Sunday, February 28, 2010
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.
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.