Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Foster no hope

With Van der Sar's return to the reserves tonight, and Foster's continued struggle between the posts for the first team, it is likely that the English World Cup hopeful will see the end of his extended run and be replaced for gameweek 9 after the international break. At 5m he has provided decent fantasy value over the past 8 weeks and is currently held by 8% of fantasy managers. We are not seeing a massive amount of selling yet so there is no rush to act, but his owners will want to move him on assuming Van der Sar proves his fitness as 5m is too much for a 'keeper to warm your bench. The question is therefore who to get to replace him. I am not a fan of expensive keepers as 'save' points are the great equaliser that makes 'keepers from lower teams almost as valuable as the big boys. Add to that the strong performances of Birmingham, Burnley (at home) and Stoke this year and bargains can clearly be found.

Last season 11 'keepers were within 36 points of each and were lead by the cheapest of them all - Mark Schwarzer. This season has started in a similar vein with 15 'keepers separated by just 14 points and the top 4 including three 'keepers available for 4.1m or 4.2m. I outlined previously that I am an advocate of the 'keeper rotation strategy which calls for picking two players whose schedules compliment each other. This allows for favourable matchups to be played and avoids 4m sitting on your bench and never being used (as is the case if you spend 6m on, say, Petr Cech).

I will therefore suggest my favourite 'pairs' of players which will hopefully involve Foster owners making just one transfer (as they will likely hold one of the other players). I have only considered players available for less than 5m so Foster owners can pick them up straight away regardless of their monetary position. Based on who you already own, I would therefore recommend:

Thomas Sorensen
No less than 39.8% of owners currently hold Thomas Sorensen and with good reason. He leads all fantasy goalkeepers with 36 points and is second only to Vito Mannone in PPMS (1.098) after leading all players in that category last season. I will get to Mannone later but seeing as his sample size is just three games we can basically say that Sorensen has presented the best value so far this season.
Sorensen owners will want to grab a keeper who fulfils two key attributes: playing on a good defense and having good fixtures when Sorensen does not. If for example Sorensen gets Portsmouth at home (0.5 GPG) then there is little value in the fact that Myhill welcomes West Ham (0.75 GPG) as you will still play Sorensen anyway. The key games over the next 10 weeks for Sorensen owners are therefore weeks 10 (@Tot), 15 (@Ars) and 17 (no game). In these weeks Bolton have by far the best fixtures (Eve, @Wol, WH) with opponents averaging just 0.72 GPG in those three weeks. Sunderland (0.94 GPG) and Birmingham (1.00 GPG) also provide nice synergy with Sorensen. Of those three teams, Birmingham has the strongest defense and with two opponents (Sun and Bla) coming to St Andrews where they are very strong (0.75 GPG conceded) I think Joe Hart makes the most sense here. Needless to say, if you own Joe Hart then Thomas Sorensen makes sense in exactly the same way.

Brian Jensen
With 11% of owners holding Jensen he is the third most selected budget 'keeper behind the aforementioned Sorensen and Hart. Burnley's fixtures on paper look good but I would only be willing to play 'the beast' at home and so we are looking for a complimentary 'keeper with good fixtures when Burnley go away from Turf Moor. This rules Sorensen out due to his off week in week 17 which coincides with Burnley's game against free scoring Arsenal. Hart is also out as trips to Arsenal and Liverpool coincide with Burnley's trips to Blackburn and City. The best option is somewhat ironic in that it is Blackburn - Burnley's great rival - that provides him. Paul Robinson has been much maligned over the past couple of years but as fantasy 'keeper he has some value, highlighted by his 5 point haul this week despite conceding 6 to Arsenal. Robinson is a good shot stopper and should rack up the save points while his opponents in the four games we want to bench Jensen average just 0.375 GPG.

Short Term Solutions
A few budget keepers have risen to prominence in recent weeks due to injuries to their team's original number (indeed that's how Foster got his gig). I am of course talking about Mannone and Cudicini, who have both performed well since inheriting the gloves due to injuries to Almunia and Gomes. Arsenal didn't keep a clean sheet with Almunia between the sticks but have kept 2 in the 3 games with Mannone and could have kept one at the weekend, having conceded two freaky goals (one of which was probably Mannone's fault). Wenger has indicated that Mannone is the long term answer but Almunia is due to return in gameweek 9 rendering Mannone worthless in fantasy terms for time being. Cudicini is a different story as Gomes has returned from injury but Cudicini has kept his place. He only has one clean sheet in 7 appearances and Spurs defense has looked a bit shaky but 5 of the next 6 games look good and for 4.5m Cudicini can provide good value. Redknapp has suggested that the job is Cudicini's to lose for now so he might be a useful stop gap for those looking to ditch Foster and tho aren't convinced by any of the options above.


NotoriousDre said...

hey Chris,

i read your blog on this topic before the season started. I went with Soresen and Schwarzer. But later changed to Sorensen & Hart to free up some more cash.

Near everyone in my private league followed suit after week 4 & 5


Chris Glover said...

yeh I think alot of people hold that combo. I was surprised to see the % holdings of team were lower than I thought as I would have thought each of Sorensen and Hart would be close to 50% each. Some owners hold Kingson, Taylor, Niemi, Al habsi, Duke, Penny, Van Der Sar and Hahnemann who have a grand total of 0 points between them.

