I guess Liverpool have become so irrelevant in this year's title race that I am wrapping up the week before they've even played. With Gerrard on the bench, Torres out and the Liverpool defense in tatters, Rafa Benitez's side have become equally irrelevant in fantasy circles.
The teams of the week were Villa and, once again, Arsenal who provided 5 and 4 goals respectively, though each annoyingly conceded a worthless goal. Fabregas was once again sublime and recorded his 6th goal of the season along with his - what must a record - 5th straight man of the match. Clean sheets were once again at a premium with only two teams managing to keep the opposition out (Chelsea and Spurs). John Terry and John Carew led the week with 15 points, though I don't really value either as long term option.
A couple of bargain players had nice weeks including David Dunn (7 or more points in 5 of 8 games), Matt Etherington (at least 5 pts in 4 of his last 5 games) and Graham Alexander (4 goals this year). The Spurs defense also proved to be a nice purchase with Woodgate (4.8m) and blog favourite Assou Ekotto (5.0m) available at bargain prices.
Pure Juice had a pretty nice week with 75 points, 6 of which came with great fortune as Collins misses the Villa game and so Assou Ekotto filled in and added a clean sheet. On the negative side, my team has missed three penalties in 2 gameweeks (Young, Milner and Bent) which concerns me as Young and Milner look particularly vulnerable to lose these duties in the future. Dunn proved to be a nice acquisition while my Arsenal duo of Fabregas (26 points as captain) and Van Persie (7 points) continued to lead the team.
Frank Lampard (12.6) added another 6 points, giving him 37 in the past 4 games (having scored just 45 in the previous 8 games). I do not rate him as highly as Fabregas yet but Chelsea's fixtures are a touch better and they could form a nice duo if you lose faith in the premium strikers on offer. He's still owned by 30% of owners though so he's far from a differentiator and I still maintain better value can be had elsewhere as Lampard was far from the focal point of Chelsea's attack on Sunday, only getting his points from set pieces once more.
I'm probably too late to the party here but Clint Dempsey (6.3) has scored in 3 straight games and took over penalty duties from Murphy in his absence. Fulham get the double gameweek this week with at home to Blackburn particularly looking like it could bear fantasy fruit. One would expect Dempsey's value to rise this week so he could be a nice replacement for the next 4 weeks (@Bir, Bla, Bol, Sun and @Bur).
The boys over at Never Captain Nicky Butt have been recommending Jamie O'Hara (4.5) for a while now and his past three performances have justified the hype. O'Hara followed up his 5 bonus points from weeks 10 and 11 with a goal this week to give him 17 in the last 3 games. Portsmouth are too inconsistent for O'Hara to be an every week guy but as a top sub who will play every week (6 straight 90 minutes aside from the game against Spurs in which he was ineligible) he could provide great value.
Fulham defenders look like a good buy right now, particularly in light of their appealing double gameweek @Birmingham and Blackburn. They follow that up with Bolton, Sunderland and @Burnley which all look like games with clean sheet potential. Fulham's defense has not hit the heights of last year but in their three easiest defensive games this year they have kept two clean sheets. Now consider that three of the next four are the easiest Fulham have faced all year and the potential for points becomes clear. Hangeland (5.1) is probably the choice due to his ability to attract bonus points though at 4.6m Hughes presents good value for those wishing to ditch an out of form defender from, say, Sunderland or Bolton.
Come back later in the week for a couple of features on the double gameweeks as well as the upcoming strength of schedules for every team in the coming weeks. As always, post your comments below or find me on Twitter to discuss the weekly fantasy news.