Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back to Basics

After suffering through another miserable fantasy weekend which saw me slip in the standings for the 4th week running and surrender my once solid 120 point lead my work league I have decided to implement two new strategies. The second one to be discussed in a separate article is that I will now be employing a 3-man striking rotation of mid-priced strikers based on match up. The first to be discussed here is that my team selection has gotten too cute and I will now focus on the following key factors when selecting my squad and team lineup:

1. Don't select players who I do not rate as good or better, no matter what they have done in the last couple of weeks. As they say, form is temporary, class is permanent. I've had Carlton Cole, Javier Garrido, Jonas Olsson, Edwin Van Der Sar and Andy Dawson, all of whom I rate no better than average Premiership players (van der Sar once was obviously a class keeper).

2. Don't take avoiding point chasing to a ridiculous degree. Last year I chased points and it got me nowhere fast, this year I swore not to make the same mistake again. However, I was so obsessed with not chasing points that I missed the fact that Anelka, Ireland and Bosingwa were three of the top overall players available and not merely form players.

3. I've said it before but 90 minute men are absolutely essential. Picks like Alex and Agger were too clever and have cost me major points over the past month as they have been benched with no prior warning. I am therefore moving these two guys on and using the money saved from my strikers to upgrade them to Arbeloa and Carvalho, who when fit will play every minute without fail.

4. If a player isn't playing well cut him loose. It's always hard to get rid of players you rate/like because when they score you kick yourself. However, its better to feel bad about lost points for one week than sit through 8 weeks of 2 and 3 point performances (I'm looking at you Valencia!).

Application of the new rules

The new rules basically lead me to have to select a totally new defense.

Alex - out of the team for good when Carvalho returns and apparently behind Ivanovic on the depth chart these days.

Agger - not guaranteed a game, and can be replaced for just 0.4m with Arbeloa who has played in all but one game this season.

Traore - benched by Adams when he took over and has only regained his place due to injuries. The return of Kranjcar and Adams apparent apathy towards the French full back suggests it's time to say goodbye.

Figueroa - I broke rule 1 this week to get Figueroa when all my logic suggested Luke Young: it could me 4 points. Wigan's defense is just inconsistent to rely on, though they still represent good value a bench players.

Olsson - purchased after a clean sheet and goal led me to think Olsson was a steal. WBA have since conceded 20 in 8 games with no clean sheets. With Ronaldo suspended and Zaki injured, suddenly that third bench spot becomes more valuable.

The midfield fairs better under the new rules though all are still not safe.
Ronaldo - despite his sending off on Sunday and the fact he has looked miserable in the last two games, Ronaldo has still scored 8 in 10 without having really played that well. I think he is still a must have player, though his status until week 19 in shaky. He is set to miss the Sunderland (H) game through suspension and then United do not play in week 18 as they are away at the World Club Championships. I will discuss the possibilities of selling Ronaldo to buy him back in a later article.

Lampard - no goals, one assist and one bonus point in four games have left some doubting Lampard as a fantasy force; I am not one of those people. Chelsea get Bolton, West Ham, Everton, WBA and Fulham in the next five and have a point to prove after losing to Arsenal at the weekend. I can see Chelsea scoring at least 10 over this period and Lampard is sure to get a couple of these. Add in a return to bonus town and Lampard will be good for his loyal owners.

Young - the Villa winger is very close to breaking rule 4 but a look at the upcoming fixtures and the desperate state of my defense have convinced me to hold on to him. All Villa's opponents in the next 10 games are conceding more than one a game on average 6 of these are averaging more than 1.5.

Valencia - as noted above, Valencia is a classic rule 4 breaker and after he impressed even when City were poor I am going to stop breaking rule 2 and bring in Stephen Ireland. Aside from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ireland was head and shoulders ahead of his team mates and was the centre of everything good they did. Aside from a tricky trip to Fulham this week, City's fixtures are pretty good and Ireland should continue his excellent form over the Christmas period.

Marney - far from a points machine, Marney is going to stick around on the basis that he has only missed 40 minutes of football since week 1 and has chipped in with 5 assists in this time. A great bench player and potential rotation candidate, I am pleased with the former Spurs man contribution.

Defoe - Defoe has been very good this season and the only reason I will transfer his out is to save cash and implement my 3 mid-range striker policy. My only regret with Defoe is that I broke rule 2 by not getting him earlier enough.

Zaki - the enigma of the season so far. So good to start the season and a great differentiator. Then everyone got on the bandwagon (almost 40%) and now he is carrying numerous mysterious injuries. If I were to transfer him out, it will cost 0.3m to get him back due to his price rise over the season. The fact he fits into my mid-range striker policy and has sat out for three weeks suggests I should keep the faith for now, but be careful not to break rule 4.

Cole - I broke rules 1 and 4 here and I want rid of Cole as soon as possible. He isn't a horrible player but he's far from class West Ham are a pretty poor team right now. Cole hasn't scored for 8 game weeks and has scored 7 points in that time. The only replacement issue is where to save money so that I can upgrade him to the 7m range.

