Sunday, February 28, 2010

First Take


Its nice to have a gameweek wrapped up by early evening on a Sunday to get some thoughts down on the week's action without it dragging into Tuesday and Wednesday. In truth it was a pretty average fantasy weekend, with far more drama in reality than for us fantasy managers. With horror tackles, cup heroics, multiple red cards and handshake snubs. However, big games from fantasy favourites like Lampard, Tevez, Fabregas and Torres gave some managers some joy, as did clean sheets from consistent bargain defenses like Birmingham and Fulham.

Clean sheets were at a bit of a premium again this week though the consistent units of Birmingham and Fulham once again delivered. Bolton and Sunderland aren't widely held and the absence of star units like United and Villa hurt many teams' defense this week.

Blue Moon Rising
I wasn't expecting big returns from City players (I didn't rank any in my captain picks) and I was shocked to see Bellamy, Tevez and Barry all have big games. While 4-1 flattered City a bit, they were good value for the victory and Chelsea look terrible at the back. Hilario rightly got the blame for the first goal but Chelsea were generally poor and are missing Cole, Cech and a stable Terry badly. While I'm not ready to write the unit off just yet (Por, Bla and WH to come in the next three games) you have to wonder how good of value they represent over say Fulham or Birmingham whose players come at a considerable discount.

Perfect Storm
I was delighted to see El Nino back for Liverpool this week and mark his return with a goal in their win over Blackburn. I have mentioned several times that I rate Torres as one of the top 3 players in the league and its great to have him back as a fantasy option, especially given Drogba's off week in gameweek 29. Torres now has 13 goals in 17 league appearances (a rate of 0.90 GPG) and has amassed 6.97 PPG. Compare this with Rooney who is also averaging a 0.90 GPG and 7.81 PPG and you realise that Torres has been extremely good when fit. With @Wig, Por and Sun to come in the next 4 weeks I think Torres is the ideal replacement if you need to move Drogba on, and should be considered an elite differentiator given his comparatively low ownership (17%).

Looking ahead There are only 8 games this week, and that includes double gameweeks for Bolton and Burnley. That means plenty of teams will be scrambling to field a starting XI and plenty will reach for the 4 point transfers. If you cannot field a full XI then paying 4 points for someone like Kevin Davies, Zat Knight or Steve Fletcher is a sound decision as barring a rare-benching they will pick up 4 performance points so you break even with anything else deemed to be profit. Both teams have a couple of decent gameweeks after this one too so you will have time to move them on again without being stuck playing them against quality opposition. I will write a quick post on who I would sell/keep of the teams not playing this week to follow this one tomorrow.

The transfer targets for the week will undoubtedly be Arsenal players as the near perfect storm of third best home scorers against the worst road defense happens with the arrival of Burnley at the Emirates. I of course like Fabregas but Bendtner also impressed this week showing a toughness that I was often lacking in the past. I have championed the top strikers all season so I have no room for him but if you are employing your cash elsewhere then for 6m you could do alot worse this week.

Stay tuned later in the week as I try and formulate a plan to deal with the fixture carnage of week 29 as well as the usual weekly preview later in the week. As always, why not tweet or post your lineup/transfer questions below.

9 comments:

Andrew said...

I really needed this week to play out like it did for my mini league. I ended the week with 74 points which brought me back within 100 points of the leader. The week prior I decided to bring in Arsenal players instead of Man U with the double. That has to be the best decision I've made all season. Its also left me with two freebies this week.

Everton is going to see heavy investment this week. While Arsenal has the best fixture, they also already have heavy investment. Everton has the third best schedule from here out, behind Arsenal and Aston Villa (who doesn't have a game this week). Saha is owned by 8%, Baines and Pienaar 6% each and Howard 3%. If you're looking for differentials, I'd get these guys in this week.

I am expecting the most transferred in player for the week to be Bendtner. Owned by just 3% and coming off 17 points in the last 2 weeks, he's tough to resist with a pricetag of just 6.0. There's no question that Fabregas pulls the strings, but someone has to benefit from that; and it looks to be Bendtner.

There are 4 players I want to bring in this week. Bendtner, Saha, Pienaar and Baines. Would it be worth an 8 point hit to bring them in for Lampard, Diamanti, Rodallega and Dawson? If not, which one do I not bring in?

Chris Glover said...

Indeed Everton have a great fixture (2.43 GPG against for Hull on the road) but 8 points is alot to pay. I think if all your players were out it would be the right move but with Diamanti (Bol) and Rodallega (Liv) likely to play it becomes a risk to spend 8 points when you're current crop should generate at least 4 points.

This means your 4 new players need to generate 12 points just to break even (which is not too much to ask).

However, you could also look at it as spending 8 points on two players as you could use the free subs anyway. This means, assuming you count Dawson and Lampard as the free transfers out, you need to generate 12 points (8 transfer points plus the loss of 4 points by Diamanti and Rodallega) from Saha and Bendtner just to break even. In a single gameweek I think this is a risk with limited upside.

