With Van Persie (6 weeks) joining fellow fantasy stud Lampard (3 weeks) on the sidelines, a large portion of fantasy owners will be looking to bring in one or two big name players this week. I have therefore ranked the 10m+ players at each position who will provide the best bang for your buck over the next 6 weeks:
Cesc Fabregas - his fixtures aren't great but as with Ronaldo in previous years Fabregas is now a must own player and should probably be captained most weeks. He is the natural replacement for Frank Lampard and will even save you 1.1m as an added bonus. You can make this change with confidence and perhaps target the week 17 game against Portsmouth as a good time to bring Lampad back if you so wish. However, with 43% ownership I'm sure most of you already have Cesc, so lets look slightly down the ownership ladder for our next pick.
Andrei Arshavin - Arshavin is the least held of the 10m midfielders and is well placed to prosper in the absence of van Persie. Before the season started I thought Arshavin might equal Lampard and Gerrard in total points and though his season has been disrupted by injury, he is just 0.5 PPG behind Gerrard and 1.1 PPG behind Lampard. The Russian has played in the last 6 games and added 3 goals in this period. His bonus points are limited by Fabregas' incredible form but I like his assists and possibly goals to increase in Van Persie's absence. For Fabregas owners it is a slight risk to pair Arshavin with his Arsenal teammate when the fixtures aren't great, but I was happily deploying Van Persie and Fabregas until now so it does not bother me to tie up so much cash in one team. Arshavin will free up 1.8m for you to spend elsewhere, which would be well invested in defenders and some teams look to be improving at the back.
Steven Gerrard - alot of owners will jump on today's news that Gerrard should play this week and switch from one England international to another. Due to his injuries this year, Gerrard is a risk, especially given Torres' absence and Liverpool's next two games (MNC, @Eve). Liverpool's fixtures are marginally better than Arsenal in the next 6 weeks but I would still favour Fabregas over Gerrard. For Fabregas owners Gerrard looks like the natural pickup for Lampard as at just 0.3m less than Lampard he allows you to utilise all your cash and in Torres' absence he should be good for bonus points and the odd goal.
Didier Drogba - The most owned striker in the game and the second top scorer (after Fabregas), Drogba looks like a great replacement for van Persie if you don't already own him. Chelsea's fixtures are solid but not spectacular and the absence of Lampard will hurt him somewhat. However, I think the likes of Ballack and Deco can replace Lampard and Drogba might even pickup penalty duties. Bonus points will also be more readily available and Drogba is for me the best bet to replace Van Persie.
Wayne Rooney - I have been down on Rooney for the past few weeks but United's fixtures are good and having scored in week 11 it's possible Rooney is due for one of his patented streaky scoring runs. At 11.1m you will have to raise 0.3m to get him which is a steep price to pay, and I think the two guys below are better value. Nevertheless, Rooney is a solid option who should attract bonus points and games against Portsmouth, West Ham and Wolves look appealing on paper.
Emmanuel Adebayor - I loved Adebayor before the year and after a few weeks it looked like I had struck gold, but Adebayor's form has dipped badly and he hasn't scored since week 5. Of the big teams City have the best fixture list during Van Persie's absence and Adebayor is well placed to take advantage of this. Though not scoring, he has added a few assists and surely the goals will come against the likes of Hull, Bolton and Sunderland. Bringing in Adebayor will also free up 0.7m to deploy elsewhere and with a holding of just 7% he is a useful differentiator.
Nicolas Anelka - I wouldn't recommend Anelka to Drogba owners as I don't like having two strikers from one team unless the fixtures are excellent. However, if you don't have Drogba, Anelka is a potential differentiator, though I must say I still think Drogba offers better value for money. Anelka only has 3 league goals in 11 games, though netted a fortuitous goal in midweek against Ireland. I don't love Anelka and its unclear how the diamond will function without Lampard so I think the above options present better value right now.
Fernando Torres - still too risky and probably only worth looking at in a few weeks, Torres is unlikely to provide much help for Van Persie owners in need of an instant solution.
The weekly preview will be up soon, but why not post or tweet your thoughts on the Van Persie and Lampard injuries in the mean time below or @plfantasy.