Are there any rules you follow, or any that you wish you had? How do you see your teams shaping up over the next few weeks?


Ashwin said...

I think your philosophy may have to change as well. The best teams are investing in defence. Agger and Traore are a bit too unreliable at the moment. It's almost worth having a full backline of Chelsea & Pool, or supplement with Villa+Fulham players.
Aren't many strikers worth a mention.

Ashwin said...

Meant to say Man U defence as well.

Ollycee said...

As per the thread on Never Captain Nicky Butt.. Ronaldo isnt suspended this weekend, he misses the mid week carling cup fixture instead! Who said the Carling Cup was a waste of time?! So dont fear you can strap the captains armband to him this Saturday against shaky Sunderland! But sssshhhh dont tell the other managers in your league who may transfer him out or bench him!

I think you may regret getting rid of Defoe, Pompey have some great fixtures over the next few weeks and I can see him being one of the top strikers over the course of the season. I would say 8.3 million just about fits in to mid-range. You could possibly balance it out with a 6 million striker like King at Hull?

Also im not sure about Alex, do you know when Carvalho is expected to return? I cant find anything?? I think Alex will start this week ahead of Ivanovic who was only brought in due to the big Brazilians injury.

Chris Glover said...

My philosophy is to invest in defence! Thats why Im trading down my attack. My midfield with Lampard and Ronaldo is always going to eat some cash but I think you need at least 3 defenders/keepers from Chelsea/Pool/United.
I don't like many strikers hence why I want three okay guys who I can rotate in.

Chris Glover said...


I agree about Defoe and I am stretching to keep him if possible. However, I would prefer, say, Crouch, Carvalho and Arbeloa than Defoe and, say, Corluka and Kompany when it comes to the crunch.

Chris Glover said...

Great shout on the Ronaldo suspension, i didn't even think to check. You just saved me a major headache! The best thing is, it could now be a benefit as it might fire him up as they are due to face a Sunderland side that just shipped 4 goals at home to Bolton!

Silent Jay said...

One of my most important rules is "no extra transfers!" Unfortunately it's incredibly difficult to stick to, and I've already failed several times this season... again.

Sometimes it's unavoidable due to injuries, etc. But too often the lure of big points from a great matchup is too big, and I pull the trigger... only for the guy I dumped to score while the new guy gets a yellow card... costing me 5 points + 4 for the transfer. It seems to rarely go the other way around.

Considering that even one extra transfer every 4 weeks will cost you almost 40 points for the season, you'd think it would be easier to say "no"...

Ashwin said...

My rules are to:
Try to focus on better mids.
Don't be fooled by big prices.
Only one transfer per week.
Look for double rounds.

Don't be afraid to captain defenders. A lot of teams it will have a clean sheet more likely than a goal from a nominated attacker, plus there is the chance of a goal and assist from defence (plus bonus points).

Always have 3 Man Utd players in the team from January onwards. Extra fixtures plus most of the tough ones are out of the way.

Chris Glover said...

Ashwin - great call on Utd after Christmas. With at least two double weeks plus more likely due when the FA cup fixtures clog the schedule up, Utd players look good value. The only question is whch three. Assuming you have Ronaldo that leaves you with either choosing a striker and a defender or two defenders as i think all the other midfielders are liable to rotation.

TD Ocho said...

I'm looking to retool too. After being with 5 points of first place in my league, I've had 2 weeks in which my score was below the gameweek average, something that's never happened to me before.

As for which other United players to pick up, I would say Evra and Carrick/Berbatov. Evra is Bosingwa-esque in that he pushes up on the wing a lot. Carrick is a great player in great form but I'm not sure how good of a fantasy player he is.

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

here is my team

reina schwarzer
carragher bosingwa carvalho agger paintsil
ronaldo geovanni young ashbee McCann
cisse agbonlahor van persie

reina, carragher, bosingwa, carvalho, and ronaldo are undroppable from my team, bar injury

what do you think of these transfers
gw17: van persie -> king
gw18: agger -> arbeloa
gw19: agbonlahor -> camara
gw20: ashbee -> fabregas.

im not sure on the last two transfers, but i slowly want to move to a 4-5-1

Chris Glover said...

Losing Van Persie looks bad but with games @Mid, Liv, @Ast to come it may not be too bad (it gets MUCH easier after that though). Agger for Arbeloa is a good move which I am planning to make myself this week. No a huge fan of the Agbonlahor move as I don't see Camara getting consistent minutes after this week, unless Heskey leaves and Wigan don't sign anyone else. Fabregas looks good to capitalise on the aforementioned good run of Arsenal fixtures so is an improvement for sure. The real question is whether you want a top strike force or a top midfield.

matt said...

i've decided on this

gw17: agbonlahor -> camara
gw18: agger -> arbeloa
gw19: cisse -> 4.6 forward
gw20: asbee -> fabregas

matt said...

which would allow me to keep van persie