Picking a keeper – a crucial decision for any fantasy manager

There’s been so much hype about how Manuel Neuer has revolutionised the role of the goalkeeper this week that we thought it would be an opportune moment to discuss the dilemma you face when selecting your fantasy football keeper. On a side note it would be interesting to see how far out of his box Neuer would be prepared to venture when he’s up against Xabi Alonso in training! 

So where do you start? Again it all boils down to the type of contest you are playing and the scoring system of the game in question. Make sure you read and fully understand how points are awarded and feel free to use all of our fantasy football reviews as a reference point. Once you’re on top of this then it’s just a case of weighing up the pros and cons which easily translates to positive and negative points. We’ve broken it down into 5 segments:- clean sheets (and goals against), saves, penalties, discipline and other criteria. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

Clean sheets (and goals against)

If your chosen contest lasts more than 1 gameweek then you might be

tempted to throw in 2 keepers rotating them depending on the fixture list. Salary cap will have to be taken into consideration if you adopt this strategy. You may look to include a keeper in a ‘block defence’ strategy if the points on offer for a successful shutout reward both the goalkeeper and defenders handsomely. This will depend on the game rules and the number of players from a particular side that you can include in your selection. If goals against are heavily penalised then it makes sense to avoid choosing keepers that are up against high flying teams. Use bookmakers as a quick reference point as their odds will indicated the number of goals expected in a match and the likely supremacy.  

Some games will award positive points if a side only concedes 1 goal and some games don’t reward or penalise goalies either regardless of the number of goals conceded so bear this in mind. Read the rules then read them again!


Most games will reward goalies with points for each save or every x number of saves.  The key here is how busy is the keeper expected to be. Reference those bookmakers again – it’s possible to offset negative points for goals conceded with points per save so factor all this in to your calculations.


If your keeper pulls off a successful penalty stop most games will reward you with plenty of extra points. How many times have we heard the expression the lottery of penalties? Ignore that and recall how Louis van Gaal pulled off a masterstroke against Costa Rica in the World Cup throwing Krul on for the shoot-out and if you think that was a one-off make sure you check out the statistics surrounding Valencia’s Diego Alves. This guy has a phenomenal penalty stopping record.

Also, bear in mind that there are general patterns where some teams will be awarded more penalties than others and some teams are notorious for conceding penalties. Is it coincidence or clumsy defending? Referees will also play a part and there are some marked differences between the number of penalties these guys award. Do you research and you’ll be one step ahead.


Watch out for keepers who pick up needless yellow cards on a regular basis. These can ruin your points tally for the week. Misdemeanours included time wasting when taking gola-kicks, 6 second violations, persistent dissent and the guy who runs 50 yards up the pitch to confront someone after a nasty tackle.

Other criteria

If your game of choice has a more sophisticated points scoring system then don’t be surprised to see the likes of catches from crosses and passes counting as big contributors to your points total. Some keepers punch everything while some are more cofortable than others when joining in the play so familiarise yourself with the traits of the top keepers. Do your homework in this key area and give yourself a much better chance of long term success with your daily fantasy football betting!