In short I would likely make 2 or 3 subs and keep Diamanti against a Bolton side pretty weak away from home, and maybe Rodallega (who has already found the net against Villa and Chelsea this season). I would probably scratch Saha given the uncertainty around his fitness though I agree that Hull at home is a temptation. I like Baines and Pienaar alot this week, and as you mention, going forward they look useful too.

Ryan said...

Andrew - Whether or not you should remove Lamps depends on whether you'll buy him back in the near future. I personally wouldn't sell him despite his blank GW28 because his next 3 matches look fairly easy (WH,@BR,@PO) with the last 2 being played in the same gameweek. However, Everton's fixtures look fantastic on paper so if you're thinking long term, Pienaar is not a bad move.

Diamanti (GW31) & Rodallega(GW30) also have double gameweeks but their opponents in the upcoming weeks are a mixed bag really. So yes, get Bendtner (AR have the easiest run of fixtures). Not so sure about Saha although the Hull game at home does seem tempting. As of now we don't know the extent of Saha's injury so we need to keep close tabs on his progress.

Baines is a solid buy and I can see him chipping in with the occasional assist. Alternatively, should you feel hesitant about Everton's clean-sheet-ability, why not go for a cheaper defender like Distin(4.6m) and allocate the extra 1.4m elsewhere? That way you can do a Rafa-rotation on him to avoid tough matches like Aston Villa & Man City away.

As Chris pointed out, there is still some value in your 'current crop'. I think 4 transfers is a slight gamble. There's always the temptation to 'over-transfer' and lose too many points. Been there, done that. I'm now 6th in my mini-league - could've been 3rd by now!

Andrew said...

Looking back on my 4 transfer idea; what was I thinking? Absolutely insane, thanks for helping me off that ledge.

The Distin idea is valid. Now that Arteta is back, Baines shouldn't be taking as many free kicks. I'm going to hold off on Saha and reassess before the double gameweek.

Lampard has to come out. There's just no way I can afford the Everton duo of Pienaar+defender plus the Villa players I want in the coming weeks if I don't transfer him out. With 3 double gw's coming for Villa, it will definitely be money well spent.

Starting GW 30 and after 2 extra transfers my team will be:
HART given
distin COLLINS vermaelen INSUA ridgewell
fabregas DUFF etherington MILNER pienaar
DROGBA agbonlahor DIAMANTI

Barring any injuries, this looks like a really strong squad for the rest of the season. Thanks for the input guys!

Ryan said...

I like your team. It's robust and can take care of itself when about 3 players are having tough matches.

I'm also excited about Arteta's return but until he shows me the right signals, I'm not gonna rush for him just yet. Frankly I'm not very sure which Everton midfielder to get as many of them, expensive (Arteta, Cahill) or cheap(Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov, Pienaar), share an equal chance of scoring fantasy points.

Yeah trading off Lamps for say 3 or 4 lesser but equally formidable players with easy/double matches is a good move.

I'm also thinking of Villanizing my squad for GW30. If one could only choose between Dunne and Cuellar, who would it be? That's my current dilemma.

Also an issue is who to captain for this coming weekend - Rooney or Fabregas? I'm thinking Fab because Arsenal does well at home and Burnley is shit away, while MU plays Wolves away and Rooney will probably be fatigued after the Egypt match. Chris, Andrew, anyone, all opinions are welcome!

dhs_media_ssharp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dhs_media_ssharp said...

Heres my opinion on Everton players.

Distin at the moment isn't garenteed a game with Jagielka almost back and Hietinga being a better defender. (although against spurs hietinga moved into CDM)

Hietinga as well as Baines has arguable been our most consistant defenders, with Baines more likely to grab an assist.

Arteta is still understandable backing out of challanges but is beggining to show a lot more glimpes of hes former self. (would wait 1 or 2 weeks)

Bilyaletdinov played awful agaisnt sporting lisbon, for that reason he has been droped to the bench. (I can him getting some minutes agaisnt hull though to regain some confidence)

Rodwell seems to be playing in a more advanced position infront of arteta, this has been show in his recent increase in goals and assists. (not sure how long he will remain int his position, but for 4.6 it is possibley worth the risk)

Saha has got a slight hamstring injury i think, the yak took his palce against spurs and played his best game since coming back from injury. (even is saha is fit against hull i cn see yak starting ahead of him)

Pienaar is also consistant and will find his way on every team sheet as long as he is fit .

In conclusion Baines(6.5?) and Pienaar (6.3) have arguably been our best players recently. However if you looking for cheaper alternatives, Distin (4.6) and Rodwell (4.6) probably wont go a miss. Everton players to keep an eye on in the next few weeks could be arteta, cahill (when back from injury) and the yak.

Best in Sports Writing said...

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Chris Glover said...

Andrew - your team looks very solid, no real holes and you should be able to field 11 players with decent fixtures each week. well played. i wish I was in the same position!

Ryan - just about to do my captain picks but I think Fab has to be up there given his form and the fact that Burnley have surrendered 43 goals on the road and could be terrorised by Arsenal.

dhs - good analysis of the Eveton team. Im intrigued by Rodwell for such a low price while although I like him, Baines' value could (as Andrew says) be diminished by the reduction of set pieces.