I think Sorensen and Hart is the way to go but I am intrgiued by the jensen, Robinson combo. I regret not jumping on Mannone quicker.

Otis said...

Well... 55 points on the week. Not great, but it could have been worse. Initially I chose Fabregas as captain, but I switched back to Rooney in the end (bad choice). Cudicini also underperformed while Sorensen picked up five points for my bench. My biggest concerns however are about my midfield.

Fabregas, Benayoun, Hunt, Jarvis, and Koumas.

I'm happy with Cesc (thanks to your recommendation), but the other four haven't really impressed me. What can you tell me about Benayoun's future? Do you think I should keep him?

The other three are all budget players, and I don't feel confident that any of them will bring in points consistently. It looks like Koumas didn't even play (he was on my bench).

I've been hearing more and more things about Andy Reid. Is he worth bringing in for one of those three that I mentioned? What about Wade Elliot? Is there anyone else you'd suggest?

Thanks again. By the way, how many points did you end up with for the week?

Andrew said...

Koumas has indeed been dropped to the Wigan bench for the last two games. Is anyone really surprised by Rafa's rotation strategy? He's been doing it for years; which makes Benayoun (or any Liverpool mid besides Gerrard) not worth the risk. Milner, Lennon or Barry look like good replacements.

As for other budget midfielders; Hunt and Elliot both have good fixtures going forward while Reid/Cattermole have been putting in some good performances. I currently have Elliot, Hunt and Koumas as my budget mids. I will change out Koumas for Danny Murphy this week.

I got 61 points this week with Bent on the bench and RVP captain over Cesc. Bikey played as a midfielder this week and scored a goal... worth considering since Burnley have okay fixtures coming up.

Chris Glover said...

I got 68 for the week which was pleasing though not captaining Cesc cost me 15 points which was a missed opportunity.

Like you guys I am close to giving up on Benayoun and realise it was snap decision based on his hattrick. I should have known that Benitez wouldnt play him every week - even though he is their 3rd best player. If they were to play, say, Lucas, Gerrard, Macherano, Aquilani and Kuyt I could understand as Yossi wouldnt fit the system but how can you bench him for Riera who continues to dissapoint?

Anyway, I am looking for replacements though I am not particularly enthused by anyone. I am leaving towards Milner due to his good looking fixtures and his apparent control of penalties.

Otis - Reid has looked good this year though Cattermole remains the safer pick due to him playing every game and attracting some bonus points. Physio report suggests that McCartney is fit so Richardson at LB looks like it could be a permananent fixture, making Reid an every week starter. If this is the case then he looks good value at 5.4 and is certainly an upgrade over Koumas - who I really liked but seems to have lost his way.

Andrew - agree with Bikey. I saw his debut against Everton and he was very solid, earning the 3 bonus points in that game. With captain Caldwell back, the move to midfield could be permanent which gives great value for 4m. At home Burnley have proved they are a defensive force and Bikey becomes a nice 3rd bench option who can move up to the first reserve slot, or even your first team, if the matchup is right.

Otis said...

At this point, I'm probably going to drop Benayoun in favor of Lennon and Cudicini in favor of Hart.

Does it make sense to have the two most picked keepers overall? If you guys needed to make up ground in your league, which two keepers would you pick to make the most impact? For instance, two complimentary keepers who will not necessarily be as consistent as Sorenson and Hart, but will perhaps have one or two big scoring games in the coming weeks.

NotoriousDre said...


i have a couple scenarios i would love you guys opinion on....

1. Buy Baines for 2weeks then trade him out for Collins and Dunne to take advantage of the double week. Villa fixtures not too bad after week 11 go i may hold on to one of them

2. I currently have Cesc & Gerard. I'm thinking about moving Gerrad out. Is Kuyt the obvious replacement? He seems to the beneficiary of Stevie G hard work and or Torres scraps.

option 2 will allow me to now play with 3 forwards...Drogba, Rooney/Ade...Bent/Saha

what do you think?
im leaning towards option one now and then working in option 2 in abouta months time.

Andrew said...

Its still a bit early to make concrete decisions this week due to the inevitable injuries on international duty. However, both Torres and Gerrard limped off this weekend. Last season when Torres was injured Kuyt was the main beneficiary on Liverpool, since he got pushed into a forward role. This year without Alonso and if Gerrard isn't fit, I don't think he will have an adequate supply of the ball to make big fantasy points. Liverpool's schedule isn't very kind the rest of the month anyways. I would suggest looking at option 2, but instead of Kuyt maybe Cahill, Lennon, Barry or Milner. I would even rate Danny Murphy ahead of Kuyt for the next couple weeks.

If I were in your position, I would wait until later in the week to see who is fit. Maybe consider having Drogba, Rooney and Adebayor if you go with one of the cheaper midfielders I listed above.

NotoriousDre said...

@ Andrew,

u are right....too early to make any moves. I was just playing out some scenarios and wanted some feedback.

Milner is someone i like...but he is also liked by a few guys in my private league.

Cahill is due...he has played well without much reward.