Welcome back fantasy fans, I hope everyone didn't suffer through the bye week too much (I hate Saturday afternoon at 3pm when there are no Premier League games). Nothing good can come of these international games and the best outcome is that no-one gets injured. A few players of note have not been so lucky though most look likely to avoid missing out this week:
Spain coach Del Bosque: "I told him (Benitez) that we will treat Torres as if he was at Liverpool. If the boy is well and wants to play, he will play against Bosnia. And if he has any problem, he will not play. It's that simple."Liverpool play three fairly tricky games through week 11 so it might be worth employing your 11.5m elsewhere. Adebayor and Van Persie have the best fixtures of the big five strikers in the next 6 games, with Liverpool being by far the worst.
The Liverpool captain is said to be close to fitness for Wednesday's games against Belarus so barring any further setbacks, we should see him on the field against Sunderland. Regardless, the fixture issues above and my general dislike for the expensive midfielders this year makes Gerrard replaceable in my eyes.
Rooney withdrew from the England squad but F365 report that it was purely precautionary. Rooney is a great play against Bolton this week though the fixtures after that aren't great and as with Torres I would consider a switch to Adebayor or Van Persie using the extra cash for a few weeks until United's fixture list improves.
Similar story to Gerrard here and the big German midfielder looks fine. Having been a rotation nightmare last year, Ballack has been sneakily consistent this year and deserves fantasy consideration having notched just 3 points less than the widely popular Lennon despite playing 190 minutes less.
Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Nigel De Jong
All these boys look to be fit for Mark Hughes and should all have a chance to feature this week at Wigan which is the best fixture for the big 5 sides on the weekend.
A few double gameweeks are confirmed now which might influence your transfers:
Villa: Everton (A) and West Ham (A)
West Ham: Sunderland (A) and Villa (H)
Neither pair of games is particularly great though for a good side like Villa it is obviously advantageous to have them. I would consider these in my medium term strategy but I would not burn 4 points to bring in extra men for these games.
Hull: West Ham (H) and Everton (H)
Everton: Man U (A) and Hull (A)
Fulham: Birmingham (A) and Blackburn (H)
Blackburn: Bolton (A) and Fulham (A)
Hull's pair of fixtures are great as West Ham (3 goals in 4 games) and Everton (2 goals in 3 games) have both struggled on the road. However, with just one clean sheet this year and only 4 goals in 4 home games this year it is tough to recommend many of their players. Steve Hunt (5.2m) is the obvious pick and is a nice bench option to bring in to start for the week. I'd love to pick Altidore but he hasn't proven he can establish himself in the first team yet. Fulham's defensive fixtures look excellent and are follow by a decent pair (Bolton (H) and Sunderland (H)) in the next two weeks. Schwarzer is a nice pickup for those looking for a short term replacement for Foster while at 4.7 Aaron Hughes looks the best value on the back line.
Everton, Fulham, Hull and Stoke have no game this week.
Week 9 preview is on its way: it's great to have an interrupted run of games for the next few weeks with no more pesky international weeks.