Fantasy Football Focus 2014/15: Everton

Everton Goodison 2

With the new season drawing ever closer it's time to assess your fantasy football options, today's focus will be on Everton.

Everton enjoyed a fantastic first season under Roberto Martinez as they finished in fifth place in the Premier League with their best ever points tally and will have the Europa League to contend with in the upcoming campaign as a result.

They were defensively excellent and only Chelsea and Manchester City conceded fewer goals than the Toffees as three of the four top scoring defensive players (goalkeepers and defenders) were from Everton and Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines all impressed throughout.

Gareth Barry has been signed on a permanent basis after an impressive season with the Toffees last year and Muhamed Besic has also been added, while a deal to bring in a first-choice striker is ongoing, with Romelu Lukaku believed to be the preferred option.

It is worth investing in the Everton backline once again this season as well as elsewhere in the side as Martinez will look to lead the side into the top four, but where should you be looking from a fantasy perspective?

Budget options

MID - James McCarthy - The 23-year-old midfielder followed Martinez from Wigan last summer and was a key part of the squad in his first season on Merseyside as he appeared in 34 games, scoring one goal with three assists and will likely be a regular once again this season. Gareth Barry and Besic will offer competition in the defensive midfield role but McCarthy is a favourite of Martinez and is a cheap way into the Everton side.

FOR - Steven Naismith - Naismith is unlikely to start many games but his appeal is that he can still score plenty of points as a substitute. The Scottish forward appeared in 31 games but only started 13 times and ended the season on a high. He scored three goals with two assists in his final eight appearances and is a cheap option for a player that will be used, just not as much as others.

Worth a gamble

MID - Aiden McGeady - The tricky winger joined the club in January and made 16 appearances in the second-half of the campaign but failed to nail down a starting role, as he only started four times. Though with Gerard Deulofeu returning to Barcelona, McGeady may seen much more action and will be an attacking threat down the wing. He managed one assist last term but will surely add plenty more as well as goals this season.

MID - Kevin Mirallas - Mirallas is the most expensive midfielder in the Everton side and is a gamble for that reason. The Belgian is a key player for the Toffees but will cost fantasy managers this time around. He racked up eight goals and eight assists last season and if he can repeat that form will be worth considering, but for a high price, it's maybe best to see how he starts the season.

FOR - Arouna Kone - Kone was another who followed Martinez from Wigan to Everton, but only played 82 minutes before being ruled out for the season through injury. The Ivorian could feature regularly, especially as Everton have yet to sign a star striker such as Lukaku, and Kone is an intriguing option at a low price.

Must-haves

GK - Tim Howard - The American goalkeeper was the top-scoring stopper from a fantasy perspective last season with the Premier League's official game and will be a great option once again. His incredible performance for the USA against Belgium at the World Cup proves that he is still at his best, if not improving and Howard will hope to build on his 15 clean sheets from the last campaign.

DEF - Seamus Coleman - Coleman was the top-scoring defender in terms of goals and fantasy points last season and the attacking right-back should be seriously considered once again, despite going up in price. He scored six goals with two assists in 36 games last term and will be a regular at right-back. Coleman should pick up plenty of points from clean sheets and will also provide an attacking threat down the right.

DEF - Leighton Baines - On the other side of defence, Baines is one of the most popular options in fantasy football as the set-piece specialist is sure to score goals from free-kicks and penalties as well as picking up points in a solid defensive unit. He scored five goals with four assists last season and like Coleman should be in your team if your budget can afford it.

MID - Ross Barkley - Barkley was rewarded for an impressive breakthrough Premier League campaign with a call-up to England's World Cup squad this summer and he appeared in all three games at the tournament in Brazil. The 20-year-old will only improve this season and will be a regular in the starting lineup. He netted six goals in 34 games last term and will hope to build on that as well as providing some assists. Barkley is relatively cheap for an attacking midfielder and will be one to seriously consider.

Which Everton players will make your fantasy team?

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