from other sides unless you are planning to use 2 strikers and want to save heavily on the 3rd (although I can’t imagine there being many people looking to employ such a tactic)
I find Reading to be a tough team to wholeheartedly recommend due to the widespread uncertainty. Federici I think would be a good choice for most (except for those who have gone for Cech). Pearce was the standout centre back last year and would be my tip from the backline to do well. I think McAnuff is your best choice for attacking returns and there are plenty of midfield options to replace him (if he doesn’t deliver) with at that price. Pogrebnyak is too high a risk in my opinion. He does have the potential to score well with a DGW but at 17.0% ownership, if he flops, many owners will shift him out and that will cause his price to tumble. It is also difficult to find a valid alternative at 5.0 so money will have to be found elsewhere if you need to lose him.
Possible Starting XI:
Federici, Pearce, Guthrie, McAnuff, HRK.